Posts Tagged 'blog tour'

CSFF Blog Tour Wrap-Up – Nephilim

Well, another CSFF Blog Tour comes to a close. I found it fun and informative, and was pleasantly surprised by the level of participation and the number of really good posts.

Becky Miller, apparently the CSFF Blog Tour Overlord (who would have guessed?) finally unveiled her own review of  The Enclave, which I found quite insightful.

Becky’s essay at Speculative Faith called The Truth in Speculative Fiction: a Look at The Enclave by Karen Hancock  is also well worth reading.

Rachel Starr Thomson did an excellent Third Day post on men trying to be God.

Elizabeth Williams did three detailed, thoughtful and very thorough posts on various aspects of the book. On Day 1 she gave an overview, on Day 2  she shared her observations about the scientific aspects of the story and her desire for … well, more development. At which point I was ruefully reminded of my struggles to keep to the allotted word count, which I exceeded, and to finish in the allotted time, which I grossly exceeded! But oh well. The book is what God wanted it to be and all books have flaws.

More than that, no book is going to satisfy everyone, though admittedly, from Elizabeth’s final post on Day 3, when she considered the Christian aspects, it seemed she was overall more satisfied than not. (I particularly appreciated this last post of hers)

For his Day 2 post, John Otte detailed his objection to my inclusion of Nephilim into the story, provoking a number of interesting comments. So many, in fact, that he decided to scrap his original Day 3 post and continue the discussion of Nephilim in Christian fiction . He also offered  a sort of apology. I love that he takes into account his own perspective and frame of reference and acknowledges it in his approach.

Because in all this talk of Nephilim several have suggested that the people who think these creatures were half human/half angel have arrived at that conclusion solely based on a reading of the English translation of Genesis 6:1-4, I’ve decided to address that issue today as something of a wrap-up.

Being one of those who believe they were indeed human/angelic crossbreeds, I can attest to the fact there’s more than just the English Gen 6 that has led me to that conclusion. And I’m not talking about The Book of Enoch, which one person cited as a probable source. I had arrived at my conclusion long before I’d ever heard of The Book of Enoch, though I did skim it in preparation for writing The Enclave. To me it seemed obviously not written by God but some legalistic somebody… so I give it no more credence than Greek myths — which like many other myths most likely contain seeds of truth, and may record the traditions of belief at the time of writing, but are not the absolute truth of God’s word.

No, my reasons come pretty much straight from the word of God:

Item #1

The phrase in Gen 6, “sons of God” is “beni ha Elohim” in the Hebrew. It is a phrase used only three other times in the scriptures, all three in Job. I would note that Job is regarded as the oldest book of the Bible in terms of content — that is, the events it records occurred before Abraham and were believed to have been part of an oral tradition that pre-existed the writings of Moses (which Moses would have known about), though it was actually preserved in written form some time after he wrote the Torah.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan also came among them.

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself to the Lord.

(Since they are presenting themselves to the Lord in heaven it’s pretty obvious these are angels)

Job 38:7 — the last line of a passage wherein God asks Job where he was when “I laid the foundation of the earth! Tell me if you have understanding. Who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy…”

This reference is also pretty obviously depicting angels, if the earth was still in the process of being created as they were singing and shouting. Additionally, the morning star phrase links to Is 14:12 where it refers specifically to Satan, before his fall.

Item #2

First Mention Principle. One of the means of understanding what a term or phrase means in the Bible is the “First-Mention Principle” wherein you look at the first time a word/phrase is used to glean its meaning for later usages. Looking at beni ha Elohim in Genesis 6, its first usage could certainly be ascribed to angels, but it’s inconclusive. However, if you consider that Job is the earliest surviving account through oral tradition, then technically Job is the first mention of the phrase, where the usage is not at all inconclusive. And as I mentioned earlier, Moses was probably familiar with it.

Item #3

Genesis 6:2 says that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

“took wives” is laqach, the BDB Definition of which is “to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away”

Other scholars suggest “to take by sheer strength, overwhelming whoever protected them.”  Thus an alternate translation could be, “seized women for themselves, whomever they chose.”

