Elizabeth Kitchens

In the midst of creating and exploring new worlds, authors have to ask a question we must all consider—where did this world come from? In other words, how do I handle religion in my story? How does my faith play out in this story?

The purpose of this article is not to give reasons for or against any particular way of addressing the issue—not mentioning God/gods at all, having gods, having a God based on our God, or mentioning each member of the Trinity, for instance.

My purpose is simply to beg editors and authors to do well what they set out to do—don’t diminish our Lord’s glory by not portraying him as he is. And this is surprisingly easy to do if we don’t think deeply about what is being said. Here are four of seven things that are worth double-checking. (A follow-up article will discuss the remaining three items.) The list is not exhaustive, but I hope it gets you to thinking. And another excuse to think about God is always good!

  1. What type of portrayal is this? Is there a God in a world with characters who hold a Christian worldview? Is only one deity mentioned, leaving room for the Trinity? Is the “one god” aspect conveyed in a way that precludes the Trinity? Are all the members of the Trinity portrayed, and if so, in what way? Is this an allegory (as in George Orwell’s Animal Farm)? Is this what C. S. Lewis stated Aslan was: a supposition of Christ in a different world?
  2. If there is a Christ figure, is his death intentional? Is it for redemption/ransom? Christ intentionally came to die to save us—to redeem us, to ransom us from the cost of our rebellion against God (Mark 10:45). He didn’t jump on a grenade to save his friends. As noble as such a death would be, any man or woman could do that.
  3. Does God always succeed? Don’t have your God or Christ figure set out to do something and then not accomplish it. He doesn’t set out to confront the villain and then not do so. God is steadfast in love (Lamentations 3:22–23) and always fulfills his promises (Numbers 23:19).
  4. Did Christ truly die? Was Christ truly raised from the dead? Heresies and other religions love to say that Christ didn’t truly die (Islam, for one) or truly rise (Jehovah’s Witness). Without a true death, you can’t have a true resurrection. There should be no “he seemed to die but then showed back up again.”

 We’ll continue with the remaining questions in June. Until then, happy writing and editing.

J. Kitchens loves tales of romance, adventure, and happily-ever-afters and strives to write such tales herself. When she’s not thinking about dashing heroes or choosing the perfect word for her next adventure-romance fantasy story, she’s editing or enjoying the beautiful outdoors and time with family. She is a member of Realm Makers and The Christian Pen.