Tag Archives: demons

Waiting for a Sign? — Post by Mary C. Findley

 

his sign 12 28 2017

Many people know that I’ve spent the last two years not writing much of anything. A few blog posts, some editing work, but the only publications in those two years have been volume 5 of our homeschool curriculum, Conflict of the Ages V: The Ancient World, Student and Teacher Editions and the summary version, Under the Sun: A Traditional View of Ancient History. That’s not much production for two years. I plinked away at some works in progress, but accomplished very little.

In October, however, I received as a gift some great images from a stock image site called Neostock, and got inspired to create an urban fantasy cover, possibly to sell as a premade, since I’m also a designer. Three Neostock images appear on this cover. The more I talked about the idea behind it with author friends, the more inspired I got to write the story myself.

So I began to work on that story, with the working title, His Sign, and by the end of October I had over 10,000 words. I was very excited to be writing again. How many believers are “waiting for a sign” about how to serve God? This is the story, partly allegory, partly urban fantasy, of one man’s journey after getting a sign he couldn’t ignore. You’ll find a pinch of C.S. Lewis, a sprinkling of Frank Peretti, a dash of Pilgrim’s Progress, and a lot of intent to be faithful to the Scriptures rolled into an offering to readers looking for something different in Christian books.

I was encouraged enough to believe the dam of my writer’s block had broken. Here I am, almost at the end of December, and I have over 30,000 words in His Sign after taking a break for NaNoWriMo and getting in over 30,000 words for that, too. I wanted to finish something to publish by year’s end, and I may still do that. In the meantime, here is a snippet. I’d love to know what you think of this, since it’s sort of a departure from what I normally write, but, I hope, a product of God’s grace and for His glory.

At the moment when Drew Goddard disengaged the gun’s clip, the window and a fair portion of the wall exploded inward. It seemed to his sleep-deprived mind that it didn’t so much explode as liquefy, like a melding but inwardly-expanding bubble containing colors and shapes he recognized as bricklike, woodlike, and even wallpaper and glasslike.

Drew fell backwards off the chair as a … thing … hurled itself at him. A bizarre memory of electron microscope images of dust mites or some such creature became reality, but in gigantic size, a translucent bluish entity with clawed limbs, more like something composed of energy than matter.

fractal-2387459

But it never reached him. His apartment door smashed open and he had a vision of black tactical gear and a waterfall of golden brown hair lunging between Drew and the creature. As the woman spun and unstrapped a handgun Drew couldn’t shake the impression that something like four tattered wasp wings sprouted from her back.

A shriek that seemed to span dimensions ripped its way out of the bluish energy beast. The “gun” the woman held spurted golden beams and the creature responded much as Drew’s apartment wall and window had — bubbling and melding and, after a moment, bursting. A blue hazy glowing cloud settled over the room and Drew frantically brushed at himself to get the reside off in case it was — What? Radioactive? Poisonous? Magic charm cursed? He felt justified when the woman seemed to be madly doing the same thing before turning to face Drew.

And the book is now live! Print edition coming soon!

Amazon worldlink:  myBook.to/His_Sign

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/774380

 

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Mysteries, Characters and Distractions: A review of Allon by Shawn Lamb

Allon

Allon is the first in a fantasy/allegory series by Shawn Lamb. The biggest mystery is who you can and cannot trust. Lamb presents characters, some only briefly, but startles us with their motives and revelations of good or bad character, and the consequences of their actions. Beware of jumping to conclusions. Some things are predictable but details keep you guessing.

I think my favorite character is Erin. She tries seduction, changing herself, even a very risky personal sacrifice to earn Ellis’s love. Her changing character and motivations are worth the read. (By the way, this seduction is not at all explicit, nor is another seduction scene in the book. There is no objectionable sexual content.)

The writing style and vocabulary are awkward. Sometimes the vocabulary used is plainly, to me, wrong word choices.

One plot incident that I consider pivotal is the point where Ellis’s relationship with Shannan changes. It involves the trust issue I mentioned earlier, and has something to do with a wild boar. But it is only briefly talked about and does not even make it into the action of the book. Shouldn’t that be more important, if it changes their whole relationship?

My second serious objection is to the handling of the Guardians, and it is twofold. Guardians are supernatural beings similar to angels or demons, interesting characters, both the evil and the heroic ones. But this is an allegory about humans and their growth and preparation for service to God. Shannan’s interaction with the Guardians was frequently captivating but these things distracted from the story of Ellis and Shannan. The Guardians steal the focus from the human characters and the main plot time and again.

Some Guardians rebelled against Jor-el, the God-figure in the story, but who did and who didn’t rebel isn’t always clear. Why are Guardians horribly imprisoned, tortured, maimed, even killed in such frequency and detail? If they are not humans, the focus of the story, what is the spiritual purpose for this?

I am not against violence in books, even for younger readers, but I need to understand the reason for the gruesome description of one Guardian’s mutilation during his imprisonment, and the manner of his death. He is portrayed as defiant and heroic in the face of torture, but he confesses to something the author simply does not explain as rebellion. Quite the opposite. This Guardian says in his dying “confession” that he followed the orders of Jor-el. Are all these imprisoned Guardians guilty of rebellion? Can they repent and be “saved”? Other Guardians who become free don’t confess to wrongdoing, at least not clearly enough for me, and I am not a young reader.

