Thoughts on the Clive Staples Award

The idea to create an award for Christian speculative fiction came about two years ago when the Christy Awards omitted the speculative category. After considerable discussion here and at Speculative Faith, we settled on the Clive Staples Award as the name for this reader-initiated recognition of top Christian speculative fiction.

For the last two years we collected nominations, using the same guidelines as the Christy Awards. However, in both years, the actual awarding of a winner bogged down because we have no sponsor, no agreement with publishers to provide judges with books, and no judges.

The most serious problem was this latter issue. While I say “no judges,” that’s not completely accurate. We had a handful of people who volunteered to help judge, but no one who volunteered to head up the judging—requesting books, sending them out to judges, tabulating judge sheets and/or spearheading discussions to arrive at a consensus regarding finalists.

Beyond that, we agreed the award, if it was to carry any significance, would need finalist judges of some standing. I preferred someone outside the publishing business to avoid the appearance of partiality, but well informed about speculative fiction. Unfortunately, the people I contacted for that role declined to take part.

So where does that leave the award? Is it over before it actually began?

I’m thinking, this may be the kind of thing that needs to build momentum, to gain in popularity, and thus garner more support as a result. So my current thought is, why not start with a reader award? Not only do readers nominate but readers vote for the three books they want to see in the finals. Then maybe those volunteer judges, if they are still willing to participate, can pick a winner. Or readers can vote again between the three finalists.

We’d need to conduct this contest over several months to get the word out and to give readers time to check out the nominations they haven’t yet read.

We’d have to set some ground rules in an effort to curtail popularity voting (I haven’t read his book, but I sure like so-and-so, so I’ll happily vote for his novel). I can’t think of a way to eliminate that sort of thing completely, but if the award becomes linked with “readers” right from the start, it might alleviate campaigning among non-readers.

Some time ago I set up a site for the award as a kind of home base, but with no activity, there’s been no real reason to send people there. If you’d like to take a look at it, go to the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction.

Since WordPress and PollDaddy make it so easy to include polls, I’m thinking it would be easiest if I started a series of polls to get your feedback. I’ll also need your help passing the word on to anyone else you know who has interest in this genre and particularly in creating this award. Let me know what questions you have, and we can find out what others are thinking about any number of subjects related to making this award work. If there’s still interest in doing so. Which actually is the first question.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 1:33 pm  Comments (15)  

Bits and Pieces

Just a few things I thought you might be interested in—nothing deep. I learned from CSFF member Robert Treskillard that agent Steve Laube has joined the blogosphere. Agent blogs are some of my favorite, much as agent panels are at writers’ conferences.

I haven’t mentioned it earlier (though some of you may have noticed the link), but the Books and Such agents and associates (Janet Kobobel Grant and company) are blogging as well. These blogs provide great information, making it much easier to learn about the book business.

Four-time Christy Award winning author Karen Hancock is switching her blog over to WordPress (yea! 😀 ), so you’ll want to bookmark and link to Writing from the Edge 2.

Speaking of Karen, the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring her latest release, The Enclave in July. I’m a little over half way (it’s a big book by today’s standards—nearly 500 pages), and completely engrossed in the story. It’s all I can do to put it down and get myself going in the morning. I love the reading experience when it so puts me in the fictive world that I think about it when I’m away and look forward to going back. That’s what Karen’s writing does for me. Already I want to talk about the book and to recommend it to book lovers.

And speaking of CSFF, don’t forget to vote in the poll for the June CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award. It is a very, very close 5 blogger race and we need every vote.

Rewrite, Reword, Rework In case you’ve been wondering whether or not I’ll be discussing the writing craft again here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, I should tell you, I’ve started an editing blog called Rewrite, Reword, Rework. I set it up primarily as a place where potential clients can go to learn what services I offer and what my rates are.

However, as I began working on it, I realized that venue would be perfect for what I’m calling Self-editing Tips. That’s the real blog. So far the posts are all shorter than the ones here and focused on some aspect of the how-to’s of writing. I’m actually having fun with it and am ready to start inviting people on over to visit. So count yourself among the invited! 😉

Thanks to Julie for choosing A Christian Worldview of Fiction for the “Humane Award.” humaneaward Here’s the definition Julie quoted:

The Humane Award is in order to honor certain bloggers that I feel are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn’t for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world.

