The germination of THE NOVELIST was more involved than most. It began with my theology study. I was studying the concept of God’s sovereignty–something I’d always accepted (to a point) but never fully understood. I was reading Wayne Grudem’s book on theology and he posed the question: “In the play MacBeth, who killed King Duncan?”
Well . . . if memory serves, it was Lady MacBeth and MacBeth, right? True, but could we not also say that Shakespeare killed MacBeth? After all, he wrote the play in which the characters committed their murderous acts.
The idea of God as playwright intrigued me. Grudem goes on to explain: “It would not be correct to say that because Macbeth killed Duncan, William Shakespeare did not kill him. Nor would it be correct to say that because William Shakespeare killed King Duncan, Macbeth did not kill him. Both are true. . . . In similar fashion, we can understand that God fully causes things in one way (as Creator) and we fully cause things in another way (as creatures.)
I found in this the answer to several Scriptures that seem to indicate that God can cause evil events. Here’s Grudem again: “But we must remember that in all these passages it is very clear that Scripture nowhere shows God as directly doing anything evil, but rather as bringing about evil deeds through the willing actions of moral creatures. Moreover, Scripture never blames God for evil or shows God as taking pleasure in evil.” (Systematic theology, pps. 322-323).
So . . . as I was mulling on this VERY deep topic of evil and God’s relationship to it, I thought it might be fun to try an allegory that would attempt to explain why God put a forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden in the first place. So I wrote a story about a successful male novelist (who represented God), and concentrated most of my efforts on the allegory: a character named Adam who lived in a town called Paradise and worked at a game room. But there was one room declared off limits to everyone, and Adam eventually enters the room . . .
And that’s how the story started. From a theology study.
Tomorrow: the research