Science Fiction God

>> Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm pretty sure that I've written about this idea before, but it continues to amaze me how much fiction informs how we think about faith. Science fiction and fantasy are all about making things happen that couldn't possibly happen, making the impossible merely improbable, either by magic or the wonderous advances of humanity. It's all about defining or explaining miracles, more or less, putting words and shapes and pictures and stories to the thing. In many of Terry Pratchett's novels, the Story is alive; it can itself be the motivating force to actions, and characters can understand how to act and what (loosely) to expect if they can figure out which Story they're living in. The stories we read give us a framework for understanding, and a new set of language in which to try to comprehend the world.

We've been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately. While I can't remember the exact quote, I asked Lanse a question about the plot and he said something along the lines of, "It shouldn't be this hard to explain a temporal paradox before breakfast." That's when it hit me. In this series, we see exactly how a person can be in two places at once. We see how time can be rewritten, given the ability to move back and forth in it, and the devastation that can occur when it's done badly. We can watch and try to comprehend the idea of things happening that absolutely can not happen, or two opposite things happening simultaneously because time is being rewired somehow. We are given the chance to understand, to wrap our brain around words like "temporal paradox" and start to believe them.

We're given the ability to start to understand how God can be in heaven, while watching his Son come into the world, and sending His Spirit to scholars in the East, while still being the same single being at the same moment. We can begin to comprehend being everywhere at once, when time doesn't hold you, and how sometimes the bad things happen to us because there's no other way to get through to us. Perhaps we can start to really look and listen to the little voice He gives us that tells us to remember what He said, because remembering is the important part that will bring hope and peace to the world. And we can see how a being with all this power, who has gone through excruciating love and pain and loss, losing - by choice - the people he loved the most, can still come back time and again to the broken people on Earth, because of who we are and who we can be.

I don't really watch much science fiction now beyond Doctor Who, so I can't speak on the whole genre. But I'm grateful for the opportunity to have this new language and these stories to help me better grasp a small fraction of what my God has done for me. I wonder what I'll learn this coming season.

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About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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