Posts Tagged ‘Creationism’

JohnnyCameHometrailerstillFollow this link to view the book trailer for Johnny Came Home: A John Lazarus Adventure.

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xnscifiOver 4 years ago, I wrote an essay that caused me to seriously think about writing something like Johnny Came Home.

At the time, I was writing Øtherworld, a sci-fi tale with fantasy overtones. I was having a hard time finishing it, so I wrote this essay to sharpen my focus a bit. The idea was to define my over-all aim as what fellow author JC Lamont terms a “literary apologist.” I managed to do that, but the essay is more noteworthy for the brainstorming session it contains. This updated version of Faith-Based Sci-Fi As Exploratory Apologetic continues in that tradition.

Enjoy!

***

Now by all accounts science fiction is a bit of a hard sell for the Christian book market. The reason for this is bound up in our eschatology, our beliefs about the End of All Things. End Times views within Christendom come a few clearly defined and argued categories. Most folks are familiar with the Darbyist view [pretribulational dispensationalist Rapturists] on which Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind series was based. If Christendom has an established sci-fi market, it is predominantly for this specific flavor of End Times fiction. And who can blame us? It’s exciting stuff. A small, desperate, but resolute band of believers beleaguered by the all-powerful AntiChrist, a megalomaniacal dictator in control of a fascist New World Order. The story has a powerful opening hook: the sudden disappearance of every Bible-believing Christian on the planet and climaxes in the bona fide War to End All Wars, the Armageddon, and the Triumphant Return of Christ. The setting and the Bible’s mention of martyrs and divine judgments make any half-decent effort a gripping read.

I digress.

If the selective mass market offerings of Christian book chains are any indication, this is the only sort of exploratory apologetic we have. I remember browsing the local Christian bookstores, just bored out of my mind. With few exceptions, I was looking an endless sea of romance novels, marketed at women. I’m a guy, so I’m into science fiction, fantasy and action thrillers. I remember thinking, “Why should I be forced to get the stuff I actually enjoy reading from secular bookstores in novels written from a non- or even anti-Christian worldview?”

What about the stuff of traditional sci-fi? What about alien worlds? Aliens? Space travel? Artificial Intelligence? Where was the Christian exploration of these subjects? In essence, why couldn’t I read “Do Android Prayers Reach the Ears of God?” [in the tradition of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner]?

Let me tell you some specific things I’d like to see addressed: (more…)

Though I’ve been working hard on writing the sequel to Johnny Came Home and on making a few revisions to the first novel [which will include an excerpt from John Lazarus: Mann from Midwich], I managed to carve out some time last night to work on the book cover for the newest John Lazarus Adventure. We’re still beta testing the cover titles, but the artwork is pretty much identical to what the final cover will look like.

And just for kicks, here’s the teaser from the back cover:

“One year after John Lazarus returns to Midwich, questions still linger. Is he human? Something more? The events of last year taught him that someone is trying to start a war between super-powered humans and the rest of humanity, but he has no idea how vast the conspiracy stretches. Or who he can trust.

As the world discovers the presence of super-powered humans, battle lines are drawn and sides are chosen. Johnny will need the help of a team of heroes to avert the coming world war. But will it be enough?

Find out more in John Lazarus: Mann from Midwich, the thrilling sequel to Johnny Came Home.

Legends arise. Dark forces gather. Heroes unite.”

Ugh.

My amazing wife just finished Johnny Came Home and I had to edit the book yet again.

Since the things I missed were fairly easy to fix, but oh-so-crucial to making the book the best it could be, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on repeated words, unnecesarry sentences, character development, flow, paradoxes, danglers and descriptive word choice.

The first thing you should look for is repeated words. My personal sins are too many to list in this category, although my over-use of the word “dude” comes to mind, dude. Here’s an example:

Johnny sighed, took note of the fact that his passenger was still asleep, and decided not to wake him just yet. Weasel would have a thousand questions that he wasn’t prepared to answer just yet. He headed toward town.

The simplest solution was to delete the repeated phrase. In other case, where a word is repeated more than once, you have to get a little more creative.