Well, I don’t know as my commenters aim for sweetness, but I’m OK with that. 🙂 Better than OK, actually. I like comments that make me think, but I like encouraging ones too.

So here are my top five visiting bloggers who leave thoughtful or encouraging comments from time to time:

Gaining the Whole World

Michael Jackson, like Princess Di, a number of media sources said, gained the whole world. He transformed music and dance, not just in the US, but in the whole world. An icon, some called him. Or a king. Even a hero.

Hundreds gathered to … mourn. Thousands remembered.

Musicians and dancers credited him with inspiration. Fans and friends bemoaned his passing.

Network TV suspended regularly scheduled programming to air tributes and exposes and old interviews and neighbor reactions

Farrah Fawcett wasn’t far behind in popularity. Not an icon, but a pinup girl, she was acclaimed for her trend-setting hair style, her incredible smile, her marriage, divorce, long-time love relationship, her posters, TV show and movie, Emmy nominations, and courage. Courage to face and fight … death. Or maybe it was courage to face life knowing that she was dying, I’m not sure.

But there’s the point. No matter how loved, or hated, how popular, or forgotten, no matter how much talent or money or influence, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died. They had gained the whole world. We know that, but the ultimate question remains. Did they lose their souls?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? ” (Matt. 16:24-26, emphasis mine)

So what do these deaths tell us? In no special order:

    1) Even the rich and famous and beautiful die.

    2) No one is guaranteed a set number of years. Farrah Fawcett was 62, Michael Jackson, 50.

    3) Life apart from God may look glamorous for a time, but there is no glamor in death.

    4) Cosmetic surgery doesn’t preserve life, and neither do cancer treatments. There is a time appointed for man to die, and our finite understanding of science and life won’t reverse that. Death is the promised consequence of sin. It’s as true today as it was day one, post-Eden.

    5) God is sovereign. He will not be mocked and He won’t be replaced. Kings and icons and heroes and pinup girls are false gods our culture scurries after. In the end, God will be God.

    6) Entertainers have taken the place of great thinkers and wise leaders.

    7) Being good at what you do, doesn’t guarantee your legacy will be positive. The Michael Jackson remembrances included his oddities as well as his genius. Farrah Fawcett remembrances included her broken relationships as well as her awards.

    8 ) If you gain the whole world but lose your soul, what have you really gained?

    9) God, in His incredible mercy, did not leave us in hopelessness.

    10) Following Jesus still equates with finding life—the most important kind: life eternal.

June CSFF Tour Wrap

Poll Run-off added July 3: Please vote in the new poll for one of our top three finishers. It’s a tight race, so every vote counts! You have until midnight (Pacific time) Wednesday.

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Original Post:

I hope regular visitors here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction take the time to read some of the other blog posts about the CSFF Blog Tour June feature, Vanish by Tom Pawlik (Tyndale). We had over 30 blog sites participate and over 50 posts discussing the book.

One blogger referred to CSFF as a large virtual book club. I love it! That’s really what we are. We discuss books. Particular books—the ones in the genre we prefer.

The thing is “the genre we prefer” is really three genres force-fed into one. Fantasy is a world (literally—and pun intended 😉 ) apart from science fiction, which is a completely different animal from supernatural suspense (horror). Nevertheless, we band together and feature them all. Sci fi writers Brandon Barr and Steve Trower, for example pitch in and post about YA fantasy or adult supernatural suspense.

And the amazing thing is, we discover there are books that we would not have thought to pick up except for the tour, but that spellbindingly engage us. In other words, the tour, though it is genre specific, expands our reading selection.

Having said all that, let me introduce you to the bloggers who are eligible for this month’s CSFF Top Tour Blogger award:

And now, you have the opportunity to vote on the one blogger you think most deserving of the award:

    I almost forgot to mention – you have one week to vote.
Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm  Comments (5)  
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CSFF Blog Tour, Day 3 – Themes in Vanish

Today is the final day in the CSFF Blog Tour for Tom Pawlik‘s debut novel, Vanish. Check out what the other bloggers are saying by clicking on the post links (check marks) next to the list of participants below my interview with Tom.

