Noah: Man of God

Noah: Man of God delivers an exciting conclusion to the Remnant Trilogy.

I am very pleased to announce that the final installment of the Remnant Trilogy is now available. Although it has absorbed much of my free time over the past 2.5 years, this series has been a lot of fun to develop, and I’m thrilled that readers can now enjoy the entire story.

The final volume, Noah: Man of God, picks up right where the second novel ended and ties together all the story lines and loose ends from the first two books. As I started writing this one, I was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t be as strong as the second book, which I anticipated would be my favorite because of all the action in the second half. I knew the third book would have plenty of action and adventure in the beginning and at the end, but I feared that the middle chapters would bog down a little. However, I was pleasantly surprised that these chapters turned out to be far stronger than I anticipated. There are numerous payoffs from the first two books, and I’ve already had a few readers tell me how much they enjoyed the middle section. We also added a few exciting chapters of an adventure-filled subplot and some special surprises in the final third of the book. Certainly, my opinion is rather biased, but at this point, I would have to say that the latest book is my favorite one in the series.

What is this one about?

The third book starts immediately after the close of the second book. Noah must find a way to escape the impending battle over Iri Geshem between the Nodites and Havilites before reuniting with Emzara. He’ll also need to gather a crew to help him build the Ark that the Lord first mentioned to him near the end of the second book. As public enemy number one (in the minds of Havilah’s rulers), he must also find a safe location to the build the Ark. Plenty of surprises await Noah and the reader in this story that spans Noah’s last century before the Flood.

How much of this story comes from Scripture?

Since the Bible gives very few details about Noah’s life prior to the Flood, we used artistic license while fleshing out his story. However, the third volume has the least amount of artistic license in the series since it covers a time period the Bible tells us more about. Obviously, Noah and his family working on the Ark and taking care of the animals come right from Scripture. And just like we did in the first two books, we included a nonfiction section to address questions about the pre-Flood world.

Also, since this series is essentially the official backstory for Noah’s family at the Ark Encounter and since it covers the years immediately before the Flood, there are plenty of items and events from the series depicted in the Ark. The “Encounter This” section is more than twice as long in this book than it is in the others.

Why would anyone read a novel about Noah when you can just read the Bible?

Perhaps it is not surprising that I’ve heard comments similar to this on a number of occasions. I see the same types of comments directed toward people who make films about biblical people and events. I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from faithfully studying the Bible. If they do that regularly and don’t see a need to read or watch someone else’s portrayal of biblical people and events, then I have no problem with that. However, it can be quite helpful to see a biblical event portrayed (in print or on film) because it can help us detect areas where we haven’t paid close enough attention to the biblical text. Perhaps the book or film will depict a certain person or event differently than we have thought about it while reading the Bible. And sometimes, when we go back to study it, we realize that the reason it was different is because we automatically filled in details that weren’t found in the text. Thus, if we compare all that we read or watch with Scripture, a novel or movie can help us become more acquainted with the biblical text.

The Remnant Trilogy gives readers an imaginative and immersive journey through the pre-Flood world to discover what people and events may have shaped Noah into the faithful Ark-builder.

Another benefit can come from learning about the insights that others have discovered as they study the Bible. For example, it has been my job for over five years now to focus on and write about Noah, his family, the Ark, the Flood, and the world before the Flood. Who else gets to do this? There may be a few insights I can share that most folks have never considered. We often trust our pastors to teach us about the Bible. While authors are not necessarily pastors (some are, and I have been), they often study a particular topic in great detail, so there may be much to learn.

Finally, some people enjoy reading stories, so why not give them the option to read something that can help them grow in their understanding of who God is and what His Word teaches? That really was the goal of this series. Through the use of nonfiction sections and by challenging many of the stereotypical views of Noah that aren’t found in Scripture, we encourage our readers to dig into the Bible to see what it truly says.

What is your favorite scene in this book? The series?

It’s difficult to decide on a favorite scene in Noah: Man of God. There are two specific scenes that a couple of people have talked to me about already that are clearly in the running for my favorite. Without giving away spoilers, I will just say that both scenes have to do with dangerous creatures—one has to do with our hero and the other with his enemy. There are two other scenes that rank right up there for me. One has to do with Noah discovering something special about the place where he will eventually build the Ark, and the other one involves an action sequence with one of the women who will be on the Ark.