I also used the word “merc” and “mercenary” quite a bit in the last draft to decribe a type of zombie soldier utilized by Titan’s corporate rival. You won’t see either variant anywhere in the most recent draft, because the word simply didn’t fit. Mercenaries are guns-for-hire. Zombie soldiers  don’t really have a choice in the matter [and I’m pretty sure they don’t get pay and benefits!] Point is: don’t just go to Thesaurus.com and pick a synonym for the word “soldier,” for example. Make sure the word actually describes your character so readers don’t get the wrong impression. In my case, it would have been easy to assume that Titan’s rival was using both zombie troops and hired guns, when in fact they only brought along the former.

Next, let’s talk about flow. Flow is that magical [and oftimes elusive] element that keeps your readers turning the pages at the right pace. Those last four words are really important. If you’re building up an action scene, you do not want your readers bogged down in a patch of dialogue. We talked about that in my last post on self-editing. Though less obvious, action scenes can also interupt the flow. In my case, I had two epic super-powered fight scenes that did not advance the plot in any way. They were just there because I got these cool images in my head and they leaked out onto my storyline.

Let’s face it: I write the movie I see in my head. Sometimes I also write the video game tie-in. The problem with the video game tie-in [and the key difference between a video game and a movie, in my opinion] is that the game has mini-bosses, something neither movies nor novels have [generally speaking]. Mini-bosses were conceived of to give gamers more bang for their buck. They are not necessary to the game’s story arc. They’re extra. Superfluous [like that last word and this parenthetical remark]. As a novelist, you want your readers to keep turning pages at the right pace, so you don’t want to muddle the pace or cut off the flow completely. Action or dialogue that doesn’t advance the plot is like a big parenthetical in your book. Or as we say in my neck ofthe woods, a rabbit trail. Get rid of them. I ended up cutting out two chapters worth of material.

That’s not to say that your book should be a Spartan page-turner. One of the things I had to do was to go back and put two scenes back in. You see, character development is important. I mean, why should we care about a character? Why should we invest our time in them? What makes a particular character, major or minor, someone who isn’t interchangeable with any other character? For example, I had cut out a scene where a character remembers her life before the fire that took Johnny’s parents. In retrospect, this scene was important because it not only introduced and fleshed out a character important to my protagonist, it showed us the impact Johnny’s disappearance had on those he knew and gave us a better picture of Johnny’s father, someone who continues to influence him. I cut that scene to bring down my word count. It was the wrong scene to cut! Use discernment when editing your novel. Ask God for wisdom; He promises to give it to you in spades!

I also had at least two major paradoxes in the book’s setting and in a plot point, respectively. When I set up my book, I initially decided that Midwich isn’t really known to anyone outside and isn’t on any maps or internet databases. Johnny takes an unmarked interstate exit, drives down twisting country roads and drives through a mountain tunnel before he finally sees his hometown. He only knows how to get there from memory. Cool concept, but completely unrealistic. I mean, people have been living there for a while and presumably have family elsewhere and go on vacations. People have bound to have noticed that it wasn’t listed on Google maps or whatever. At some point in writing Johnny, I must have subconsciously recognized how ludicrous this was because I wrote in a tourist attraction. A tourist attraction in a place no one knows about. Let that sink in. I solved my paradox by re-writing the opening chapter, having the town known, but geographically isolated, and having Titan hiding in plain sight as a benefactor and provider of jobs [so why would anyone suspect them of anything nefarious, right?]

The last problem I had was the dreaded dangler. The dangler occurs when you remove a character and like Jason Vorhees or Freddy Kreuger, they just keep popping up no matter how many times you kill them off. In my last post on self-editing, I meantion that Dr. Phineas was removed from the book. Well, most of her. Not only did she show up by name at least five more times, she showed up by vague reference twice and by pronoun confusion once more! The pronoun confusion was the result of switching some of the plot elements and dialogue that I needed from Phineas to another character. That character was male… a male who thought to herself. The references were simply oversights, but I’m still not sure how I left her in by name five stinking times. After all, I hit CTRL + F and ferreted her out of the novel. Not sure how I missed it, but she’s gone now for sure. [Cue chilling music]

Anyway, even with putting scenes back in for clarity and character development’s sake, I’m down to 70 chapters, 355 pages and 98,502 words. That means I lost 2 chapters, 4 pages and about 1500 words over the Browne & King edits.