Which sounds like rape and conquest to me. An examination of ancient history and cultures, especially Greek mythology, shows that women were more often taken and snatched and seized as wives than they were “married” as we know it today.

Item #4

If the sons of God were just men, and the daughters of men were just human women, then why bother referencing some special kind of progeny? ie, “Nephilim” who were around “in those days and also afterward.” Wouldn’t they be the same as other people? Why call them mighty men? Why use the same term later to refer to the giants in the land? Giants who clearly weren’t just regular men if the Jews saw themselves as grasshoppers in their sight.(Numbers 13:33)

Item #5

Jude and 2 Peter tell of a special group of angels who sinned in a particular way, different from the rest, who are currently being kept in prison:

Jude 6ff And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bounds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh (ie, flesh they were forbidden to go after, including flesh of a lower creation), are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

The angels who did not keep their own domain are equated in this passage with some sort of sexual sin comparable to the sin of homosexuality of Sodom and Gomorrah, a sin God refers to as an abomination in Lev 18:22 comparable with copulating with animals (a lower creation), forbidden in Lev 18:23

2 Peter 2: 4,5   For if God did not spare angels when they sinned but cast them into hell (the Greek word here is Tartarus) and committed them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of rightousness with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

These verses tie the angels to a sin of “gross immorality” outside the boundaries God had apparently set up, and are here clearly linked to the judgment that came upon the pre-flood world.

I consider this, taken together with Gen 6 and the verses in Job to be convincing support for the angelic/human crossbreeding interpretation.

Item #6

Why would the angels do this? Just out of lust?

I think it’s because Satan was right there when God made his promise to the woman in Genesis 3 that the human race would be saved through her seed and that that same seed would crush Satan’s head. I think he wanted to thwart that plan by corrupting the genetics of the human race so that it was no longer human. Then the promise of a purely human female seed could not be fulfilled and God would be proven a liar.

The first sentence of that paragraph is supportable in Gen 3. The second is logical extrapolation. There are other verses that do support it indirectly, but that involves many more doctrines than I want to pursue in this wrap-up which is already long enough. I’ll save it for another time.

Again, I want to thank everyone who participated for taking the time to read and review The Enclave — or at the least just make mention of it on their blogs — and especially those who went the extra mile in providing additional reflections, comments and humor.

CSFF Blog Tour: Day Three

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(Crew quarters inside Biosphere 2)

Day Three of the Christian SFF Blog tour for The Enclave.  Some of my favorite posts so far:

Becky Miller’s opening intro post from Monday and her Tuesday musings on on some of the elements of Enclave that got her thinking. 

Fred Warren ‘s reviews are really a hoot

Rachel Starr Thomson

Beth Goddard

Dawn King

Keanan Brand

Heather R. Hunt

  Dona Watson

Yes, they’re all positive, but hey, I’m the author. Of COURSE  the positive ones would be my favorites! There are others that are also good, some positive and some not, but interesting in the own right. I got tired of trying to transfer the html from Becky’s site to mine — she set it up so that each check represents a different post and clicking on it will take you straight to that particular post. In any case if you want the full list, including entries for Wednesday, which I don’t have yet, head on over to Becky’s Christian Worldview of Fiction for the full list.   (Thanks, Becky!)

Now for today’s question, which isn’t quite a question that Bethany House actually posed me. In addition to the questions they posed, they asked me to come up with seven or so questons — and answers —  to put in a document the Media could access. (The Nephilim question yesterday was also from this document, but the answer contained material from the other group of questions BHP had asked directly) You can see the actual Media Questions file here.  As I just downloaded it myself (it’s a PDF file), I noticed that they left off both this question and the one about the Nephilim, plus another, and substituted one of the questions they had posed… Interesting. Okay, on with today’s question:

I hated science when I was in high school so why would I want to read a novel about it?  (Seriously, people have either said this to me directly, or to others who’ve told me about it)

Science is really nothing more than looking at God’s creation and seeing what is there and how it fits together. All the so-called scientific laws, are actually God’s laws, and evidence of His faithfulness and power. His hand in it all is screamingly obvious to any who are willing to see it.

