This is the
When I was living in Africa, as a missionary, a famous chief died and on the self-same night that he died a massive comet appeared in the sky. It remained there for two weeks, diminishing each day. Everyone said it was the gods honoring the dead chief. You say, "That is the kind of thing that happens in Africa." But two years ago a housewife in our California town claimed that the face of Jesus Christ had appeared on her screen door. To most this news was either humorous or ludicrous. Yet, the number of people who went to check it out required management by the police.
Extraordinary phenomena have always had amazing fascination for people. Without warning, figures, faces and apparitions appear in unlikely places. Such occurrences seem to defy natural laws and have no rational explanation. Whether real, imagined or outright fraud, people respond to these sightings with a wide range of interest. Many simply dismiss the claims, others are curious, even awestruck, while some even feel reverence and the need to worship.
What Lloyd Carpenter lays out for us in this book is not his personal quirky vision or some passing apparition. It is not in the category of a frivolous Man-on-the-Moon or an uncanny face on Mars. The phenomena he asks us to look at are permanent beyond words, older than old, and are of super gargantuan dimensions. What we are asked to consider is in a class by itself. This report is about configurations of nature in the sea and on the land, formed by primary structures of the earth millions of years ago. It seems that, for several reasons, it is only now, in our time, that we can begin to comprehend these manifestations and reflect upon whether there is mind and message behind them.
Being in the business of theology I tend to doubt anything that we haven't heard before on the subject of God. And one could wonder why any person might imagine that he has discovered something this massive which we didn't know before. But one thing is sure. The creator God has not gone away or left human beings without means of contact with him. Rather, God is a communicator on the divine scale, so we should not be surprised when God contacts us on the grand order of creation itself.
Once the reader sees what Lloyd Carpenter has seen, responses will differ. Some may feel it is a purely subjective notion which the author has or that what is there is pure coincidence. Or you, the reader, could be led to ponder the fact that the Creator Mind is trying to tell us something. It is the latter that Carpenter calls for in his concluding section. The author has a right to ask this of us because his discovery has a history of reviews by responsible people and he, himself, is a serious thinker and scholar. But whatever the level of response, as the reader you will have to ask some big questions that have been there since the beginning of time, such as:
Is there a Mind behind nature or is it all a fortuitous accident and the consequence of natural laws? Where is the line to be drawn between pure coincidence and intelligent purpose? Is there an Eternal God who has always connected with creation and does this God have something to say to people in our day? Is there common spiritual intuition in all human beings which can lead them to similar conclusions when given the same data?
Carpenter opens up to us the possibility that we have a message from God that has been there for millions of years waiting for the right moment. Could that right moment be now? We have a new sophistication in producing maps giving us the ability to see in detail the ocean floor and the configurations of whole continents. One can imagine all of this being visible from space. It doesn't surprise us anymore to have views of the earth's surface that were never before imagined. It wouldn't have been possible to make any sense out of these formations until now because the technology was not there.
These formations are for any and all to think about, even if one prefers not to accept Carpenter's conclusions. Regardless of age, education, ethnicity or religion, no one needs to miss out on it. Carpenter's assumption is that God can do what he wants to with nature. Though the origin of these stupendous pictures reach back into pre-history, God is not bound by human time and God can use whatever means he wishes, whether seas, land, mountains, valleys, skies, etc. There is no limit to the means that God can use to say what he wants to say. This is the freedom and the power that God has.
Of course, to follow the thesis of this book raises the question as to why God would show himself in this way and at this time. Afterall, these natural structures have been there from the beginning. Is it because people need now, more than ever, a message from God about himself? Is this a revelation that is made available just as we are ready to embark on the unknown of a new millennium? Even if one feels he or she cannot see anything in this material, could it not give reason to consider whether or not God is "out there" and is involved in our affairs? If God has done this to cause us to think, then the implications are almost overwhelming.
You are about to read a book that will call for some kind of reaction. If you don't come to the same conclusions that Carpenter has laid out for you, look deeply into your own consciousness, ask your own questions and see what kind of answers you get.
Dr. Dean S. Gilliland
Fuller Theological Seminary
*Dr Gilliland is a professor of Contextualized Theology and African Studies at the School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary. He received his Masters of Theology (in New Testament Studies) at Princeton Theological Seminary and his Ph.D at Hartford Seminary Foundation. Before coming to Fuller, he was a missionary to Africa for more than twenty years. He is the author of several books including, "The World Forever Our Parish" (Bristol Books, Lexington, Ky.) and "The Word Among Us" (Word, Irving, Tx.). Dr. Gilliland is also an ordained elder in the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. .
This has been the FOREWORD taken from the book