A theologian whom I respect and a professor with whom I went to seminary have teamed up to offer a really great book on the first book of the Bible. Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misunderstood, and Abused Book of the Bible is a walk-through of Genesis following its themes and history. They open with these words:
Genesis is an ancient story. This may sound like an obvious or even patronizing way to begin. Of course it’s an ancient story. But once we look at what this means, that short phrase might be the most important thing to remember about Genesis. It will guide the rest of this book, showing us how to approach Genesis and what we should expect from it.
For many, the opening book of the Bible is a little confusing. It reads strangely, it doesn’t “sound” like any other book of the Bible, and, as Christians, we don’t know why we would even want to read it (except maybe for the first few chapters, but even those have a bunch of problems of their own).
Ever wondered what a sane, intelligent, and faithful understanding of Genesis would be in light of the findings of science or history? Ever pondered what the relationship between Adam and Darwin might look like? Have you ever been confused by a random history channel special that cast doubt on some of the stuff in Genesis? Ever tried to read the darn book only to only to ask yourself why you started to in the first place? Do you want to know how it connects to the rest of the Bible? Would you want all this talked about and explained in everyday terms with little prior biblical or theological knowledge needed?
Well, this is the book for you. (If you’re still skeptical, you can read a wonderfully comprehensive review of the book here.)
A quick note for any atheists or skeptics that find themselves reading this: this book is also for you. As a champion of (what I feel are) “not crazy” ways of reading Genesis, I have received a lot of pushback from atheists over the years who try and argue that the only true and faithful ways to read the book are in those (what I feel are) “crazy” ways. They try and say that if you “accommodate” the difficulties in Genesis away, you no longer have the faith you were trying to defend in the first place, and so you might as well abandon the whole enterprise. I challenge you to read this book and walk away feeling the same way.
As far as obtaining the book, I have good news, and I have bad news:
Good News: it’s only $1.99 (for a limited time, then it will go up to $4.99)
Bad News: at least for now, it’s only available for Kindle E-Readers.
The Good News about the Bad News: you can download free apps on your computer, phone, or tablet to read the book anyway. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that computers were the most popular device to read an ebook on; not a phone, tablet, or even a Kindle. So….you have no excuse.