Eve is a novel by Wm. P. Young, but becomes a distorted rewriting of the Bible, of Genesis 1-3. It perverts the account of the creation, the making of Adam and Eve, the serpent, and the Fall. It treats mythology as authoritative as the Bible.
The publication of Young’s second (Crossroads) and third (Eve) novels has great significance for several reasons.
(1) It shows Young’s desire to continue to write in the same style of fiction—theological fiction that uses fiction in the service of a particular theology. (2) It shows his desire to continue to propagate his doctrinal errors, in general stemming from his conversion to UR. (3) It vindicates the critique of his first novel, The Shack, that the claim that it centers on the heresy of UR, is basically correct and justified. He continues to propagate this heresy in his newer novels.
Now that Paul Young has released (March, 2017) his newest book, Lies We Believe about God, there can be no mistake about what he believes and thinks, and why he writes novels. He lists 28 lies that he believes that we evangelical Christians believe. Then he renounces them. A core one (ch. 13) is “You need to get saved.” This is a lie, according to Young, because all people are already saved. Then he states that he believes in “universal salvation” (p. 118). More than ever before any reader should be able to pick up the universalism in all of his novels.
There were many reviews of The Shack when it first came out, in addition to mine. One was by a very liberal reviewer who wrote that The Shack embodied liberal, even radical, theology. That reviewer heralded the novel as the first significant attempt for this radical theology to find its way into mainstream evangelical circles. The same could be said of Eve.
All readers of Young’s fiction should take notice.
Eve differs from Young’s other two novels in a couple ways. (1) For the first time Young deliberately takes on a Biblical story and retells it in his special, heretical way. This is the account of the creation of the world and of Adam and Eve (Gen. 1), the special making of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2), and the Fall of Adam and Eve—their sinning against God (Gen. 3). The serpent is introduced here as well, but its fall is surprisingly developed.
It seems that the best place to begin is with the general overview of the story of Eve as given on the back cover’s blurb about the novel. Here it is:
When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the net, John the Collector finds a young woman inside—broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers that her genetic code connects her to every known race. No one would guess what her survival will mean … No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her “daughter” and invites her to witness the truth about her story—indeed, the truth about us all. Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breath-taking discoveries that challenge traditional beliefs about who we are and how we’re made. As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden. Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained by cultural rules or limitations. Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.
Do you notice how this summary uses “true” and “truth” (3x) and makes exorbitant claims?
Almost everything in this blurb after the first paragraph is alarming, untruthful, and false. The story is not true; it is not true about us all; it falsifies the “original texts”; it slanders the account of who we are and how we were made; it foists upon us corrupt, foreign, sexually heavy pagan myths; it destroys cultural rules that have made people successful and fulfilled; and it fails to consider a whole body of literature in the research. Thus it is unscholarly.
I don’t know who wrote this blurb but it was either Paul Young himself or someone with his mindset equally committed to corrupting beyond recognition the Biblical account of Genesis 1-3.
And did you catch the words about The Shack, that it “awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God”? This is an amazing confession, since the word, “non-religious,” really means “non-Christian.” All readers of The Shack should take note.
If from the preceding it seems that women have a special place in this story, this is correct. In more ways than one, women predominate. At the end of the book Young draws attention to “women’s rights and issues” (300). Because Eve gives a false role to the role of women in the Biblical story it should embarrass every Bible-believing woman.
Regarding his other novels, Young has claimed fictional license by claiming that they are fictional stories—yet at the same time he claims that they are autobiographical and highly theological. However, this blurb would have us believe that with Eve Young is substituting for the Biblical narrative his own story which he has created and wants us to believe. This is arrogance of the highest magnitude. Young has immersed himself in a vain pursuit to rewrite God’s story in a way that pleases him alone. This is pride, the most basic sin of all and the chief attribute of the Devil, Satan, himself.
As I did with my review of Crossroads, I have critiqued this novel by listing under several topics the statements that are germane to the study of universal reconciliation (UR). Then I will outline the most outlandish claims used to interpret Genesis 1-3. These I’ve organized under the names we all recognize: God, Adam, Eve, etc.
