As Christians, we are called to study the Scriptures diligently and to know God as God so that in whatever we do, whether we read stories, write stories, or create stories, we will do so to the glory of the God of Scripture — not the God of our own imaginations.
Gospel Centered Fantasy
Many Christian fantasy books will talk about being faithful to some kind of higher power, but rarely do we see the need to pray and trust and draw strength from the higher power in order to remain faithful to it. And when we remove this aspect from our writing, we remove the gospel, and thusly Christianity from our writing.
Literary Genre of Fantasy and Its Use in Imparting Christian Truth
Thomas Clayton Booher
If you want to portray the evilness of evil, fantasy allows you to do that in its most horrific form (dragons, evil wizards and witches, ruthless and heartless orcs, evil emperors, and so on). Look into the bulbous eyes of Gollum, and you see the evil of greed personified. Contrariwise, fantasy allows you to portray good in its most sublime form. How can any child miss the love and sacrifice of Aslan who gives himself up to merciless mockery and brutal death for the despicable Edmund?
Good and Evil in The Lord Of The Rings
Although evil cannot be completely eradicated in the present age, we can and must combat it whenever and wherever we are. As Gandalf tells Frodo: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” In Tolkien’s story, the primary means of overcoming evil is through love. This love manifests itself in many ways, but in The Lord of the Rings, the most important ways in which it manifests itself are through the trust and self-sacrifice involved in friendship and through acts of kindness, mercy, and pity.
The Chronicles of Narnia
The key to the religious meanings of the Narnian stories is the figure of Aslan. When at age forty Lewis decided to try to make a story out of his mental pictures of “a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion,” at first he “had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it. …Once He was there he pulled the whole story together, and soon He pulled the six other Narnian stories in after him.
Reflecting God's Creation-Work in Our Writing
God created all-powerfully producing a magnificent creation marked by precision, order, and design. For God, this was effortless, the mere speaking of it into existence. We want to create an imaginary world that similarly exhibits precision, order, and design, but unlike God’s effortless speech, the creation of such a world takes exacting labor on our part. The writer must throw every ounce of care he has into constructing phrases, sentences, paragraphs that knit seamlessly a believable world. This does not mean flowery or witty. It means realism. The world must be imaginatively real, as vivid as the one the reader walks into when he opens the front door and steps out. It takes careful development of character and voice, of events and their interrelation to other events and characters. It cannot be shoddy, superficial, wooden, hackneyed, or stereotypical.
The Key to C.S. Lewis
The point here is that Lewis was a complex thinker with a wide-ranging sensibility. He was both logical and wildly imaginative, conservative and a non-conformist, a devout Christian whose faith was never stodgy or limiting, but stimulating and liberating. And I think I have found the key to understanding Lewis in all of his complexities and in all of his different kinds of writing.
Does the Bible Have Anything To Say About Writing Fiction?
The Bible is the Book of Truth. Several times it exhorts us to speak truth and reject lies. Where does fiction fit in? Is telling a made-up story a lie? Is it sinful to create and distribute something that is untrue? After all, 1 Timothy 1:4 tells us to avoid myths and fables.
In fact, the Bible is filled with fiction.
Sub-Creation or Smuggled Theology: Tolkien contra Lewis on Christian Fantasy
This discussion of how successfully writers are in creating genuine otherworlds touches on a second problem with the theory of Sub-creation: how possible is it really to create secondary worlds, not dependent on this one? C. S. Lewis addressed this issue in a letter to Sister Penelope: "'Creation' [a]s applied to human authorship seems to me [an] entirely misleading term. We rearrange elements He has provided. There is not a vestige of real creativity de novo in us. Try to imagine a new primary colour, a third sex, a fourth dimension, or even a monster which does not consist of bits and parts of existing animals stuck together. Nothing happens. And that surely is why our works (as you said) never mean to others quite what we intended: because we are recombining elements made by Him and already containing His meanings.
Table Talk: An Interview With Andrew Peterson
I’m afraid that too many fantasy writers are more into dragons and swords than they are sentences and words. The thing that made Lewis’ and Tolkien’s work stand the test of time was that they weren’t just nerds writing fantasy. They were scholars and lovers of literature writing great books. That’s what I’m shooting for, however far I fall short.
What is Christian Fantasy?: A Definition and a Challenge
I want you to raise the standard. To stop thinking of “Christian” in terms of marketing, but instead think of it in terms of Christ’s glory. I would like us to think of “Christian fantasy” to mean “Christ glorifying fantasy.” In other words, maybe we need to start thinking intentionally, authentically, boldly, and delightedly about glorifying Christ—and therefore God—through our fantasy novels.
The Imagination as a Means of Grace
Imagination and the arts do not receive the respect in Christian circles that they deserve. In many cases they are under siege within the church. My aim in this article is to counter a heresy that rules vast segments of evangelical Christianity. That heresy is to defend a neglect of the imagination and the arts on the ground that we must be busy in God's work, assuming that God's work is never artistic. Yet the Bible itself, to say nothing of the creation in which we live, shows that God's work is artistic.
Do Christian Books Require 'More or Less' Discernment?
Perhaps one of the most common expectations of inspirational fiction is that it contains “redemptive themes.” But what does that mean and how does it jive with the Bible’s concept of redemption? Have we come to see “redemptive themes” as simply happy endings? Good triumphs over evil. Boy-gets-girl. Down-and-outer becomes up-and-comer. Love wins. Do these expectations conjure a biblical worldview? All that to say, is it possible we’ve come to portray an entirely biblical theme (redemption), in terms of shallow, feel-good, tidiness?
A short post assessing Orson Scott Card's thoughts on when to Tell and when to Show.