Monday, April 02, 2012

The Final Summit

In the Final Summit, 74-year-old time traveler, David Ponder, is charged by the angel Gabriel with heading up a summit of history's greatest figures. Mankind is headed for destruction, as well as a judgment from God. To escape this judgment, the summit must come up with an answer that shows God that people can improve things.

I enjoy science fiction, and I also enjoy writers like C. S. Lewis, to whom the author is compared. Thus, I hoped to enjoy the "Final Summit: A Quest to Find One Principle That Will Save Humanity". I did enjoy the first chapter or so, for the author set up some interesting characters and situations. Unfortunately, after a few chapters, I lot interest on two levels: 1) the writing and 2) the "spiritual" principles presented in the book.

As far as the writing goes, it seems to be mainly a vehicle for the author's message. Good fiction, especially good Biblically based fiction, can and should deliver a message. However, we should be able to glean that message from a well crafted plot, well rounded characters, and a story that draws our attention. The Final Summit gave me the feeling of sitting in a business meeting that wasn't going anywhere any time quickly. That surprised me, as the characters, both real and fictional, could have made for more interesting dialogue and action.

Speaking of action, the title leads one to expect a quest. There is a quest, but it is a quest that involves a lot of speaking and very little action. Moral and spiritual quests can be exciting to read about, but, somehow, this one left me snoozing.

As far as the spiritual principles are concerned, I didn't care for the strange mixture of business-culture self-help and Biblical imagery. The book discusses 7 principles for life. The book culminates in a two-word prescription for humankind's plight that is delivered by the summit council. These 7 principles and the one concluding principle are not bad in and of themselves. In fact, in the right context, they could be sound advice. If they were outlined in some other type of quest story, I don't think it would bother me that the author crafted his story around them.

However, the author sets these principles in the framework of an impending judgment from God, similar to that of Noah's day. Despite this, there is no mention of Christ or a savior-figure. The concepts of faith, mercy, obedience, and God's gift of true salvation are also strangely absent. In light of this, the two word answer not only seems lame, it's wrong -- dangerously wrong! It leaves the impression that the destruction of sin can be healed by our own efforts and human wisdom. Following that line of thinking will only lead us into more trouble! True answers are found in Christ and in God's wisdom.


Cecelia Dowdy said...

I don't believe I've ever read any of Andy Andrews work before. This novel does not sound like my cup of tea. I went to Amazon and see that this book is a sequel to another novel? Did you happen to read the first one and if you did, did you like it better than the second?

I hope you have a blessed day.

Elizabeth said...

I did not read the first one, so I don't know if I might have enjoyed it more if I had. After reading this one, though, I haven't had much motivation to read the first one. Apparently, both are a very specific type of fiction, with a business culture self help slant, which some might like. Just not my cup of tea, as you say.