Again, a brief reminder of what this story is all about. An abused, battered young woman by the name of Lilly washes up on shore in a sealed container from earth. The place is an island between worlds—the earth and another world, and between dimensions (55). She is the sole survivor. She is barely alive, and for over a year she is slowly nursed back to health. Angels attend her. Eve, the Black woman, announces that the arrival of this woman marks the beginning of the end (3). Eve notes that there are three special women: the woman to whom was given the promise of the seed; the woman whose seed would crush the serpent’s head; and the woman to whom the seed would be forever united (3). During Lilly’s long recovery she is given the ability to go from her world back to the beginning, to the creation of all things, back to the events of Genesis 1-3, back to Eden (which is a cube; 31). She is to be a special witness and even participate in these events. She converses with Eve, who is her main contact with the past and her guide. She converses with Adam, the serpent, and with the Triune God revealed as separate persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We learn at the end that this is probably all part of a dream.
If the reader of this review has a limited time, the most significant chapters are 9-13 and 16=pp. 121-196, 223-240 (esp. chap. 16 and its pp.). See my comments on these chapters/pages scattered among the points below. Pay special attention to topics #5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 16. Also read the Conclusion where I address why Young has written such a distortion of the Bible and some final comments.
Critique. Below, after every point of the novel I cite my concerns/oppositions in [ ].
1. The doctrine of salvation, regeneration. [This is virtually omitted in this novel. Instead such is described as the next point, #2, and expanded under the point of “the nature of God.”].
2. Relationship with God. [A very clear indication of Young’s animosity toward religion is his having Eve say that she knows “nothing of religious” (27). Scholars are described as being able to explain “almost anything, even if it isn’t true” (28).]
3. Knowledge and faith. Typically Young contrasts belief with knowledge (32). Words like “God” and “believe” are meaningless to those who “know” God (78). Mystery is much better than needing to control everything, to know everything (165). [Here again there is an implicit rejection of the knowledge of the Bible as being able to be understood, in favor of uncertainty (165; as in The Shack).]
4.. The creation of the universe as described in Genesis 1. At the end of the sixth day God rested from all his labor (44). [This accords with the Biblical record.]
5. Sin, the Fall of human beings into sin, as recorded in Genesis 3. At the birth of Adam Eternal Man proclaims that Adam “cannot drift into unworthiness” (43). [This hints at Young’s universalism which denies total depravity that came with Adam’s rebellion.]
Adam is told that he has freedom to turn away from his face-to-face relationship with Eternal man. He would then discover within himself a shadow, a nothingness, which would deceive him (65). [This terminology is how Young describes “sin,” a term he never uses but which is widely used in the Bible. Also Young’s wording suggests that this “turning” will be found within Adam. Thus Adam was not created innocent, without sin, as the Bible makes clear in Gen 2-3].
Eternal Man also tells Adam that there is no death in Adam “nor in any who are within you” (66). [Apparently this is another idea fueled by Young’s denial of depravity.]
The restriction of eating from the tree “affirming Good and Evil” is not a command but a necessity (66). Should Adam “turn” and eat of this tree he will embrace death and evil (67). Because of Adam all have inherited “shadow-sickness,” the “darkness of death,” in their mortality (97, 262). [Again this is the substitution for the Biblical word, “sin,” which is far more powerful than a “shadow sickness.” Sin is neither a shadow nor a sickness.]
The turning away from God means that Adam has chosen to believe that he is alone. This is the beginning of the Great Sadness (127). [This is the same terminology used in The Shack when Mac turns away from a relationship with God. The Bible’s explanation for why God created Eve is to give a “suitable helper” to Adam so that he would not be alone. The Bible ascribes no evil to this need. Young interprets it to mean that Adam does not accept his relationship with God alone as adequate. So Young impugns evil when the Bible does not; and skips over the evil that the Bible has.]
In spite of Adam’s turning from God, God promises that he will never turn from Adam, never leave him, that his love is not conditional (128). [Here is the basis for UR’s claim that all humanity is/remains a child of God.]
Adam “believed that his turning was the good and so darkness became his reality”; and this led to his embrace of control, power, and so we embrace “politics and religion,” conquest, etc., including the sacrifice of one for the many. Yet he is still the son of God (195). [In these words we see Young’s objection to sacrifice, including the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (see Young’s newest book, Lies We Believe about God, ch. 19). UR’s insistence that no one is ever lost appears here also.]
The eating of the forbidden fruit is identified as: “Instead of trusting, they had transgressed, with death the consequence of the choosing.” [This is the only instance in Eve where Young identifies Adam’s “turning” as transgression—a more Biblical term. But it still falls short of the word “sin.”]
