"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

02 February 2008

Created Characters

It is God's story. My story is not my own; it is contained within His larger story, and I am only one -- though a known and beloved one -- of the many characters He has created to people His story.

Writers often remark that the characters they create "take over" the work: "What is a god to do?!" Annie Dillard asks, perhaps only half facetiously. We understand this, as a rule, to mean that in creating his characters, the writer has endowed them with certain character traits (strengths and flaws), background, values, skills, knowledge, abilities, and so on, which then dictate the probable actions they will take. The writer cannot make them do anything he wants for his own convenience; they have taken on a life of their own which he no longer fully controls.

God as our Author has endowed us with certain characteristics, too -- and these include the free will to love or hate, obey or transgress, live His story or try to write our own. He chooses not to control the story as a puppet-master, but to allow His characters to choose: obedience to our created nature through obedience to His loving will, or rebellious attempts to become what we are not and can never be -- gods ourselves.

And it behooves us to keep clearly in mind that each choice holds inevitable consequences, because that is the way He has created the world He has placed us within -- nor can He make the consequences otherwise, any more than a human author, if he wishes to be trusted by the reader, may break the very rules which govern the world he himself has created.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.

1 comment:

predictablepoet said...

Wow--so true. I always love your depth of expression, they way you put truths--the simple and the complex--into words.

I had never thought about God being "unable" to change the consequences He himself created when He created the world. That will take some considering... are there ever instances in which He broke through the "rules" to show himself greater than them?

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