The book of Genesis, the first of the "Five Books of Moses" in the Hebrew Bible, has served as the explanation of the origin of the universe and all life for millions of people for over two millennia. According to this account, a single creator-god fashioned humans and every other living thing in all their complexity.
At the end of the European Middle Ages, Western tradition held that all of the world´s inhabitants had been created by God in one place, the Garden of Eden, soon after the formation of the earth. But as the scientific revolution began to unfold some 400 years ago, naturalists started to catalog fossils according to the layers in which they were found. Soon a very unexpected and troubling pattern emerged.
While some still debate the origins of life, there is little doubt about the ultimate origins of creationism or intelligent design theory. At left is the text of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis from a bilingual edition of the Hebrew Bible published in 1926 by the Hebrew Publishing Company in New York City. The Hebrew text is on the right hand page, with an English translation on the facing page. At lower left is a close-up of the Hebrew text. Above the Latin book title "Genesis" is the Hebrew name for the book, Bereshith, which is simply the first phrase of Genesis, "In the beginning."