Eve weeps over the fall, but Adam justifies it because it enables them to exercise dominion by knowing good and evil (228). They may have been abandoned by God but they are “no longer foolish” (228).
Adam attacks the Tree of Life belonging to God, sacrificing animals and impaling them on the tree; he strips it of all but two branches. Adam becomes bloody in the process. He justifies this to Eve by saying: “I thought by offering the Tree of Life another’s death to take our place, its blood might cover our transgression.” Adam thought that sacrifice would atone for his failure and would appease God (237). [While it isn’t immediately apparent what this is all about, Young is symbolizing the “sacrifice” of Christ on the cross; and intends to show that such sacrifice is impotent. It is man’s plan, not God’s, but God will submit to man’s work and so use it for his purposes. God is not angry toward Adam and Eve and sacrifice does not appease. Again, this is made clear in Lies, chapters 17, 19, which asserts that the cross was not God’s idea and that God does not require sacrifice!—blasphemy.]
In recounting the immediate events after the Fall, Young has Adam blame Eve for “what he had conceived in his own heart” (234); Adam is described as having rebelled and not repenting to God; but God does not condemn nor denounce (234). Eve confesses, weeps, and is embraced by Eternal Man. God “snares” the serpent to the ground and vows “hostility” between the seed of the woman and the serpent’s seed; the serpent’s seed will bruise the heel of the woman’s seed but the latter would crush the serpent’s head (235). [The last part of this is Biblical; but Young clearly places the greater blame here on Adam rather than holding them both equally responsible. He says that the woman stood with God against Adam and the serpent (235). Also the word “curse” never occurs, just “snaring.” The former suggests evil, but not the latter.]
6. The nature of God. The essence of God is “Good submitted in knowing Love, One to the Other” (100). [Young seems to truncate the nature of the Trinity here. Why is God good? Because he is holy, just and love. Without all of his attributes being complete and perfect, God becomes less than God. But this is all in line with UR that insists that love limits God’s other attributes. In asserting this God has been remade in the image of man.]
Then it is said that “God has need of nothing, but God will not be God apart from us. To live inside God’s life is to explore this mystery of participation” (100). [These statements suggest that God’s nature depends on human beings—which is idolatry—again making God into our image!]
The creation was crafted “inside God” and Adam was created and birthed “inside” Eternal Man (141). [This is anti-Biblical; God created all things and human beings outside of himself. Adam is from dirt, which is external. Otherwise Young’s account suggests that God is not truly “other” or transcendent.]
God birthed Adam as a baby and nursed Adam at real breasts with real milk, according to the Scriptures (1 Pet. 2:2-3), Young writes. The idea that Adam began as an adult is mythology, he says (141-142). [This explanation rejects the Biblical account, takes literally 1 Peter when it is figurative, and adopts pagan myths as truth. Young gives greater credence here to myths than to the Bible.]
God does not have a settled plan and purpose; he is an artist, not a draftsman, and “God will not be God apart from us” (181). [This makes our participation with God a necessity, but correct, Biblical theology teaches that God does not need anything, that he exists from all eternity of the past when there was nothing yet created, that the relationship of love prevailed among the members of the Godhead without created objects such as humans to love, that he is omnipotent and omniscient. God does have a plan and all is included in his plan but he is not the author of some things in it, such as the origin of sin, the fall of humans and of the creation, etc. Here Young makes God much less than God, which is blasphemy again.]
After the Fall (note that Young titles chapter 16, “The Fall”), God’s search for Adam and Eve is described as “a broken heart . . . not fury and outrage” (230). [Yet certainly there was holy anger involved.]
As God escorts Adam out of Eden he says that he will “consent and submit” to Adam, that one day he will “redeem his disaster,” and crush the serpent “within” Adam (239). [All this is somewhat afield of the Biblical record, especially the idea of God submitting to Adam’s fall. Young expands on God’s submitting to people in Lies, ch. 4.]
God tells Eve that he allowed Adam to fall because real love must allow it to be refused (243). The same message is what Eve says to Lilly when she explains why she left Eden to join Adam. God “submits to” our choosing and “joins us in our darkness,” Eve says (282-83). [Yet what are the consequences? How can Young say that God still loves unconditionally? If one refuses love does he not embrace the consequences—judgment and the wrath of God (so John 3:17-18, 36)? Yet UR rejects judgment; so it posits a necessary future “re-turning” (not repentance) of all so that all will embrace love and it cannot be refused everlastingly. In the process, according to UR, God is never absent.]
