OF GODS AND MEN
Word count: 1,067
“In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth.” This is the first line in the Christian Bible, and is one of the founding statements that define the belief in God for millions of people. This simple sentence is an example of but one aspect of Gods’ power and it implies limitless ability of will. Millions of people believe that the earth, stars and everything in the universe were created in an instant by this benevolent intelligence. This belief is responsible for the greatest acts of compassion as well as the most depraved acts of destruction throughout our history. I pose to you the possibility that humanity shares this power.
To say that any one person, or even group of people, is able to attain such power would have resulted in your burning at the stake just a few hundred years ago. However, it is my firm belief that each of us has this power. Furthermore we see this power manifested each and every day.
Because of this power, I have been able to witness first hand the creation of life. I have held the sun in my hand and transcended time. I have felt fear without being in danger; felt the irresistible pull of a black hole while safely sitting in my living room, and sobbed at loss that was not my own. I have witnessed epic battles between good and evil and learned that even the most twisted and evil among us has capacity for love. I speak, of course, of the power of writing.
Among epic battles within our collective consciousness, who can say that the battle between David and Goliath holds any more or less relevance than the battle between Beowulf and Grendel? The tangible evidence portrayed in these two stories of conflict is equally unobtainable, yet both conflicts have had massive impact on our society.
Writers create or destroy worlds in an instant. Writers can cause true heart-felt emotion in us without ever actually interacting with is. They can physically arouse us, or fill us with dread with nothing more than the written word.
Some may say that this is not the real power of creation, but I disagree. Who is to say that the worlds created by writers are less real than the world on which we stand? Is it geography? Because of writers, many of us can describe with absolute certainty, places on this planet that we have never been. Many know, in intimate detail, the interior of churches they have never visited, through the writings of Dan Brown; author of “Angles and Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code”.
Through the words of Samuel Clemens, many of us know the twists and turns of the Mississippi River and we were there with Tom Sawyer as the paddleboat ran over our raft. We remember this as clearly as any vacation or trip to the beach.
We remember people and places from our life. If we are not with that person, or at that place, do they cease to exist? Once an event is past, does it become any less real? The answer to these two questions is “no” of course. So what is it that makes the written word any less powerful than the physical experience? I believe that there is no difference.
As a writer, you are responsible for bringing people into the moment. You are responsible for the readers’ senses, and this is a weighty responsibility. A writer builds a world around the reader, and leads them through that world. In my opinion, these worlds, if constructed properly, are just as tangible and real to us as any place on earth.
A counter argument may be that God creates miracles. God created Adam and Eve from earth and bone. God lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God has healed the sick, made the lame walk, and inspired men to be greater than themselves.
These examples are not the sole domain of God. No one alive today was witness to the exodus from Egypt, yet we know about it because of the written word. The writings of many people have also lead to the freedom of millions. Likewise, countless numbers of people have been healed, made to walk, and cured of terrible illness because of words written on paper and the knowledge that was passed on through their reading. Is this any less miraculous than an act of God? Additionally, none of us has ever met the origins of our species. There existence is only substantiated through the written word. Perhaps Adam and Eve were never actually two individual entities, but rather an idea in the mind of God. Perhaps Adam and Eve were an idea that was culminated in thousands of individuals all over the globe. Many believe that these two people existed as single entities, and they believe that because of the written word. It is entirely possible that a writer, once upon a time, condensed the idea of Adam and Eve into two beings for the sake of brevity.
Almost everything we “know” we learned from the efforts of writers. While it is true that a writer is not responsible for the physical creation of the matter that makes up our world, to a great many of us writers are responsible for how we experience God’s creation in our life.
While many claim that their acts are inspired by the will of God, writers are responsible for just as much inspiration. Jules Verne wrote of nuclear powered submarines decades before their existence. A great many scientist and engineers were inspired by his writing to bring these concepts into existence. In a very real sense, Jules Verne is responsible for the creation of the modern submarine. While, he did not physically create it, his will and written word brought it into being. Stop to consider how many scientist and engineers are inspired by the writing of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of “Star Trek”. Consider how many men today, as children, read the words of Stan Lee, learned the true nature of power and as a result vowed to be better men because of “Spider Man”.
This is creation. This is the power of God. Writers hold the power of God in their fingertips, and gods walk the Earth. Perhaps it is hubris, but for these reasons and many more, I am a Writer.