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Adam and His Kin: The Lost History of Their Lives and Times (book review by a homeschooling mother)
Thinking About Beginnings
What This Book Covers
Adam and His Kin: The Lost History of Their Lives and Times, by Ruth Beechick, is a fresh, sweet-tempered look at the first 11 chapters of Genesis. It is a novelized account of Creation, the Fall of Man, the Antediluvian period, Noah's Flood and its aftermath, the spreading of the nations, the Tower of Babel and its disastrous end, and how God's faithfulness began to be demonstrated through Abraham and his family.
Changes Post- Flood
Post-Flood Changes in the World; Star Stories
My mother read this book to my siblings and I when I was in grade-school. I appreciated it then because it read easily, giving vivid color to the already-vivid Genesis narrative. It also introduced subjects I'd not met before, and which fascinated me - such as what it might have been like to be the first humans to look at the Flood-washed land, and try to rebuild some sense of normalcy, without technology, conveniences, a well-established farmstead, or even neighbors. What was it like to stand under the literally washed-out sky of the new world, whose calendar and seasons even seemed strange, and to remember the beauty, diffused light, and warmth of a world protected by a shield of water which now lay all over a muddy, defenseless landscape? Most of all, I recall being in awe of Mrs. Beechick's treatment of taboo subjects, such as astrology. She demonstrated how the stars and heavenly bodies, like everything else, had once been the Creator's domain, but since that beginning, people's understanding of them had been meddled with, twisted, and marred. Mrs. Beechick introduced the idea that these stars, so long divided in my mind into astronomy (good), and astrology (bad), foretold and explained the story of God's plan for the Earth and redemption of Man, and His work among us. Their pictures, clear to anyone with eyes to see, still tell this story.
My Children's Likes and Dislikes in This Book
With these things in mind, I recently re-read the book with my own children, ages 6 and 10. They loved it as much as I. When pressed for details as to why they liked it, they answered:
Tyger, 6 - "I loved it! I liked everything!" A significant answer coming from a child who is opinionated, unafraid, determined, creative, and easily distracted.
Billy, 10 - "I liked how the one river parted and got to be four rivers (Genesis 2) - because rivers usually don't do that."
When asked what they disliked, Tyger had nothing to add, but Billy especially was pained by the intensity of Cain's jealousy of Abel's relationship with God and with Adam, and the way Cain bragged over his wickedness, teaching his descendents to do likewise.
Questions This Book Inspired About Ancient Cults and Practices
I will mention some things which particularly struck me on this second reading, and which I intend to follow up in my "spare time". Since the book is divided into 19 chapters covering the history, possibilities, and suppositions about Genesis 1-11, there is much to think about. Mrs. Beechick's research was neither free-wheeling nor slap-dash, and as such, demands careful consideration. She chose sometimes among several good possibilities in order to flesh out the story as accurately as possible, and did an admirable and balanced job. So, some questions I entertained as I read were: Did God use a well-documented natural disaster and heavenly phenomenon to drive home His point to the people surrounding the Tower of Babel, causing them to disperse, as He had commanded after the Flood? Who was responsible for keeping the genealogies, records, and histories which have come down to us? How many of the occult practices which were popular at Babel and throughout the Old Testament have remained virtually unchanged, and are still prevalent today, except perhaps for being renamed? Since the Enemy of our Souls, the Devil, is not very creative (he's just a good liar), it seems reasonable to assume that The Black Virgin, aspects of Santa Claus, and New Age Enlightenment, are all outcroppings of the same Bel/Baal worship which was in fact introduced by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and which was built to huge proportions during the early post-Flood days. The Apostle Paul said, "For we are not ignorant of the devil's wiles [schemes]." This means that there is a common, traceable thread through every occult practice on earth, and that there are no "new" religions...only old, re-hashed ones presented to new dupes. I was grateful to Mrs. Beechick for making it simple for me to begin teaching my children about the appeal and subtlety of cults, thus ensuring that they are not among the future dupes. Since Billy already has a high interest in both religions and astronomy, and Tyger often asks deep-thinking, searching questions about morals and motives, this task became simpler yet.
After the Ark Landed in Turkey
Patriarchs and Such
Possible Follow-Up Projects After Reading the Book
It was equally fascinating to me to watch in my mind's eye the interaction presented between the different nations, family groups, and family members, as hinted at by the Scriptures. There were, after all, many clans, classes, nations, kingdoms, and thought-processes, just as there are today. I had never graphed out the ages of the men of early Genesis, comparing their lifespans, and taking note of the surprising overlaps. Sure, I'd thought about Methuselah's being 969 years young, and wondered what that might have been like for him to experience so many generations of hope, denial, sin, politics, accusations, misery, and waiting for the predicted Redeemer of Mankind. I had wondered, too, why God merely "took" Enoch, who experienced no physical death...and what that means for him now, and in the future? Mrs. Beechick's proposal of how Abram (later the Patriarch Abraham) knew of and followed the Living God, rather than those gods belonging to the Chaldeans (Ur was his hometown) merely whetted my appetite to understand more of both the spread of religion and of the culture of the Chaldeans.