And now, pending comments from a few early reviews I have out there, I’m [finally] ready to submit Johnny Came Home to a publisher.

God bless you, and keep writing,

-Tony Breeden

For reasons unfathomable [OK, I was reading one of Tim Chaffey’s Truth Chronicles novels], I found myself thinking about time travel the other day. Whether it has occurred to you or not, time travel is a bit tricky to deal with in a Christian novel. Why? Because whether we’re dealing with the past or future, we [as writers] must take into account God’s sovereignty.

When dealing with the future, we must make sure we are taking into account as-yet-unfulfilled Bible prophecy even if our story does not deal with those events. For example, you cannot write  a novel in which the future Earth is destroyed and mankind moves to the stars because Bible prophecy tells us that Israel and the Middle East play important roles in the End of Days. To give another example, if you travel to a future where mankind has colonized other planets, you might want to ask yourself what Christ’s Return would look like across space and time! I mean, what does Jesus splitting the Easter sky look like on another planet, on the Moon or even on an orbital space station?

We can also ask ourselves how far God would allow us to travel into the future. It stands to reason that the period in which there is no more sorrow, nor tears, nor dying would be off-limits to sinful humanity simply because the time traveller’s intrusion would change that state of affairs instantly!

Of course, we have much more leeway with future time travel than we do forays into the past; that is, we can account for future prophecy events in our storytelling with a bit of creativity because these events have not actually happened yet, whereas history is set in stone.

As a creationist, it occurs to me that certain types of time travel into the past are pretty much off-limits where the Christian novelist is concerned. For starters, one could never go back millions of years because time itself only began about 6,000 years ago [give or take a century or two]. One cannot time travel beyond time. Time is the highway a time traveller journeys upon. He is bound by its limitations. So the furthest we could conceivably go back would be the beginning of time itself.

I’ve wondered if we could go back and see the days of Creation. This seems like a tantalizing possibility at first, but then we realize that God declares each day “good” at its terminus and “very good” at the end of the seventh day. The presence of sinful time travellers [even if they were noncorporeal and could not interact with the environment physically] would forbid such a declaration. We also have to note that sinful man is prevented from entering Eden by seraphim. It would not be unwarranted to suggest that this also prevents time travellers from entering Eden. Man fall then would act as a space-time barrier for the time traveller. If you wanted to use time travel to see the days of creation, you would be limited to some sort of technology that allows you to see into the past without being there.

What about the post-Edenic pre-Flood world? Nothing revealed in Scripture really prevents a person from going back to that time, so now we move on to whether we can affect the course of history. Three related issues  naturally concern us: the butterfly effect, paradox and alternate histories. The butterfly effect is the idea that the wind off a butterfly’s wing in New York can lead to a tsunami in Tokyo. When applied to time, it is often connected to evolutionary ideas. For example, Ray Bradbury wrote a short story called “A Sound of Thunder” in which a time-travelling big game hunter named Eckels steps on a butterfly in an evolutionist’s fictional “age of the dinosaurs,” resulting in changes in an election, everyday behavior and even the way words are spelled. Even when unconnected to evolutionary ideas, the butterfly effect suggests that minor actions in the past can have significant effects on the future. For example, imagine our time machine lands on some poor soul in the tradition of Frank Baum’s Dorothy Gale and this leads to Hitler’s Germany winning WWII instead of the Allies. We have just created an alternate history, a mainstay of sci-fi popularized in the TV series, Sliders. Unfortunately, this sort of butterfly effect infringes upon God’s sovereignty. The Bible paints a picture of God orchestrating the major events of history for His purposes. If major world events change as a result of a time traveller’s interaction with the past, as entertaining or instructive as such a story may be, we nonetheless have left a Biblical basis for our writing. The concept of alternate histories or multiverses is an evolutionary concept that suggests that our timeline is but one of an infinite number of timelines of an infinite number of universes. Stephen Hawking has presented the multiverse hypothesis as a way of having our fine-tuned universe without having to bow the knee and admit to a Creator as a necessary Being. It’s his way of having a beginning to the universe without having to admit to a supernatural uncaused First Cause.

