Friday, December 04, 2009

Working Out the Issues

When the Milk Guy and I used to talk about this stuff (and by the way, we still talk about stuff--just not this stuff, nor do we hang out very much), he would say he thought if there was a God, that God was just working out his own internal issues through people's lives. He said that if we're made in God's image, then everything humans can do, God Himself does. Not that He is capable of it--He does it.

We would argue about this, and nothing the Milk Guy could say would make me see that this premise is a logical necessity, and nothing I could say would make him see that it isn't. Bummer about that.

I still think I'm right--that it isn't a logical necessity. There is nothing about the "image of God" doctrine that makes it impossible that that image could, given certain circumstances (like, you know, turning away from God), become skewed, twisted, malfunctioning. "Image of God" does not equal "lack of free will," although the Milk Guy denies free will if there is a God. (Also not a logical necessity, despite what he says.)

On the other hand, ever since NaNoWriMo, I have had to have a second think about at least the concept of God working out His issues through us. I don't think God had issues before He made us, although one might posit that He does now. And while I don't believe His issues cause Him to sin (He's still complete in His Triune Self and doesn't need to be ruled by anything), I have recently entertained the thought that this idea--this concept of God as a sadistic puppeteer--isn't a logical impossibility, either. (Actually, it is if you look at all the data, but just as an off-the-cuff theory it isn't.)

Here's why I had to take it into account: I started writing this novel at the beginning of November. I started it as kind of a sci-fi/fantasy allegory about cancer and the issues that I've had to mull over in the last year since I had it. This story at the outset was, I suppose, a way for me to work out my own issues. It was a way to process things like chemotherapy versus natural preventatives and remedies, via metaphor and symbol. It didn't take long before issues of God and His involvement, and even some of my tension over the Milk Guy, sneaked their way into the allegory, too.

By that time, the whole plot had started to get murky, and I realised that my characters, as mere caricatures of people I really knew or of concepts I was really dealing with, were kind of annoying. Like, all of them. The most interesting one (and even she was kind of boring) was the one who turned into the zombie-like manifestation of cancer. Thought-processes of semi-conscious monsters are kind of hard to transcribe, though, so I couldn't take it very far. Still, it turned out that if there were any of these characters who I wanted to succeed, it was really only her.

I didn't care about the other ones. They were just vehicles for my issues. They bored me. I could have cared less what happened to them. Let the poor monster-girl eat everybody, frankly, for all I cared. But of course that's not what I want to happen to me. I don't want my cancer to come back, and I certainly don't want it to take over. You feel, if you're writing a story through which to work out your issues, that you can't make anything happen that you don't want to happen to you, so you allow some conflict and stuff, but you can't let anybody get into really deep water, because you don't want to get into it yourself. You might end up writing your own reality.

I guess that's sort of magical thinking, but sometimes I think like that. (You might know that by now.) Realising all this made me really have to sit down and think about the Milk Guy and his theory. I did. I sat with it for most of the month. But stay tuned. I'll tell you later why (besides holding onto what I already believed) I realised that wasn't the whole story.

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget