4 out of 5 Stars on GoodReads:
The Christ Box
In this international mystery thriller by M. Rutledge McCall, rumors fuel to a violent frenzy that an ancient wooden box owned by a woman in Jerusalem was made by Jesus. When powerful men try to take the box from her, her former NYPD cop son flies to the Middle East to get her and the old box to safety (no screen adaptation available at this time)…
“…a well-written and suspenseful thriller. …fast-paced and engaging… characters are well-developed and believable. …plot is full of twists and turns, and the ending is satisfying. …I particularly enjoyed the way McCall explored the themes of faith, religion, and the power of belief. …raises some interesting questions about the nature of faith and the role of religion in our lives. …well-written and thought-provoking, full of suspense and excitement. A page-turner that will keep you entertained from beginning to end.”
– “Bard”, Google’s new A.I.
“Intriguing, provocative, unpredictable. …‘Da Vinci Code’-meets-‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ … unique layering of richly-conceived characters … unforeseeable plot twists and turns, this riveting journey progresses from mystery and drama to thriller and adventure. …a tough, iconic protagonist … a world filled with dark and powerful, deadly and even fun antagonists. McCall has written one big, surprising splash of a debut novel…”
– Kenneth Ulmer, Ph.D.; Author; past-President, King’s University, Los Angeles; Adjunct, Magdalene College, Oxford University, UK
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A SAMPLE CHAPTER
On a popular UK daytime talk show, a panel of Oxford University, Harvard School Of Theology, University of Edinburgh, and Dallas Theological Seminary science and theology professors are engaged in a scholarly discussion of the Christ box. Speculating on its contents, about whether it could possibly be real or not, and if so, whether it could be scanned and analyzed to ascertain its authenticity.
“The box would first have to be authenticated,” the Harvard theology professor states. “Because so far, nobody has actually proven Jesus himself made such a thing.”
The Dallas Theological Seminary professor suggests the box be tested for DNA, which he immediately withdraws after it’s pointed out that it may have been handled by thousands of oily fingers over the centuries, plus there’s no known DNA from Jesus to compare with.
“And how could it be proven to have been made by Jesus in the first place?” the Oxford professor asks. “He isn’t around to testify.”
The host invites listeners to call in, and an anonymous female caller with a thick foreign accent claims, “I’ve actually held the box. It has some metal thingies rattling around inside it.”
The Edinburgh panelist responds, “The box could be subjected to a CAT-scan and radio spectrogram, to at least try to determine the shape and consistency of the metallic objects inside, if that’s what they are.”
The Harvard theology prof set off a robust round of debate when he speculates as to what the objects might be: the three iron spikes used to nail Jesus to the cross.
Ignoring the fact that no one on the panel and none of the callers offer proof the box even exists—which apparently isn’t necessary for such scholarly theoretical debates—the host closes the segment.
“Well, we would have to get our hands on the thing first, wouldn’t we?” he states. “Thanks everyone. Next up: what are the chances of Vice President-appointee Adam Blaze becoming President of the United States? Don’t go away. We’ll be back after the break.”
The science panel’s speculation of what the objects encased inside the Christ box might be lights the fuse of a European firestorm. Scoffers claim it would be impossible for them to be the same nails used in the crucifixion of Jesus if he had made and sealed them inside the box before he was crucified.
But an MIT professor, backed by leading theologians, postulates that it actually is possible for the spikes to be the very ones used by the Romans to nail Christ to the Cross, because Jesus transcended linear time and could go into the past, present and future at will, and could therefore have put the nails into the box before he was even crucified with the very same nails.
A paradox if ever there was one.
String theory physicists and quantum theoreticians, including renowned British theoretical physicist and rabid atheist Stephen Hawking, actually support that theory. Hawking then kicks the debate into international hyper drive when he discusses the box with renowned cosmologist Dr. Hugh Ross on the Science Channel.
“Strictly theoretically speaking,” Hawking’s voice hypothesizes through his electronic synthesizer, “according to Einstein’s Time Continuum Theory, in a twelfth dimension, time as we know it would not be linear, and therefore no longer the measure of distance or motion.”
“Nor would time be circular,” Ross adds.
“That is correct,” Hawking responds. “Time would be more spherical, globular, more like a round ball than a plate, with any event from any point—future, past, or present—instantly accessible.”
“Therefore,” Ross says, “if—strictly for sake of the hypothesis—we label a twelfth dimension with the name, say… heaven, then hypothetically, if a person—say… Jesus Christ—timelessly exists in such a dimension, then as a twelve-year-old boy on Earth, Jesus could have put nails into a box that are also used when he was—is, actually—thirty-three years old.”
Realizing the box he has just allowed himself be painted into, Hawking hesitates, then says, “Making all of your words in your hypothetical assumption present tense, then yes. He can make a box at twelve years old, put items he touches at thirty-three years old into the box he makes at twelve years old years old, and seal the box when he’s twelve. Theoretically, yes.”
“So then, help me summarize, doctor,” Ross says. “After the spikes are used in his own crucifixion some twenty years after he makes the box, Christ can seal them up in that box some twenty years before they are used in this very crucifixion twenty-odd years later. Correct?”
Then, “If you accept Einstein’s theory as valid.”
“Which you just stated you do.”
Hawking hesitates again, realizing the horse is out of the barn.
It had been a scientifically dense conversation, but the listeners get it: the vaunted physicist has confirmed that the iron spikes now being speculated to be inside the Christ box could possibly be the very same ones used to nail the maker of the box to the cross a couple of decades after he himself previously sealed the spikes in the box he made in the first place. But it means Jesus would have been the one who also iron-smithed out the spikes himself in his father Joseph’s carpentry shop as a lad… the very spikes that would be used one day in his own future to nail him to the cross.
A quantum confusion of biblical proportions.
That is, if the box does exist and is what it’s purported to be, as detractors vociferously point out.
The debate explodes. People around the world begin clamoring to see the old wooden cube that supposedly only a small handful of people have ever seen.
And then, as happens in cases like these, stories begin to surface, mostly in the Eastern Mediterranean areas from Southern Turkey through Northeastern Egypt, of people who claim to know of a friend or a cousin or a neighbor or a grandmother or co-worker who had been healed of some serious ailment simply by holding the box while its purported owner, a Jewess named Marie Rose, muttered some incantations or prayers or whatever over them.
None of the stories can be verified, though the tellers of the tales come across as sincere and insistent. Not unlike people who tell of being abducted by aliens.
As inquiries had begun reaching Marie Rose over the past several weeks, she had responded with indifference, as if the rumors were foolish myths. But she never outright denied them. Which only added fuel to the gossip.
And then the obscure Israeli antiquities nut job escalated his actions against her.
Case Parker, not a follower of daytime talk shows or internet rumor mongers, had never heard a word of any of it. Nor had Marie Rose said a word to her son, not wanting to bother him at his busy new job half a world away.
That is, until she was forced to call him when the authorities refused to help her deal with Abramin Merkava, and he menacingly appeared on her doorstep.
A tragic series of events that, with the death of an innocent man named Big Fish Washington, is about to go worldwide.