7. The Lord Jesus is introduced by various names including Adonai, Everlasting God, and “Eternal Man” (33). This last title is heretical, since Jesus took on humanity in real time only around 4-6 BC. Just because it was in the eternal thought of God that the Second Person was to become incarnate, such was not a reality till much later after Eden.]
Eternal Man creates Adam, a baby, out of dirt. [Gen 2 presents the creation of Adam as an adult].
Jesus nurses Adam at his breasts! He is described as having both “motherly affection and fatherly kindness” (42). [That the pre-incarnate God should have breasts is blasphemy, and embracing pagan myths, not the Bible].
8. The Holy Spirit. The Spirit is represented as Wind (34) and breath (59).
9. Adam. Eternal Man creates Adam and declares that he is “My beloved son, in whom My soul delights” (35; 176). [This terminology is used of Jesus Christ at his baptism (Matt. 4) and seems only appropriate of him alone.]
Adam is formed as a baby, not an adult (35, 176) and is nursed at the breasts of Eternal Man. An angel cuts the umbilical cord (43). [Gen 2 says Adam was created as an adult.]
Eternal Man creates the womb for Adam on the first day of creation (170). [This is truly making the preincarnate Christ into the image of a man.]
All humanity was “created in Adonai” (214). [Adam and humanity were not created “in God” but external to him; so Gen 1-2.]
Adam begins wondering why he is alone, as the serpent has pointed out, and this is the start of his turning—loneliness (124). He cuts himself with the sword that the serpent gives him (125). [Thus the Fall into sin, as the Bible puts it, has already begun prior to Gen 3.]
The sword symbolizes all those who sacrifice animals to God to “atone for Adam’s turning” (199). [Again Young disparages sacrifice in Lies, ch. 19.]
Adam’s naming of the animals (Gen 2) was during his turning and was intended by God as a way for him to return to God (186), but it doesn’t have this result. So the naming is the “result” of Adam’s turning, not the beginning of it (192). [Implication: the good naming of the animals was done by a sinning person, and thus the naming is tinged by the fall and curse—contrary to the record of Gen 2. Young apparently is aware of the implicit contradiction, so he has his characters observe that the moment of Adam’s turning was never recorded (192)]. Adam empowered the snake (187). By turning away from God Adam dragged the serpent and creation into the shadow cast by his turning (194). [Thus the cause of sin among humanity comes from within Adam, not from the outside, from the serpent—again contrary to Gen 2. Adam falls before the serpent! In addition, it means that Adam was not created/birthed in innocence; he was not perfect when God made him. This calls into question the perfection of God, including his omnipotence and omniscience. This is blasphemy.]
Adam becomes pregnant with Eve and after nine months gives birth to her, fashioned from Adam’s feminine side. She had slept within him. God’s “nature” was now “expressed” in two persons (187). [The problems: Eve was created as an adult, not an infant. Also, by this story, she would bear the sin already present in Adam (although Young doesn’t call this sin). Also, contrary to Young, the two don’t express the “nature” of God (which is divinity) but are made in God’s “image and likeness” (so Gen. 1); otherwise Adam and Eve and all of us would be divine, although also fallen (which slanders the nature of God). In the end Young is making God our Creator into the image of the creature. Finally, this account makes both Adam and Eve already fallen in Gen 2 prior to the Fall in Gen 3!]
Adam’s naming of Eve as Isha (the Hebrew word for woman) is a further proof of Adam’s turning because it displays his power and dominion over Eve, “as if he could be like God apart from God” (189). [Here is further corruption of Gen 2; and the quoted terminology is sloppy language: people are not made “like God” but in his image and likeness (so Gen 1) (Young’s terminology suggests divinity).]
Adam names Eve “Eve” after the Fall because she is the mother of all living but he is dead (236). [The former part of this is true, the latter about Adam being dead is true of them both.]
In Adam, God says, the “very Good will always be deeper than the turning” (243). [This is Young’s way of saying that there is no such thing as a sin nature or total depravity, that all are children of God.]She is introduced to Lilly in the Garden before Adam is “born” (41).
