In this commentary, James McKeown treats Genesis as a book of beginnings and a foundational sourcebook for biblical theology. He begins with exegesis of the Hebrew text, highlighting the recurrence of key words, phrases, and themes throughout the book. He also draws attention to passages particularly pertinent to earlier readers either facing or returning from exile, offering a historical context outside a solely Christian perspective. The second half of the book unpacks the numerous theological horizons of Genesis—main unifying themes (descendants, blessing, land); key theological teachings of Genesis (creation, fall, character and image of God, life of faith); and the contribution of Genesis to theology today, including its impact on science, ecology, and feminist theology. McKeown’s Genesis provides a solid examination of a scriptural book that reflects the struggles and hopes of its readers—ancient and modern—and offers encouragement for their walk with God.
“However, a theme running through Genesis is that the plans of God will be carried out in spite of human failure and disobedience.” (Page 82)
“The combination of this twofold process, creating and naming, demonstrates that God is unrivalled as the ultimate authority over everything that exists.” (Page 22)
“It is not reading too much between the lines to see Isaac’s monogamy as his reaction to his own experience when he saw the pain and sorrow that Abraham’s relationship with Hagar had introduced into their home. Thus when Isaac discovers that his own wife is childless, rather than marry another, he prays for her.” (Pages 126–127)
“To understand the Bible we should also inquire about the world and circumstances from which it emanated. It was not written in heaven and dropped down to earth, but it developed in the rough-and-tumble of human life, reflecting human struggles and misunderstanding. Emphasis on divine authorship should not blind us to the human dimension of Scripture because God used human beings to write down the words. As we read these words, it is evident that the circumstances and background of the writers are reflected in the vocabulary used, in the literary style, and in the illustrations employed.” (Page 7)
“Enuma Elish is unashamedly polytheistic while Genesis is not only monotheistic but is actually anti-polytheistic. Genesis takes every opportunity to deny divinity to heavenly bodies, referring to them as simply lights.” (Page 14)
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