Monday, August 23, 2010

Havah, the Story of Eve by Tosca Lee

"This was a fictionalized story of the Biblical character, Eve. In favour of the book, I found it gave you a good idea of what life could have been like for Adam and Eve, both before and after the fall, in particular with the effects of sin and the drastic change in their relationship with God and with each other. It also showed the gradual introduction of idolatry with the descendants of Cain. It was told beautifully, from the first person point of view of Eve, with colourful writing imagery. I also liked that she didn’t present the fruit as an apple, which is incorrect. Sunday School 101, it was a tree unlike any other tree in the garden and it is not accessible to us now, nor is the tree of life. Artist’s rendering of a red fruit are not in line with the basic description of the fruit, which only says it was “good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.” Gen. 3:6
I did find several things I took issue with. Writing historical fiction is challenging in itself, if you want to stay true to history for the most part. The standard for writing Biblical historical fiction, I think, is higher. While there’s enough to speculate about with the things that aren’t told to us, I don’t think it’s wise or safe to stray on things that are told to us, like the creation account, or the content of actual conversations. When the Bible says that in the pre-flood world it didn’t rain, or they didn’t eat meat, it can be believed. If God told Adam and Eve about creation, it’s not necessary for Eve to have dreams about what it was like, especially if it differs from the Biblical record. I feel the author catered to theistic evolutionists by including the idea of creation exploding into existence, instead of being spoken into being, in an orderly manner, as God said, and she even included a dream of a primordial mud pit with a creature arising out of it and taking form. Very disappointing. Also, the ‘no rain before the flood ‘was important because the “waters above the earth” formed a canopy that kept the whole world tropical, and the dew watered the earth. It was also one of the sources of the water for the Deluge and one of the reasons people lived longer.
Another disagreement I have with it relates to the punishment for the woman. When she is cursed, God increases her pain in childbearing, and then He says, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Gen 3:16 I think when English speakers hear the word, ‘desire’ they automatically think ‘sexual desire’. But that isn’t a curse. It also doesn’t make any sense with the rest of the sentence. However, the word translated, ‘desire’ is the same one used by God in Gen. 4:7 when God addresses Cain. He says, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” The desire is for control. Since Eve made the decision to eat the forbidden fruit, she would lose the harmony they once had in their marriage, and her desire to control would be fought against by her husband who would rule over her. The battle of the sexes is the curse and it began in the garden. The author did a good job of showing that throughout the book, but missed the cause of it at the beginning.
I think she was too sympathetic with Cain. Although I’m sure that Eve’s heart would ache for him as any mother would, the author made it seem like Cain didn’t mean to kill Abel. In Scripture, it shows that he lured him to the field to kill him. Gen. 4:8 Then she has Cain apologizing for the murder, while Scripture shows him only being upset about his punishment. And later on, they have a reunion, while Scripture doesn’t record that. She also seems to think that Cain would be in heaven, along with all her children, even though many worshipped false gods.
There were many other things that made me scratch my head, or shake it. I guess this book made me realize that I know what I believe. It does matter whether it was a real garden, with a real couple named Adam and Eve, who lived in a real Paradise, until they disobeyed. If there was no real sin, we have no need of a real Saviour. But it was real, and we do need a Saviour. The effects of the fall are in evidence all around us."

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