Scribe Scrawlings


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Melissa Rose

What Do You Listen To When You Write?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Christians and Fantasy and Magic

Everyone has made wonderful points here, some looking at Tolkien and Lewis and hashing out what has been already done by Christians writers past and present, others looking at the intent of the writer and wrestling with the responsibility that an author has to their readers, still others sharing straight from their hearts.

While I don’t agree with everything said it’s refreshing to see this topic handled with respect for one another and with real passion for the truth.

I came at the question a little differently, and started digging about in the Bible just to remind myself what the Lord says about witchcraft, sorcery, and magic. I knew He forbade it to those who followed Him, but what I didn’t remember is just how much He hates it. The language in the Scripture is so heated about this topic that there is no middle ground, magic of any kind is an abomination to Him. Here are several references that I found, though I’m sure there are plenty more.

“You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.” Lev. 19:26

"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer” Deut. 18:10

"You shall not allow a sorceress to live.” Exodus. 22:18

They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun."

Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.” Acts 13: 6-12

“And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” Acts 19:19

So there is no ‘good’ magic according to Scripture, and with respect to the others here, the miracles done both by Christ and the Apostles are never referred to as ‘magic’ deeds. They are supernatural, above the realm of what man can do, but they are not magic. Magic is, according to Webster’s Dictionary ”The use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces b : magic rites or incantations 2 a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source b : something that seems to cast a spell 3 : the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand” And a miracle is “ An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” the italics are mine. Magic by its’ nature (leaving out the occult which is inherently part of it) is impersonal and the one guiding or starting the magic is the one held up as the savior or hero. In contrast miracles give glory to God, for only He, no mortal and no impersonal force is able to speed up, interrupt, or turn back the natural laws of our world.

At the heart of all magic is the same darkness that is found in Satan’s intent to overthrow the Lord and be worshiped in His place, the same darkness of the first sin in the Garden of Eden, it is the rejection of the Lord’s order of things and the attempted seizing of power that belongs only to Him.

Having sited all of those things I’m sure the majority of you reading this are wondering why I took so long to go over why magic is wrong when the topic was ”Is there an issue with Christians using magic in fantasy worlds they have created?” I wanted to clearly define what magic is before I went on to say that yes, it is wrong for a Christian to write magic in a fantasy world that they create and use it for anything other than evil. Magic is a stench in the Lord’s nostrils and there is no way that it can bring glory to Him. I know that C.S.Lewis and Tolkien wrote magic in their books and the Christian community embraces them as legends and heroes of the faith. But their works are tainted, according to what is found in Scripture.

There are thousands of readers, perhaps tens of thousands of them today that argue and argue very well that Tolkien and Lewis wrote fantasy, not Christian Fantasy and that there is no real Christian message in their works, just good solid themes common to all of literature. I respect both gentlemen greatly, and their books are by far some of the best in their field to date but that doesn’t mean I am blind to the flaws in them.

How much stronger would it have been if Aslan had said to Susan in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe “Work against the Emperor’s power?” instead of “Work against the Emperor’s magic?” or “This is the Deep Power” instead of “This is the Deep Magic”. And if Tolkien had called Gandalf something other than a wizard, if he had his elves merely dominate and control certain elements as their natural gift, then there would be less room for readers to debate his intent.

As for the thought that the world that is created by the writer is subject to its’ own laws and exists outside of our own and therefore it is okay to have magic in it both good and bad, I would say this; we live in this world, we write in this world, and we are subject to the Lord for this is His world. It grieves Christ to have any one following Him to do anything with magic. Therefore it grieves Him to have us write magic.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to writing magic in fantasy. You can pen a rip-snorting adventure with passion and danger and creatures that dazzle the imagination without a single sorcerer in the mix. How do I know this? I know this because I’ve found the books that do just that; The Door Within, Rise of the Wyrm Lord, The Final Storm, Legend of the FireFish, Children in the Night, A Wolf Story, The Bloodstone Chronicles, Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Riddle, Bark of the Bog Owl and Rise of the Dibor just to name a few. I know this because Christian authors have created fantasy realms without magic that have hooked me heart and soul and they are; Wayne Thomas Batson, George Bryan Polivka, Harold Myra, James Byron Huggins, Bill Myers, R.K. Mortenson, Jonathan Rogers, and Christopher Hopper. And I know this because I have met writers like you, who have dazzled me with your ideas and made me impatient to see and buy your books.

I’ll close with this, don’t be swayed by my words alone, one day they will pass away just like everything else on this planet. His words won’t, and The Author and Finisher of your faith, the Word dwells within you. Seek after Him, ask Him to explain this matter to you and He will, and He’ll do it so much better than I have.

If you are interested in further dialog on this matter, come by my blog and leave me a comment, I’m posting this there too. I pray I haven’t hurt any here, I admire you all greatly. You are such and encouragement to me and a delight to my heart.

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Poll Results

What Do You Notice First About A Book?
RESULTS! Closed 11/11/09

My attention's always grabbed by the cover-53%

I look on the spine for the author's name-6%

The thicker books are the one that grab my notice-26%

I open the book up to the middle and burry my nose in the pages, sniffing. Scent is important-0%

I flip the book over, ignore the cover and the spine and get to the book blurb-13%

Pick Your Weapon! RESULTS! Closed-11/03/09

Hand and Half Sword-16%
Long Bow-25%
Pen-25 %

What Kind of Fan Are You? RESULTS! Closed-10/22/09

Shy. I like reading books but I don't want to meet the authors-15%

Avid. I've read everything my favorite author has written!-38%

Curious. I've e-mailed my favorite author or left comments on the blog and asked them questions-38%

What Kind of Word Smith Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/15/09

I focus on setting-22%
I focus on dialogue-22%
I focus on action-22%
I focus on characters-33%

What Kind of Reader Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/07/09

I try and guess where the story is going to go-44%
I read the book and think how I would have written it differently-0%
I race through the story, riding the words like a rollarcoaster-22%
I race through the book and then go back and read my favorite parts again and again-33%

What Kind of Writer Are You? RESULTS!

Character first--1%
Plot First--4%
Balanced Between Plot and Character--5%
All Over The Place--5%

So All Over The Place and Balanced Between Plot and Character tie for the win! All I can say is that there must be some wicked stories out there. I can't wait to read them!

Scribe is Listening to:


Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian Sound Track.

Books on CD: The Moving Finger Read by Martin Jarvis. Original story by: Agatha Christie

Scribe is Reading:

I am? COOL!

I'm apparently referring to myself in the third person too. Go figure.


Nightmare's Edge by: Bryan Davis

The Invention of Hugo Cabert (Caldecott Book) by: Brian Selzinck-FINISHED. Mind blowing! Every storyteller should read this book.

FEARLESS by: Max Lucado-FINISHED. Excellent!

NLT Chronological 24/7 Bible paperback
NASB Online at Bible Gateway


Psalm 49

Psalm 49
A Psalm of Repentance

About Me

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I tell stories all day long. Some with my pen, some with my keyboard and if you can find me, buy me a coffee and I'll tell you one too!