In four superb homilies and a concluding essay, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, provides a clear and inspiring exploration of the Genesis creation narratives. While the stories of the world's creation and the fall of humankind have often been subjected to reductionism of one sort or another -- literalists treat the Bible as a science textbook whereas rationalists divorce God from creation -- Ratzinger presents a rich, balanced Catholic understanding of these early biblical writings and attests to their enduring vitality. Beginning each homily with a text selected from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ratzinger discusses, in turn, God the creator, the meaning of the biblical creation accounts, the creation of human beings, and sin and salvation; in the appendix he unpacks the beneficial consequences of faith in creation. Expertly translated from German, these reflections set out a reasonable and biblical approach to creation. 'In the Beginning . . .' also serves as an excellent homiletic resource for priests and pastors.