As far as I’m concerned, this is my most important post of my three tour-related articles. While I find a discussion of writing techniques and the enjoyment factor and the viability of Christian horror (supernatural suspense) interesting topics, and even necessary, I continue to believe that WHAT a book has to say is the most significant factor, even in fiction.

And happily, Tom has important things he wants to say, as he stated earlier this week in an interview with blog tour participant Grace Bridges:

I don’t think of myself as writing a parable, but I do want to communicate spiritual truths through the story.

    * * * * * SPOILER ALERT * * * * *

So what are the spiritual truths that Tom is communicating in Vanish? There are a number, but the ones that jumped out at me are ones I don’t hear a lot of people talking about these days.

When was the last time you heard a sermon about hell? Or judgment? Or life after death? In eras gone by, these topics were regulars from the pulpit. Today, not so much.

And yet Truth hasn’t changed. There is life after death. There will be judgment. And hell is an actual place prepared for those who turn their backs on God.

These are the themes I saw as central to Vanish, and I have to say, About time. For far too long, we Christians have sat on our hands as false teaching has seeped in our midst—the kind of teaching that says God loves his creation so much he would never do anything so opposed to love as assign anyone to eternal punishment. After all, God is not a wrathful tyrant sitting up in heaven waiting to torture as many people as he can, for surely a god who would assign people to hell would be that kind of god.

Like all false teaching, there is an element of truth in this line of thinking. God is a God of love. No, that’s actually incomplete. God is Love. He is not a tyrant. He does not delight in torturing people.

But to think of God as ONLY love is also to limit Him. He reveals Himself to be a jealous God. Jealous! Not something we normally think of in association with God. He is also just. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that there will in fact be a day of judgment in which people who rejected God will be held accountable. Such accountability includes punishment.

In a number of parables, Jesus concluded with lines like this:

Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13)

So what does all this have to do with Vanish? In today’s culture, story has again asserted itself as a significant purveyor of truth. While I still believe we need good sermons about the reality of the afterlife, judgment, and hell, I also think stories like Tom’s go a long way to showing the reality.

The final question is, how faithful to Truth is this story? I’ve actually changed my mind since yesterday.

First, this story, unlike C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, is about people who are yet alive. In the imagined world of Vanish, the characters are conscious only of their spiritual existence, though they see it as if it were their physical world. As far as I know, there’s nothing in Scripture about the spiritual condition of a person in a coma. Consequently, however Tom wants to portray that state, as long as the story doesn’t fall victim to some other lie, should be admissible speculation.

From my reading, I’d conclude Tom is interested in revealing Truth, not diluting it.

Second, I thought to object to the activity of the demons. One of the false beliefs about Satan, as I pointed out in “Satan’s Favorite Lies,” is that he is the king of hell. He is not. Hell is the place God has for his eternal punishment, and not his personal fiefdom away from God’s authority.

Thinking along those lines, I questioned the demons’ pursuit of Conner, Mitch, Helen and the others. But a look at Scripture, shows that demons are all about destruction. In the New Testament they threw people into fires, caused a herd of pigs to rush to their destruction, made a man cut himself and become so violent people tried to chain him up but couldn’t. In the Old Testament, a demon enraged King Saul so he tried to kill David, and so on. Throughout the Bible, demons consistently aimed to bring destruction.

Plus we know from the Bible that Satan is the enemy of our souls. Why, then, in fiction wouldn’t demon portrayals be pursuing near-death people? Chomping at the bit, so to speak, thinking these individuals were about to seal their own fate for eternity. And, in fact, desirous of helping them on their way.

It’s a chilling picture, and dark, as a number of tour bloggers commented, but that doesn’t make it any less true. And it’s a truth we have stopped teaching very often, one our culture no longer believes. Maybe a book like Vanish or it’s sequel Valley of the Shadow will help readers come to grips with these spiritual realities.

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 11:51 am  Comments (6)  
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CSFF Blog Tour, Day 2 – A Review of Vanish

Vanish coverVanish, the June CSFF Blog Tour feature written by Tom Pawlik, is an adult supernatural suspense novel. Those of you who hang around here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction are probably rolling your eyes. (I need to come up with some short, snappy way of referring to this little blog. ACWoF just doesn’t do anything for me) Why the eye roll? others may wonder. Because I’ve said often enough, supernatural suspense is not my genre of choice. Yet I end up reading far more of it than I care to because it’s lumped in with fantasy in the “speculative” category.

