Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Book Review

"In the Shadow of the Ark" (Anne Provoost) - This is a fictional retelling of the Genesis Flood, from the point of view of a girl outside Noah's family.

I found the theology to be very muddled (not that it claims to be theologically sound), I couldn't tell if it was describing a local or global Flood, or whether God was supposed to be real or not:
  1. It wasn't clear, but it seemed as if all species were preserved on the Ark (Flood scholars hold that only "kinds" [precursors of modern species] were preserved).
  2. It wasn't clear at all if the Flood covered the whole world. But it had "pre-flooding" which was driving people out of their homes.
  3. It makes some bold statements about the morality of Noah and his sons (not that I believe they were perfect, but to make statements this bold, there should be some message).
    1. Noah has some sort of disease, the symptoms resemble a common STD.
    2. Ham has sexual relations with the main character, before he marries another.
    3. Shem and Japheth rape the main character.
    4. One of the sons' wives is an idolater.
    5. Many of the animals on the Ark are killed (for sacrifices to the idols, and in a fire that breaks out).
  4. Noah commissions a large group of people to build the Ark. When the Flood comes, the people are kept off the Ark (with deadly force when necessary). The numbers I've seen show that the Ark would of had plenty of room for people. Noah had 120 years to build the Ark. He likely finished it alone (with the help of his sons, although he may of help early on). People ignored Noah's warnings (Matthew 24:37).
  5. The rain lasts 40 days and 40 nights (one point for the author!). However, the main character is pregnant (by Ham) at the start of the Flood. She gives birth after the landing at Ararat. It may be artistic license. The author does say that there was not enough food on the Ark.
  6. Minor points:
    1. There was rain before the Flood (most Flood scholars interpret Genesis 2:5 to mean that there was no rain at all before the Flood [and no rainbows]).
    2. There were mountains before the Flood (most Flood scholars hold to relatively even terrain before the Flood, to account for enough water to flood the whole earth).
    3. Noah is circumcised, and circumcises the new baby after the Flood (circumcision wasn't given until Abraham).
This does segue nicely into Biblical timelines. If you run the numbers, no patriarch (except Noah, of course) lives from before the Flood until after the Flood. In fact, (by my calculations) the Flood was in 1656 AA (after Adam). Methuselah (oldest person ever) died in 1656 (possibly in the Flood)!

Noah was born in 1056. His father (Lamech) was born in 874. Adam died in 930. Think about that. Adam, who spoke with God, lived for the first sixty years of Noah's father's life. Does first- hand knowledge of God seem so shrouded in mist now?

Finally, Enoch was "taken" into Heaven at the early age of about 300 (most of the partriachs were living 800 years or more). Enoch was one generation before Methusaleh (about 60 years). If he had not been taken, he likely could of lived until the Flood (and died in it). Enoch was (very possibly) the first person saved from the Flood.

Absolute final point, vocabulary. The Ark was sealed (made waterproof) with "pitch" (tar). The Hebrew word translated "pitch" is "kopher". Kopher properly means "covering" (in that tar is used as a covering). The verb "to pitch" is "kaphar", which can also mean "to cover" or "atonement".

Noah and his family were saved by "atonement"! Just as we are! The atonement (covering) of our sins by the righteousness of Jesus Christ!

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