(nb: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss)
Whenever I read certain books about spirituality and religion, and the book speaks to God doing something like sitting in judgment—say over Sodom and Gommorah—I always find myself picturing God as Spencer Tracy. Spence looked grandfatherly, but could also be tough as nails. Moreover, he starred in two of the best courtroom dramas of the early 1960’s:
“Inherit the Wind” and “Judgment at Nuremberg.” In “Inherit the Wind,” he played noted secular humanist defense attorney Henry Drummond, based on Clarence Darrow. In “Judgment at Nuremberg,” he played the presiding judge, Dan Haywood.
More on that later.
“The Trial” is an interesting idea for a book. It’s a putative transcript of an imaginary trial of Adam and Eve—and The Serpent, of course—for the whole eating the fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” crime. This resulted caused sin and death to plague us all, even today.
God is the Judge. According to one of the hypothetical documents, the Prosecutor is “Son of God,” ostensibly Jesus. The subpoenas were served by Michael the Archangel—no way you’re gonna weasel away from him, I guess—and there’s a bailiff. I don’t know who the bailiff is.
Anyway, the prosecutor makes his case, that Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and thus deserve to be killed at once (ref: Gen 2:17 KJV). Adam blames Eve and the Serpent. Eve blames Adam and the Serpent. The Serpent says, “Hey, I was just talking a line of crap and having a snack. It’s not my fault she ate a sinmelon.”
The Serpent, of course, is Satan, formerly a high-ranking angel who’d been cast out of Heaven for his power-grabbing. So Judge God sentences…
You know what? I’ll stop there. You get the idea.
The one thought I kept having was this: if Adam and Eve aren’t supposed to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, WHY PUT IT THERE? Seriously, why make the fruit so delectable and beautiful, and have it in the middle of all the trees they COULD eat from? That’s like putting a Kindergartner alone in a room with M&M’s and saying, “Don’t eat any of the M&M’s. I’m leaving for a long time.” If this tree is so awful, why even create it in the first place? Throw it into the Sun and proclaim “It Is Good.”
Spencer Tracy’s closing remarks in “Judgment at Nuremberg” have this passage: The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common. Any person who sways a person to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime, is guilty. (emphasis mine)
Based on that, Henry Drummond would argue that God was an accessory to the crime, but God being the judge, and Adam, et al, representing themselves pro se they wouldn’t get that in the record.
The biggest problem with this book is that it’s just sloppily written. Like I said, it’s an interesting idea. The version I read is 143 pages long. The first 50 or so pages were just telling us what the book was going to tell us, and how scary and informative and thought-provoking we would find it. Over one-third of the book was hype before we got to the actual trial part. It’s not my job to judge the message, but to judge the book. That’s what I’m doing here.
The author is The Reverend Rickey McDonald, and I pay him total props for knowing the Bible better than I do. He’s deadly serious about it, too. He also says, “I am not a theologian, a scientist, or seminary student or graduate.” He says at one point that he believes every word in the Bible. I can’t make that claim, either. I will say this, if you are not a Christian, this book will not make you feel warm and fuzzy.
Adam and Eve were in Genesis Chapter Two. Jesus didn’t come on the scene for millennia, and yet right there in the courtroom, there’s talk of how if people accept Jesus, they’ll be saved, while Adam and Eve will just turn to dust.
If you’re interested, and a devout Christian, you might like this book. There are so many digressions and so much self-hype, though, that even the target audience might hate it.