Except, this time, I am happy my involvement in CSFF spurred me to read Vanish.

The Story. I can’t tell you much. 8) Even giving you the genre feels like I’m spoiling the story. This is one you need to experience sans spoilers. If you haven’t read Vanish yet and plan to take a peek at other CSFF posts, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY if you see a spoiler alert. Too much information will indeed ruin this story. I say this knowing full well that tomorrow I plan to discuss something important that Vanish has made me think about, and of necessity I’ll give spoilers. You are warned!

So what can I tell you? The main character Conner Hayden experiences the strange sensation that he’s being watched, until one evening when he sees an odd storm cloud, then passes out … or goes to sleep. He doesn’t really know. But when he awakens, everyone he knows is gone. No cars on the road. No one answering the phone. Only static on the radio. No TV reception. Stores are empty.

The story, then, is about Conner trying to figure out What Has Happened, and about how What Has Happened affects him.

Strengths. Intrigue! Intrigue! Intrigue! And Suspense in equal measure. Yes, Tom really has written a story that will have you guessing and wondering and worrying and fearing. And maybe in the end, hoping.

I hesitate to say this, but I think this book could be classified accurately as Christian horror. I have to think that one of Tom’s intentions was to scare people. And notice, I put this down as a strength. Hmmm.

At the same time, this is not a blood-bath kind of book. The real fear is generated by the unknown. I think Tom did an outstanding job feeding just a bit of information at a time, gradually increasing the fear factor.

Weaknesses. I didn’t feel a strong connection with Conner at first. So when things started to happen, I didn’t care deeply. Later I came to care, but I think the story would have more impact if I cared more deeply. If the sequel, Valley of the Shadow (which couldn’t have a more distinct cover from Vanish), is the story I think it is, then I’ll already have a connection to the character.

There’s also a theological issue that comes into play. It’s one of those tough things to sort through when writing Christian speculative fiction. How much must we pay attention to theology if we are using our imagination? I’ve said before, when we write about what is real, even if it is real in the spiritual world or in Biblical history, we are obligated to stay within the bounds of that which has been revealed. Within those bounds, I think we can speculate. (For example, a story about angels must be true to what the Bible says about angels, but a lot has been left unsaid, so I think we can speculate as long as we aren’t contradicting what the Bible says).

As I think about Vanish, I’d say there is a theological problem towards the end, but I didn’t find it off-putting or utterly misleading. Am I splitting hairs to say this is a problem? Maybe.

One of my favorite books is The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, yet many Christians clack their tongue at such a work that seems to suggest man gets a second chance at heaven after he dies. Well, I don’t think that’s what Lewis was saying in The Great Divorce. My theological criticism of Vanish may be as empty for the same reason.

You can be the judge tomorrow, because that issue will be in the forefront of my post.

Recommendation. For those who love suspense and especially supernatural suspense, this is a must read. For anyone who likes a captivating story, I highly recommend Vanish.

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers (listed below my interview with Tom) posting about this book. I particularly recommend Phyllis Wheeler’s review and possibly the best ever introduction by someone who hasn’t yet read the book posted by Fred Warren.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 12:27 pm  Comments (9)  
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Author Interview – Tom Pawlik

Tom who? you might be saying. Rightfully so. Tom Pawlik is a fairly new author. His debut novel Vanish won the 2006 Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and was subsequently published in 2008 by Tyndale House Publishers.

It just so happens that the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring Vanish this month, though Tom’s second novel Valley of the Shadow just came out. Much better, as far as I’m concerned, to introduce readers to the beginning of a series instead of jumping into the middle. Readers would definitely miss out if they didn’t experience Vanish first.

All that being said, I was able to ask Tom a few questions about his writing.

RLM: How did you conceive of the premise for Vanish and its follow up, Valley of the Shadow?

    TP: The basic premise grew out of a dream I had several years back. I’m not sure about other authors, but I get a lot of weird ideas from dreams. Then I spent the next couple of years developing the story line before submitting it to the CWG [Christian Writers’ Guild] contest.

RLM: You are among friends, Tom. 😉 I know of more than one speculative fiction writer who got the idea for their story from a dream. In fact, I’m included in that group! 😀 But I’m curious about your involvement in the CWG/Tyndale First Novel contest. What do you think set Vanish apart from the other entries?

