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Vance Kessler

Christian Science Fiction Barriers

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11 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

So, I'm apt to believe that we're sorta alone in a massive Universe.

 

Agreed. I suspect we're alone in the Universe, and I don't worry about the Sci-Fi Singularity where Artificial Intelligence makes the leap to self-awareness because I believe God hasn't allowed for that in His Creation.

With that said, I /do/ believe God has allowed for Mankind to use the things already created for good or ill, and the power we already have today would be crushing in the wrong hands. So, I don't believe in aliens nor rogue AI, but I do think nation-states like China (or, spoiler warning, nations a little closer to home) already have the power to subjugate their people, and that's very frightening indeed. This is why I keep reminding myself that God is sovereign on His throne and my job remains the same today as it was yesterday - to love God, to love my neighbor, and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

How that plays out in F/SF could be as hard or as simple as you like. I'm writing a Fantasy / Noir about a golem detective who has regular interviews with a highly respected cleric to ascertain his mental state. The cleric stands in as my person of faith and everyone else is across-the-spectrum between unbelief and belief. I like writing from the POV of a skeptic and watching how this unbelief and belief looks. 

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One thing's for sure, God is the Creator of the universe. And if your fictional world has multiple universes, then God is the Creator of the multiverse. It's easy to write aliens if they aren't sentient. But intelligent extraterrestrials are a lot more difficult to facet into Christian science fiction. That's where creativity comes to play. One of my many solutions would be to have a mutant human cast out into outer space to colonize a distant planet. A millennium later, the mutant's descendants rediscover planet Earth. Another risky solution to the hurdle would be to have biblical events play out the same way in other galaxies. I'm leery about that though, because Jesus would have to have been born in other planets albeit lightyears apart from our own.

 

In the end, I think humans are the best form of intelligent being that should exist and that fictional intelligent aliens should not differ too vastly. There's always the strictly allegorical route and make God absent in the story, but that would also mean that you should consider making humans absent as well since they were made after God's image, a fact that would be hard to ignore. As long as Christian values are there though, I don't mind reading a story about the "Hoboptđikans" trying to end a galactic war with the oppressive "Whoknowsians".

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For me, the bigger issue is Jesus DYING on other planets (Rom 6:10). I do not see a theological issue with Jesus being born and living on other planets, the problem is dying to and overcoming sin. That is outside of time and is a one-time event. How could Jesus overcome sin more than one time? Unless sin is limited to each planet (which I do not think is a viable option).

 

Events would not need to play out exactly the same way on these planets, however, it seems there would have to be similarities, like sin, God reaching out to restore the relationship, and Jesus' sacrifice.

 

I think I came up with an interesting way this could happen on multiple planets in my SF series.

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You have to remember a couple things.

 

1) we are made in His likeness. 

2) Jesus was the exact (perfect) representation of God in the flesh. 

 

I don't think Jesus was born more than once or in multiple places at the same time. Although God can do anything He wants. I think we should focus on the great commandment of Jesus to spread and teach the good news. The gospel to ALL who will listen. 

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I reality, I don't think Jesus lived anywhere other than Earth either, but i am writing fiction. :)

 

I don't want to get into a theological debate, but personally I believe that made "in Our image and Our likeness" means we are created as loving, creative, moral beings. I do not think we look like God because "God is spirit"  (Jn 4:24)  and most likely has no physical form at all. Which is another good reason not to try to create an image of Him to worship.

 

That gives us a lot of freedom as fiction writers.

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3 minutes ago, Vance Kessler said:

I don't want to get into a theological debate

Wasn't trying to. Just trying to provide a path for your story. 

 

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2 hours ago, Vance Kessler said:

For me, the bigger issue is Jesus DYING on other planets (Rom 6:10). I do not see a theological issue with Jesus being born and living on other planets, the problem is dying to and overcoming sin.

 

In my head-canon, there is one Earth and one Jesus living and dying as a human once for all time and eternity (and all space).

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There's just one thing to remember when it comes to modern storytelling: the Multiverse and / or Time Travel fixes EVERY plot.  Just sayin'.

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You know, I have always felt that one of the reasons there is so much Christian writing that is science fiction or fantasy was because it allowed the writer greater freedom to write a story with a strong christian theme - ie. good v evil.  Redemption.  The notion of a divine God.

 

So, I was a bit surprise to read this thread.  I have felt as someone who writes contemporary fiction with christian themes, that is hard get publishers or agents interested.  

 

The Christian agent/publisher wants 'clean' books which can limit how deeply and realistically you can explore some topics while the secular publisher/agent find much of the fiction christian writing too tame.  AT least that is the feedback I am getting at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/20/2020 at 11:54 AM, Johne said:

Agreed. I suspect we're alone in the Universe, and I don't worry about the Sci-Fi Singularity where Artificial Intelligence makes the leap to self-awareness because I believe God hasn't allowed for that in His Creation.

 

Still, you've got to admit, that makes an interesting plotline, Johne!

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54 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

Still, you've got to admit, that makes an interesting plotline, Johne!

 

I couldn't write this plotline. I think people are misguided about what God does and doesn't allow in His Creation, and the fear that accompanies the idea of rogue AI taking over the world and killing humans takes away from God's sovereignty and switches the focus off our need to accept our personal responsibility to repent. I have a hunch this idea is specifically engineered to do that and so I don't tend to write about it. 
 

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5 hours ago, Shamrock said:

So, I was a bit surprise to read this thread.  I have felt as someone who writes contemporary fiction with christian themes, that is hard get publishers or agents interested.  

 

There is no difficulty in writing Christian themed stories or clean stories that contain Biblical concepts. The problem I see is holding to Biblical truths like Romans 6:10 when addressing the concept of intelligent life on other planets and how those beings relate to the death of Christ. It raises questions that can be tricky to address.

 

For me, it is more important to get those aspects correct rather than the science.

 

There are, of course, other barriers like the one you mentioned about agents, as well.

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