The Book of Genesis is the story of Adam, his children and descendants. The difference between Genesis and the rest of the Chumash is that from Exodus onwards it is the story of the Children of Israel. In Genesis it is not the story of a people but of people.
We meet Man – Everyman. We encounter man’s first awareness of himself and how he responds to his situation. He reaches out and finds what he is capable of, both for good and for ill. It is a parable of every human being and every age.
Franz Rosenzweig, the German Jewish philosopher, adds a further idea.
Expounding the three themes of creation, revelation and redemption, he views creation in an untraditional way, not so much the emergence of the world but the world becoming aware of itself, moving, flexing its muscles, as it were, and finding out what it is capable of being.