This review of Chana Keefer’s The Fall contains spoilers. Usually I try not to do that in a review but I needed to refer to specific parts of the book to make specific points, so I give advance warning that I am revealing story details in this review.
Dan Brown wrote a book called The da Vinci Code. It has lots of suspense, adventure, and danger. It also has ancient, hidden knowledge, a legacy of people willing to die to protect that knowledge, and a really bad guy trying to find and destroy the physical proofs of that knowledge. Dan Brown said, over and over, that his book was fiction, but that he based it on exhaustive historical research into factual ancient knowledge which he implied had been kept hidden from us but that he had uncovered and made known.
I have both read the book and seen the movie. I know, no matter how many times he claims it was “just fiction”, that he intended people to treat the “big secret” of the book as historical truth. He called it fiction because many people can’t handle the “truth” that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and had children. His work has been an enormous bestseller and a successful movie with an A-list actor in the title role. But it is built around an enormous, heretical, and long-disproved lie.
Chana Keefer has written a book called The Fall. Its scope is far more vast than that of Dan Brown’s measly little adventure tale. The Fall is written with far more skill. It is far more beautiful, lyrical, panoramic in its scope and style. Its characters are much more vivid and real. And it also has suspense, adventure, and danger. It has a really bad villain and a really well-done good guy. Keefer has a whole separate work explaining why she had to write The Fall and how she got it from God, through prayer and tears, to change the narrow, wrongheaded views people have of God, Satan, and Creation and man’s place in it. She has researched exhaustively and uncovered ancient, hidden knowledge, and she has called it fiction because she believes Christians won’t be able to handle the truth.
I admit that many people do have narrow and wrongheaded views on these things. Christians are among the worst religious practitioners on the planet for practicing their religion in a shallow, superficial way, listening to other men’s views on God, the Scriptures, and Jesus Christ rather than being Bereans and getting out their Bibles to study the great truths themselves. Different denominations and sects calling themselves Christian have even set up priesthoods to counsel their flocks to trust the interpretation of the priest and not try to understand it on their own.
Other faiths spend their whole lives digging, studying, seeking their gods’ or teachers’ wisdom and ancient secrets. They have even added to their scriptures, and in their faiths this is perfectly acceptable. Their written texts do not have ultimate authority, even the ones that are thousands of years old. From Mesopotamia to the Indus Valley to the Chinese deserts to the civilizations of Meso-America, there is a limitless supply of once-hidden ancient knowledge that has now come to light and can even be found by anyone through the magic of the internet. The Popol Vuh, the Enuma Elish, the Charvaka — Their very names are exotic, enticing. The fact that “Christians” sometimes tried to obliterate these ancient works just confirms in our minds that something is being kept from us. Christians are narrow-minded, exclusive, haters, and destroyers.
A researcher can even uncover “suspect” texts related to the Judeo-Christian religions. These bear enticing titles like the Kaballah, The Book of the Cave of Treasures, and The Book of Enoch. These can seemingly enhance our understanding of God and His purposes. All we have to do is add back these lost treasures to the canon of Scripture, along with works some times called the Pseudepigrapha and the Apocrypha. Let us have it all, all knowledge, and let us make our own decisions about truth.
Ironically, this is the whole premise of The Fall. Satan introduces sin into the world because he thinks God is keeping something from him, and convinces others to follow him because God is mean, unfair, and doesn’t want us to know everything. Keefer has unfortunately fallen into the same trap she so eloquently describes in her book. She claims she only innocently asked God a question: “Why can’t fallen angels be saved?” She admits that this question wasn’t even worded correctly because it should have been, “Can fallen angels be saved?”
The question is still wrong, though. When seeking knowledge about angels, three areas are important to consider. One, What are angels? Two, Why did God create them? and Three, What is the nature of atonement? The answers to these questions are actually very simple. Angels are beings created before man, as near as we can determine, to be servants of God, to do His will and fulfill His purposes. The real mistake Keefer makes in her book is that she seems to think of angels as being created for much the same purpose as man was, but there is no evidence of that in Scriptures. We are not told much about angels, but we know they can serve as intermediaries between God and man. They appear to men to visualize God’s glory, holiness, and fearful majesty. They also communicate God’s will. They can protect men, they can fight evil for man’s sake, and they can even prevent men from intruding into places God has forbidden.
