“In the beginning…”
As an opening line, it’s not that great of a hook, but I don’t think it’s meant to be.
What can I say about Genesis other than it’s a creation story? Many cultures have them, and they really all sound the same. I can remember watching PBS as a kid when I was home sick from school and seeing a show that had cartoons of mythical stories of Native Americans. They included creation stories about Mother Earth turning a stalk of corn into a man and women, or some animal impregnating a hill. Quite honestly, they all sound seem like primitive fantasy. Those shows may even have contributed in some way to my eventual loss of faith. Thank you PBS!
One thing I noticed in Gen1 was the phrasing and timeline. It was very odd to try and understand what is meant by “earth”. Gen1:1 states God created both heaven and earth, but the next verses discuss the various separations of water. Did God create the water? Was that the earth, and if so, that doesn’t seem to meet many definitions of “earth”. “Water” and “Formless” (not watery, just water). Then he goes on to separate the “waters” into sky and “the rest”, I suppose. It really doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of internal consistency.
It really just appears to be a cataloging of all the things that “must” have happened for the world to be just the way we see it. Point in case, Gen 1:14-18. The sky is bright AND there is a Sun in it, but there is no bright sky when there is a Moon, so it stands to reason that the light in the sky is NOT connected to the Sun, but occurs at the same time as the Sun. God created night and day, THEN create the “greater and lesser” lights to govern them.
Gen 1:24-25 talks about the distinction between “wild” and “livestock”, but we know that God didn’t create that distinction, Man did when he domesticated some wild animals and not others. We even can date when certain animals were domesticated based on either records or genetic information. So, if your oral tradition never kept an account of the domestication process, you might explain the difference as “Poof!, God did it!”
And there you have it: “Poof, God did it?”. It’s the ultimate explanation for anything you can’t explain. The Biblical God is, and has always been, a God of the Gaps. See you in chapter 2!