One of my favorite perks about reading and writing science fiction and fantasy is with every new story, I get to discover and explore whole new worlds. And with every new world I encounter through a book, movie, or game, I get to encounter a new echo of God.
I believe as beings created in the image of God, it’s only natural for echoes of our Creator to resonate through the worlds we build, whether we try to do so intentionally or whether there’re just clues and themes left behind allowing readers to find an echo that resonates for them.
Many times in fiction written by Christians, the echo is loud and at the forefront of the world, with the depiction of God active and present on a very real and even physical level that the world just accepts. This is especially true in modern Christian fantasy, so heavily influenced by Narnia where Aslan set the mold for God’s interaction with the world.
On the opposite side, there are also those worlds where the echo is fainter and even unintentional. I think of the recent Hunger Games trilogy as an extreme example where I feel the absolute absence of God can be used as an echo. By the time I finished the last book, I was left with the overwhelming sense of hopelessness that is found in a world void of God. What hope can be found if we humans are left to our own devices and have no greater purpose or example to strive for? God’s echo is found through His absence.
The story that first really struck me with the concept of God echoing through fiction to readers was The Cleric Quintet series by R.A. Salvatore. This five-book series is an exploration of a young cleric questioning his faith and discovering a deeper relationship with his deity. To me, this story echoed the relationship we so often have with God, where it often feels like He is so far away and not listening, when all the time we were getting in our own way of hearing what He was saying.
Those are the worlds I like the best, where God is present and active, but in the same way He is today. Not physically present, but present through His relationship with His children, and active in the world in spectacular and subtle ways.
Do you have a favorite echo of God you have discovered in a science fiction, fantasy, horror, or other created world?
Stuart Vaughn Stockton is an award-winning science fiction author. His first novel, Starfire released in 2009, published by Marcher Lord Press. Starfire released to great critical acclaim and won first place in the 2010 Epic Awards Science Fiction category.
Stuart currently lives in Colorado Springs, where he works at a local publishing company during the day, and ventures into alien worlds by night. He also co-owns Eagle Designs, with his wife Tiffany, who is also an author.