Fantasy Friday: Speculating About The Real

In a recent article at Speculative Faith, in response to Mike Duran’s guest blog there, I concluded with this:

As I see it, all the world, and all the pretend worlds we can imagine, are before us to people as our imagination allows. And we can infuse those worlds with a Being capable of coloring outside all boxes — because He made the boxes and the colors. How unlimiting for a writer. How speculative. And how Christian.

You see, I was making the case for the Christian being in the best position to speculate, more so than the non-Christian. The problem is, I’m not sure I completely agree with what I wrote.

I believe fiction, at its heart, is about truth, and fantasy — science fiction and horror to a lesser extent — delves into truth that goes beyond the here and now, the material and concrete. Perhaps fantasy speculates less than the other speculative genres.

As I see it, fantasy starts with a known — good on one side and evil on the other. From there on, everything is up for grabs, but at the heart of fantasy is this struggle, good with evil.

So here’s the problem I’m having about those lines I wrote: “all the world” is before the speculative writer to people as he wishes and to infuse with God who is capable of coloring outside the boxes. There’s one box He won’t color outside of — He won’t contradict Himself.

I touched on this in the Spec Faith article when I said “The only thing I can think of that God can’t do, is violate His nature.” But the thing is, He gave us a written revelation that tells us who He is and what He’s done.

Should I then write a story about this world that would speculate on the origin of the universe when God said He created it? Or how about one with a second perfect, sinless human? Or one in which Jesus decides not to go to the cross. Or how about one in which Satan repents and is forgiven? (In case you’re wondering why I lump that one in with the others, Scripture spells out Satan’s sure judgment, so such a story would in essence say God isn’t going to keep His word).

Could those stories be set in a different world and not contradict God’s revelation? I don’t know about those specific scenarios, but in other worlds, the author gets to write the rules.

C. S. Lewis made God a lion because in the world he created, he imagined how God would show Himself if such a world existed. Can we, then, imagine a world in which God could bring a second sinless Person into the picture? Possibly. Or one in which the archenemy becomes a friend? Most definitely.

But that’s the thing, speculating about dragons and vampires, elves and dwarfs, is imagination. But speculating about Jesus and angels and Peter and Judas — now we’re touching on the area of historical fiction. How much can we alter history?

Could we write a What if Adam never sinned story (would God have redeemed Eve? Killed her and given Adam a different wife?), or would that distort God’s revelation in a way that we must not?

Your thoughts?

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Comments (5)  
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