10. Eve. She is the mother of all including Lilly (39). She witnesses the “birth” of Adam before being created by God (41). She is formed in Adam’s womb as a baby (157) in order to try to prevent Adam’s complete turning (128, 188-189, 196). Eve is in Adam and Adam is in God (157). Eve came to Lilly prior to her coming as a baby in Adam’s womb so that she could stop Adam’s turning, and Lilly was to witness all of this (175). Eve was birthed from Adam’s womb after nine months and nursed at God’s breast, just like Adam did (189). Eve is both the daughter of Adam and his wife (189). [Isn’t it incest for the mother/father of a person to later have sex with his offspring/daughter? Almost everything else in this paragraph is a complete fabrication away from the Bible.]
She “had been the love of God in flesh and bone” for Adam but Adam chose instead to be alone (239).
Eve has freedom to stay in Eden or to choose to leave Eden and join Adam in his turning, but then she will allow him to exercise dominion over her (245). [The Biblical record says that God forced both Adam and Eve out of the Garden; Eve is not considered less culpable for her sinning.]
Eventually Eve chooses to leave Eden and join Adam (283-83). She says that she could have chosen to believe God that even apart from Adam she could have born the seed to crush the serpent; but she chose otherwise and left the Garden (284-285). [Of course this is all fictitious. There never were options in God’s plan to bring Christ through the Virgin Mary.]
11. The Garden of Eden. Adam is “born” outside the Garden (51). [Gen 2 says Adam and Eve were created in the Garden.]
12. Righteousness is defined as “right relationships, face-to-face and trusting.” [This is clearly unbiblical. Righteousness is a forensic term dealing with judgment. It is the same as being justified by faith. It pertains to God’s declaring a person righteous, to having Jesus Christ’s righteousness imputed to one (Rom 1:16-17; 3:21-26; 2 Cor. 5:21), on the basis of that person’s believing in Christ. It is based on faith (Rom 5:1ff.; Gal. 2:16). Here Young suggests something that is subjective, part of experience. Righteousness is first of all a status and objective, not experienced. It is true nonetheless, and is the basis of reconciliation and having a deepening relationship with God.]
13. The serpent. It wonders who Lilly is (25). It bites Lilly above the wrist, and its venom begins to infect her body. Angels prevent its second strike (117). Outside the Garden it challenges Adam to invite it in, which Adam does (224), and it brings Adam’s aloneness to his attention. He invites Adam to eat from the tree of knowledge to become worthy to exercise dominion (125f.). The turning originated in Adam, not in the serpent. “It is not the serpent’s fault” (198). [This contradicts Gen 3 that sin originated with the serpent.]
The serpent tempts Adam and Eve with the statement that they would not surely die if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but that they would be “like God, determining good and evil” (226). [Yet the word “determining” is not in Gen 3 but the word “knowing” is. “Determining” gives far greater power to Adam and Eve when such belongs to God alone.]
14. Lilly. She is the broken one rescued on an island. She goes through a healing process taking over a year. She has the ability to visit the Garden of Eden and is Witness to the events there. The course of world history is tied to her and the decisions she makes (92; 108). Her DNA has markers from all races on earth (94). Her care taker is John, a Witness of the coming of the second Adam (114). [John represents John the Baptist, no doubt.]
She is brought into the world to stop Adam from turning, to change world history, but Adam has already begun turning; “it’s too late” (133). She learns the myth of Lilith, an evil personage considered the first wife of the serpent, part serpent and part woman, a moon goddess (156). As the mythological Lilith God could use her, “the worst, in order to accomplish the best” (200). John, her caretaker, falls in love with her (213). [He represents John the Baptist, apparently.]
Magically Lilly becomes Lilith so that she could go to Eden and change the world (221ff.). This change came about by hocus-pocus magic, by a drug or neurotoxin so as to suggest evil thoughts to Lilly (247).
Lilith may potentially change history, according to Young, by stopping Eve from turning. She had failed to stop Adam. But she would go to Adam outside the Garden and offer to be his wife. This would allow Eve to stay in the Garden and preserve her from falling (236). [Obviously this mythology has no place in the Biblical account. Is it Young’s attempt to destroy the unique authority of the Bible to tell the truth about our beginnings?]
