My inspiration for writing The Descent of the Gods began in the early 2000s.
I decided to write a report for school about antediluvian legends – compile as much information as could be gathered about what happened before the flood. I thought this would be a simple project. I could not have been more wrong!
I found a wealth of information sitting in plain sight. The Biblical account of Creation and the events that followed are well known. Who doesn’t know the story of Cain and Abel? And yet, 4 verses only a page away, in a chapter that details another one of the most commonly known Bible stories – Noah’s ark – I found reference to an event that never had been discussed in any Sunday school class I had attended growing up.
Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6: 1-4 (NKJV)
What could these verses mean? Had they been ignored throughout history as they were being ignored by the church today?
What shocked me was how little digging I had to do to uncover a wealth of historical discussion and elaboration on the subject – the identity of the ‘Sons of God’, their giant progeny, and what this mysterious event was all about. Other blog posts will discuss these topics in more depth. Here I want to tell you how the story came about as a result of that research.
As I read more and more, and the rabbit trails grew crazier and more ‘wacky’, I took all this to my pastor, burdened by the fear that I had ventured into forbidden territory. His reply surprised me – I wasn’t crazy, and neither were my conclusions. Instead of shooting down my hopes of finding answers, he instead encouraged me and ever since has been a stalwart guide in helping me navigate the murky waters of the mess people have made out of the story over the millenniums.
I am well aware that the story only takes up four Bible verses and I have endeavored to write three books on the topic. You might say that it’s Peter Jackson and ‘The Hobbit’ all over again!
Well, as I tried my best to separate fiction in what I was reading from what may have been the original tale, I began seeing connections. Certain things rang true. Various themes and consistencies became apparent. It was an origins story for so much that exists in our world today, puzzling the conspiracy theorists, inspiring Hollywood, and ignored by academia.
For example, the classic and much maligned Chariots of the Gods was a pleasure to read, because the things that Von Daniken and his followers have puzzled at were fully explained by these four verses. Through this lens, so much became clear.
For me, the Bible had always done that – made the mysterious known and given me direction. The fact that the story I had discovered was doing the same? I was excited. There was something big here. And I wanted to see that story. What did it look like?
My studies of the Bible, old myths, Jewish historians, and the early church fathers’ writings had uncovered a real story arc at their core. As I compiled and compared the various sources, they were actually fairly consistent. So although I haven’t written my story to match the traditional sources exactly, their consensus has provided a structure for it – a direction to go with particular goals in mind.
So I tackled it with gusto but by 2005 had completely run out of steam. I was only 18 at the time, and the story outline I had crafted was so ambitious, and yet so dumb that I couldn’t stand working on it anymore. I had no more inspiration or ideas on how to fix it. I knew everything needed to change, and had no idea on how to do it. I knew where the story needed to go, I just wasn’t getting there the right way.
So I graduated high school, got married, and it remained on my mind’s shelf, bugging me – taunting me. In 2009, I saw James Cameron’s Avatar (my wife surprised me with tickets to the midnight showing in 3D IMAX for my birthday!). And that inspired me to tackle the story again, but not necessarily for the reasons you’d expect. If Cameron could make something so awesome out of concepts so shallow, what was my excuse? I knew that I was sitting on the story with the potential to be one of the greatest stories ever told. The only person standing in my way was me.
So, while on vacation in Thailand, I sat with some blank paper. I let go of the previous versions of the story and started to outline the first draft of the story as it exists today. I worked on it, developing it simply as an outline for 4-5 years, just trying to hammer out the narrative. It changed so much and so drastically as I tried to mold all the elements into a story that engaged and worked, while honoring the context in which it took place. It had to flow with the rest of scripture, or else I was just missing the bar. It had to do live up to the themes and significance of the event it remembered, while also making it real – bringing it into the realm of plausibility. If it happened, it may have happened like this…
There are now a lot of fictionalized versions of this event for sale on Amazon. I’ve read many of them, hopeful to experience the story in a different way than I could imagine, while living up to the potential of the story. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend any of them. Why write a story so fantastic that it is completely implausible? Why not spell check your work? Not that I believe I’m a better writer than any of them, however I believe Christians should not release literature of such low quality. It doesn’t do any good.
It hasn’t been easy. I didn’t ‘finish’ the screenplay until the end of 2015. But I’m glad it took that long, as frustrated as I felt during the process. I finally get to see a version of the story that those dusty old books spoke of. And it excites me as much today as it did when I was just realizing its potential.
So from inception to finished story was about 12-13 years. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait that long. While I’m writing the book, the whole story is available for free in screenplay format. It’s all there!