Biblical GraphJam
September 17, 2009 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Clarence Larkin's famous Biblical Wall Charts - previously on Metafilter, but with that link defunct and this one providing excellent scans, it seems worth re-posting. Quality of parent site not guaranteed. Some highlights of Larkin's fanciful, technical illustrations of the ages of man and biblical prophecy: Rightly dividing the word of truth, The six days of re-creation, The world's seven great crises.
posted by BlackLeotardFront (29 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
These are fascinating, thanks for posting.

Reminded me of this, too.
posted by kcds at 12:08 PM on September 17, 2009

Heh. Note the North American-centric image for the Fourth Day of Creation. Pangeaist!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:21 PM on September 17, 2009

If only they had Omni Graffle and Comic Sans back in the 1920s.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:23 PM on September 17, 2009

Reminded me of this, too.

It more reminds me of a copy of Freher or many other 16th century alchemists.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:26 PM on September 17, 2009

These are actually G.O.P. planning documents.

I always enjoyed the meticulous, somewhat calm nature of these sorts of diagrams as applied to various prophecies, religions, revealed truths, and so forth. Everything seems so reasonable when drawn out in a wide format with nice, scripty-looking labels. My favorite Thrill Kill Kult concert T-shirt has one of these, carefully depicting one of the rounds of Dante's Inferno, like a slightly earnest description of a civil engineering project. "And over here, this is where we process the violent sinners. That part down there? I know it looks like sort of a catch-all, with all of the little pits (that breakaway line there, yeah, bolgia) but if you look at the diagram, you can see that long bracket? Yes, their sins are all related to fraud and deception. Yes, there's a lot of white space after that next part, we are working on revising that document."
posted by adipocere at 12:46 PM on September 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Oh man, I remember pouring over these back when vacapinta posted them that first time. Thanks for that. Also, I love that smiling sun.
posted by Kattullus at 1:03 PM on September 17, 2009

I picked up an evangelical Baptist pamphlet about Biblical literalism. They argued that the days of creation in Genesis must have been literal days, because if a Biblical day referred to a thousand years (for example), Jonah would have been inside the gut of a whale for three thousand years, which is clearly ridiculous.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:04 PM on September 17, 2009 [15 favorites]

These are all rather tedious. They should really be updated to a more modern and ergonomic design like The Rapture Dashboard.
posted by well_balanced at 1:51 PM on September 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Aw, I love looking at these old drawings.

Reminded me of this, too.

Which, in turn, reminded me of this rad Robert Fludd illustration.
posted by cobwebberies at 1:56 PM on September 17, 2009

I also like how Larkin's illustrations look like elaborate comics ala Little Nemo and Krazy Kat. Maybe the lettering has something to do with it.
posted by cobwebberies at 1:58 PM on September 17, 2009

It appears that the speeds on the Rapture dashboard are thought to be cumulative. How do they they know that it's not a marathon, where those runners going 7 MPH will just get to the finish line before the 6s and 5s? If that's the case, how many miles do they have to cover to finish, and do all the runners have to reach the finish line before the Rapture occurs?

They may explain all that somewhere, but I was too busy looking out my window for Signs to read the other links.
posted by path at 2:30 PM on September 17, 2009

Anybody know what is meant here by The Invisible Church (The Pearl)?
posted by stinkycheese at 2:48 PM on September 17, 2009

I love Larkin stuff!

I have an old print copy of one of Larkin's books that contains many of these diagrams. Thank you for posting the links so I can peruse his other works. They are fascinating.

The most interesting non-graphical parts of the book are the little assumptions that Larkin makes about the world at the time such as "It is a well known fact that a vegetable diet renders the body more susceptible to spiritual forces than a meat diet." He was also very concerned about the "new craze of dancing". Sometimes when I am watching something particularly depraved on TV (Toddlers and Tiaras, ANTM etc. ) I think to myself - "Man, what would Clarence Larkin think about this".

Then I eat some vegetables and dance.
posted by Lapin at 2:51 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Anybody know what is meant here by The Invisible Church (The Pearl)?

