On the positive side, I think [William] Paul Young has become a markedly better writer since The Shack. On the negative side, he continues to use his writing to undermine and redefine Christian theology. By my reckoning, that’s a net loss. Where The Shack was meant to revolutionize our understanding of God, his new novel Eve is meant to revolutionize and rescue our understanding of the relationship between men and women. And it is no less troubling.
Now, obviously Eve is fiction, which means it can be tricky to determine exactly what the author actually means to teach through his story. There is a lot in the novel that is complex and symbolic and that awaits the author’s authoritative interpretation. But what is clear is that Young’s novel is a retelling of the creation narrative through which he means to right a great wrong.
The story begins when a shipping container washes ashore on an island that exists somewhere between our world and the next. John the Collector finds a young woman named Lilly trapped inside. She is beaten, bruised, broken, and only barely alive. With the help of others—Scholars and Healers—he helps her to recover, to remember who she is, and to understand her importance in history. Lilly, it turns out, is a Witness, one who has the privilege of watching past events unfold so they can be properly understood and interpreted in the present time. Her privilege is to witness creation and the fall into sin, and in that way to provide an account that corrects all our false understandings. Continue reading