The book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and opens with one of the most famous first sentences of any literary work: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s where we find the famous stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the ark, Abraham and Isaac, and a well-dressed dreamer named Joseph.
On its own, the book of Genesis reads like a string of epic stories: a semi-tragic saga of a world that just keeps going wrong, despite its Creator’s intentions. But Genesis isn’t a stand-alone book. It’s the first installment in the five-part Torah (or Pentateuch), which is the foundational work of the Old Testament. The Torah is Israel’s origin story: it’s the history of how the nation of Israel got its population, its land, and its religion.