Picking a favorite scene from the series should be easy for me. Before writing the series, I knew I was going to include the arena scene shown on the cover of the second book. I figured it would be my favorite since it has so many things that interest me, and it is full of action. So I think I would probably pick this scene as the one I enjoyed the most. But the chapter that impacted me the most is found earlier in the second book. Writing a heart-wrenching scene where Noah’s life is rocked by tragedy was hard enough to write, but it was so much harder seeing Noah deal with his wife’s torment as well as his own grief. Because I try to put myself in the character’s shoes as I write each scene, it was extremely difficult to imagine what it would have been like to go through such tragedy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I used quite a few tissues that night and had some scratchy eyes the next day.

Why didn’t you take the story further into Noah’s life?

[MINOR SPOILER ALERT!] A couple of people have already asked me why we ended the story where we did, and someone told me that he really hoped we would cover the next year in Noah’s life. We decided to close the story at the start of the Flood with Noah and his family safely aboard the Ark. I think it’s natural for readers to want to see what we think life on the Ark might have been like, but frankly, I think a few chapters of that would get rather boring and would be anticlimactic. It’s amazing to walk through the Ark Encounter and observe what life may have been like and to see what the Ark’s systems may have been like. But reading about such things at the tail end of an adventure series would get old quick. The natural place to end the story was at the moment Noah’s faith in God was vindicated.

Are there any plans to add to the Remnant Trilogy?

Not at this time. Actually, we did leave some wiggle room for adding to it at some point down the road, but we certainly have no plans to do this at the moment. If we did do something, it would probably involve an adventure briefly hinted at in the second book that took place during the 450-year jump from Noah’s younger years to his 500th year.

Are you working on any other novels?

I’m currently finishing up a nonfiction book that I hope will be the most thorough study of an intriguing and controversial topic from the early chapters of Genesis. I’ve been working on it for several years, but the Remnant Trilogy forced me to put it on hold a number of times. I’m over 80% of the way through it, so I hope to finish by the end of the summer.

As for fiction, I have a few ideas in mind. Fans of my Truth Chronicles series have been asking for books 7–9, but I’ve been reluctant to work on that. I’m not completely satisfied with a potential story line, and the sixth book ended so perfectly that I don’t know if it would be wise to go beyond that. But I haven’t ruled it out, and it would be fun to hang out with Jax, Izzy, JT, and Micky again.

I’ve been kicking around doing a similar series with teenagers and using manga art again, but the books would probably be significantly longer and geared for a slightly older audience. Finally, I’ve been compiling notes over the past several years for a sci-fi series that I would love to publish someday, but it would be quite different than anything I’ve done so far, particularly since it would be from an unbeliever’s point of view.

I’ll keep readers posted on these projects as they are developed further.

Where can I get a copy of the Remnant Trilogy?

The books are available just about any place books are sold. They can be found online at my web store, Answers in Genesis, Master Books, Amazon, and ChristianBook.com.

 

 

Who Was Cain Afraid Of?

Cain and Abel offering sacrifices, as depicted in the Pre-Flood World exhibit at the Ark Encounter.

In Genesis 4 we read the tragic account of the first murder in history. Cain, the oldest son of Adam and Eve, killed his brother Abel. Envious of his brother because the Lord respected Abel’s sacrifice but not him and his sacrifices, Cain ignored God’s admonishment and murdered Abel.

Some Christians believe that God favored Abel’s sacrifices because Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and its fat (v. 4) while Cain simply brought an offering of his crops (v. 3). The text does not say whether Cain offered the best of his crops. While there is a special significance to blood sacrifices in Scripture, the Bible makes it pretty clear that God accepted grain as an offering in some situations (Leviticus 2).

The real problem was Cain’s attitude. First John 3:12 states that Cain was of the wicked one and his deeds were evil. Cain’s refusal to follow the Lord’s warning demonstrates that his heart was the biggest problem.

Cain’s Concern

More could be written about this issue, but I wanted to address a question that has been asked of many Christians, and unfortunately, most people do not answer it appropriately. When the Lord confronted Cain after Abel’s death, He told him that he would be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth (v. 12). Cain expressed fear that anyone who found him would kill him (v. 14). Since Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel, who was Cain afraid of? Why was he concerned that somebody might find him and kill him?

A common answer to this question is that God must have made other people besides Adam and Eve. After all, didn’t Cain go to the land of Nod and find a wife? Um, No. That’s not what the Bible says. It says that he went to the land of Nod and had relations with his wife (Genesis 4:16–17). In other words, his wife came with him. Who was she? We’ll get to that in a moment.

There are some big problems with the notion that Cain was afraid of other people that God might have created. First, if there were others who lived wherever Cain was heading, why would they want to harm him for something he did to a person they presumably did not know and had probably never even heard of? How would they even know he did such a terrible thing?