Main Focus - God's Sovereignty
Most of all, I applaud the way Mrs. Beechick keeps her focus and emphasis on God's sovereignty, and His ability to keep and to carry out His eternal plan. I tire quickly of treatises, articles, commentaries, and novels which get bogged down in needless arguments concerning facts and theories that have nothing to do with the Gospel, with God's wooing of people, and how He always invites us to work with Him, filling all things ultimately with beauty and with Himself. Mrs. Beechick avoids such pitfalls as the Old vs. New Earth arguments, whether God's love and the evil He allows are compatible, and whether or not the grain of truth in religions not focused on Jesus the Risen Savior, has any value.
Get Your Own Copy of the Book Adam and His Kin
Other Subjects - Those Covered, and Those Left Out
Besides the main story, there are four appendices, covering -
1) The writers of Genesis
2) The text of Genesis 1:1-11:27a, showing the sections of the different authors as outlined in the Scriptures
3) A list of suggestions for further study, including word and original-language studies, also resources for study of the Sumerians
4) A bibliography pointing to further study sources and yet more questions and exploration. Some of the subjects include: ancient technology, mythology, astronomy, Noah's Flood, and ancient cultures and religions.
You will not find included any serious denominational slants, nor will you see references to "billions of years ago," and inferences that the Creation is left to itself, to blunder along toward Enlightenment and betterment at its own pace. Some other things you will not find are:
- Descriptions of the giants and the "sons of God" talked of in Genesis 4, nor discussions concerning their origins, behavior, morals, and descendants.
- Wild descriptions of drunkenness and immorality, though Mrs. Beechick did not shy away from the realities of crime and sin. The episode of Noah's post-Flood drunkenness is treated with respect and caution.
- Unfounded suppositions and historically-inaccurate blunders, inserted into the story to "make it more interesting". Whenever Mrs. Beechick is in doubt as to her source material or suppositions, she says so, trusting that the reader is intelligent enough to pursue his own research.
- Rudeness, uncouth language, nor slandering of other authors. Mrs. Beechick seems to be a fairly conservative Christian, with mainly traditional viewpoints, though she clearly is not afraid of ideas.
Further Study Ideas; Ideas for Using This Book in a Homeschool Curriculum
As to how this book might fit into a structured homeschooling program, you could use it as part of an Ancient History curriculum, for almost any age of student(s), either reading with them or having them study on their own (for older students). It would also work nicely as a jump-start for an early-history or Biblical-history unit study. You will want to decide beforehand how ready your students seem, before developing grand plans for delving into detailed studies on ancient religions, education methods and aims, technologies and inventions (could be hands-on, for some students at least), proverbs, languages, or anything else that requires a clear thought-process, wide experience, or a serious time-commitment.
My children and I have begun on our plans for pursuing some of the questions raised by this book. I have structured the questions to be satisfied by answers either simple or complex, including:
- What kind of culture did Abraham come out of?
- What star constellations can we find from our backyard which portray the story of God's work with Man? (Draw pictures of them.)
- Which monuments and civilization remains may be antedeluvian (pre-Flood)? The great Sphinx of Egypt? Some of the buried cities which are just now being uncovered and explored?
- What are the lies and methods used over and over again by the Enemy of our Souls, to dupe people, cause fear in their hearts, and to break them?
- What is definitely known now about Noah's Ark and its location? (Find photos and stories online, pursue any specialized questions that come up about its construction, etc.)
- What might it have been like to be Adam, watching the slow destruction of the earth, and his own race, through sin? (Write a story portraying his potential feelings over the death of Abel; what it might have been like to be kicked out of the Garden of Eden; what it might have been like, emotionally, to live through generation after generation of sinful descendants, knowing he allowed the mess to happen.)
- How has the changing earth - including solar damages, drastic climate changes, and magnetic pole shifts - influenced the way we live today? What seems to have been different (either easier or harder) for our ancestors?
- How would you have felt had you been Noah, reputed to be a crazy man and a religious fanatic, given the job of preaching to the nations and societies around you for 120 years...apparently without a single convert?
Well, as you see, we have our work cut out for us, and are feeling very inspired! May your journey be as invigorating.
Readers of Ruth Beechick
Have You Ever Read This Book?
A Simple Explanation of the Table of Nations (Spread of Noah's Sons)
For Further Study on Similar Subjects - Answers in Genesis (Ken Ham)
- Answers in Genesis
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively.