About the Book
Author: Brennan S. McPherson
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Release Date: April 1, 2020
“You want me to tell of how I broke the world.”
It’s the year 641 since the beginning of the world, and when Eve passes away, she leaves Adam the only man on earth who remembers everything from the beginning of the world.
When Enoch, God’s newly appointed prophet, decides to collect the stories of the faithful from previous generations, he finds Adam in desperate need to confess the dark secrets he’s held onto for too long.
Beside a slowly burning bonfire in the dead of night, Adam tells his story in searing detail. From the beginning of everything, to how he broke the world, shattered Eve’s heart, and watched his family crumble.
Will Enoch uncover what led so many of Adam’s children away from God? And will Adam find the redemption and forgiveness he longs for?
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About the Author
BRENNAN S. MCPHERSON writes epic, imaginative biblical fiction with heart-pounding plots and lyrical prose, for readers who like to think biblically and feel deeply. He lives with his wife and young daughter in the Midwest, and spends as much of his spare time with them as possible.
Read an Exclusive Excerpt
In my beginning was not darkness, but Light.
As I opened my eyes for the first time, I saw dust motes swirling around five bright points. I reached for them and realized the dust was not blowing past me but instead settling across the complex shapes in my arms.
Distracted, I twisted my wrist, seeing muscle, tendon, bone, and a partial layer of skin. Clenching my fingers one by one, I saw the movement in my joints.
Fascinated, I watched as a swathe of dust poured over me like a sheet of silk and morphed into smooth, brown flesh. I ran my fingers across my new skin, and when the sound of shifting sand settled, noticed what sounded like gentle Music riding on the breath that flowed into me.
“Adam,” I said, for I had heard that name—my name—in the Music.
I realized that my Father was singing over me, and in his singing, he had given me life and form, and had named me Adam.
He smiled at me, with those dark brown eyes, and let soft melodies fall from his tongue as I lay on my back.
He lifted me from the mud and burned the remaining dust from my skin with the heat of his presence. But he did not hurt me as a natural flame might. Instead, he filled and cleansed me. And the joy of him filled me with an insatiable desire to experience everything around me, to understand the world he had sung into existence.
I’ve never since felt so whole as I did with him in Eden. Because inside me was nothing that did not belong. Only him, and the breath he gave, and the Music he sang, and the smells of Eden, and the touch of his Light, and the taste of his name on my lips as I spoke for the second time. “Father.” I smiled and laughed.
He stood magnificent, warm, compassionate. The image of the invisible condensed in a life foreknown before the foundations of the world were formed.
I felt his pride over me and laughed again, only now with tears.
My first moments were not like those of a newborn child come from a womb. Instead, they were of a child gone into the womb. Swaddled in the Light of God. Cocooned in his satisfaction.
I was Adam. Man fully formed. Reflection of perfection.
In joy, I fell to my hands and knees and bowed my forehead to the ground. Tears flowed to the soil I’d been formed from. How great! How wonderful this being was who had made me for himself, and who so unendingly satisfied me. Nothing I’ve experienced in my long years could ever make me forget it. That sense of purpose. Of everything being right.
Ah, yes. I see wonder on your face, Enoch, at how tears could be present in a world yet unbroken by sin.
Have you never wondered why the kiss of a lover can bring tears to our eyes? It is because some goods are so great that they must be given vent. For not all tears spring from sorrow. And not all aches are unwanted.
Yet still, my Father lifted me and wiped my cheeks. Then he led me across hills and valleys, puddles and rivers. He pointed at plants and skittering animals and insects, and it seemed as though I could hear the echo of his melodies in their movements.
Over the past couple of years, Biblical fiction has become one of my favorite genres—but only when it’s done well. And that is where it becomes thorny, and where it sinks or swims. The key to writing Biblical fiction is twofold: illuminating the Word without adding anything to it or contradicting it, and causing readers to think more about the Bible and to want to study it more deeply. This is especially important when writing about Biblical accounts themselves, as opposed to fictional characters who lived during Biblical times. Suffice it to say, succeeding is very difficult. In spite of this, however, Brennan McPherson excels at crafting Biblical novels that stem from the original Bible stories and that take readers on thought-provoking journeys into the heart of God’s Word.
“Eden,” Brennan McPherson’s latest Biblical fiction novel, approaches the story of the first couple in a unique manner. Told from Adam’s point of view, McPherson employs the mise-en-abyme technique. Thus, instead of a detached third-person account, the story is related by Adam himself to Enoch. This infuses untold emotion and empathy into what is for many a very familiar story. Adam relates, “I was Adam. Man fully formed. Reflection of perfection,” a description that stood out to me because it reminds me that we are all created in God’s image. In the novel, God appears in human form in the Garden, and this is one aspect that I’m not entirely comfortable with; I’m not sure if I can accurately articulate what bothers me about it, but I have issues with how God’s character is portrayed in these passages. I think that what I struggle with is not so much how God appears, because of course He later in history comes to earth as a man to ultimately die for our sins, but some of His actions. Adam notes His reticence as the event of the fall approaches, and how at various times He has expressions of regret or unhappiness on His face. While I agree that He would of course have known that the fall was going to happen, I personally do not think that He would have allowed this foreknowledge to taint the time He spent with Adam and Eve.
While reading, many things caused me to stop and ponder, which is, again, a mark of well-written Biblical fiction. Adam observes in hindsight that God taught him and Eve everything they would need to know in order to survive after being cast out of Eden. There are also some beautiful descriptions of life with God in Eden before the fall, which in my mind prefigure the face-to-face relationship that we will have one day in God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, from the time of her creation, there seems to be tension between Eve and Adam, and this intensifies after they leave Eden. Adam describes fallen human nature by relating that “Everyone strives to blame another for sin, but sin is inside us. Sin is the purposeful twisting of our hearts to anything other than our original Father.” Indeed, this brought up another point; in this novel, Adam is hated and heavily criticized in the story for “breaking the world.” For some reason, this surprised me; I never considered that he would be treated almost as an outcast among his own family, because today I think that most of us acknowledge the fact that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory, but to bear the blame for all of humanity’s fallen-ness would be tortuous. It is another example of God’s great love for us, that Jesus took our blame, our sin upon Himself.
McPherson has added some commentary at the end of the book; it takes readers through Genesis 1-4, upon which “Eden” is based, and explains some of the choices that the author made in writing this story. The note about Cain and Abel is one that I also found interesting, but I will leave that to readers to discover on their own. I will say that I am intrigued by the author’s view that some level of pain may have existed in Eden based on the phrasing of some of the Biblical text. While much of the story itself is somber and forlorn, there is a thread of hope, just as God has placed in the very first chapters of the Bible. Throughout the heartaches and strife that comprise his life after Eden, Adam eventually comes to a peaceful conclusion: “He realized then that the Father’s will had not been broken by his evil, yet was still coming to be.” Because God had a plan from the very beginning and nothing ever takes Him by surprise, we can always rest confidently in Him, knowing that He holds all our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows, and that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we have the promise of an eternity with Him, free of pain and suffering, to look forward to, a glorious promise that shines brightly in the darkness.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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