Lilith will change history. She seeks an alliance with the serpent that will profit both Adam and the serpent. She would persuade Eve to stay inside Eden so that she could never bear a child to crush the serpent’s head; and she would go outside Eden to satisfy Adam’s need for a woman. The serpent agrees, noting that Lilith is more “dark” than Adam (248). Adam acknowledges that he is the source of Lilith’s darkness but rejects Lilith as his wife since she can’t bear him a son (250). Lilith lies down to die (255). [All of this is fabrication.]
Subsequently Lilly renounces Lilith and is invited to trust Adonai. Lilly responds and is healed of all her brokenness (259). [Here Young makes his strongest description of the meaning of hell (see below).]
Lilly takes a journey outside of Eden to visit a tent in which dwells Eve who is now over four hundred years old. Eve has had several children who have turned away from God. Lilly is told that she never had become Lilith (284).
In the tent is also another woman, so a total of three women who “would frame history” (285). Lilly is told that the three women are Eve, Mary the seed of whom would crush the serpent’s head, and Lilly who represents the church! Lilly is given a betrothal ring to symbolize the marriage (287). Mary’s son would come for Lilly. In the meantime Lilly is to wait and trust (288). [What a great surprise. But the things that Lilly does is highly anti-Biblical and unbecoming to the Bride of Christ.]
At the end Lilly uses the key given her by an angel to open a door. She opens it and finds herself in a therapist’s office where she had been receiving treatment for over a year (291-92). [Obviously much of what Lilly had been through was a dream. While this story has many surprising elements, the fact that Young would add to the Genesis record and distort it makes it come under the warning of Scripture:
“When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word there is no light in them. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness” (Isa. 8:19-22).]
15. Three Cherubim are introduced. These are Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer—“maybe the greatest” (95). [The Bible would never identify Lucifer among the three, especially after his rebellion against God. This is UR’s attempt to show that Satan or Lucifer isn’t so bad after all, paving his way to ultimate restoration to God.]
16. Hell. The strongest reference to hell is near the end of the novel. Lilly lies dying and Adonai comes to heal her and seeks her to trust him in the midst of the fire. She is told that “everyone goes through fire . . . but the flame of His affection is for not against you. It purifies anything that is not Love” (259). [This is classic universalism; after they die people will be purified by fire and enter heaven.]
Did you catch the huge distortions of the Biblical account of creation, as found in the preceding story, as well as some other matters arising from UR? Note the what, when, and results of Adam’s “turning.”
- Adam is made from within God from the ground as a baby.
- Adam’s turning away begins already on the sixth day of creation, before the naming of the animals, before the making of Eve and before the turning of Satan the serpent.
- Adam’s turning away from God is identified not as sin and not as severing relationship with God—he is still God’s son and will be forever loved and never judged.
- After nine months of pregnancy Eve is born as a baby out of Adam’s womb created within Adam.
- Both Adam and Eve are nursed at the breasts of Jesus, the Eternal Man.
- God is everlasting love.
- The suffering (fire of hell after death?) is purgatorial, not punishing.
- Eve is born not in innocence but in sin
- Adam is the cause of Eve’s turning away
- Adam is the cause of the serpent’s turning away
- Adam’s turning away begins within him. Contrary to the Bible, he is born from, out of God but not in a state of innocence. Sin (turning away) comes from within Adam, not from an outside source, namely the serpent, who according to Gen 3 has already fallen before he entices Adam and Eve to Fall.
- God is also contaminated with what Christians call “sin.”
- Sin and guilt do not have everlasting consequences. It is a smaller matter of relationship severed, not of everlasting judgment.
The big question is this: Why has Young rewritten the record of Genesis this way? The answer: It fits into his overall understanding of the nature of God as good and as love, that evil will never be judged, that no creature (including Satan) will remain in a destiny estranged from God, people have no original sin and sins, and the atonement of Christ on the cross was unnecessary and unplanned. Also the Bible is not Young’s final authority for truth; other stories (myths) may also be. All of the foregoing derives from Young’s commitment to universal reconciliation.
At one point in the novel, Young has Lilly wondering which world is real, and is she the result of medications or mental illness? Is she talking to herself “in a padded cell somewhere”? It makes me wonder the same things about Paul Young.
Among others the words of Paul the Apostle are appropriate (2 Cor. 2:14-17):
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
Several observations about truth and lies seem appropriate to Young’s novels, and his most recent book, Lies We Believe about God. Here are the statements:
- It’s easier to modify the truth than to create a lie.
- It’s easier to alter history than it is to create history.
- The more truth to one’s lie the easier it is to believe and remember it.