As I said, multiverses and alternate histories infringe upon God’s sovereignty for it suggests that things did not have to pan out according to God’s will. In fact, it should be noted that the time traveller will find himself prevented from changing the immutable past. At the worst extreme, he may find his dog or donkey warning him that the path he’s chosen ends with an angel killing him before he reaches his destination! We suggest he won’t even come close to disrupting history in even  minor details. If God allows time travel, He will in His sovereignty account for the time traveller’s actions in the unveiling of history as we know it. Which discovery could be a story unto itself!

Now we should say that interacting with the fallen pre-Flood world wouldn’t have much effect on the modern world anyway, as every living creature died upon the face of the earth in whose nostrils was the breath of life when the Flood came, except Noah and his family. Humanity of the pre-Flood world are more or less “dead men walking” from a practical sci-fi standpoint. It should be said that extracting a fallen person from the pre-Flood world should be impossible from the standpoint of God’s sovereignty. If they chose to ignore God’s warning and find safety in the Ark, there’s no reason to presume they merely prefered a time machine instead.

We should also be careful to avoid paradox. For example, imagine what would happen if God allowed a time traveller to kill Noah before his first child was born. This would create a paradox in which the time traveller [a descendant of Noah, as we all are] prevented the building of the Ark which allowed humanity to continue on to produce the time traveller. As stated, I do not think God in His sovereignty would allow such a thing to happen. But this brings up an important point. If God allows time travel and accounts for the time traveller’s actions in His sovereign plan, we can also assume that God will not allow the time traveller to go back and prevent his own birth or the invention of the time machine or a particular time travel episode, etc. In other words, what’s done is done.

Writing a time travel novel with God’s revealed sovereignty in mind would be challenging to say the least, especially if the time traveller makes more than one foray into a particular time frame, but the reward is well worth the effort of the extra consideration required.

If you have any thoughts on time travel in Christian sci-fi, I’d like to here them.

-Tony, DefGen.org

Author of the up-coming superhero sci-fi novel, Johnny Came Home.

“We need more science fiction,” writes Paul Chiariello for The NewHumanism.org in a post called Science Fiction vs. The Bible.

As a Christian author who happens to be a rabid sci-fi fan, I couldn’t agree more with that statement. At face value anyway. I could not disagree more with his insistence that this necessarily requires an abandonment of revealed truth, specifically the Bible.

While Chiariello begins with assurances that he likes the Bible, that much of it still inspires him and he can still find value within its pages, and that “it is clear that the Bible and other revealed doctrines have played an important role in society,” he feels we “simply need to move on. And what we desperately need now is more Science Fiction.”

Why? Well, he thinks that the point of sci-fi is “to ask questions about your beliefs and to outline new pictures of the world. When reading Orwell’s 1984 and other dystopias you simply cannot help but wrestle with the warnings they give. The future is not guaranteed to us and it is this complacency that is the real enemy of any dystopian novel.” To a certain degree, he’s right, except that he supposes that the certain truths revealed in the Bible somehow lead to complacency of thought. Has he sampled the bevy of Christian sci-fi dealing with eschatology [the theology of future events] recently? If he bothered, he’d find a wide range of explorations of the possible fulfillment of end times Bible prophecy.

In attempting to make his point that we need more fiction and less Bible, he makes the mistake of comparing and contrasting the terms science and revelation. In his opinion, “while revealtion hands over a set of givens, science provides a method for being justified in discovering them.” But the scientific method doesn’t really apply to imagineering a future possibility, though I can understand his confusion on the subject given the sheer amount of imagineering that’s gone into concoting an all-natural history of the cosmos in the name of science! In any case, Chiariello seems to suppose that a trial-and-error process of discovering the truth is somehow better than truth revealed by God. He complains that “the very word ‘Revealed’, implies a truth outside our grasp.” But why would it matter whether truth was “dictated to us” rather than having been discovered by some method contrived by humanity, so long as the truth was actually true. His problem seems to be that he cannot disagree with revealed truth without being wrong. He laments that “It will never be the case… that new information will prove old revelations false. When the Revealer is omniscient by definition, if your interpretation brings to light some inconsistency in the book, you simply have the wrong interpretation.” To put it another way, “Revealed truth… claims to have no errors or exceptions.”

