I would posit the notion here that the brilliant and engrossing recent historical fiction novel A Column of Fire by Ken Follett…like his two previous books in this series…The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End…has all of its characters and all of the action occurring entirely within the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…without exception…utilizing normal human talents and abilities.
Not a single person in A Column of Fire has the characteristic of biblical faith as depicted in a journey of faith life-script like that of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel, Peter, James, John, or Paul…where people hear God’s voice and follow His leadership…God inserting His direct participation into people’s lives and imposing His will upon the broader world-scene.
This omission by a famous, world-class author writing an historical fiction novel having the main theme of the difficult social, cultural, and political advancement of religious tolerance during the middle to late 1500’s in Europe, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth in England…is either by conscious, deliberate omission made by the author while being fully aware of the dynamic relationships between people and God recorded in the Bible…or instead the result of a worldview bias that prevents even being able to see a living God in action in the biblical narrative stories of faith…displacing our ways with His higher ways.
But the question in terms of the contemporary Christian apologetics debate…is how would a world-class writer composing a historical fiction novel coming from the secularized zone of worldly conventional thinking…invent fictionalized characters after the biblical patterns of Noah through Paul…and fit them seamlessly into the otherwise outwardly appearing, non-supernatural course of events in human history.
How would any secular writer…outside of the genre of Christian historical fiction novels…insert hypothetical fiction characters and scenarios having a supernatural relationship with the living God…hearing His voice in the Spirit and following His lead…coherently integrated into historical fiction like the book A Column of Fire?
If the gulf between the supernatural and the natural is this large…if the gap between the biblical narrative stories of faith contrasted with the “occupy till I come” normalcy of our inherent abilities and talents…is this wide…then what is the naturalistic explanation for the origin of the completely non-natural component of a living God displacing our ways with His higher ways and thoughts…found within the recorded journeys of faith in the Bible?
If the direct participation of God in people’s lives is unacceptable and out-of-bounds within an historical fiction novel…unthinkable and outside of secular creative imagination in the invention of hypothetical characters such as an Abraham or Paul…how then are humanistic writers a plausible explanation for the origination of the biblical narrative stories of faith…having the most non-natural, supernatural participation of God at the heart of their storylines?
My point here in this section is to make the argument that the one unique, solitary human reality that rises above and outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…is the innovative concept of the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible.
These story of faith life-scripts contain the unthinkably unconventional element of the displacement of our ways in life with God’s higher ways…a derivative of the cross of Jesus Christ in the first-century…applied uniformly and universally in the varied life-plans of the positive characters of faith in the Bible…and in the lives of Spirit-led Christians today.