Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Although denominations are not mentioned in Soon, the novel expresses the beliefs of those groups who anticipate the Second Coming of Christ and the Apocalypse as discussed in the New Testament book of Revelation. By linking the novel’s scenario to early twenty-first century world developments such as militant religious fanaticism, heightened antiterrorist measures, and what is portrayed as the determination to eliminate religion from the government, Jenkins heightens the reader’s sense that a climate of religious persecution could indeed emerge in the United States. That such a situation might then plausibly—and swiftly—bring about the wrathful displays of the end-times is the message of Soon.

Another purpose of Soon is to point out parallels between the world of the New Testament and that of today. Paul Stepola’s educational background and governmental position, as well as his name, remind readers of Paul the Apostle even before the investigator turns from persecution to discipleship. In the novel, there are seven United States, corresponding with the seven New Testament churches in Asia. For example, New York City is Ephesus, the financial port, where Paul saves Demetrius the stockbroker after a suicidal leap, just as the apostle Paul revived a man who fell from a window in Troas.

Jenkins presents Paul’s professional world of rampant materialism, hedonism, and greed in contrast to the unselfish harmony of the Christian believers forced underground. Callous violence, lying, and unchecked sensuousness are shown in the lives of the government workers who, stripped of religious influence, are devoid of real love or humanity. Jenkins suggests that the solution to Paul’s unhappy marriage, eroded by mistrust and selfishness, is not divorce or the replacement of his wife with a new, attractively congenial substitute. Rather, he says that Christian partners will commit to trying to make the other happy in an atmosphere of faith and trust. Through Soon, he shows that there can be no real humanity in a society wholly separated from God, and no ultimate survival without faith.