Unfortunately many have taken the discipline of science and corrupted it into an almost religion these days, replacing God with “Science,” and God’s ministers with its own high priests and priestesses, the expert “oracles” we are all expected to listen to and obey. “They” say such-and-such is true and most of us have little recourse but to believe what they say.  It seemed a good environment in which to set my story, even though The Enclave is more about people, deception and belief than any particular scientific discipline.

inside_0002 Dining area inside Biosphere 2

  That’s the end of my answer, but I will admit the question has always surprised me. I’ve had so many people turn up their noses at science and at any kind of speculative ficiton. Can’t get into it, they say. So I’ve started telling some who seem to be truly interested in reading my books that most people who love science fiction or fantasy don’t let the weirdness or the fact they don’t immediately know what’s going on get them down. They start such books expecting not to know what’s going on, what the setting situation is — it’s part of the fun.

Non fans, from what I’m told get all confused and bothered because they don’t know what a trog is, and there isn’t an explanation in the text to tell them. So they stop reading and go looking for a glossary.

Which really interferes with the fun of reading. I told one friend I never stop reading just to go look up a word and I pretty much always ignore glossaries until I’m finished. You can usually pick up enough from context to get the gist of what’s going on.

It surprised me to learn of this apparent difference in readers, though, so I thought I’d share it.  At least one of my friends who perservered through her initial discomfort in Arena ended up not being able to put the book down and really enjoying the story.

CSFF Blog Tour: Day Two

Continuing my answers to questions posed by the Bethany House Marketing depeartment in conjunction with the Blog Tour…

Why did you decide to put Nephilim into this book?

I kinda think the Lord did that. At the time when I was preparing the proposal, my pastor was teaching us about the Nephilim and challenged us to think what exactly was meant by the end of the age being like the Days of Noah (as mentioned in Mt 24), and why did Gen 6 say “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward,” if they were all destroyed in the Flood?

And what about Numbers 13:33? There the cowardly spies complain about having seen the Nephilim in the promised land saying “(the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim) and we became like grasshoppers in our own signt and so we were in their sight.” 

Furthermore, given the fact that the Nephilim were half angel/half human, they would have been much smarter than regular humans. For that matter, it’s probable the regular humans of the day were pretty smart too, as close to the perfection of Adam as they were and living for as many years as they did. Thus it’s not a big stretch to think they might have had culture that was as highly technological as ours, perhaps biologically based, or even light based, which would have been  destroyed in the flood. Although from what I’ve read, even a highly metals based culture might have been obliterated by the tectonic and geologic forces produced when “the fountains of the deep were opened.” To say nothing of being under water for millennia…

As to what the mechanics might be for Nephilim existing after the Flood I see three options — 1) Other fallen angels, not yet consigned to Tartarus for having “transgressed their own domain”  made more Nephilim with human women after the Flood (That defeats the entire purpose of the Flood, though, so I don’t buy that one).

2) They figured out some way to ride out the Flood,  just in case it actually happened. This is the one I settled on for The Enclave. I like that because it’s typical of Satanic thinking to be trying to figure a way around God’s commands or judgments; also typical in terms of the arrogance involved in thinking a creature could even do it. I liked it, too, when their self-made life preservers became prisons of darkness that turned them all insane.

3) Later it occurred to me as I puzzled over the passages for the umpteenth time that it also might have been that a pair of Nephilim babies might have been left on the doorstep of the ark, or two Nephilim children who had not yet reached the age of accountability might had come in along with the animals.  When the Flood subsided the children probably rejected the truth, and when grown, left Noah’s authority to pursue their own ways. Or perhaps left with some of Ham’s descendents who were pretty negative to the truths of God. It’s interesting that Nimrod, son of Cush is said to be “a mighty one” on the earth in Gen 10:8, same terminology as used for the Nephilim in Gen 6, and that his kingdom included the plain of Shinar where the Tower of Babel was constructed  — and destroyed.

It’s all speculation, though, and the Bible doesn’t say beyond the random hints, but I thought it was fun to play with. It’s only a peripheral issue in the story. If it mattered what happened to them and how the sons of Anak could also be Nephilim, God would have made it clear.

Be sure and check out the various posts and reviews on the tour.

