I’m very excited to announce the publication of my latest novel, Noah: Man of Destiny, the first book in the Remnant Trilogy. Noah is an engaging coming-of-age adventure about one of the Bible’s most popular figures, but it is much more than just another novel. In fact, our main goal in writing the book was to help people learn how to discern between fact and fiction, between what is biblical and what is tradition that has been added to the Noah account over the centuries.
The book gives readers a new perspective on Noah while immersing them into the fascinating world that existed before the Flood—a time when people lived over 900 years and many, if not all, of the types of animals that are now extinct were still around.
In this blog post I’ll answer a handful of questions about the novel.
What is the plot?
I don’t want to give away too many details, so I’ll keep this answer short. The first book in the series is about Noah’s first few years after becoming an adult. He has an adventurous spirit and a desire to hone his woodworking skills rather than remain on the family farm. Leaving behind the fairly innocent surroundings of his childhood, Noah sets out to become a shipwright’s apprentice. This course of action brings him face-to-face with a world full of wonders and new dangers, including vicious beasts, slave traders, and a new belief system sweeping the earth that distorts and subverts biblical history. There’s also some romance, as he meets his future bride along the way, but his faithfulness to her and to his Creator face some intense challenges.
How can a novel help people discern between fact and fiction?
We included 40 pages of nonfiction at the end of the book to address questions that may arise. Some of these are apologetic in nature. That is, they provide answers to questions about the truth of Scripture.
Numerous questions and answers focus on ideas that many people have about Noah and the pre-Flood world that just aren’t found in Scripture. What we wanted to do was to break many of these stereotypes in order to help readers realize that these notions are not in the Bible. It isn’t that they are necessarily wrong, but we need to be able to discern between what the Bible actually states and what ideas people have added over the years.
I’ve read several books about Noah, and while there are some excellent reads, most of them cast Noah in the same light with a similar background. For example, I can count at least five books I’ve read where pre-Flood Noah is portrayed as a man who owns or works on a vineyard and he tends to like his wine a little too much. Obviously, this idea comes from the fact that Noah planted a vineyard after the Flood and became drunk. But the Bible doesn’t tell us his occupation prior to the Flood, and it specifically mentions that he began to be a man of the soil after the Flood (so he probably was not one prior to it). I think it makes far more sense to picture him as a skilled shipbuilder. God often calls those who have already been equipped for the task at hand.
Are you concerned that your artistic license may be seen as adding to Scripture?
There is always a possibility that some readers will latch on to certain notions, and if they aren’t careful, they may end up thinking the ideas come from Scripture. As I mentioned above, we want to help people learn how to avoid this practice. But let’s face it, we all use artistic license every time we read the Bible. When you think about David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, or Noah and the Ark, what images come to mind? What hairstyles do you give them? What do their clothes look like? We automatically fill in details to flesh out the text. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we need to be sure to discern between Scripture and our artistic license.
I believe there are two important points to make about using artistic license. First, I think you need to be up front about the fact that you are employing it. We included an introduction in the novel that mentions this and explains that the back of the book includes a nonfiction section. The second key is to make sure that you do not introduce any ideas that contradict the Bible.
How did the story come about?
One of my responsibilities for the Ark Encounter was to develop a backstory for Noah that would explain how he may have acquired the skills that allowed him to build the Ark. This storyline helped us keep our presentation of Noah consistent throughout the Ark, and it formed the basis of our Who Was Noah exhibit on the second deck.
After sharing the backstory with others, several of them suggested that I turn it into a novel. So I started brainstorming with my wife, and we soon developed a plot that would both entertain and educate readers. When the time came to start writing, I asked a good friend and coworker, K. Marie Adams, if she would be interested in coauthoring with me. I had read some of her unpublished writing and thought our styles would be complementary. She happily agreed so we spent the next month or so developing a tentative yet detailed outline of every chapter in the series. Then we started writing.
How did you depict the pre-Flood world?
Noah’s world is fairly lush, but unlike many pre-Flood novels, it does not have a uniform climate—we do not hold to the canopy model as some creationists do. We know that people at the time of the Flood were exceedingly wicked, but we have reason to believe that things were different during Noah’s early years. Genesis 4:26 tells us that after the birth of Seth’s son, Enosh, men began to call on the name of the Lord. Given the 900-plus year lifespans, Enosh’s generation could have still been around during Noah’s youth and may have exerted a godly influence that would diminish as their generation passed on. In our novel, Noah will encounter a city under the influence of a godly elder, and he will also come across a city eager to rebel against the old ways.
What can readers expect in books two and three?
