The book of Genesis recites the beginnings of the cosmos and its inhabitants. It also reveals the beginning of evil. Before long, evil infests God’s good creation. From there, good and evil coexist and drive the plot of Genesis.
In Evil in Genesis, Ingrid Faro uncovers how the Bible’s first book presents the meaning of evil. Faro conducts a thorough examination of evil on lexical, exegetical, conceptual, and theological levels. This focused analysis allows the Hebrew terminology to be nuanced and permits Genesis’ own distinct voice to be heard. Genesis presents evil as the taking of something good and twisting it for one’s own purposes rather than enjoying it how God intended. Faro illuminates the perspective of Genesis on a range of themes, including humanity’s participation in evil, evil’s consequences, and God’s responses to evil.
Dr. Ingrid Faro offers us a treasure trove of insight into evil in Genesis! Through a linguistic analysis of “evil” in Genesis and a close reading of evil in the plot of Genesis, Faro lays the essential groundwork for a biblical theology of good and evil and does not shy away from the ethical and theological implications of her study. From insight into how evil correlates with perception and how prominent good and evil are across Genesis, I had many moments of illumination while reading this volume.
–Andrew T. Abernethy, associate professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
[Ingrid Faro’s] contextual, lexical-literary approach offers helpful insights and interesting connections between evil, sight, perspective, and goodness. Definitely a must read for those who are interested in these concepts!
–May Young, associate professor of biblical studies, Taylor University
Too often, scholars reflect on the subject of evil from theological or apologetic viewpoints. In contrast, Faro takes a step back and argues that the investigation should naturally begin when “evil” began, in the narrative plot of Genesis. Employing lexical-literary, contextual, and theological analysis, she provides the advanced student with a fresh approach on the study of good and evil and offers fresh insights for our understanding of evil. Navigating the data presented may pose a challenge to some, but anyone involved in the serious study of Scripture will read with profit and delight.
–Joseph Tan, dean, School of Theology, TCA College, Singapore
“Therefore, it can be concluded that nearly 60 percent of the use of evil in direct discourse communicates the attitude of the speaker either toward a proposition or toward a state of affairs. This underscores findings later described in this study that the use of evil by humans is highly subjective and used largely to describe his/her orally communicated point of view or perspective regarding some sort of evil within its broad semantic range. The role of perspective continues to surface as important in comprehending the meaning and use of evil theologically in Genesis.” (Page 44)
“I want to change the way we think about the ways Genesis speaks of evil, which is different than the modern concept of predominately morally wrong or sinister. I hope to demonstrate that in Genesis, the lexeme group רע (evil) should be thought of as referring to a wide range of behaviors, perceptions, conditions, and circumstances that are contrary to God’s design, intentions, ways, and perspectives in contrast with his creation or covenantal goodness.” (Page 35)
“The most compelling conflict in monotheistic faith is the apparent incompatibility of an all-powerful and loving God allowing evil and suffering to enter and afflict the world. The problems of evil stand as a major argument against the goodness and justice of God.” (Page 1)
“For example, Crenshaw effectively demonstrates that the Bible is not monolithic in its explanation of evil: There is nothing close to a single explanation for evil.” (Page 13)
“What God created as good and delightful becomes twisted and used for evil by being consumed solely for one’s own pleasure and self-aggrandizement. Thus, evil is neither a new creation, nor the absence of good: it is the corruption of that which is good by using it for the human’s own self-interests with creaturely disregard for the creator.” (Page 116)
Studies in Scripture and Biblical Theology is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key topics and issues in biblical studies and biblical theology from an evangelical perspective.
Learn more about the other titles in this series.
Ingrid Faro is former dean of academic affairs and visiting professor of Old Testament at Northern Seminary in Lisle, Illinois, and associate professor of Old Testament at the Skandinvisk Teologisk Högskola (Scandinavian School of Theology) in Uppsala, Sweden.