God has revealed Himself in time according to a sequential account of redemptive history, and beginnings are foundational to our understanding. Rudimentary matters must be reviewed and cherished if they are to bring about the comprehension and application suitable to their glorious essence.
In the creation we see ourselves, and we discover something about our Creator. We learn why we are so thoroughly flawed, and we understand our own ineptness to do anything about it. To know the beginning as God has recorded it is to behold an understanding of the divine and of the human. Theology and anthropology are shaped by the historical narrative with which our exposure to the divine revelation commences.
We see heroes and villains, though mostly ordinary agents whose lives and exploits are orchestrated by the One who does all things well. It is better than we are, and this is why we must read and heed it.
Our “better selves” are thoroughly illusory; left alone we would be worse than we are. Looking back, we see that dreams of former glory and good old days imagine a fictitious reality. Observing where and how the story of life begins, we find peace, not in nostalgia for days gone by, but in the hope of a promise to come, a promise that we of a later era can observe in its delightful and effective fulfillment.
I was recently given a free review copy of The Greener Grass Conspiracy, a new book by Stephen Altrogge. In exchange for my agreement to post a review of the book on my blog, Crossway sent me the book. I am fond of books in general and I was interested in this particular book even before becoming aware of this possibility of obtaining a copy.
The trailer from Crossway:
Please read my review.
(All quotations taken from the English Standard Version.)
 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
 "Mark this, then, you who forget God,
lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!"
[92:1] It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
 to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
 For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
 How great are your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep!
 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!
[100:1] Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
[105:1] Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
 I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
 For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
[12:1] You will say in that day:
"I will give thanks to you, O LORD,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
 "Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation."
 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
 And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the LORD,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.
 "Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."
 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
 GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.
 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others,
 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.
 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,  addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
From The Valley of Vision:
GOD OF THE PASSING HOUR,
Another week has gone and I have been preserved in my going out, in my coming in.
Thine has been the vigilance that has turned threatened evils aside;
Thine the supplies that have nourished me;
Thine the comforts that have indulged me;
Thine the relations and friends that have delighted me;
Thine the means of grace which have edified me;
Thine the Book, which, amidst all my enjoyments, has told me that this is not my rest, that in all successes one thing alone is needful, to love my Saviour.
Nothing can equal the number of thy mercies but my imperfections and sins.
These, O God, I will neither conceal nor palliate, but confess with a broken heart.
In what condition would secret reviews of my life leave me were it not for the assurance that with thee there is plenteous redemption, that thou art a forgiving God, that thou mayest be feared!
While I hope for pardon through the blood of the cross, I pray to be clothed with humility, to be quickened in the way, to be more devoted to thee, to keep the end of my life in view, to be cured of the folly of delay and indecision, to know how frail I am, to number my days and apply my heart unto wisdom.