Genesis comes first in the biblical canon and arguably forms the foundation for understanding the rest of the Bible. Its great narratives of the patriarchs and exciting stories capture the imagination of the youngest reader, and its great themes, like creation, the Fall, and the flood help answer many questions. Important issues are all dealt with ably, but this is not a technical commentary; the author's main concern is with the spiritual purpose of the book, and he draws out those profound truths which still apply to God's people today.
“Not only is man’s body structure more complex than that of the lower animals, but unlike them, he has a spiritual side to his nature. He has a moral awareness, he is able to think abstractly and logically, he has a sense of the aesthetic and is able to appreciate his environment and what goes on in the world around him. But above all, because he is made in the image and likeness of God he has an affinity with God and is able to communicate with Him in worship and in prayer.” (Page 13)
“In these opening verses it means the beginning of creation in an absolute sense. That is to say the very materials out of which the universe was created were themselves willed into existence by God. Theologians call this ‘creation ex nihilo’ (creation out of nothing).” (Page 8)
“There is a very real sense in which the book of Genesis is the most important book in the whole Bible. Not because it comes first in the biblical canon, but because it is foundational for the understanding of the other books of the Bible.” (Page 6)
“Revised Standard Version has the alternative reading: ‘When God began to create the heavens and the earth the earth was without form and void’. The Living Bible has: ‘When God began creating the heaven and the earth the earth was at first a shapeless, chaotic mass’. Both those versions are saying that the raw materials were already in existence when God began His work of bringing the organised universe into being.” (Page 9)
“The essential meaning of the word ‘holy’ is ‘set apart’ or ‘different from’. The Sabbath was to be different from other days because it was set apart for the special purpose of rest from daily work and for the worship of God.” (Page 17)
I heartily recommend this book; a valuable aid to the understanding of Genesis.
Peter Williams is from the town of Neath in South Wales. He is a graduate of the University of Wales and has degrees in theology and philosophy. He has served churches in England and Wales and has continued a preaching ministry since his retirement in 1997, now exercising oversight at Southbourne Evangelical Church in Bournemouth, England. He is author of various other books, including Opening Up Ezra and Opening Up Haggai. He and his wife, Brenda, have a son, daughter, and three grandsons.