I know of no theology that teaches Angels will torture other Angels, no evidence that they fight or die much as we do except for being a little stronger and faster. Lamb insists that they don’t “die,” but we see them wounded and dying over and over. What teaching is this? It’s worse than a distraction, it’s a kind of heresy skewing the whole redemption and growth and preparation for service storyline. What chance is there for these characters we’ve grown to admire and love, who’ve sacrificed and suffered just like the humans? One good stab and poof! They just disappear. Were they saved? Were they lost? We have no idea.

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Giants, Genetics and Original Sin

After the death of Virgil in the First Century BC, the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar posthumously published his Aeneid. Caesar Augustus loved this book because it took the history of Rome, romanticized it and treated it as “prophecy.” Virgil built on an existing legend about the founding of Rome. He expanded a story around that legend based on the Odyssey. The most famous part of the book is the story of the Trojan Horse.

The hero of the Aeneid, Aeneas, son of Venus, was one of Hector’s commanders. He fled Troy with a small band of Trojans when it fell to the Greeks. They built ships and sailed to Italy, with many adventures along the way. They were commanded by the gods to join with the existing people in Italy and to build Rome. Aeneas and the Trojans were opposed and attacked by the Latins, led by Turnus. Turnus is described by some scholars as having a mother who was a nymph, and the Aeneid states that his sister was a nymph. In the final scene, Turnus and Aeneas fought to the death for Lavinia, the daughter of the old Latin King. By killing Turnus and marrying Lavinia, Aeneas united the Trojans with the Latins.

Both Turnus and Aeneas are described as giants. Aeneas challenged Turnus to single combat soon after the arrival of the Trojans, but Turnus was afraid of the larger Aeneas, so Turnus repeatedly stirred up many cities against the Trojans.

At the end of the duel, Turnus picks up and throws a stone with one hand which Virgil describes as requiring 12 men of today to lift. Though the giant Turnus was stronger with one arm than 12 of Caesar’s legionnaires, he was no match in size or strength to Aeneas. Yet the Iliad repeatedly describes the giant Hector as much larger than any other Trojan. Hector’s mother, Hecuba, is described by some accounts as being the daughter of a river god.

Hector was equally fearful of facing Achilles in single combat because he was so much smaller than Achilles, son of Thetis. Thetis is described by some accounts as a nymph, by some as equal to Neptune and one of the descendants of the Titans, and by others a creator-goddess. Though no other Greek was able to stand before Hector, the larger and stronger Achilles humiliated and defeated Hector in single combat.

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Gen 6:2-4

“Sons of God” has two possible meanings. It either means that line of Adam’s son Seth, spoken of in the Scriptures as having descendants who “began to call upon the name of the Lord” polluted itself by intermarrying with pagans. or that the “Sons of God” were fallen angels.

Normal men filled with the Spirit of God did superhuman feats of strength. Jacob and Moses both lifted a great stone off a well that seems normally to have required many people to move. Samson (although he does not exemplify the best in God’s servants) performed stunning feats of strength. So it is possible that the descendants of these earlier, formerly godly people, who intermarried with pagans, might have produced “giants” or “mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

Many ancient sources claim that the “giants” and “mighty men of old” were pagans who believed in many gods and goddesses. Their parents were at least part “divine.” The phrase “Sons of God” is the also found in beginning of the book of Job where the phrase clearly means angels or demons. Some say that Gilgamesh of ancient Mesopotamia, who was said to be “two thirds god,” Hercules, the son of the god Zeus, and other ancient “superheroes,” Herakles in the Indus Valley of India, the Viracocha of the Incas, and even Nimrod of the Scriptures, may have all been the same person or his descendants.

This is food for thought, a point on which good men can disagree. The “superpowers” described in ancient documents could be the remnants of God’s great blessing, or they could be indications that the great deceiver, Satan, used his rebellious angels to try to corrupt man beyond his fall and drive a greater wedge between the Creator and His creatures. In any case, the “superpowered” actions governed by enormous pride, the conflicted beliefs about God or “the gods,” and the despairing or outright evil decisions made by these demigods and heroes of old, and the people who lived around them, indicate the workings of our fallen nature and Satan, the “accuser.”

Understanding genetics can help us understand what the sin nature is and how sin is passed on. Some scholars arrive at the interpretation of the Sons of God being Seth’s line because they do not believe that angels or demons have the power to interact with the human race genetically. This position requires belief that the genetic character of original sin literally makes man “born in sin” only because of Adam’s sin.

In the passage in Genesis these “sons of God” are clearly male, spoken of as taking wives. If they were angels or demons, this would call into question the genetic character of Adam’s original sin. Man could not be held fully responsible for his need for redemption if these were non-humans introducing corruption into the genetic material.

In many ancient cultures, most notably the Egyptians, inheritances of property and position passed from mother to daughter. Mitochondrial DNA is DNA in a cell outside a nucleus. It is passed from mother to daughter without any genetic recombination. This explains Christ’s redemptive power, as the “one born of woman,” having Mary’s mitochondrial DNA passed on but not Adam’s original sin.

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