I began this series because I wanted to explore the dark themes of Christian fiction. I don’t want to just discuss it; I want to touch it. I want light so bright that anything dark distracts, and darkness so black the tiniest speck of light blinds us. I want to see dead men come to life and living men exposed as dead. Show me the monsters, the demons, the cruelty of men; let me see the bleak underbelly of sin and smell the decaying corpses inside open, beautified graves.
Let me see the dark fury of a good man and the horrible sacrifice of the righteous.
Take me to hallowed ground and show me where the blood was spilled.
Take me to a borrowed tomb and let’s see that its intended guest was buried elsewhere. Now there’s a mystery.
Hallow’s Eve: Where Heaven and Hell meet and the saints spring from their graves; where the Long Dark begins, and the Supernatural kisses the earth. Hallow’s Eve, such fertile ground for spinning tales of ghosts and good and evil, where angels and demons are on the hunt and we mortals delve into what we don’t understand.
I have a friend who has, among several, a goal in life to make me appreciate the truths to behold in genres I wouldn’t normally read. He pulls redemptive themes from stories that stretch my toleration, then challenges me to a better perspective. He convinced me to give Harry Potter a shot, taught me the value of vampire stories and Harry Dresden novels, and is still working hard at pulling me into the zombie and werewolf lore (he’s had a far easier time with the werewolves than vampires or zombies).
It helps me to understand the truths expressed in Mr. Godawa’s posts on the horror genre and glean depth from chick-flicks and Disney cartoons. Buffy and X-Men. Children’s books about lost seals and wonderful retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin story.
The Supernatural exists.
I’m not sure we understand: The Supernatural exists.
I befriended this Catholic writer who likes to write stories about angels. She said her fascination developed as she studied books on angels and realized that there was no need to create fantasy worlds when an entire realm of reality exists that we just don’t know much about. Angels and demons exist; why not write them?
The Psalms says Adam’s race was made “a little lower than the angels,” and Lewis called us half-breeds. Before the creation of the cosmos, the Spirit of God hovered over the deep; and the earth was void and formless. There was no light yet. There were no stars, sun, moon, planets, angels, or demons. Then God created everything, and put little mud people — both spirit and flesh — in command. Then we broke the universe.
From Scripture we glean easily that two armies are at war: Terrifying people whose presence shines like the sun and makes men fall to their knees, riding chariots and wielding bows, swords, and spears. They ride on horses or fly through the heavens and some are so fierce they’ve been chained up and locked away until the last battle. They gang up on demons together (Daniel) and fight over human bodies (Jude).
I think we possibly misunderstand why sorcery and magic are condemned in Scriptures. Jesus had the perfect opportunity to say “there are no ghosts” out at Galilee, but instead he only says “I’m not a ghost.” Saul’s medium didn’t just conjure a demon; she summoned Samuel’s ghost. Now try that one on for size: The man died and went to heaven, and a medium summoned his soul. So, rather clearly, God isn’t saying “Don’t communicate with the dead because they’re really demons.” He means “don’t communicate with the dead.” It’s not that it can’t be done; it’s that it shouldn’t be done.
Similarly, you have magicians in Egypt who could mimic the “water to blood” trick on the small scale and the “staff to snake” trick; you had Balaam son of Peor (remember the Balaam’s donkey scenario?) who, though pagan, conversed rather freely with the One True God; and you had astrologers from the East visit Jesus’ house. Again, it’s not that these tricks can’t be done, but that they shouldn’t be.
But you have other odd things, too: Prophets teleporting (Obadiah was concerned the Spirit would whisk Elijah off and get Obadiah killed); people disappearing into the heavens (Elijah, Enoch); judges and soldiers with sudden superhuman strength; smoke, fire, and a voice billowing down from a mountain; large bodies of water parting, then crashing down on enemies; the earth splitting open under the feet of rebels; donkeys talking; bears devouring teenage gangsters; huge fish swallowing men alive; tax money turning up inside fishes’ mouths; smoking pots hovering over the ground; and demon-possessed men, women, children, and animals.
The Supernatural exists.
I think my Catholic correspondent was right: There’s an entire reality right at our fingertips, and we’re smack in the middle of something we can’t see most of the time but very much feel.
Halloween. I’ll be honest, on the surface, the 31st of October holds absolutely no value in my mind. I said in a comment last week that I associate the 31st more with Reformation Day (the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the church) than trick or treating, fall festivals, Samhain, witches, demons, or anything else.
But, as with all good spook stories, the best story-fodder lies beneath the innocent trick or treaters on their annual candy drive with their friends and neighbors. And Halloween has so many varying, conflicting stories behind it that the truth lies buried somewhere near the middle of the pile just waiting to be unleashed.
Of course, we all know what happens once ancient things get unburied.