Book Review: The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross
The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross is a book spanning from creation to resurrection. And yet my kids love and recognize palm trees. This is a book both theological satisfying and artistically stunning. Written by Carl Laferton and illustrated by Catalina Echeverri, The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross has become my favorite "biblical theology" for my children.
It opens with a fairytale opening. There is a biblically-oriented sense of perfection in God's creation despite the childlike terms. God's presence is sternly emphasized — God's presence is the glory and pleasure of the garden. Creation is declared "good" because it resides in true community with its Creator. I imagine some might be cross with the "Avatar" like artistry of Adam and Eve in communion with God. Yet, the illustrations draw a sharp contrast with the pale darkness of sin and death. Kids, in particular, catch these distinctions.
In the garden, sin occurs. Man is separated from their God. The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross does not make light of this theological fact. This is particularly important when teaching our son the sin separates us from those we love. Man is removed from the garden on the basis of rejecting a God who is in charge. Sin is not merely judicial but is also relational. This is communicated through language of sadness and futility. The garden is blocked in child-friendly terms — a "KEEP OUT SIGN." Kids are taught that this sign continues throughout the history of man — including God's holy temple. The curtain of God's Temple acts as a "KEEP OUT SIGN."
Contra any simplistic or moralistic solution, kids are taught that God's solution is a person — the sinless lamb of God, Jesus Christ. But men, who rejected God, crucified Jesus. The truth articulated is that the "KEEP OUT SIGN" was torn at Christ's death. The Garden is available once again for men. The theological summary of the Scripture is presented in a definitive way for children to understand.
In conclusion, The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross is a theologically sound book despite being a little heaven-oriented. It contains amazing illustrations that captivate children and draw attention to the language of the book while retaining a great emphasis on sin and the completed work of Jesus Christ (note — there are depictions of Jesus in the book). Our kids loved the book and had many favorite pages of illustration (even some of the sad and dark pages). This has instantly become one of my favorite children books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.