In book two, Noah: Man of Resolve, readers will see the world plunge headlong into darkness. Expect more adventure, plenty of surprises, some tragedy, and an epic showdown between Noah and the leaders of the perverse religion spreading around the globe. We hope to have the second book out before summer 2017 and book three a year later. For book three, Noah: Man of God, readers will have to wait and see, but I don’t think it will be much of a spoiler to mention that it will include a certain large boat.
Is your novel the official Ark Encounter backstory for Noah?
Not exactly. It is an expansion on the Ark Encounter’s official backstory as displayed in the exhibits at the Ark. But since I was responsible for the content of those exhibits, this book is as close as someone can get to an official Ark Encounter story.
One unique feature of the book is that we were able to intertwine the novel with several exhibits on the Ark. Certain items described in the book can be seen on the Ark, and some of the things said by the Ark’s animatronic Noah come directly from our story. We’ve included a section called “Encounter This” at the end of the book to let readers know which items can be seen and where they are located.
Where can I get a copy of Noah: Man of Destiny?
You can order a copy from my online store. It is also available from booksellers everywhere, including Answers in Genesis, Amazon (print or Kindle) and New Leaf Press. If you get a copy and enjoy it, would you kindly consider leaving a positive review on Amazon?
Aren’t we supposed to think about those things which are true??
Why would you be spending our time on this kind of fiction – something that is just simply idle speculation from which we are called to depart…??
Yes, we are supposed to think about those things which are true, and that’s why I wrote this series. One of the goals was to continually point people back to what Scripture teaches.
Fiction isn’t for everyone, but it can be a powerful teaching tool, particularly if it is done well. While fiction has its place, it should never be viewed as a replacement for Scripture, but it can help people to think deeper and more clearly about certain issues. They can also correct erroneous thinking. And it can be a great tool for introducing people to Scripture–some people don’t study their Bibles like they should. But a strong Christian novel can help them see how important it is to dig into Scripture. I know this to be the case because I’ve received numerous testimonies with this sentiment, and it’s been true in my own life, as there are two Christian novels that God used to stir me to deeper and deeper study of Scripture. As such, these are not simply “idle” speculations. They are vehicles through which truth can be taught, and through which I was able to share some of the many insights I’ve gained during my years of in-depth study of Noah and the pre-Flood world.
Please disregard my earlier comment about rain prior to the great flood mentioned in the first book of the series. I found the explanation at https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/was-there-no-rain-before-the-flood/
Too late. 🙂
I left a comment to your first response a few minutes before this message came in. I’ll leave both up since they contribute to a helpful discussion about the issue of whether it rained before the Flood.
I recently visited the Ark Encounter, and was greatly impressed. I saw your books mentioned in a video, and decided to download a sample of Noah: Man of Destiny. I know this book is fiction, but I thought it would be based on fact as much as possible. I was surprised at seeing mention of a rainstorm that damaged the roadway in the small section included in the sample. This was in Noah’s 39th. year, when he was traveling with his father to the farmer’s market. According to Genesis, it had never rained prior to the great flood. I was just wondering why this was included, since it is obviously contrary to scripture. I was planning to purchase the series, but this is giving me pause. I enjoyed the sample, and was looking forward to the books. Can you elaborate on this?
Thanks for reaching out to me and asking about this. I’m glad you picked up on the rainstorm. Did the sample you read include the “Dear Reader” letter immediately before Chapter 1? We mention in that introductory letter that one of our goals in writing this series was to help people discern between Scripture and our speculations about Scripture. We gave the example of people mocking Noah. While this idea is constantly repeated when people talk about the Ark and the Flood, the Bible never mentions Noah being mocked, although, as we mentioned, such a notion makes sense since Noah was a very godly man living in an ungodly world. The point is, the Bible doesn’t say that he was mocked, so we should be careful in how we retell it, being careful to say when we’re speculating and when we’re speaking what is biblical.
This brings us to the rainstorm. Since you only have the free sample of the book, you probably don’t have access to the Q&A section at the end of the book where we spend about 20-25 pages answering questions about the pre-Flood world. Here we spend a few pages addressing the issue of whether it rained before the Flood, giving space to both sides of the argument. You’ll notice that Genesis doesn’t really state that it never rained before the Flood. In Genesis 2:5–6, it mentions that prior to the creation of man, God had not caused it to rain on the earth—certain plants (some believe the Hebrew terms refer to cultivated plants and wild desert plants, which have thorns) had not grown until this point because there was no man to till the ground and God had not caused it to rain yet. Thus, these verses would be setting the reader up for what is about to happen. God is going to make man (2:7), and he will till the ground, and man is going to sin (chapter 3), which will result in thorns (among other things). So the section at the end of the book is designed to give a deeper understanding of this issue, highlighting arguments used from both positions so that readers of the novel will look even closer at Scripture than they have before and decide for themselves which view is correct. In case you’re wondering, here is how I concluded that particular answer:
I hope this helps. If you liked the first few chapters, I think you’ll really enjoy the series.
