pinterest-7bf66.html Reviews by Peter: Fallen by Melinda Viergever Inman

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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 

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Sunday, 29 July 2018

Fallen by Melinda Viergever Inman


Love takes action. The Creator God establishes the cosmos and shapes a man. Adam rises from the dust. Envious, the powerful angel Lucifer despises him. Oblivious to the threat, Adam is captivated by his strong, intuitive wife Eve. In the Garden of Eden, they enjoy abundant food, gorgeous vistas, and intriguing challenges, including their budding love and passion. They have it all! 

But Lucifer's deceptive brilliance tricks them into disobeying God. Their unity with one another and with God is destroyed. Lucifer's jealousy threatens mankind's tenuous beginning. But God is merciful. What astonishing promise does He make? How will Adam and Eve survive - broken, shattered, and separated from God? 

The Guru's Review: 

I have waited 3 years to read this novel! It had been on my To Be Read list on Goodreads since that time but due to reviewing other authors novels, I have only now managed to get to it now.

All I can say is the wait has been more than worth it! This is a beautiful and tender novel. There are novels where the reader can feel the author pouring herself into it with the utmost passion for writing and the storyline and this novel is one of those. Having read some of Inman's Tweets, posts from Facebook and her website, she is passionate about writing, about the art of story creation, expressing her love for God and all things relating to Him. It definitely shows in this novel's construction and forms one of its foundational pillars.

I have not come across a novel where there is so much detail in describing the gaps in the Genesis account of Adam and Eve, their fall from Grace and their life after being banished from the Garden of Eden. Inman has clearly researched this, discussed with other Christians who would be able to provide more insight and expound more on this. Inman has a short reference list at the end of the book that has influenced the storyline and added to her poetic licence to fill in these gaps in this Biblical narrative. This licence does not detract from it but actually is an enhancement without making it more important than what God has included. To me, it reads as if it is a fictionalised account that could be considered the closest to what it could have been that the Biblical narrative does not give account.

It is very much alive this account of Ish/Adam and Isher/Eve. You are transported there; it is almost as if you are part of this narrative and not just reading it. I found myself relating to everything they experienced from Creation to their sin culminating in their hardship and rediscovering themselves and how to relate to each other as a result of their new fallen nature. The way God had created them to be one with each other and with God made me yearn for this when He returns and restores us to Him. Inman shines here in her description of this relationship. Again it is beautiful and tender. Reading this pre-fall account of their relationship only reinforced this oneness of what I have felt towards my own wife since marriage, albeit not to the full extent of what Adam and Eve experienced as these two are the only ones to experience the full relationship of what God had intended.

Inman further shines in her description of how this perfect relationship between them and God is destroyed and what it then comprised as they move forward with the reality of their now sinful and fallen nature. I am sure every married couple reading this, if they are honest with themselves, will relate and even be confronted with some of the emotions, attitudes and behaviour that Adam and Eve now exhibited towards each other. I know I did! And what this did to me was to reinforce what I have discovered that relationships, especially a married one, require more work on every level, physical, emotional, spiritual and on a daily basis in every situation that you are both presented with.

Inman is very clever at describing this. Reading how Adam and Eve were before their sin and after, reads like a relationship manual. The thought struck me that she has included all there is to identify in dealing with relationship conflict and resolution, learning about each other and in relation to each other and overcoming this by referencing it back to God for His guidance in what He required of them in their situation. It is here that they learn how to effectively communicate, the art of listening, of honesty, forgiveness and in understanding each other's point of view. They also learnt about dealing with anger, bitterness, regret and resentment. I even thought that every engaged couple or those wanting to be married should read this novel just for these insights! They are rich and powerful. If any reader approaches this novel with a teachable spirit, they will pick up some valuable relationship gems to apply to their lives and be strengthened and blessed by it. And all the while honouring God in the process seeing He is the force behind these insights.

One of the most powerful insights I found from this novel and that is reinforced in the Bible and what I have applied in my marriage, is that as Adam and Eve, before their sin, placed each other first and would lay down their lives for each other. It was the opposite story after their sin. Sin changed this attitude and behaviour of looking out for the other to only looking out for themselves. Placing the other first is now what we have to learn and apply to our lives and it is no wonder that Jesus stressed this to us in His example of what a married relationship needs to be. Just as He laid down His life for us, He has specified that we need to lay to lay down our lives for each other in marriage. I stated this as a condition for my future son-in-law that he could marry my daughter only if he was prepared to lay down his life for her and place her first in everything, just as Jesus had done for us! It is what I have based my marriage on and can vouch for its success. It was also what I based my Father of the Bride speech at their wedding!

Where Inman shines again, is her description of the creation of Ish/Adam and Isher/Eve and the Garden of Eden. Compared to other novelised accounts which can be dry, and very matter of fact, Inman evokes your curiosity through Ish's as he wonders in the flora and fauna, his naming of them, and in the natural workings of the environment and world that God has created. This also adds to the mystique of this part of the novel, it is not a bland description that makes you want to gloss over but encourages you to be in the same wonderment that Ish had about every aspect of this created world. And it is this description that shows more of the nature of God and the depth of relationship that He has toward His creation, the highlight being Ish and Isher. Inman's depiction of God/Creator is very relational and not just as a hierarchical Being but one that is intimately involved with His creation, especially towards Ish and Isher.