Jason Joyner put up the interview I did for him on his blog Spoiled for the Ordinary.  Becky Miller did an opening post on similarities we share that I had no idea about. In addition there were quite a few reviews or parts of them (with more promised today) and you can find them through Becky Miller’s blog as well. A checkmark before a name indicate the person has posted at least one entry for the tour.

CSFF Blog Tour: Day One

The CSFF Blog Tour for The Enclave begins tomorrow (Monday), with reviews and discussion about the book or things related to it and at least one interview at some time during the next three days. For a list of active participants check Rebecca Luella Miller’s blog, A Christian Worldview of Fiction  for the various links.

For my own contribution, here is another of the questions I answered about The Enclave for Bethany House’s Marketing and Publicity Questionnaire.

_______

How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for The Enclave?

 

biosphere5_0004webWay back in the late  80’s and early 90’s, long before I began developing The Enclave, Biosphere II was a hot topic around Tucson, one I followed with great interest. It was (and is) a giant greenhouse designed to be a completely self-sustained world, cut off from any dependence upon earth, including air and water. Inside, 8 volunteers spent two years of their lives, from 1991 to 1993, seeing if they could survive without opening the hatch. (For the record, they could not.)

 

biosphere_0001sm

 

Unfortunately, what was initially presented to the public as a reputable scientific experiment was later revealed to be the outworking of theories of the cult leader who was behind it all. Members of the experimental team were also members of a world wide cult of “Synergists”. One of my long time friends was the veterinarian contracted by the group to advise them on care for the livestock they took into the Biosphere with them. She provided a number of intriguing anecdotes that confirmed the cult rumors. The whole thing fascinated me and I knew I wanted to write a story some day based upon it.

 biosphere_0002sm
In considering what sort of world within our world I could create for The Enclave, it seemed to me that the Biosphere story would be a perfect model. My intent in this book was to explore the ways that different organizations and communities draw people in and keep them in bondage to their creeds, which are in opposition to the ways of God.

Because our perceived reality is often a composition of layers of deceit, I wanted to echo this in the story.

 

*** SPOILERS***

 

***********

 

*********

 

biosphere_0003sm

******

*****SPOILERS*******

 Thus, in addition to the isolated and relatively closed community of my Biospherian inspired research institute, I wanted to have a hidden cult, which is the enclave itself. With its wholly fabricated history, purpose, cosmology and religious system, its members completely imprisoned and living in a total lie, the enclave’s society would serve as the most obvious illustration of my theme.  That some have grown to young adulthood, and are beginning to question and break free of the lies in which they were raised is also an obvious analogy to a person raised in the world system coming to a knowledge of truth.

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Note: First photo of Biosphere 2 nearing the end of construction in  1991 courtesy of The Arizona Daily Star

Blog Tour Next Week

enclaveSm

 

Well, next week the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog tour will be focusing on The Enclave. The tour will start Monday and continue through Wednesday. While I haven’t signed up as an official participant, I will doing posts relating to The Enclave during that time…

In fact, why not start today?

Some of you may recall awhile back (like, um, November 2008?)  I had to answer some questions for Bethany House’s Marketing and Publicity department.  I listed a few and suggested I might post my answers on the blog. So I’ll start with their  first question which was, “Why did you write this book?”

Here is my answer:

I believe I am called to write books that reveal different aspects of the unseen angelic conflict the Bible references in numerous passages (Gen 6, Job 1, Is 14, Ez 28, Eph 6, Revelation, etc). In so doing I hope to challenge people to consider this aspect of our existence and even our purpose on earth.

 I began developing The Enclave before my first novel Arena had sold. I wanted to do a book that would serve as a bridge from standard suspense to the straight science fiction/fantasy of Arena which uses an actual alternate world as a metaphor for the world system mentioned in Eph 6:12 and 1 Jn 2:15 (“Do not love the cosmos nor the things in the cosmos…”).  For The Enclave I would instead use a “world” within our world to serve as my metaphor, hopefully creating a story that wouldn’t be so far “out there” as Arena, since at the time nearly everyone I talked to informed me that SF didn’t sell in the Christian market.


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