I have a PhD in divinity, have taught and published on the Roman and Ottoman Empires, and have conducted anthropological research throughout four continents. This book challenged me in all of these areas.
Let me first say that the book is not dated. There is a certain timelessness to it that the greatest books have–I think of The Lord of the Rings and Lord of the Flies. Indeed, I kept on going back to meta-metaphor of the hammer in Earth Abides in relation to Piggy’s glasses in Lord of the Flies.
But this book touched me on a deeper level: I am like Ish. I am the kind of person who is always asking. Or as one former girlfriend asked me a long time ago: don’t you ever stop thinking? Like Ish, I cannot.
This book is set apart from other ‘end of the world’ books, like Lucifer’s Hammer or The Stand, in that it extends decades beyond the apocalypse, which in this book is a plague which eliminates very close to 100% of humanity. While those other books focus on the preservation of technology, this book gets to the primordial question: is civilization better than primitivism? Does reason, and so science, and so applied science–technology–make life better? What is progress? Is it, in fact, good?
Enjoy the audio book version I listened to. It is narrated by Jonathan Davis and he does this masterfully. The language is refreshingly clean, so let your children listen too while you’re on a trek from, say, San Antonio (where I live) to Denver (where my dad lives).
I will, in closing, note that the main character’s name is Isherwood, but he is always called ‘Ish’. It is a Hebrew word. It means ‘man’.
One of the joys of being in higher education is hearing good news from former students. I
was very happy to hear from Elias Said, a former student of mine from when I was teaching at the seminary in Nazareth, who was ordained to the pastorate at the Haifa Assembly of God.
One does not have to read much about Jesus to ask the simple question, what exactly is the relation of Jesus to his Father? In other words, what is the relation of God the Father to the Son of God? Are they of the same divine essence? Or similar essences? Or are they simply different? In this lecture we see how the Church of the 4th C. tackled these issues.
How did the obscure Jewish sect called ‘The Way’ become the Christian Church? How did the communities of Jesus’ disciples continue their life and mission as the first generation of Apostolic leaders passed? We deal with these and other questions in this lecture.
Delivered at Christ Church, San Antonio, Texas on September 25, 2016.
I recently taught an intensive semester on church history at the International Bible College of Zambia. The campus is far removed from any large city and the stars at night were easily visible. Here is what we saw each evening around dinner time.