Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. –Arthur C. Clarke
As an author, I find myself in an interesting situation. For those who don’t know, I write Christian suspense novels. I also write science fiction. Many of those who read my Christian suspense novels would turn their noses up at the idea of science fiction, most notable aliens, alien worlds and eras many centuries in the future. At the same time, readers of science fiction are turned off by the concept of the supernatural, good or bad, which includes God and angels, or on the other side, demons and Satan.
1. Magic vs. science. This is kind of like talking about logic versus emotion; go too far in either direction and you’re asking for trouble. In my Persuasion class that just ended a couple of weeks ago, we talked about the persuasive appeals that are used in Christian evangelistic series. Generally speaking, those who decide to become Christians and step forward in the meeting usually do so because of an emotional appeal. But unless that commitment is followed up by some logical Bible study, that commitment is not likely to last. In Persuasion, we call that Parallel Processing (that’s for my students, just in case you’ve already forgotten what I taught you).
So what does that have to do with magic or science? The problem that those who believe in magic (or would like to) especially readers of fantasy, have with science fiction, is that it is too sterile and logical and restricts the pull of imagination (or so they say). Those who read science fiction state that fantasy is just that, too fanciful, and that some logic needs to be built into the story. But stop: you’re both right. A good story needs imagination and logic, fantasy and structure. Fantasy is probably the most structured genres to write it, simply because you have to come up with the rules, and then you have to obey them.
God, the Creator of heaven and earth, doesn’t use magic, even though it might seem that way to many people. I believe that he created all the laws of physics, including quantum mechanics, as well as many, many laws that we haven’t learned yet. Because of that, he can either follow rules that we don’t know about, or know enough to be able to bend those rules. That’s science, and that’s fantasy.
2. Good versus evil. This is an easy one. There are good aliens and there are bad aliens. There are good angels (God’s angels) and there are bad angels (demons). If you don’t believe me, read in the Bible where Satan got started. Knowing this helps explain why a lot of things happen on this earth (why do bad things happen to good people, etc.). The problem comes when people believe in God, but not Satan, or vice versa. Or believe in a God that doesn’t get involved in Earth’s affairs.
But this discussion isn’t about God. It’s about angels and aliens. Tell me: what can an angel do that a sufficiently advanced alien can’t do, or vice versa? I think the bottom line comes down to motivation. We know why angels do what they do–or do we really? And what do we know about alien motivations?
So seriously, this is a discussion I am very interested in. What do you think? Because of what I write, the issue of angels versus aliens is a very real one to me. Let’s hear what your opinion is.