A Christian Worldview of God, Day 5

Discussion is good. Healthy. Instructive even, if we let it be so. I sort of hate to post my thoughts because I don’t really want to see the dialogue from Friday’s post come to an end. Nevertheless, the opportunity is perfect.

You see, I think this discussion proves my point: the use of the miraculous in fiction does not necessarily reveal God and might even obscure Him.

First, a portion of the readership may put the book down and not pick it up again because they believe the miraculous is not for today.

Second, a portion of the readership may dismiss the miraculous as a fictional device along the line of walking through a wardrobe into a fantasy world.

Third, a portion of the readership may be enamored with the miracle itself and either want to see it in real life or will fall into doubt because of its absence.

And where is God in all this? Who is looking at God, praising Him, drawn to Him, eager to see Him unveiled?

Jesus Himself found people clamoring to be with Him for the wrong reasons (free food, all they could eat) and ended it by clarifying the cost of discipleship. He also refused to give signs when people asked Him for ones point blank. In those cases, the miraculous was getting in the way of what He wanted to accomplish.

I’m suggesting this might be the case in fiction today. If what we want to do is show God as more than a one-dimensional character, more than an unknowable figurehead, the miraculous might get in the way.

To write Christian fiction, I think, we need to show God in an active way, but what does that mean without the miraculous? I think we authors need to consider how we want to portray Him, perhaps more strenuously than we consider how to portray our fictional characters.

Should God look the same in every story? He doesn’t even look the same to different people in real life. And yet He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. How do we portray this?

I go back to what I said earlier. God is complex. Too often in Christian fiction, however, I see Him being simplified and stereotyped.

Odd, isn’t it, that the Person we most want people to know, is the One we have the most trouble showing.

Published in: on November 20, 2006 at 6:00 am  Comments (10)  

10 Comments

  1. No, a sign was necessary to accomplish what He had to accomplish. Namely, the sign He told they they would get (instead of the on-demand signs) THE RESURRECTION.

    My entire belief system rests on one event, and that’s not a toasty sermon, or a nice person’s kind act. No, my ideology rests on a man coming back from the dead. My entire philosophy stands or falls…on a miracle.

    When God reveals himself, it’s always most clearly done through a miracle. A burning bush. A finger writing on stone and a voice from the mountain. A healer of sick and multiplier of bread. A man who came back from the dead. Apostles who could do as their master.

    Without the miraculous, we would not know God, and if we didn’t know Him, we could not worship him.

    So, I respectfully disagree. To banish the miraculous is, in a very real way, to banish God.

    Mir

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  2. I was going to disagree with Mir but as I started my rebuttal…

    Personally, **in the context of writing Christian fiction**, I am not sure that I would use a miraculous incident in my fiction, such as a healing or something like that. On the other hand, one of my characters actively prays for my MC throughout my “novel,” and my MC is protected as a result of this (protected very subtly, not with a big flashing sign, etc etc blah blah)

    Another is, are you talking about miracles as in healing, as in divine intervention (such as not having a car accident), turning stone into food, etc?

    OR are you talking about someone walking through a wardrobe as a miracle? To me personally, walking through a wardrobe is a bit different from miracles, but it is a miracle too, if you think about it.

    There is miraculous, as in an incident and then there’s miraculous, as in the culmination of a journey or a life.

    On the other hand, Yoda using the Force to pick up Luke’s starship is “a miracle.”

    Well, this was a great comment (rolling eyes).

    Off to Florida and then Disney–love to all-Chris

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  3. well, I think the bottomg line for all writers of christian fiction is that we need to be writing our stories as we have a daily relationship with the Lord, relying on Him to show us in some cases, what He wants in them. It’s for Him and because of Him, right? Then are we listening to Him when writing? I say this because we need to believe and rely on God leading us in our writing. . .be it a miracle or no, it should come from Him.
    Okay, do I sound radical or what? ROFL

    Love
    Beth.

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  4. Mir, perhaps I was unclear in the post. I was trying to make the point that Jesus did in fact refuse the request from the people asking him for a sign.

    38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet

    In alluding to this incident, I was not meaning to ignore Christ’s death and resurrection as a sign. Rather I was using it as an illustration of the fact that He doesn’t “perform on demand.”

    Becky

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  5. Chris and Beth, I think I may have addressed both your comments in today’s post. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. One of the things I love about this form of communication is how I am able to learn of and from others beyond the confines of my local community. By sharing your ideas, you challenge me and force me to think, to evaluate, to delve into Scripture. Good stuff! 🙂

    Becky

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  6. Excerpt, Becky, that he did perform on demand–depending on the state of the heart. He healed the Centurion’s servant when asked. He healed the blind men, when asked. He healed Jairus’ daughter, when asked.

    The ones asking for a sign came with dark hearts and motives, no doubt, and thus Jesus’ harsh reply. But the fact is that he did give signs and often, and sometimes when specifically asked to do so.

    Mir

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  7. Oh, and it might relate back to the “faith” issue. These came asking for a sign IN ORDER to believe. Others came ALREADY WITH FAITH that Christ could do what they asked.

    Faith, again, and the motivation makes a difference.

    Mir

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  8. Mir, I disagree with the suggestion that Jesus performed on demand. See today’s post for an example of Him saying no to one with abundant faith.

    That we don’t have recorded every encounter Jesus had while on earth should itself keep us from dogmatic assumptions that He always at all times healed everyone when asked. We know in fact that He refused the Samaritan woman because she was Samaritan, then “changed his mind.”

    We know He left the crowds to be alone, essentially taking Himself away from those asking. Is that not a way of refusing to heal them all?

    He left towns that wanted Him to stay and keep healing because He said He was sent to preach.

    Jesus was not just a healing machine. The very thing I wanted to point out is that this kind of one-dimensional view of God too often characterizes our fiction.

    God is more.

    Becky

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  9. Because he took himself away to rest or pray doesn’t change the fact that when asked for healing, on variuos documented occasions, he healed. Request preceded healing. That’s the same as miracle on demand, although we’d quibble with semantics because we don’t like the SOUND of “on demand”. I don’t mean it as if Christ was a performing bear. I mean it simply as someone asked and he delivered. 🙂 Answered prayer in the flesh.

    He didn’t perform for the Pharisees, and I don’t blame him. They came with the wrong attitude.

    Mir

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  10. Oh, and I never said he was a healing machine. I said he healed numerous people of diverse diseases and he performed healing miracles more than any other kind.

    That tells me that if we are to expect miracles, then healing ones should be at the top of the list.

    Mir

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