In an earlier post I talked about a reader who mentioned that he took issue with two areas in my novel. The first issue was angelic death and if such creatures could indeed die. I tackled this in an earlier post. In today’s post I want to address the meatier issue the reader raised concerning speculative aspects of my novel concerning the Godhead.
Let me preface this reading by declaring that I believe in the Trinity. And in no way does my novel diminish that existence of the Trinitarian nature of God. There is a scene in my novel that (Ill try not to give away) that is a major surprise in the novel. The writers caveat is addressing this scene. Having said that, I remind the reader that the novel is speculative fiction is not meant to be doctrinally prescriptive.
Although, this was mentioned clearly in the book’s preface, nevertheless, some might feel similarly to address this second caveat mentioned by this reader. I hope my response satisfies some of the thinking behind this scene, and helps give peace to those who think this novel must somehow line up to their understanding of every scriptural doctrine they believe. The letter and my response continues as follows…
“As far as the meatier issue of the trinity: that was a very interesting scene to write, and here are my thoughts on leaving it in. I almost took it out but decided to leave it as it is, simply because it made the story a better story. And I knew what I was communicating as the author.
The trinity in many respects is a mystery. No matter how hard you try to find a natural analogy for it. The analogy will break down. The Bible many times asks us to accept certain truths without giving us explanations on how such truths are possible. Although I am sure we both know, the word Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible I assume we can agree that the concept of the Trinity is there.
I.e. that there are three distinct persons called God in the Bible, The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, and in the Bible these three distinct persons are referred to as God and possesses the attributes of God. This is the essence of Trinitarian teaching. I think we can agree on this.
Heb 13:8 states that Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever. Mal 3:6 states that I am the Lord, I change not.
But what does that mean? Was Jesus always incarnate? No. He did not become incarnate until he took on flesh. Again, if you believe that the angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord than this too is a “change”. So when we say that God does not change what does this mean?
Why is there a trinity? Why not two or 5 etc. persons in the godhead. Why not one personality like apostolic believers teach? Some Christians as I’m sure you are aware do not believe in Trinitarian teaching. (Which although is a difficult concept yet is a biblical one.) Why do we have 66 books in the Bible and not 70? (Catholics would not even say there are 66)
These are the same questions I asked about the Trinity. Ultimately I asked, if God so choose; could He add someone to the Godhead? I did not ask if He would. (which I honestly believe is no.) I asked could He? In other words, can God make a rock that even he could not lift? Can immortality die? Can God limit himself? Can God interact with his creation to lift his creation to a new level?
My answer was yes He could. It’s theoretically possible yes. But actually possible? No..not in my humble opinion.
Jesus who we both believe and understand as God—died. Really think about that. (Which is the irony of the cross. “The eternal one dies” God takes the place of man” and all that.) How can God be everywhere at once and yet localized in a human body? If you have really studied theology then these are very “mature” questions that only those who study such issues ever contemplate. Which sadly most Christians do not. How can Jesus be fully God AND fully man?
Ultimately, when you really meditate on this then my adding this scene is not a stretch.
In the end, I concluded that adding that scene takes nothing away from the central truth that we both adhere to; that God is a trinity.
WARNING SPOILER ALERT
In the book, God starts as Trinitarian in nature. Moreover, from a doctrinal standpoint he REMAINS as Trinitarian in nature. During the scene itself, God remains Trinitarian. God is entirely in control of if Lucifer in that scene would be lifted or not. It was not in Lucifer’s power to do it himself. Again, the scene adds to the background and underpinnings to his thinking and later actions.
I speculatively ask about God’s nature without changing his nature in the book. I think I definitely go up to the line without crossing it.
If God’s own flawed creation, (me) can ask this question. Then my question not only can be asked or contemplated by God himself, but even also acted upon if he willed it.
We can agree with who God is. Where we disagree on (perhaps) is what limitations (if any) exist on God. Either self imposed or “naturally” (i.e. it’s the result of his “nature”) To me the irony of your way of thinking is that it goes back to the question if God is all powerful; can he make another being like himself? (He would not…at least I do not think so.) He is the first mover, the ALPHA. But could He change that?
If he CAN’T then again is He truly all-powerful? Speculatively asking such questions and or more importantly coming down on one side of another does not in my humble opinion put us at the place where we cannot call one another brothers in Christ. As we believe the central truths about who Christ is which is the cement to our bond of fellowship.
In that scene, Lucifer does not ascend to God hood. The scene adds drama, and gives a deeper motive of what drives the character in the book. (Remember it’s fiction) and does not take away from the central truth that many of us believe. This scene is actually an allegory to the scene of Cain and Abel in Genesis, and does ask what limits if any are on God himself. Which honestly none of us can truly know because if we did, then by definition we would have to possess all knowledge which by definition would make us God.
I am not sure you can use the Bible to answer this question. It is like saying if Jesus had a baby would the baby be God? We all know that he did not. Nevertheless, if he did, what would the nature of the baby have been like? That is speculative fiction. It’s fiction that explores those nooks and crannies.
I wish I could have stated all this in the preface. However, I decided not to. It would have given away too much, and I wanted the reader to be surprised. Nor did I want to bore the average reader with theology. Nor scare people away from reading the book. Does it push the envelope? I think it does, but not without going over. You are getting insight into how much thought I had to put into the book and the issues you raised in particular.
I think a good fictional book should make you think. My book should make people spur discussions. I think your letter to me proves that it accomplishes that. Does it take away from what you believe? No. Nor is the book designed to. However, my guess is that it makes mature believers think and research the Bible more. And perhaps my own letter might just make you think even deeper about theology and seek to reaffirm truths we both agree on? The issues you raise while controversial are not heretical.
I clearly state on my website what my intentions where in the book. I hope that no one thinks that I am espousing some doctrine or theology or somehow need “correction.” if so I would have to state that that they are then reading more into the book (making assumptions) than is there.
My book from where I stand is for mature believers. It is not for babes in Christ. I honestly cannot recommend it to everyone because of the latter issue you raised about the Trinity. That is why I harp so much on the fact that it is not doctrine and it’s speculative fiction. I’d like to think it is It a mature book for “us”, by us, and not some junk we get from Hollywood. (Cough…cough…Noah and Exodus) This subject matter is simply hard to write about no matter how you go about it. Wendy Alec had similar issues with reviewers in her book. I think hers might be less controversial than mine though. (I think mine appeals to men more!)
Overall, the “problem” I think that is articulated in your letter is a “problem” only if a reader makes the book beyond what it claims to be; speculative Christian fiction. Its basis in the Bible doesn’t make it any less fiction.
God bless you my brother I hope you feel that I have responded respectfully and thoughtfully and yes even biblically to your raised issues. Thank you for taking some of your time again to write me! Please feel free to write back and I hope you take the time to read the next book in the series, which will be out in February.
With love and peace in Christ our Lord,
Well there you have it. Even more insight into the thinking behind T3rdH.