“The Shack”: meaning and analysis of the book by William P. Young

“The Shack”: meaning and analysis of the book by William P. Young Literature

This book has become very controversial for readers, although it is popular among a diverse readership. The story of its creation, and more importantly, its distribution, is unique! The author did not use any marketing method to promote his work. He printed 15 copies by Xerox, after which readers began to “flood” him with requests to send this book. People from all over the world wrote and called…

What the book is about

The plot of the novel “The Cabin” is both concise and ambiguous. In a beautiful large family, a little girl dies. It happens quite suddenly. Almost in front of a loving father. On the lake, he and his eldest daughter hold the boat against the current, but he sees the disappearance of the younger Missy, who is barely 5 years old. The search for her uncovers the trail of the maniac the police have been searching for so long…

It is difficult to put into words the grief of the father and the eldest daughter, who also believes herself to be guilty. The characters have a basic unanswered question for God: “Why did You punish us?!” Meanwhile, the main character, Mackenzie, a model family man and respected pastor, considers himself a good man. Why is God so unfair! And why do innocent children suffer so much?

Mackenzie sinks into a depression, avoids answering his wife’s questions, and doesn’t know how to behave with his parishioners now. After all, he no longer loves God!

One dark day he discovers a note inviting him to enter the abandoned cabin where his daughter’s blood-stained dress had been found a year earlier…

A true mystique awaits him at the cabin. Everything that happens there is beyond logic and common sense. But millions of readers have come to believe it.

The point of the book

Christian conservatives in America, especially ordinary believers, did not like the book. Theologians, on the other hand, overwhelmingly approve of The Shack.

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Ordinary clergymen also did not like the work. They were extremely angry at the divine image portrayed by the author. They were used to imagine God as a gray-haired old man taking care of his children.

When you read the novel, you get the feeling that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are different characters, not one Trinity at all.

It is paradoxical why the white man did not describe God as European. The author ruined his image as a gray-haired elder by portraying him as a middle-aged Middle Eastern man.

In William P Young’s view, God has no particular gender. He soars above it all. The omnipotent is the essence of relationship, not faith. The author denounces the Western view of God in its narrowness, calling for thinking broadly.

The book criticizes government institutions and the very attitude toward them. The author disapproves of almost all human institutions and agencies. He believes that it is contrary to God’s kingdom, but does not mean that all human-created institutions are evil.

Such institutions are referred to by William P Young from a position of deciding questions of right and wrong. They, it is said, most often control their fellow citizens. This is in conflict with the divine nature. Therefore, the author endorses people’s skeptical attitude toward power structures. He believes that people are right in this, because their distrust has concrete reasons.

Analysis of the book

The work evokes a strange sense of esoteric-spirited experience, echoing spiritual writing. “The Shack” is a mixture of biblical notions and a completely fictionalized divine image.

It must be read thoughtfully and with care. The author is not just telling a tale, he is taking a swing at a true interpretation of Christianity. The book is allegorical from the standpoint of spirituality, and attempts to show everything in its true light through artistic and literary means. This one popularizes the author’s own values under the guise of the Trinity, but these values are largely contrary to the Word of God.

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The book suggests entering into a dialogue with God without any rules, requirements, or laws. So who is God in the novel? In the finale, Mack draws a striking conclusion from his personal experiences in the hut of “God” appearing to him in the shack: “God, my servant.” Most likely, the author’s understanding of God is mistaken.

The work paints an extremely dubious and contradictory divine image, taking care of “all my needs,” corresponding to the author’s personal understanding rather than the only fundamental biblical revelation, which seems utterly nonsensical.

The story of the book’s creation

William Paul Young wrote the work in 2007, at the urging of his wife. In it Young described how he was able to heal himself with divine help.

The author of this bestseller showed his readers an unorthodox view of the divine in an attempt to break stereotypes. William Paul Young’s long life has been difficult. He was born into a missionary family serving in New Guinea among people who practiced magic and cannibalism.

Then he was placed in a boarding school. He spent several years academically learning about God in spiritual institutions. His adult life forced him to work in many places and to master a host of professions (actor, radio host, janitor, doorman, salesman, etc.), as well as to hold several positions at the same time in order to support a large family. He also had the loss of loved ones, a spiritual search, and much more…

“The Cabin” – a kind of synthesis of 50 years of personal life of Paul Young, large-scale knowledge of the divine, the author’s own shocks.

The meaning of the book’s title

The title of the work encapsulates the metaphorical notion of “a house built of one’s own pain.” Young also says in several of his interviews that “it is a metaphor for places of jamming, where you are hurt, damaged … where shame or resentment is concentrated.”

The book’s problematics

The novel addresses several issues:

  • The non-acceptance of orthodox Christianity;
  • non-acceptance of revelation in favor of personal experience;
  • The rejection of the principle of Sola Scriptura;
  • The notions of the nature and trinity of God of unbiblical origin;
  • notions of punishment for sin at odds with biblical commandments;
  • A misunderstanding of the Incarnation;
  • A misunderstanding of salvation;
  • The heresy of Christ’s sufferings;
  • non-acceptance of the hierarchical relationship in the Trinity;
  • failure to speak up about the Church’s role in edifying believers;
  • inaccuracy of judgment as to who will be saved.
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Young’s point is clear and straightforward: forget everything you have heard before about God, learned in seminary, and take note that everyone sees the Almighty as they need to. The author of The Shack presents the Christian worldview as religious fiction, but you can’t call that worldview Christian.

What the book teaches

“The Shack” invites the reader to touch modern culture, but it distorts Christian truth. This book may provide some Christian support, but the theology of this work has the potential to harm anyone who opens the work. God, the Trinity, the person and work of Christ are misunderstood in the book. Human nature, the institutions of family and marriage, and the essence of the gospel are described in circumvention of the canons. It is extremely dangerous to those who have not had time to become entrenched in sound Christian teaching.

Explanation of the book’s ending

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three divine facets upon which the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity is based. The Father is God the Father, the Son is Jesus Christ, and the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. Mack’s wife called God the Pope. According to Christianity, God exists in equal persons and forms a Trinity, which explains to Mac that this is the essence of what he believes to be God. The Trinity helps Mac to overcome all adversity and to forget about it.

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