Chiariello prefers the safety of a future what if or might be to revealed truth, because he supposes that he can then be free to shape whatever future he prefers. He complains that “Within the worldview of most revealed truths, all new ideas must be found consistent with the past through a Habit of Interpretation. When tied down like this, dreaming our own dreams becomes impossible.” This is an odd objection considering the fact that he freely admits that “It doesn’t take much to realize there is only one future and we will face it, no matter what our beliefs are.” I should add that not only is there only one future we all will face, we will face it regardless of science fiction dreams to the contrary!

A good deal of his argument is based on a logical fallacy, an appeal to novelty. Chiariello false assumes that old revelation becomes irrelevant when facing new problems. For example,  noting that understanding revealed truth still requires that we comprehend the historical [and grammatical] context in order to correctly determine the Bible’s intended meaning, he objects, ‘But how do we do that when asking radically new questions, like those we now face about the Internet or Climate Change? When these prophets had no idea even how the climate worked – besides ‘God did it’ – how can we unearth their hidden wisdom?” It sounds all well and good, but he’s completely inconsistent… and he’s inconsistent because he’s wrong. The questions we face about the Internet and Climate Change are simply the same old questions with slightly new subjects. There is nothing new under the sun; despite all the voyages of discovery, new inventions and men who pursued big idea, we are left with the same old all-too-human problems: survival, morality, meaning, purpose, happiness, etc.

It is these questions which revelation addresses authoratively and which science fiction addresses speculatively. To clarify, science fiction might ask moral or teleological questions about an imagined, perhaps even possible future, but the Bible addresses these questions authoratively. Unless of course Chiariello is suggesting that morality is subjective and situational. If he is, does he have any nonarbitrary, logically consistent basis for condemning the Holocaust or even for saying we ought to have more sci-fi and that we “must dethrone the words of dead giants locked in dead contexts.” Anytime, we state that we ought to do something, we invoke morality and if it really were subjective, he’d have no basis for telling anyone else we ought to abandon the Bible for speculative science fictions.

Of course, this is exactly what humanists and other evolutionists have done in embracing millions of years of microbes-to-man evolution; they’ve exchanged the truth of God for all-natural science fictions of their own imagineering!

In his fallacious appeal to novelty, he ignores the axiom that those who neglect the mistakes of history are destined to repeat them. He seems to recognize this indirectly, offering as a concesion that he’s not saying that “devotees of Sci Fi cannot ‘stand on the shoulders of giants to see farther.'” He just doesn’t want us standing on the authority of God’s revealed Word, the Bible.

His closing statements are revealing:

“If it is in fact the case that our future problems will be unlike anything we have already faced, our only real hope lies in preparing for new contexts by dreaming big, focusing on what we know and acknowledging that we could easily be wrong… Without any revealed truths given to us we are confronted with an infinite sea of possibilities.” Of course, it’s impossible to focus on what we know, unless we stand on the shoulders of dead giants, as it were. Our present knowledge consists of what was learned in the past, not speculations on the future.

And as far as “an endless sea of possibilities,” isn’t this the same fellow that admits earlier in his essay that “It doesn’t take much to realize there is only one future and we will face it, no matter what our beliefs are”? As he admits, “Sci Fi is understood as fiction and makes clear from the outset that it is fallible and only a tentative exploration.” So why does he suppose that science fiction speculations better than the certain truth of Biblical revelation? Would you listen to someone who said, “Hey, our guide isn’t always right and you might well perish on this trip if you follow him. It’s soooo much better than a certain and infallible guide”?? Of course not!

To borrow one of Jesus’ illustrations, we’d be better off to build our house on the Solid Rock of His revealed Word than the shifting sands of man’s speculations!

This is not to say that science fiction doesn’t have benfit. In fact, I heartily agree that we need more science fiction. Through science fiction, we can explore enduring human questions and demonstrate that the authority of God’s Word can be trusted in any future imaginable. For example, Tim Chaffey and JoeWestbrook explore both human questions and questions of Biblical authority in their delightful series about four kids in a time-travelling hovercar in The Truth Chronicles series. In Johnny Came Home, my soon-to-be published novel, I explore questions of racism, purpose, what it means to be human, creation and evolution, and Biblical authority in a tale filled with future tech, conspiracy theories, super-powered battles, flying saucers and Biblical truth. It is my profound hope that we are seeing the beginning of a Christian sci-fi boom that will explore the enduring questions of the human  condition while affirming the truth and authority of God’s revealed Word.