My concern is that the displays in the Ark Encounter may lead people to believe this is fact when it isn’t. It is entirely fiction. When I hear people saying “Well Noah went to this town and that is where he met his wife, etc, ” and stating it as fact, it leads others to believe tihngs that may or may not be true and also causes believers to look stupid among real historians who know that no one really knows. It greatly concerns me that a museum is using this novel for its displays
I share the same concerns. I don’t want anyone thinking that the Bible says that Emzara was Noah’s wife because it doesn’t. I don’t want anyone thinking that the Bible says that Noah grew up building boats because it doesn’t (although it’s a reasonable speculation). That’s why we took numerous steps in these books, including 40+ pages of non-fiction material in the back of the book and an intro that points out what is fact and what is fiction. That’s why there are multiple signs in the Ark Encounter explaining the use of artistic license in the exhibits. So the Ark doesn’t state extra-biblical details are facts.
Also, your final sentence is not exactly how the Ark and book are related. It’s more accurate to say that the books are an expansion on the backstory presented at the Ark.
One thing to keep in mind is that we all use artistic license on a regular basis. When someone reads the Bible, they often fill in details about certain passages without even realizing they are doing it. Perhaps you imagine what the people or setting looked like in a given passage. The very fact that the Ark shows Noah and his family members necessarily means artistic license was taken since we don’t know exactly what they looked like. Many extra-biblical ideas have crept into popular retellings of the Noah/Flood account. For example, how often have you heard people say that Noah was mocked while he built the Ark? The Bible never says that. How about the one that says Noah pleaded with people to get on the Ark? The Bible doesn’t say that either. So one of our goals was to counter these popular extra-biblical ideas to encourage people to look closely at Scripture.
Tim, I was unaware of pre-Flood studies until I went to the Ark Encounter and then read your Noah books and some of your interviews. I saw that Kendyl said you read works of fiction to prepare yourself for creating Noah’s back story. Can I ask what works you read? Also, could you say more about what you meant when you said that the pre-Flood age is like Middle Earth for Christians? I’m eager to explore this material–when I saw the arena diorama at the Ark Encounter I had no context whatsoever to understand it.
Thanks for taking the time to read the novels and comment here. I hope you enjoyed the books.
Regarding the Middle Earth comment…What I mean by that is that there is more freedom in world-building when you are writing about the pre-Flood world. Since we don’t have many details about it, we have fewer restrictions on what can or cannot be included. I think the first several centuries after the Flood are like this as well, but with some more restrictions given that we have archaeological evidence for many of the people groups, so we can’t really put large cities and huge armies in there. Also, the population in the first few centuries after the Flood could not have been too high since they were starting over and it takes time to build up. But both of these time periods allow for the use of many creatures that are now extinct, and even the ones that are still around today would have looked somewhat different at the time. So all of this allows us to create a little bit of an otherworldly feel to it while retaining things that are familiar to us. That’s essentially what I mean by our “Middle Earth.”
Also, I’m not sure if it’s accurate to say that I read a bunch of works of fiction to prepare for writing our backstory. There is a bit of truth in that, but for the most part, I read those books so that we can make our story original. I don’t want to be copying what others have done. Although we deliberately used a couple of words from a series written by a friend of mine (with his permission). Then there are times that the other books are just flat out wrong, so if possible, I want to make sure we counter these ideas.
I hope this helps. If you enjoyed the books, would you mind taking a minute or two to leave a positive review for each on Amazon and/or Christianbook.com? Thanks!
Thanks so much for your comments—they are really helpful. One thing that struck me when I read your novels was your passion for exhorting readers to distinguish what was biblical from what was fictional. I wonder if it isn’t easier to do that in the novels as opposed to the Ark Encounter itself—there’s something about seeing that arena diorama, set in the midst of the artistically powerful pre-Flood exhibits, that makes it feel like a presentation of a real event, despite the disclaimer about artistic license.
I’ll be happy to comment at Amazon about your books–thanks for being so responsive to your readers!
What evidence is there that Gilgamesh predates Old Testament?
The earliest inscriptions we have for the Epic of Gilgamesh comes from about the 18th century BC. This is about 300 years or so before Moses wrote Genesis. However, that doesn’t mean that Gilgamesh is the original or that Moses copied from it. They are likely independent recountings of the actual Flood. There are so many difference between the Flood account in Scripture and the flood discussed in Gilgamesh. The Bible includes dimensions for an Ark that would actually work while Gilgamesh has a cube-shaped boat that would rock so badly during a flood that it is doubtful anyone would survive. Also, the biblical Flood keeps Noah and his family in the Ark for over a year whereas the flood in Gilgamesh lasts a total of seven days.