    TP: I don’t believe any of the other finalists were in the Speculative genre. I had convinced myself there was no way I was going to win because Tyndale doesn’t typically publish this type of book. Thankfully, they liked it well enough to pick it as the winner.

RLM: Tell us about the editing process. Did your editors at Tyndale ask you to make any major changes, and if so, how hard was that?

    TP: I had always heard how tough the editing process is, but my experience with Tyndale was actually a very pleasant one. We started with a conference call in which they go through a list of items they liked as well as some suggested changes. I had originally written Mitch’s father as a Presbyterian minister and they suggested changing his occupation to avoid that cliche. In the end, I was glad they did because I would have never thought to make him a congressman. And now that change has opened a door for some other, future ideas.

RLM: When you wrote about Conner, Mitch, and Helen’s plight, what kind of reaction were you hoping to generate in the reader?

    TP: I wanted each of the three main characters to be flawed but likable. Even though they each had some dark secret lurking in their pasts, I tried to make them sympathetic characters.

RLM: Sympathetic characters in mortal (or immortal) danger. I wondered if you were hoping to generate fear as much as curiosity or surprise or excitement, but I suppose that’s best left to the reader to discover.

Describe your journey as a novelist. What got you started writing, who influenced you, what are your aspirations?

    TP: Being a novelist has been a life-long dream of mine. After 14 years of pursuing the career through the conventional routes, I had nearly given up until I came across the CWG website and saw the contest. I was absolutely thrilled to win and get my first publishing contract. I was a huge fantasy and sci-fi fan through my youth (and still am). Obviously, Tolkien and Lewis have both influenced me tremendously. I also enjoyed Gordon R. Dickson’s writing, Asimov, Bradbury and others. My goal is to be the premier Christian sci-fi/fantasy author of the twenty-first century. How’s that for an aspiration!

RLM: Hey, another similarity between us! 😀

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Tom. It’s great to get to know another Christian speculative fiction author.

As visitors here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction might guess, I’m not alone on this blog tour. Take some time this week to see what these other bloggers are saying about Vanish (and as I find them, I’ll put √’s with the permanent links to their posts):

Published in: on June 22, 2009 at 11:06 am  Comments (11)  
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Satan’s Favorite Lies

Satan’s most famous lie was that first one, “You surely shall not die.” And believe it or not, he continues to bandy that deception about. In his little book Oprah, Miracles, and the New Earth, Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, points out that “redefining” death is one of the ideas that is spreading in our culture.

One influential writer teaches that death is an illusion. Others latch onto the Eastern belief in reincarnation. Whatever the means, these “redefinitions” are lies, and they stretch believability. You’d think any sensible person could see through it, but the way lies work, one leads to another, and another, and another.

Along with, You won’t die, Satan seems to be fond of propagating the idea that he is as strong as God. The typical picture of the world is a duality, with a powerful god and an equally powerful devil vying for supremacy. Where did that idea come from? Not God. Scripture makes it clear He is unequaled in power. That He already is supreme.

A corollary of the duality idea is that Satan is king of Hell rather than Hell’s chief prisoner and greatest sufferer.

Other lies Satan likes to throw around:

Jesus was a good man—not God, but certainly a good man, though a little idealistic.

Man is good, not sinful. In fact, Man is so good, he can find within himself the secret to happiness.

God is whoever you want him to be. The implication here is that god is a creation of Man. You want him to be mother nature, then that’s what she is. You want it to be the life force of the universe, then that’s what god is. You want god to be Allah or Jesus or Jehovah, sure, that works too. Because god isn’t actually a real person, just your understanding of what’s behind all things.

There are others, many others, but I see a common thread. These lies are either an attempt to bring God down to the level of Man, or to elevate Man to the level of God. Which goes back to Satan’s real problem. He has, since before time, wanted to be equal with God, and since the creation of Man has tried to sell Man the same bill of goods.

So here’s a pretty easy way to spot false teaching. If God—and I mean all three persons of the Trinity—is not represented as transcendent, as high and exalted, then that teaching is false. On the other hand, if Man is represented as equal to god or on his way to becoming god, that teaching is also false.

Rack those up as part of the collection of Satan’s favorite lies.

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm  Comments (4)  
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Satan – Is He Real?