Till Christ Comes [a revealed truth of which you can be certain!],

Tony Breeden

In Johnny Came Home, I explore the concept of super heroes [and villains] from a Biblical Creationist point of view.  In that soon-to-be-published novel, John Lazarus must fight for the future of Midwich and possibly the world as we know it. The premise of the book is that the generally unrealized pre-Flood potential of humanity has occasionally surfaced in people we read about in myths and stories who could perform super human feats. These men and women have gone down in man’s writings as demi-gods, heroes, witches and mentalists.

I naturally wondered whether the ability to predict the future could be a potential power.

Of course, Johnny can’t really predict the future, which is why he often makes mistakes. And unlike Superman, he can’t just make the Earth spin backwards on its axis to reverse his mistakes [please, no comments on what a sci-fi blunder that was; it was just a movie, guys].

Lots of  sci-fi television programs explored the possibility of predicting and averting the future, but I want to look at two in particular.  

The first is NBC’s Heroes, which is a bit like the X-Men without the idiot spandex costumes. Pretty cool show, if a bit on the gory side. The basis of the first season was that the Heroes had to thwart a nuclear disaster predicted by the paintings of Isaac Mendez. Over the course of the season, they saved a cheerleader [Claire] to save the world and “stopped” an exploding man, though it wasn’t revealed how until Season Two. By the end of season One, the murderous villain Sylar had killed Isaac to steal his powers, but Isaac had the prophetic foresight to make other paintings, comic books, et cetera to guide the Heroes. With Isaac dead, only two people are known who can paint the future: Sylar and Peter Petrelli, the latter of which collects the powers of those he comes into contact with without having to kill them. [Unfortunately, as when he absorbed the powers of the Radioactive Man and became the Exploding Man, the very nuclear disaster the Heroes were trying to thwart, he initially has less control over his powers than Sylar.] Of course, there are those like HRG, Bob and others who know of Issac’s works and study them to try to understand and attempt to avert the future.

Except they can’t. Everything Isaac reveals is written in stone. It happens.  Sylar kills a cheerleader. New York explodes. The world is infected with a virus that kills off most of the planet. Sylar fakes being Nathan Petrelli in order to finally kill Claire and take her power of invulnerability. A man explodes. HRG is shot in the head and killed. Only sometimes these things are in alternate futures, which can be averted so that the Heroes do not have to live in those awful futures. And sometimes the future occurs as painted but it does not end up as everyone supposes it must. The cheerleader who dies wasn’t Claire. Peter Petrelli explodes, but the healing factor he absorbed from Claire when he saved her resurrects him. HRG dies but a transfusion of Claire’s blood revives him. But in each case, they actually happen.

Then there’s ABC’s Lost. After the Hatch explodes and the sky turns purple, Desmond wakes up buck-naked in the middle of the jungle. He then starts having flashes about Charlie Pace dying. He cleverly averts the first few fates, but finally admits to Charlie that he can’t keep saving him forever. Eventually he will die. While Desmond’s flashes begin like Isaac’s visions, as things to be averted, they do not remain so. Dezz sees a vision of someone coming to the Island, possibly to rescue them. He suspects it’s his sweetheart Penny Widmore. Hurley, Jinn and Charlie are also in the flash. In the flash, Charlie is killed by one of Rousseau’s jungle traps. Knowing Charlie will die, Dezz convinces him to join their camping expedition, but doesn’t tell him he will die as a result! And Desmond used to be a priest! Ouch! At the last second, Dezz comes to his moral senses and warns Charlie, saving him. The future is averted again, though Desmond wonders if he’s made a mistake this time. Especially when Desmond continues to have visions of Charlie dying in various ways, and continues to keep saving him each day…

Yet in the grand scheme of things Desmond hasn’t really made a mistake by saving Charlie. You see, later Desmond has a vision where he sees Charlie push a button and then drown, after which a rescue helicopter comes to get his girlfriend Claire and her son Aaron. This time, Desmond tells him, he has to die. And Charlie goes to his fate willingly for a grander purpose than mere accidental death. That’s where the future vision as a warning becomes instead the future vision as direction or guide for redemption or salvation.