Also, Gilgamesh doesn’t predate the early chapters of Genesis in terms of its content. Gilgamesh describes the exploits of Gilgamesh and Enkidu some time after the great flood (and after Babel for that matter). In it, he also travels to an island to visit Utnapishtim, the man who was granted immortality and survived the flood. The Bible tells us about the world prior to the Flood and includes details about the man who survived the Flood (Noah). The first 11 chapters of Genesis predate the content of Gilgamesh, even if Gilgamesh was written down first.
I hope this helps.
Yes thank u very much I am truly blessed to have come in contact w a man of God that has information like this I am still a babe in Christ so this really helps God bless u sir
You can also look this info up on the internet.
While I tend to agree with Tim’s take on the relationship between the Noachin story and Gilgamesh – there are other analyses that are good to be aware of – inc. ultimately your own critical review of the extant data.
Best wishes in your walk in Christ – it is a mine-field in the evangelical scene…:-(
Just finished this book. I struggled to put it down. One of the best reads that I have had in quite a while! Noah, along with King David, has always fascinated me ever since I was a child. My only real complaint was that it wasn’t any longer and I a going to try and patiently wait for the sequel to come out. Perhaps my favorite part of the book had to have been the journey that Noah and his friend took to the place of his apprenticeship (trying not to give to many details)and how you were able to sprinkle in some of the “prehistoric” creatures into the story in such an amazing way. One thing I will admit is that I wasn’t expecting the kind of creature that Meru was! Lastly is there a map that was drawn in regards to the story? I’d love to see what kind of distance Noah had to travel and get a better grasp on that if possible. Anyway great book, it became one of my favorites very fast. Can’t wait for the sequel to come out!
Thanks for the very kind words and the review. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the book so much. We are working hard to get the sequel ready by May. There are a couple of maps in the Ark Encounter, and we’ve talked about using one or both of them in the second and/or third books. The distance his original journey covered would be similar to going from St. Louis to New Orleans, and then when they sailed to Havil, it would be like going from New Orleans to Venezuela, but traveling along the coast.
Can I ask a huge favor? Would you mind leaving this review on Amazon for us? That’s one of the best ways to promote a book. We would really appreciate it. Thanks!
I just bought this for the kindle and I am so excited to read it! Books like these are what lead me to the Lord. They give us an understanding of how the scriptures look in modern terms and this inspires us to learn more about God because we can now picture the reality of the word more vividly. Thank you for writing books like this, we are so in need of clean, wholesome and educational Christian literature to fill our minds with over the distractions of the meaningless worldly offerings. God Bless.
Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging comments. We sincerely hope that the Lord would use this book to lead people to Him. There are a couple of Christian fiction titles that were instrumental in my life, too. It would be incredible if some of my books could do the same for others. If you enjoy it, would you mind taking a few minutes to leave a positive review on Amazon? Thanks so much!
P.S. We hope to have book two available in May 2017.
Hi Tim! Long time AIG/Ark fan, reader of your blog, and several of your books. Had the pleasure of visiting with Ken, Mark, Mike and Joe at the Ark over the last couple months, since I was doing some publicity for my company’s involvement with the Ark project. 🙂 Just bought your book on Kindle, and will leave a review soon!
Just finished a similar project based on Enoch – trying to reverently bring the ‘sons of God’ story line to life as a film script. It’s been a passion of mine for more than 10 years, and now that it’s finally finished it has gotten good recognition at Christian Film Festivals this year. More about the script and my criteria for creating Biblical fiction on my website. I even quoted you on a recent blog post!
Looking forward to reading Noah. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for the kind words and for purchasing the book. I trust you’ll enjoy a fresh take on Noah and his world. Thanks for the info about your site. I’m looking forward to reading your material. Blessings!
Not sure what the benefit of reading a work of fiction is – when we have the Word of God to read – re-read and actually spend our time walking with God…
I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from reading Scripture, so if you continually read and study it then I pray that you would continue to do that. Not everyone likes to read fiction, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
With that being said, there are still ways to benefit from fiction, particularly a book like this. You can gain some fresh insights by seeing an account through someone else’s eyes. As the post mentioned, we use artistic license whenever we read and think about the text. Reading someone else’s ideas about the account may give you some other ideas to think about and see the passages in a different light.
Also, this novel includes 40 pages of nonfiction at the end of the book, so there is much that can be learned. Finally, there are many people who don’t read their Bibles regularly, and a novel like this may pique their interest so that they would read the Bible more often.