Probably something to do with Melchizedek.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:52 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, MAN. This is like crack for me. I'm wget'ing them now in case they vanish. Must... Save... Dispensationalist... Ephemera...
posted by verb at 2:55 PM on September 17, 2009

Paraphrasing Larkin (a lot - his stuff is dense), The Visible Church includes all churches in this age that call themselves Christian. The Invisible Church (The Pearl) is made up of the those within the Visible Church that are truly saved. This section is based on his interpretation of the Kingdom Parables.
posted by Lapin at 3:03 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Lapin.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:07 PM on September 17, 2009

interesting, very interesting.
posted by HyperBlue at 3:07 PM on September 17, 2009

Also, if you wanted to avoid giving traffic to teh crazie; you can visit the Larkin Estate page, which has links to many of Larkin's works for sale. Here's another link with bigger images, in case we break the FPP link.. Many of his books are still in print, and some can be previewed here. Curious about who he is? Here's a bio according to his decedents.

Naturally, there have been some parodies.
posted by dejah420 at 3:08 PM on September 17, 2009

Nobody's mentioned Chris Ware's work yet, huh?
posted by Brosef K at 3:19 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

The seventh crisis in the last picture is the 'Renovation.' He should have put more space on the timeline; these reno things always take twice as long as you think.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 3:41 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Naturally, there have been some parodies.

I don't think that's a parody. It's just updated craziness. My experience is that the Sunday evening service at a small Church is where you'd get the real in depth biblical study like this. The morning service was for everyone - saints and sinners alike, but only the true believers returned in the evening. The Christianity of my youth wasn't concerned with abortion clinics and socialized medicine, but the much more important topic of whether or not we had entered the 1000 years of tribulation.

This brings back good times (it's a shame reason got in the way). I bet today's fundamentalist teenagers can't even spell Eschatology. Kids these days.
posted by Edward L at 3:52 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

This brings back good times (it's a shame reason got in the way). I bet today's fundamentalist teenagers can't even spell Eschatology. Kids these days.
Clearly, you haven't lurked in Christian teen message boards lately. Between the discussions about whether premarital kissing is acceptable, the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate rages on...
posted by verb at 4:05 PM on September 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Thanks verb. In a twisted way, you've restored my faith in the youth of today. Now may they go on to a safe, nurturing institute of higher learning and experiment with ideas, behaviors, and substances (preferably in that order) that will make those debates seem so very strange.
posted by Edward L at 8:26 PM on September 17, 2009

Thanks for augmenting the post, guys. I knew there had to be a lot more stuff out there.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 9:24 PM on September 17, 2009

[comment removed - you can go straight to MeTa if you need to start the "Christian blood cult" name-calling]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:00 PM on September 17, 2009

When our family was more religious while I was growing up, we once stayed with a family who had some of these pinned to the wall.

Imagine for a moment being a kid who sort of believed in the Bible, who had been told all kinds of strange things, who had read just a bit of it but had a general idea of what was in there, but then saw all this really bizarre shit on the wall of a family that supposedly lived Really Right For Christ.

See that frequently-appearing image of the Earth literally in flames? Or one one with the Earth shrouded in mist in the Creation chart? There's all kinds of stuff like that if you look for them. All those kinds of things, yeah we're basically talking cosmic horror writ large, except you're told that these things are not fiction, that they will really happen. And I had a habit of imagining things exceptionally vividly. That is what you call nightmare fuel. I would not at all be surprised to find out that I have a neurosis or two directly tied up in these charts.

In fact, as I've learned only recently, long after discarding Christianity and then reading slacktivist, not only is this stuff totally bonkers, it's actually composed in large part of a very specific version of a rather strange interpretation of a highly selective reading of the Bible. It's practically constructed theology. They're awesome to look at now from an outsider's perspective, but keep in mind, there's probably one or two million U.S.ians out there at least who consider these things Final Perfect Truth.
posted by JHarris at 1:55 AM on September 18, 2009

I remember spending a week one summer at bible camp with a friend and the featured speaker was this amazing angry German fellow who yelled at us for 2 hours a day with overhead projector slides of many of these images. I thought it was great fun then and find them as interesting and entertaining today. Thanks for posting them!
posted by zennoshinjou at 5:36 AM on September 18, 2009

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