If a horror writer like Stephen King, a suspense filmmaker like M. Night Shyamalan, and a sensitive theologian like Eugene Peterson all got together to write a retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, this is what might result. But beware! Set aside all expectations about such a tale — this story will leave you utterly shocked and unnerved. If you hold tight to a six-day creation, biblical literalism, or are easily offended, turn back now. But if you do, you’ll miss out on a challenging beyond-epic fictional story that screams “Truth!” with razor-sharp metaphors about the nature of Good and Evil the likes of which you’ve never experienced. This novel is a profound and thought-provoking character study, with each turn of page revealing more about the eternally excellent and holy Adonai and the seductive, horrifically evil Lucifer.
*Spoiler Alert!* The novel centers around an angel named Rapha, the best friend of Lucifer (an edgy angel with a bit of a temper) and the self-sacrificing and faithful mentor to Adam and Glory/Eve and begins ages before the creation. When Lucifer challenges Adonai, a cosmic supernatural war among the angels ensues, leaving scars on the universe, and in particular, causing cataclysmic damage to earth. Lucifer embraces stomach-turning evil practices that are difficult to read, much less describe. Nonetheless, Adonai creates an exquisitely blissful paradise with a special emphasis on the beings whose line will one day produce the one who will set all to rights. Keefer pulls no punches with the storyline — Lucifer’s temptation of Glory (Eve) and then Adam is steamy, repulsive, and yes, sexual. Lucifer’s aim to violate the law of Adonai in the mingling of human and angelic blood is a gruesome one, with the sordid results playing out painfully in the following chapters.
Highlights of the book include the post-exilic scene where Adam and Glory, covered in blood and filth are fighting like vicious animals, barely sane, heartbroken beyond hope, and consumed with self-loathing when Adonai breaks in with gentle words of mercy and love: “… I AM with you. I could never forsake you…. my love is more constant than the stars, more reliable than the rising sun…” The tears that fall down the Holy One’s face, and the Son of Man doubling over with pain at the exact moment of the fall are meaningful and sensitive word pictures. Even faithful Rapha is lost, but Adonai’s words resonate, “You are never lost when I know where you are.” Adam’s sacrifice of what he holds most dear is also a poignant scene in the book, particularly when Lucifer arrives to claim what is his, but finds it sanctified and untouchable, and he screams with anger and frustration. It changed my understanding of sacrifice completely. The metaphor that sooner or later Lucifer will always come to claim his “seed” — the putrid fruit of evil is an undeniable truth, and that the sacrifice of that which is most dear is precisely what sanctifies and negates Lucifer’s claim of ownership is powerful. Lucifer’s greatest delight is not to cause trouble to man, but to cause pain to Adonai, which he does with particular viciousness and cruelty. Nevertheless, hope will not be silenced, and the last chapter is a beautiful ending to this frightening and challenging book.
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Thank you so much and can’t wait to see you FRIDAY at Undergrounds for the OFFICIAL Book Launch!
(never had one–should be interesting 🙂