Obscuring the Glory of God in Literature

Venus de Milo. Louvre Museum.
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In my post Creativity for the Fun of It, I maintained that it’s fine for Christians to write and publish works that are just for fun, and that God’s glory shines through such things because God is the creator of everything, not just some limited subset that we define as sacred.

As that post has become one of the more popular ones on this blog over the last few days, I re-read it, and noticed that one might misunderstand. I’m speaking there within the context of literature that doesn’t set out to obscure that glory, or get so far off the track that it accidentally does so.

Let me make some comparisons.

  • The Venus de Milo vs. pictures in Penthouse
  • A movie that contains violent scenes of war as opposed to a horror movie
  • A book with sexual content where it is an important part of the story as opposed to a book of pornography

I’m not here going to condemn whole genres, any more than I’m saying that any literature is OK. I’m generally opposed to arbitrary standards. I would say, “Can you find God in there?”, but some people would then look for the word “God.” Perhaps one should ask whether one can see God reflected there through his creation.

As a very specific case in point, I’d like to mention the novels of Andrew Greeley. If I remember the phrase correctly, Greeley was once described as having “the dirtiest mind ever ordained.” I won’t praise his novels as great literature. He seemed to largely work with one plot. But in each novel you’d see the passion of human sexuality used as a mirror to reflect the passion with which God seeks us. I’m sorry that Greeley is now no longer able to write.


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