Inman has dealt with the sexuality of Ish and Isher very appropriately and respectively and I believe as close as possible to how God planned it. These two are the only ones who have lived to have experienced sex how God created it to its fullest (before their sin) and how it was different afterwards. Pre their fall, it was an integral part of their oneness with each other and towards God. Post their fall, it was fragmented and not so integrated as before. Tiredness and the effects of conflict between them altered to some extent this oneness and enjoyment of it between them. And the human race since has only experienced sex and sexuality through the effects of sin and our fallen nature. Even today, sex and sexuality in the media, education and many other areas, including families are not promoted as an expression of love and oneness towards each other within the confines of marriage but just a physical act, a relieving of one's sexual urge and expected behaviour in relationships. And the perversion of it is just becoming more so with each passing year under the new attitude of it being normal and healthy. And sadly, even in Christian marriages and amongst Christian singles, the adherence to the Bible's principles of marriage, sex and sexuality are challenged, modified and in some cases suppressed and rejected. I applaud Inman for showing and being daring to do so in today's world of political correctness to include this in this novel. She shows faithfulness to God's standards and not man's in this regard. May all Christians follow her example and stand up for what is correct in God's eyes!

Years ago, when I examined why I love Christian fiction, I identified some key points and it is these that I love to see in a Christian novel (and can be found in the Why Christian Fiction? tab in this blog): 

  • it has entertained me immensely, 
  • it has encouraged my walk with God, 
  • it has not deviated from biblical doctrine, and it will not, I believe, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, 
  • it honours God, 
  • it does not encourage worship of the created (eg angels) instead of the Creator (God). 
Well, Inman has more than succeeded with these criteria in this novel! She has encouraged not only my walk with God but has encouraged me to continue to place my family first and them above myself.

And since I started reading and reviewing Christian fiction, I have identified that this area of fiction across all its genres, deals with the following issues/doctrines: 
  • relying on God through difficult and trying circumstances, 
  • the nature of God, developing faith and trust in Him, 
  • encouraging others, 
  • spiritual warfare, 
  • demonology, 
  • angelology 
  • being true to yourself, 
  • standing up for what is right, 
  • Godly romance, 
  • sex and sexuality. 
and all these are in this novel, in varying degrees! Now, I realise that these are included in the biblical account of Adam and Eve/Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible, but I applaud Inman for being faithful to the Biblical account and to God in these areas and through the use of poetic licence. 

Inman is adept in outlining God's plan for salvation and redemption, and I appreciated how she integrated this through the fall of Adam and Eve, what this then meant to them and future generations until, through their lineage, one would come to crush the serpent's head and become the Saviour of mankind, restoring/reconciling man back to God. It was such a joy to have Inman include the reasons why God knew Adam and Eve would sin and how He had prepared a solution from the beginning which is where the doctrines of redemption and salvation come from. So much of this is omitted from similar Christian novels that leads to the plotline being thin and any Gospel message watered down. These two doctrines are, in some Churches just not taught today. I applaud Inman (yet again!) for doing this and showing how fiction can be used mightily by God to educate and uplift one's faith or sow a seed concerning biblical truth and principles. I loved how Adam and Eve began to identify these motives from God in response to their sin and fallen nature and integrated it into their newly forged relationship with each other and God. In doing so they also learnt more about the nature of God, His mercy, goodness, patience, forgiveness, "restoring lovingkindness" (to quote the author), His unfailing love, his Omniscience and that He will never forsake them. 

Inman also shows valuable insights into the spiritual warfare side of the fall of man relating to Lucifer's rebellion, banishment from Heaven and bondage to Earth. Despite his revenge enacted through his attempts to destroy everything relating to God's human race, represented here by Adam and Eve, he underestimated who God is and His Sovereignty. Inman provides a valuable biblical truth here, as Lucifer (now named Satan since his sin and rebellion) experiences first hand how the power of God's love for Adam and Eve and their love for Him, makes their relationship with each other and with God "fireproof" while the Spirit of God remains working in and through them. Inman's description of this account is a powerful read and gives the reader a solid basis of God's commitment to us that can be seen in John 3:16 as the fulfillment of this commitment and love towards us while further illustrating that nothing we do will separate us from His love as the apostle Paul expounds in  Romans 8: 35-38, the latter being my favourite Bible verse.

I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Refuge, over the next few weeks. This series is truly a blessing. I would recommend this novel to any Christian but especially to new Christians. This would definitely give reinforcement to their newly found faith and supplement the basic tenets of Christianity. I highly recommend the study guide at the end for this purpose as well. 

Inman has definitely allowed the Spirit to use her talent, imagination and creativity to craft a novel that is very much God-honouring and faith strengthening. As one of my author friends states, if you are a Christian author and you believe God has mandated you to write, then write for Him. I can see that Inman definitely does this. 

Highly recommended. 

The three ratings below are based on my discernment:

World Building 5/5

Characters 5/5

Story 5/5


The two classifications below are based on the booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland: 

Spiritual Level 2/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 3/5

Overall Rating: 4/5

_______________________________________________________

Spiritually, based on my review and on the aforementioned reference booklet, 
A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland (Radiqx Press


Melinda Inman is bestowed the

Reality Calling Pre-Christian Godliness Fiction Award



Fallen contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Pre-Christian Godliness Fiction and is awarded to novels with level two spirituality detailed in the Booklet. This criterion is as follows:
  • they accurately depict Godly living at the Old Testament level,
  • they clearly reveal the Truth about the Lord and how He works. 
  • there must be specific references to the coming Savior/Redeemer and the Lord’s ultimate plan for His people.
Congratulations, Melinda!

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