3 out of 4 stars
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Michael Tieman’s discourse aptly named Killing Abel is at the forefront at attempting to explain the events that unraveled at, and after, the Garden of Eden. I found his topics engaging and with intriguing chapter titles, like the “Rebellion,” “Mercy and Wisdom of God,” “Man Helps God,” “The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men,” “The Flood,” and “The Pleasant Mystery.”
Presently, the Holy Trinity has deliberated and Lucifer has been sent to assist created man and his sister in the garden. In a strange twist, though, he’s eating unreservedly from the fig tree, the tree of knowledge. Eve looks on, momentarily disconcerted and at a loss of words, knowing quite well that this is contrary to what Adam had told her not to do.
With a humble and candid tone, Tieman asserts in his book that the Book of Genesis leaves “much left open to the imagination.” Consequently, I didn’t mind his ubiquitous thinking outside the box. More importantly, nonetheless, is when he says he “protects every word in the Bible as precious.” Concomitantly, Tiemen writes from the heart, and he is humble enough through prayer to ask for God’s guidance during and after the course of his writing. Is it possible, then, that’s why, through God’s help, he could write plausible dialogues involving the Trinity? As a result, one dialogue made me understand how the lack of altruism among men led the Trinity to put to rest the issue of providing a Savior for mankind, and another, why God, having the ability to utter just but a word and it comes into being, had to rely on Noah and his ark to save creation.
Furthermore, I found I could relate to the universal themes broached by the author, such as pride, rebellion, guilt, fear, judgment, humility, sacrifice, mercy, and fatherhood. Adam’s and Eve’s partaking of the forbidden fruit gave them knowledge of guilt, causing them to feel a separation with their Father (God) and from each other (manifested through nakedness). Satan would then, henceforth, use his only tool, the tree of knowledge, to hold man captive. However, because of love for man, God would allow him to choose which tree to live under—Satan’s tree of knowledge or God’s tree of life, acquired through redemption (sacrifice).
On the other hand, the plot brings together a diverse number of characters, a good number of them, no doubt, known to the average reader from a prior reading of the scripture. From the time of the fall, the story maintains the readers’ interest by dramatizing the significant events as narrated in the Holy Bible. Just but an example, these range from the birth of the firstborn son of Adam, Cain, the fratricide, the emergence of the Nephilim, to Noah’s flood.
In addition, a common thread linking all the characters is the love—or lack thereof—of the father to his children. It can’t be gainsaid that love is the reason why God created us, as a reflection of His love to His Son. Lastly, some memorable sayings from the book include: “wisdom is seen in her children” and “a loving Father is always limited by the unwise decisions of his children.”
Contrarily, what I liked the least in the novel were the few times Tieman seemed to suggest that God lacked finite knowledge, and hence occasionally, He’d had to gain wisdom through man’s activities over time: for example, “God had learned from Lamech (a grandson of Cain) and others that steel was the foundation of liberty and carbon was the foundation of steel….” My take is that He created all the elements on the Earth’s crust so He knew and knows quite well their capability.
Additionally, I found enough editing errors to make me reduce the book's rating by a star. The most common errors were touching on missing apostrophes required to denote possession, wrongly inserted words in sentences, some typos, misspelled words, and a wrong tense. Therefore, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
In conclusion, this would be a perfect read for any practicing Christian who wants to strengthen their faith; because in the book, God comes across as loving, relatable, and actively involved with the redemption of His children. Further, I recommend it to parents, especially fathers, as they “struggle to express their love for their children” due to various factors mentioned in the book. Lastly, any general reader will adore this book, because as it is, the author has done the thinking for us by writing this novel.
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