Older Than God

Triumph God's Love coverTriumph of God’s Love

Submitter: We are a state university in Connecticut, and we found this little gem while pulling hold requests today. Someone actually placed a hold on it… Besides being incredibly outdated, this wonderful piece of literature (thankfully!) has some very humorous illustrations. According to the illustrations in this book, Jesus has an issue with space exploration, and we will all happily spend eternity in the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz?

Holly: These illustrations absolutely SCREAM 1957!  I’d weed it in a public library for sure.  I can’t think of a compelling reason for a state university to keep it either, unless it is relevant for some reason.  (Sorry the pictures are so small – they were submitted that way.)

Picture of God with people

God and planets

AngelPeople rejoicing


  1. I don’t think the theme is bad, but I’ve never heard of the thing about space exploration.

    I’m wondering if it’s one of those Jehovah’s Witnesses books…we just weeded one of those.

  2. I love the ‘J.C. contemplating space travel’ picture. The mother and child (and guardian angel) picture is pretty neat too. There’s something at the bottom left of that picture that I can’t make out. Is that a bag or something?

  3. Think about music in Heaven: Mozart, Lennon, King David, Beethoven, Skynyrd, Patsy Cline, Beau Jacques, Hendrix, both Joplins! I call it the Big Jam Theory. See, Jesus is pointing out the stage to the enrapt crowd!

  4. Very, VERY 50’s illustrations. Speaking to the submitter here- if you haven’t pulped or lost access to the book yet, would you be willing to scan all the illustrations in at high resolution, then perhaps they could be available for download here? They’re just too campy to leave them to be lost in time!

  5. Age of this book aside – in fact, the majority of this book aside except the pictures of Christ – does anyone, besides me, whenever seeing an image of Jesus as a white man, think of that episode of Good Times where JJ painted a (likely more Bibilcally accurate) portrait of Black Jesus?

  6. The figure (God the Father?) in the last illustration looks like a sitting Buddha. As to the book, I agree the public would be interested in a more modern devotional book. Any info on what Jesus’ concern is about space exploration?

  7. One of my fantasies is owning a book store with all of the quirky, out dated, absurd, but still enjoyable reading material that hasn’t been destroyed or falling apart with age. This book would be a good addition. It would be joining H. Allen Smith’s “Larks in the Popcorn” (1948), Ruth Morton”s “The Home and Its Furnishings” (1953), George Johnson’s “The Abominable Airlines” (1964) and others.

  8. @Angel – You forgot Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. (Don’t forget, if not for Buddy Holly & The Crickets there would be no Beatles! Last I heard Paul McCartney owned all the publishing rights to Buddy Holly’s songs.) There’s also Mama Cass, Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, Andy Gibb, Maurice Gibb, and Karen Carpenter.

  9. @L.B. I think it’s an umbrella, which the mom dropped in fright when the car almost hit them on the rainy, slick street.

  10. I especially love that poor token black dude squished into the third rank all by himself.

    Also, I’m fairly certain this is a JW publication – that first picture of the garden and the last one of the adoration of the deity are still in tracts that get shoved under my door.

    I love the super-serious pastel ’50s illustrations, but I do wonder why that was in a general library collection.

    Poor JC looks really bummed out about that spaceship. Maybe we’re getting all up into his personal space?

  11. Why does Jesus, in the first picture, look so much like the Burger King? It makes me want to go out and get a Whopper.

  12. I fail to see what’s so unsuitable about this book – except that it seems to be receiving discrimination for being on a Christian topic.
    Note that only PICTURES have been posted. Is the text so out-dated to make its information out of date? (Last time I looked, the OT was approximatedly 3 to 4 thousand years old – so how “outdated” can any text about it be?).
    Sorry folks, but this just smacks of discrimination. In a technical library, perhaps this would be out of place. But in a general ‘all subjects’ library? Our times seem to tolerate anything except Christianity, and escpecially not in public.
    Are Christians supposed to live like Anne Frank????
    Without more information on the TEXT content of this book (not just its art), this weeding smacks of discrimination.
    The Wizard of Oz was mentioned in the poster’s comments. Is that being pulled too for being equally “outdated”?

  13. FYI, Ellen G. White was the co-founder of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church. According to Wikipedia, anyway, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_G._White) she died in 1915, so the book is likely a 1950’s style republication of some of her stuff, targeted for the day. Her writings are revered among a portion of that church, so if the book is in a collection in a heavily SDA area (or school) then it could actually be appropriate.

    Not arguing about the merits of the book or its pictures, but just sayin’.