In thinking about God, I continue to come up against views about Him that contradict how He has revealed Himself. Where do those come from? After all, if I tell you about myself, you have no particular reason to think I’m distorting the truth. If I tell you I live in Southern California, I doubt if those visiting this blog automatically think, HA! a likely story! I suspect most people believe what I say about myself until I give them reason to believe otherwise.

So too with God … I would think. But a study of history shows this is not the case. From the earliest moments, there in Eden, Eve, when given a choice to believe God or not, opted for not. Why?

Quite simply, a second source introduced a contradictory view, and Eve had to choose what to believe. One statement was true, the other false. One statement came from God, the other from a beautiful creature that told her what she wanted to hear.

Well, that last part is my interpretation. It seems to me that a good deal of temptation feeds into what a person would like to be true, with disregard to what actually is true.

So in Eve’s case, the beautiful creature before her asked for verification that God had restricted Adam and Eve from eating of the fruit in the garden. Eve answered that they could eat from all the trees except for one, and that God said they would die if they ate from that tree.

The beautiful creature’s response? “You surely shall not die.” Essentially he promised her she could eat her cake and not suffer any consequences.

I suppose in part you’d have to say I’m taking God’s word for the fact that this beautiful creature, elsewhere described as an angel of light and the tempter and a roaring lion, really exists. The thing is, the truth of his existence explains a lot. Sure, the presence of sin in the fabric of Mankind’s nature also accounts for evil in the world, but the unanswered part of the equation is, How did the creation God made good become tainted by evil?

I don’t know how atheists account for evil, or for good, for that matter. I mean, apart from believing in a moral right and wrong, behavior just is. No one judges an eagle for swooping down and gobbling up a field mouse. But clearly we humans believe in wrong.

The Lakers win an NBA championship and “fans” take to the street, loot a store, start fires, throw things at passing buses. Most of us shake our heads and say, That is so wrong. CEOs run their institutions into bankruptcy but take for themselves million dollar bonuses, and most of us say, That is so wrong. A state governor tries to sell an important appointment to the highest bidder, and most of us say, That is so wrong.

So evil is here, in this world and in the human heart. Its presence confirms a source. The Bible points to Satan as the source. Oh, yes, the Bible also identifies Satan as a liar and the father of lies. So the lie he told about Adam and Eve not dying … well, it was true to his nature.

Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 11:23 am  Comments Off on Satan – Is He Real?  
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Knowing the Incomprehensible God, continued

I find it awesome that God wants us to know Him. Humbling, and yet inspiring. The God of the Universe, loves me? Loves me so much that He willingly took on my sin? It sounds like a fairy tale.

And of course, some people say it is. God isn’t real, they say. Or Jesus wasn’t really God. But more recently, the claims are things like, We have the capacity within us to become whatever we want to be. And, If God does exist, surely he is all about love and would never push anyone away.

From atheism to universalism, the real problem is not taking God at His word.

Unless the Incomprehensible makes Himself known, we haven’t got a chance of actually entering into a relationship with Him. He is unapproachable Light. He is the Consuming Fire. And yet He declares His desire to adopt us into His family, to give us the privileges of sons, to restore the communion Adam once had with God.

Except, He’s given us more. Adam knew God as Spirit, walking with him in the garden. We can know God, first as Incarnate, having lived in the flesh among us, and then, because He left, as Indwelling Holy Spirit.

Indwelling! That thought sometimes overwhelms me.

Wayne Thomas Batson, in his first series of YA fantasies, The Door Within, utilized the phrase, Never alone. To me that is the most accurate description of the life of the Christian. We are never alone because God with us became God in us.

How, how, how? How do we know this? How could it be?

How we know is because God told us. That’s the part that the atheists and the universalists miss. They don’t want to take God at His word. They want to pretend that He didn’t say what He said in the Bible or that He didn’t mean what He meant.

And how could it be? Only because God is more than incomprehensible. He is also omnipotent and infinite. Just and holy and pure, too, which again brings up the how question. How can a Holy God have communion with sin-seeped creatures?

Well, God took care of that too. Because of Jesus—His willingness to become the recipient of God’s wrath on my behalf—God clothes me in righteousness. I stand clean before Him and He calls me His.

Wow! What can I do but fall on my face at His feet.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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