There is no real evidence that angels have many characteristics in common with man. They are just servants. When they step outside that function, they become something else. That is what Satan did. He stepped outside that function. He decided to seek equality rather than servitude. The other thing he became when he did that is not clear to us as humans, but it is clear that this is where sin originated.
Rapha, the “good guy” in the book, is also an angel. He, too, steps outside of God’s traditional role for angels because he chooses to leave the garden with Adam and Eve after they have sinned, to cut himself off from God’s direct presence, and to be a servant to man while hoping to remain, in some fashion, a servant of God. He admits over and over that he doesn’t know what he became as a result of his choice, and that he does not understand how and why God works, but he labors on.
The Scriptures say that Christ was slain before the foundation of the world. To our linear minds this is gibberish, but Keefer has more than one scene showing Christ beaten, pierced, and clearly sacrificed already, before Adam and Eve even sin. This is accurate and true. But when Keefer says Christ offered salvation, atonement, redemption, to Satan, before Adam and Even were even created, she has no basis for making this claim.
Keefer also correctly identifies man as a special creation, with a God-breathed essence. This was not done to angels when they were created, and Keefer says so. Then why would she anthropomorphize them to say they can be redeemed as man can be? Why does God say He created the Lake of Fire for the devil and his angels and does not say He created it for sinful, rebellious men as well? Because they are different. God made them with a different purpose and when they step out of that purpose He has different remedies. For man it is the opportunity for atonement and restoration. That was what God provided for before the foundation of the world. The restoration of angels is never mentioned. Man shares the fate of rebellious, fallen angels only if he refuses to accept Christ’s free gift.
But Keefer also says “the garden is open to us”. There is no Scripture that says we could (or should) go back to the Garden of Eden. She rightly says that the Garden of Eden was a place of teaching and preparation for Adam and Eve. But at some point children leave the classroom for the adult world. That doesn’t mean the fall was a “fortunate thing” to bring us to the mature relationship the atonement provides. God did indeed, and still does, grieve over sin but He had a plan from eternity and it’s going forward, all contingencies provided for, no surprises, no hiccups, no “gotchas” on either side.
Keefer throughout the book presents God’s amazing love, and this is a great thing to dwell on. But, again, she falls into the trap of saying that because God loved Satan He gave him control of the Earth and Satan had a try at managing creation, a chance to be “like the Most High”. She opens the door to evolution by claiming other creatures existed, other men, other kingdoms and civilizations. She allows for millions of years by starting Creation long before the six days of Genesis 1 and 2.
It is not love to indulge sinful desire, pride, and corruption by giving Satan a chance to see how his way works, knowing he will screw it up. This is the heresy that leads to the lie that God was wrong to ever create Satan or sin or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God does not indulge evil, ever. He atoned for sin and offered a cure. He didn’t offer anyone a way to prove himself worthy or unworthy. He provided atonement. He isn’t indulgently letting anyone figure out that the way of pride won’t work. He is following a plan, while we refuse to understand that plan and instead blame him when our attempts to improve upon it are rejected.
The Scriptures clearly say that sin entered into the world by one man (Adam) and death by sin. Yet sin and death are rampant in Satan’s management of Keefer’s creation and continue around the Garden after Adam and Eve are created and before they fall. Sin existed before Adam, in Satan, but its effects on creation, its “entry into the world”, did not occur until Adam’s fall.
In the Scriptures, words have simple, obvious meanings unless they are clearly presented as symbolic or figurative. A tree is a tree. God gave trees to man for food. Why does Keefer say the trees were different angels presenting different kinds of knowledge? There is no basis for that, and the outrageous “disclosure” that Satan was himself the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that Adam and Eve had sex with him, is based on an interpretation of the concept of a tree that is completely unbiblical. it is no different from animism, believing that all things have a living component and something to teach or impart to us. To say that Cain and Abel were offspring of Satan and that it took Adam and Eve decades, possibly centuries, to get back together after that travesty to give birth to Seth and start things back on the right path is indefensible.
Paul urges us to avoid “cunningly devised fables”. I have to put this book in this category.