  14. @SC Librarian: Jesus looks bummed out in the space picture, for very good reasons! Have you really looked at that tracectory? There is no way of making it to the moon with those vectors!
    Poor jesus works his butt off to stear that (wow, it *is* a) rocket ship in the right direction. See that 90 degrees turn he’s making the ship go, the G-forces must be tremendous!
    And is that a sputnik satelite? and why does the mon have suctions cups like an octopus’ tentacles??

    Wow, the more I look at that picture, the more fun things I find in it! Give me halv an hour and I’ll even find Wally there for you…
    I really want that picture as a poster now!

  15. See, now, at first glance I thought the third picture was of a weeping angel. I don’t blame the mom and her daughter for cowering in terror.

  16. @Ron – 1: Jesus is described in the Bible as “homley,” with “dark skin and hair like wool.”

    2: He’s more likely to be a black man than a white man.

    3: There are black Jews.

  17. @Stuart — What makes this book weed-worthy are the pictures, which are much too out-of-date. Note especially the way the women are dressed and the car that almost hits the mother and child. The text may be fine for a general public library collection (assuming the book is balanced by other books about religion).

  18. This may have been form one of the Southern Baptist publishers. Its illustrations are a LOT like my bible story books from when I was a kid.

  19. I have a church library and we weeded this book. It’s dumb, old and boring. The three cardinal sins of a book.

  20. This may indeed have value, even in a public institution. E. G. White was one of the founders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, who “is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender” according to some Internet sources.
    I believe it has value to students of religion, or women’s studies (how many women born in the early 1800s accomplished what she did?). In a university library, where it was found, it is appropriate. We can’t weed everything we find “dumb, old and boring.” I would get rid of a lot of “classics” if I did that!
    For a book of this age the color illustrations are quite advanced.

  21. Growing up we had a complete set of EG White Bible story books, aside from the very WASPy pictures they would problaby be fine for a library in the religious section.
    There was also a set of children’s bedtime stories by that author, my brother and I had recently found them in my parent’s basement and have dubbed them ‘Stories of guilt and Shame’ All the stories revolve around children acting like children, but suffering dire consequences for not being more adult. Choosing the biggest apple led to it being rotton inside, not doing your chores led to mother going to hospital for exaustion, not coming in when callled right away led to being hit by a car. These types of books would be weeders.
    While not being able to see the written content of these books from what I know of this author I would weed them, even though the Bible has changed the interpretation of it has, things that were fine back then are not OK now. In the 50’s people from Africa were only seen as ‘savages’ that you should send missionaries to, Pollution was not acknowledged and the earth was somthing to subdue and take advantage of, and beating your children was how you got them to heaven.

  22. @Jami: Karen Carpenter, what a voice! Yes–the list is truly endless! No hurry to get tickets, tho’!

  23. Interesting discussion. This book is probably written for believing Christians, particularly the young believer. I always enjoyed reading about Guardian Angels, the Saints’ miracles, etc. And sixty years later, the book’s tenets hold true. The art is campy-great, but if you expected a modern Christian child or teen to relate to these tenets, you would have to include 21C accouterments like sneakers, jeans and backpacks. Good call to keep in a university’s collection on comparative theology, along with current materials.

  24. I’d keep it in a university library because I could use it in a course about the changes and development of theology in the US and about the church and popular culture/ popular understandings of Jesus.

  25. Is it any coincidence that Jesus on the cover looks kinda like the Burger King king?

  26. Nope, not a Witness book. I have an extensive collection of those dating back to 1898 and don’t recognize this one at all.

  27. I find the illustration veryinteresting…it is eerily accurate as what the Earth would look like from space — something the illustrator would have had no idea about in 1957. Perhpas their hand was guided by Divine Intervention. Or Ouija. One of the two.

  28. The submitter says that this book had a hold on it. If you know upon discovering it that you’re going to weed the book, can you offer it to the person with the hold? Or do you get it back from them and then weed it?

  29. @Vicky – Someone just sent us a book we’d requested via ILL, with a note telling us we could keep it. So yeah, probably.
    @Stuart – How can the text be outdated in a religion book? Gee whiz, Johnny, isn’t Jesus neat? Golly, I can’t wait for church this Sunday!

  30. IIRC, we owned this book; my parents bought us a complete collection of Maxwell’s Childrens Bible Stories (many volumes) from a traveling saleman in the mid-70s, as well as the whole World Book Encyclopedia set. I believe it also included this one. I did read every volume and the stories were -great-; funny thing, we are not christian. I am not surprised as I remember the artwork was dated even then, but was beautiful lovingly done.
    I never remember any denigrating depiction of people of color, and U think it is a good representation of the values of the time. BTW, just by chance I was born and raised where E.G.White and the SDA church grew.

  31. @Jami: Jesus is not described in the Bible at all.
    As an illustrator, I always draw him middle eastern – which is surely by far the most likely.

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