I have been thinking more about writing and how to glorify God by writing, but I want to take a step back and think through, “Does God want people to write?” On the surface, it’s rather funny to write down a question like this, since I am writing. However, the fact I am writing shows that I believe this presupposition. Of course I believe God wants people to write. In fact, as a Christian, I have been given a book by God with thousands of words: The Bible. He intends for us to have a language, and for that language to be communicated not just once to one audience but saved, or written down, to be given to many other audiences.
But, as I have learned, sometimes pointing out the obvious helps us move forward in answering the “practical” questions. If I want to know how to glorify God through writing, I first need to know what He says about writing. What is my theology of writing? And to know my presuppositions and where they come from is helpful in answering the question of “how to”?
So, to the question, “Does God want people to write?” The answer is a resounding, Duh! He even told some people to “write this down.” And some things were told to be written down, and other things were told not to be written down so they could remain hidden. And we know this because it was written down. Not the hidden things, because what was written was God saying not to write them… Which they weren’t.
Now, the next question is, what does God want people to write? Or more specifically, can people write fiction as well as non-fiction?
This needs to be answered before moving onto “writing for God’s glory,” because we have to define what types of writing can be used. What types of writing does God allow. And it is also plain that non-fiction is a yes. That can be written. That is what’s mostly written in the Bible. And there are two different types of non-fiction, poetry and prose.
But not all non-fiction glorifies God, because not all non-fiction is true. Not all non-fiction is from God. Satan spoke, and it was non-fiction, and it was a lie. And we know the lie Satan told because it was written down, but we know it was a lie because context tells us so. So the lie can be written, as long as it is shown as a lie, and shown that lies are bad. So non-fiction is bad only if it lies about lies. If it makes lies look good. If it makes lies out to be a great thing. The bible talks about lies and sin all the time. All of which are bad. However, the Bible portrays it all to be evil. Because it is evil. So, non-fiction is only good non-fiction when it not only tells the truth, but it tells the truth about those things which aren’t truthful. Which means if something is a lie but written as though it were true or good, then it’s bad-nonfiction.
How’s that for an easy answer?
What about fiction?
Well, we also see instances of fiction used within the Bible. We must be clear when we use the word fiction. Fiction is a manner of using words to weave a story that pushes an agenda. All fiction has an agenda. All fiction is trying to get a point, a message, an idea across. Though the events of the fiction may not have actually happened, it doesn’t mean that person is lying by using fiction. Instead, that person is often using fiction to push what is true. It’s creating a story to be used as an illustration to a point.
Some would say that Satan being in the garden as a snake is fictional and merely a story to portray a point. But that is itself wrong because Jesus not only spoke about the point of the Genesis account, but demonstrated to believe that it actually happened.
But there are plenty of places where a story, a tale, a parable, or fiction, was used to illustrate a point. Hopefully a few come to mind, such as Nathan’s story to David, or Jesus’ parables. But we also can see many instances in the world where this happens, and the world is also God’s spoken word.
When God wants to demonstrate his power, he uses nature, and he uses the vastness of the cosmos to demonstrate his power. And the truth is, the vastness illustrates his power. However, it only illustrates his power by demonstrating our smallness. It feels vast to us, and to God it’s small. This is one instance where you see the stars declaring the glory of God by being numerous and far apart, unstudied, unknown, inaccessible to us. But it’s fictional because it only illustrates God’s power, it’s not actually God’s power. It was made by his power, and it is being sustained by his power, but God’s power is not creation itself.
This is why some Christian fiction authors will say that we are living in a story, God’s story. We are God’s fiction. We are made up by God. We are created and used to tell a tale. God is using all of everything to demonstrate a point. There is a narrative in all of History that is going somewhere. There is a beginning to our story and an end to our story. God. God is the begging and end.
This is why fiction can be written. This is why God wants men to write fiction. Notice I said, God wants. How can I be so bold to say God wants something? How do I know?
I know because God had his words written down. Written down in two different senses: 1) Written down by men to be used to teach and instruct men in His ways, 2) Men are what’s written down; all of creation is God’s words written down. His paper is nothing. He created out of nothing. His words were made into something. Whatever you want to call it, nothing is God’s paper, his parchment, and God’s power, wisdom, goodness, and desires are the ink. He writes down using his ink on nothing and everything grows out of nothing.
To many this may sound weird, and not theologically sound. And it might not be. Why? Because I am grasping at what God did. I can say God created, but that’s not enough. That doesn’t portray what that means. I have to use what we all know to illustrate what creation looks like, and that’s grasping at something that I can never do, and I can only do it by mimicking God, which means writing my own type of fiction. But this fiction isn’t false, it’s merely an illustration. An illustration as to why fiction is good.
We are God’s fiction, his story. We are God’s imaginary people written down. However, when God imagines and writes, it doesn’t just stay in the mind of God. No, when God writes on his cosmic paper, which is nothing, it actually becomes something. When we write on paper, it is merely ink on paper, or pixels on a screen, a bunch of zeroes and ones. When God writes, it exists. When we write, it will only have existence because it is paper and ink, and the story itself will have existence in the minds of people.
So, should people write fiction? Absolutely. God did. But when we write fiction we are trying to take something and portray it in someone else’s head. We are trying to make our stories to existence and have an effect not on reality but on the minds of people in this reality. When God writes fiction, his fiction is the brains of people, and the people. His fiction is real. It doesn’t aim to shape minds, it is the minds. It doesn’t aim to shape people, it is the people.
With all this out of the way, which more could be said and explained, we now can ask the questions: How does God want writing to be done? What should be written about?