Friday, 2 September 2011

Randy Alcorn on Speculative Faith

Randy Alcorn just wrote a two part article for Speculative Faith.  In Part 1, he explains his love for sci-fi and fantasy, how great fiction points to Biblical truth, and why Christians often avoid the genre.  In Part 2, he explains his novelization of the movie Courageous, and how anticipating the New Earth changes our lives.

I haven't read any full-length books by Randy Alcorn, but I greatly appreciated some of the ideas he spoke about in these articles.  I personally enjoy the speculative genre, although I haven't read that much of it yet.  The more I read Speculative Faith, the more I understand why Christians love it.  This is what Alcorn says:

"Is God’s imagination less than that of his image-bearers? Or is the height of human imagination at its best a reflection of the infinite creativity of the divine mind?

When we get excited reading Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, it’s not our sinfulness that arouses that excitement. It’s our God-given hunger for adventure, for new realms and new beings, for new beauties and new knowledge. God has given us a longing for new worlds."

This kind of made me go "Whoa!! God has an imagination!!"  He thought up the whole universe and spoke it into being.  Out of nothing, He created the stars, planets, and everything we can see and can't see in this world.  He placed us in this crazy drama called Life to be a part of His story.

We, being created in His image, also have an imagination.  Many of the things we enjoy on a daily basis are the product of man's imagination.  We have a desire to create and tell stories because He did it first and put that desire within us! Human beings have created some amazing things, but it's only a small reflection of what God has done.  And the crazy things is, God's not even done yet! He's going to create a new world which will be better than this one.  How awesome isn't that?

I love what Alcorn says in Part 2:

"Are you living with the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams? In Heaven you’ll find their fulfillment! Did poverty, poor health, war, or lack of time prevent you from pursuing an adventure or dream? Did you never get to finish building that boat or painting that picture or writing that book—or reading that pile of books? Good news. On the New Earth you will have a second chance to do what you dreamed of doing—and far more besides."

I really hope that part about the books is true.  This is going to sound extremely vain, but I've wondered about that a lot lately.  I like reading, but I'm no speed reader. I can't finish a full-length book in a few hours like some people can.  I like details and I usually want every single one.

So when I discover a new book, it goes on a list, and I add to that list often.  At this point, I have about 200-300 books I decided at some point I wanted to read, plus tons more if-I-get-to-it books.  And with new stuff always coming out and my slow progress, I'm so afraid I'll never finish in my lifetime and I'll miss out on something great.  And I honestly wonder if maybe I can read them in the next life, where time will no longer be a problem.  Yes, that just sounded really pathetic, but this seriously has been on my mind. (I can almost hear my readers laughing at me right now.)

I have read about 20 books so far this year, but I have spent the last 6 months reading and studying Jane Eyre. I still have the hardest thinking ahead of me and I will have to decide what I believe on some very important issues. I've definitely wondered how fast universities cover this material. At times I'm afraid my brain might break, but I've learned so much, it's been worth it.

At my rate, it looks impossible, but Alcorn has given me a sliver of hope.  I may not be able to cover everything, but with the time I have, I will appreciate the imagination God has given mankind, think, learn, seek great things and pursue the dreams He has put within me.  I don't know what the New Earth will all hold, but I don't think we have reason to wonder if we'll be disappointed.  I think God's imagination has yet to blow us away.


  1. If I ever had a dream, it was to find a wife, live on a farm, raise a family, drive a truck and have a dog. Maybe that's why I don't read fiction. And about the book, I never wanted to write one. (let alone two)

  2. It sounds as if most of your dreams have been realized. I'm still trying to figure mine out. To get married and have a family are definitely among them, but I'm still working through the other ones. I think they may be starting to take shape. A part of me lives in a fairytale world, but when it comes down to it, I'm ever a realist, if that makes any sense.

    Writing a book may not have been your dream, but you've done well with it. To write a book isn't one of my dreams anymore, although people have suggested it. I wanted to be a writer as a kid, and out of all the things I ever wanted to be, this is probably one of the only ones that has stuck with me. I've played with the fiction thing, but I don't think I could ever put out anything worth publishing. I think the kind of writing I do now is probably what I'll keep on doing.