Heroes taps this positive potential for prophecy when it has Peter going to Claire’s high school to save her based on Issac’s paintings. Saving the cheerleader doesn’t really keep New York from suffering a nuclear explosion. The irony is that Peter is actually the cause of the explosion because he absorbed the powers of the Radioactive Man and was unable to control those powers. Before he goes nuclear, his brother Nathan flies him high above New York where Peter explodes harmlessly. The irony for Peter is that by saving the cheerleader so long ago, he absorbed her healing powers which allowed him to survive and heal after he exploded. Save the cheerleader, save yourself… Of course, Peter doesn’t know that by trying to save Claire he’s actually saving himself.

That’s the real rub here. We never know what the future holds, whether good or evil. Even if we had flashes or snapshots of the future, would it be enough to determine whether we should seek to avoid them or fulfill them? That’s what makes shows like these so much fun. They keep you guessing because the future is certain to God alone. In fact, God speaks through the prophet Isaiah: 

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is  none else; I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done.” Isaiah 46:9-10

So again, God alone can predict the future years in advance of its fulfillment.  Aside from divine revelation, we can’t know the future at all, much less whether to fight it or fulfill it.

In a real world example, let’s say we go back in time and kill Hitler thereby eliminating the Holocaust and WWII. Would that create a better future? Or was Hitler the lesser of another evil we were mercifully spared from? Or let’s say we go back and save JFK from assassination. Does that create a better future or does it lead us down a darker path? We’ll never know, because alternate futures are only accessible to prophets, time travellers and God Himself. In fact, in the Bible God proclaims that He alone knows the future and uses this as evidence that He is superior to the false gods man has has imagined.

In Johnny Came Home, I realized that if I’m writing from a Biblical worldview, there’s no such thing as an alternate universe, so either a prophecy will come to pass or it won’t. Furthermore, only a true prophet of God would be able to unfailingly predict the future. Of course, there are always some who can fool others into thinking they can really predict the future apart from God: palm readers and carnival fortune tellers, for example. Of course, that’s simply a contrast between a prophet and a false prophet. [For more on false prophets, see my comments on Benny Hinn & the Archko Volume: One Fraud Promoting Another] A true prophet of God really didn’t fit into my storyline [sigh] because true prophecy is the result of special revelation, so it could never be a natural ability.

A third possibility presented itself when I was contemplating statistical probabilities. Supercomputers can calculate what is statistically probable [or improbable] based on the factors they are aware of. Of course, the limitation is that neither humans nor computers are omniscient. We can’t know everything. Only God can know everything which is why God alone can predict the future with unfailing accuracy. So our predictions of the future can only be probabilities not certainties. More to the point, they can be dead wrong if we have not taken into account some critical factor. This is why brilliant military strategists and meteorologists inevitably fail at some point, even if they have an otherwise impeccable track record.

While anyone with this super power would simply be making nothing more than an educated guess, their predictions would seem superhuman when compared to the average guy’s guesses. Especially if they were able to process most of their calculations on a subconscious level.

Thus was born Destiny Pascale’, one of the villains of my book, a mathlete [if you will] who can predict probabilities in the manner I’ve described. Like false prophets of old, the self-proclaimed Oracle takes full credit for her predictions (and makes excuses whenever her prophecies fail).

Sci-fi ruminations aside, you should be aware of the fact that about 27% of the Bible consists of prophecy, both fulfilled and yet-to-be fulfilled. This is a powerful evidence that the Bible is the revealed Word of a God who knows everything: past, present and future.Through fulfilled prophecy, we can see that it is in fact the Word of God, not just a book of stories and moral lessons. For example, King Cyrus of Persia was prophesied 150 years before he was born, as was the fact that he would release the Jews from their first exile and pay for the rebuilding of the Temple out of Persia’s coffers in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy [Isaiah 44:28; Ezra 1:2]. We could also mention Messianic prophecy fulfilled in Christ Jesus, the birth of the nation of Israel in 1967 [Isaiah 11:11] and the fall of Tyre fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great [ref. Ezekiel 26:3-14]. God uses fulfilled prophecy to show that there is no other God besides Him and to demonstrate that we should trust His Word is true in all that it says.