Dwell co-founder and teacher Dennis McCallum is out with a new 2-volume book series on the book of Genesis. Lessons from Genesis will guide you through this crucial book of the Bible, with helpful insights into its meaning and application.
Well, I finished writing a book on parenting, and sat back asking God what He would have me do next. I have time to write, especially with COVID going on. Genesis came to mind. I realized I’ve studied this book probably more than any other book in the Bible. I’ve probably taught through Genesis ten times or more, doing fresh research each time. And that’s after doing a number of projects on the book when in seminary. Also, I feel like we have a unique take on key parts of this book. So, why not get it down in writing?
Tell us more about this unique take on Genesis
First of all, our elders and class teachers have really done the study when it comes to creation. We take a line not found in many commentaries—instead of advocating for the view we hold, we focus on determining the outer boundaries of what is permissible biblically and scientifically. Then we leave it there, allowing for several biblical interpretations that accord with what we know from science. At the same time, I argue that several views can be ruled out. I also got into the “argument from soul.”
What is that?
It’s really an analysis of what it means to be “created in the image of God.” We study what sets humans apart from other animals, not just in quantity but in type. We have extensive insight from scripture and observation showing that humans are in a class all their own. Key features, like the ability to draw rational inferences, suggest a non-material soul. Otherwise, if the soul was just the brain, there would be no way it could have the freedom needed to really reason. Machine-like linkage, like that in even complex chemistry, cannot account for the kind of freedom essential for rationality, let alone, morality.
So is it mainly a book about apologetics?
No. Most of the book is teaching the text, chapter by chapter. It answers the many questions that come up. For instance, what is the evidence in the local versus universal flood? What about the great ages reported in primordial times? Was the Tower of Babel when human languages originated? What were the Nephilim? Who were the sons of God who went into the daughters of men? This whole primordial account is really wild, really fun to think through. But we keep the discussion so it’s accessible even to brand-new readers.
The back cover refers to group or partner reading--what’s the suggestion there?
A lot of us enjoy reading with a disciple or friend and discussing what we see. Or, we might do a book in cell group, especially when it’s directly covering scripture. This is a good choice for either venue. I think it would be super helpful also for teachers preparing to teach Genesis.
I also think it could be useful for new people, including non-Christians, who insist on reading the Bible from page 1. By giving them a copy of this book, you might keep them from being stumbled.
You can buy your copy of Lessons from Genesis: A Study Companion, Volume 1 at the Dwell Bookstore--order online or pick it up in-person at the Bookstore’s 4th Street and Warehouse locations. You can also get the Kindle editions for both volumes at this Amazon link.