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On God as a Character

by on August 23, 2021

When you’re writing eschatological humor, as I’ve been doing lately, you tend to write a lot of stories involving what we Catholics would call the Last Things. Case in point: The Angel and the Apocalypse has a number of scenes set in Hell, and a few set in or outside of Heaven. I’ve got a lot of angels as characters, and some people from the other side too. (Cue Adele). This of course leads to the obvious question, and I mean no disrespect at all: what about the Big Guy? I mean, as an author, one trying to do right personally and all that, how do you write… Him?

The way I see it, if you write God into the story as a character directly, you’ve got two problems. If you have Him say anything other than Scripture, you run the risk of coming off cheesy or borderline sacrilegious. I wouldn’t presume to speak for the Almighty in real life, why would I presume to write for him in a story? It’s very tricky to get right. As C.S. Lewis once said when he explained why he didn’t do a good-guy counterpart to the Screwtape Letters, “Every word would have to smell of Heaven.”

Alternatively, you might just borrow from the Bible, but that has its own pitfalls. (Ever read Kingdom Come, the final volume in the Left Behind series? Then you know what I’m talking about). I’m not sure it’s the best approach to have God show up and rattle off Bible verses like He’s a bad copy/paste job. That’s not great either.

In the end, I think the best approach is either the Narnia or the Touched by an Angel way. Either you work God in as a stand-in, like we all know who Aslan is, or you have him outside the story, but you have representatives, like angels (Monica, etc). I’ve taken the latter approach, since I don’t pretend to be on the level of C.S. Lewis. Anyhow, that’s what I think.

Also, as tomorrow is Volcano Day (unrelated, but why not?), I’m offering a free copy of The Angel and the Apocalypse, starting tomorrow through Wednesday, August 25th. Enjoy, thanks for reading, tell your friends!

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