The bigger problem is that the Bible makes no mention of these proposed people, and it actually rules out such an idea. The Bible states that Eve was the mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20). This would not be accurate if God made others. Also, the New Testament explains that because of Adam’s sin, we are all sinners (Romans 5:19). Of course, we will be held accountable for our own sins—not Adam’s, but we die because of Adam’s sin. This whole idea is contingent upon Adam being the head of humanity. Paul said in Acts 17:26 that God made all men of “one blood.” Once again, this is true because we are all from Adam.

So if God did not make other people, then who was Cain afraid of? The solution is much easier than you might think, but you have to think through the text a little more than how it is usually presented in Sunday school. We must first answer another question in order to help solve this mystery. How old were Cain and Abel when the murder took place?

How Old Was Cain?

Most people tend to picture Cain and Abel as young men, possibly even teenagers, when Cain killed Abel. However, such an idea is almost certainly wrong. In fact, they were probably about one hundred years older than that. Wait. What? A hundred years older? Yep, that’s what I wrote. Consider the clues left in the Bible about this issue.

In Genesis 4:25 Eve gives birth to another son, Seth, and it’s clear that she views him as a replacement for Abel. She said, “God has given me another child in place of Abel because Cain killed him” (NET). In Genesis 5:3, we learn that this happened when Adam and Eve were 130 years old, and that Seth was just one of many other children that Adam and Eve had. Since Seth was viewed as Abel’s replacement, then he was almost certainly the next son born to them after Abel’s death. This means that Abel would have been murdered nearly 130 years after Adam was created. And if Cain was born within the first few years of Adam and Eve being banished from the garden, then Cain would have been over 120 years old at the murder of Abel. We have no reason to think that it would have taken very long for Eve to conceive. When God created them He instructed them to be fruitful and multiply, and Genesis 4 and 5 show us that they certainly did that.

This depiction of Cain murdering Abel is from the Pre-Flood World exhibit in the Ark Encounter.

If you think of Cain and Abel being in their 120s when this event occurred, does it become clearer who Cain might have been afraid of? There would have been plenty of time for Adam and Eve to have many other children, just as Genesis 5:4 teaches. So Cain’s siblings may have wanted revenge against him. Not only that, since Abel was nearly Cain’s age, he would have been old enough to have children and grandchildren by the time Cain murdered him. The Bible doesn’t tell us if he had any offspring, but there is no reason to think he would have remained single for over 100 years when God wanted people to multiply. Abel’s descendants, if he had them, would have been the most likely candidates for revenge against Cain.

Who Was Cain’s Wife?

So if Cain went to Nod with his wife, and Abel may have been married, then where did their wives come from? The answer is very simple. In all likelihood, Cain’s wife was his sister, although it’s possible she was his niece (if Abel or another brother married a sister and had a daughter). This answer fits all of the biblical data, and we need to remember that the command against close intermarriage was not given until Leviticus. It makes sense from a genetic perspective why close intermarriage would have been problematic at that time, but the closer we go back to the beginning, the fewer genetic mistakes existed in people. So there would be less risk of severe genetic defects in the offspring.

Book chapters have been written and presentations have been given on the subject of Cain’s wife so I won’t go into more detail here, other than to point out a case of extreme hypocrisy. Skeptics frequently mock the Bible here, claiming that it teaches incest (check out the links in the previous sentence for a response to this), but let’s take a look at what most of these skeptics believe. They believe that every single person and every plant and animal on earth came from a single-celled organism that somehow came to life by time and chance. Besides the absurdity of life arising on its own and one kind of organism changing into another kind, consider the problem of incest multiplied a billion-fold. At every stage of the alleged evolutionary chain from the first microscopic organism to man, a significant amount of inbreeding must have occurred. This is particularly problematic for those who believe in the form of evolution known as punctuated equilibrium. Think about it, each time a new species in this supposed chain arose they would have very few options for mates, if any. Those that might be available would be from within that small group or family.

Conclusion

So why was Cain afraid when he was sent away? Most likely, he had plenty of close family members who might have sought revenge. This conclusion rarely comes to mind for people because we frequently have a wrong picture in our minds about how old Cain and Abel were in Genesis 4. Rightly understanding their ages brings into clearer focus the solution to our primary question.

Speaking of wrong pictures, we might have another one related to Cain and Abel. What did Cain use to murder Abel? A rock? There are pro-Second Amendment billboards and many illustrations that promote this idea, like the one used in this post, but the Bible does not tell us what he used. It certainly is possible that he used a rock, so these pictures aren’t necessarily wrong, but there are many other things Cain might have used.