Like beautifully layered rock formations lining the walls of a desert canyon, so is the Biblical text. Story is piled upon story until the foundations are invisible. Those foundations tell a different story—one that only a trained geologist can tease from the rock; one that only a Biblical philologist, trained in the dissection of literature, can find in the text. In this earliest version of the Genesis account that our literary geology will isolate, the world wasn’t created in seven days, it was already there. God was not an aloof deity whose mere words could create worlds, but an insecure and entirely immanent being. In this and many other respects, the story of the creation and the flood is very different from what those familiar with the canonical text may recall. In the Beginning traces the development of this uniquely divergent account into the canonical text we have today.