Mixed Feelings On The Complexity Of Transcendence And Matter

Book Review by Carla M. Paton

For as many stories lines and time travel that Armageddon and the 4th Timeline: A Spiritual Odyssey Through Time & Eternity covers, Don Mardak, does an admirable job keeping us on track. He weaves us through the present day in several world cities, Hebrew Biblical times, first century Christian encampments, and a remote ashram in Tibet. One could argue that there is enough material here for three or four books. Some might feel this is the book’s strength; lots of action, interesting turns, and a variety of characters. Others may side on wishing for more depth and complexity in each story line.

The book did keep my interest, and I found it well-written and entertaining. I think many will find it enjoyable. But for reasons I will attempt to outline, without revealing too much of the plot, I fall into the latter camp. To illustrate my point, I’ll take a look at some of the individual “timelines.”

My least favorite line was that of the present day picture of Mardak’s vision of Armageddon. I found the actions and dialog of the Washington operatives too simplistic. This would not be so much of a problem in some genres, but because of Mardak’s theme of evangelizing a non-dual consciousness, which I will get to, I did want these politicians and military advisors to act and speak as they would in real life. For example, if the National Terrorism Advisory System was about to be raised to Imminent, would this brain trust group then adjourn for the day, “with each of them returning to his or her regular duties”?! I appreciate that this is a backstory of sorts of a possible future, but when such inept characters are at the helm, it takes me out of the story since it doesn’t seem plausible.

My larger qualm with the end-of-the-world timeline was that it is laid at the feet of Islam. I understand that the escalation is meant to show the ill-fated consequences of the “tooth-for-a-tooth” mindset, but the stereotypes abound here, and again I feel a yearning for more complexity to lift this out of fantasy. If it were written as a fantasy I might be given to more latitude, but the realistic features, of specific times and locations, are an effort to model a possible scenario.

I found the timelines of returning to the lives of Jacob and Silas much more engaging. As a side note, I am always a little amused when those who have experienced a past-life discover they were a well-known person out of the billions who have inhabited the planet. Probability is, of course, on the side that they would have been a lowly washerwoman or brick layer, but such a personage would not be able to write the enlighten scrolls needed to advance the story line. So be it.

One of my favorite parts of the Tibet, Kathy and Eric story was Kathy getting jealous over Eric’s past-life wives. This was a slice of refreshing reality! I would have paid good money to have seen her upset the entire mission with her more real-life feelings. This brings me to my personal soap box (okay so, I have many soap boxes): the overall theme of the superiority of a non-dual consciousness versus our current consciousness of opposites, good v. evil, etc. Many mystical traditions work off of the logos, Sky Father concept that transcending this world, body, and matter is necessary for true enlightenment, peace, and harmony. There is also the Tantric left-hand of God view that we are on this earth and in our bodies as the means to enlightenment. This is not a popular sentiment with mystics, but I offer it as food for thought. This also is why I found the ending simplistic and unsatisfying. The world and our consciousness is dualistic. Since we are speaking Biblically here, I will propose that God (as omniscient) was not stupid and knew what Eve would do, and the necessity of our knowing of good and evil, the earth, and our ill-fated bodies.

I am pleased that this book will evoke fuller thoughts on such matters as consciousness evolution, of which I am fully in favor. I did have to think through why I had issues with certain aspects of the book, and I hope others will also benefit from a deeper dive into what are ultimate concerns not to be taken lightly.

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