Annexed by Satan?

By Brent King On November 24, 2014 Under Christian Fantasy, Lessons in Fantasy

hiccup_toothless_flying

Is the Archetype Too Strong?

The dragon is considered evil in Christian mythology, indeed the ultimate symbol of evil. Some creatures in our world have been appropriated to typify Satan or parts of his kingdom. Does the fact that Satan monopolizes parts of God’s creation mean that we shouldn’t use those things as protagonists or positive elements in our books? Or are they scrapped to the realm of villain forever?

It is true that dragons, snakes, goats, rams, spiders, falcons, and other creatures have been used to represent Satan. Yet does that mean it’s impossible to use them in a positive way, to employ them as good guys?

The Archetype Is Strong

Tolkien wrote that in myth there were “many heroes but very few good dragons.” In On Fairy Stories he confessed that he “desired dragons with a profound desire.” Yet in his books there are no good dragons. His dragons embody what he considered evil or at least reprehensible. They intimidated and robbed mortals, placing more value on material things (a dragon hoard) than life. Though Tolkien lauds humility, his dragons (like Smaug) are self centered, believing they are all there is. After reading Tolkien, we have to wonder if asking for good dragons is like asking for good giant spiders.

But Not Stronger Than “And God Saw That It Was Good”

So, what do we do with Elliott, Draco, Haku, Saphira, Falcor, and Toothless?

Though I have met those who believe that some creatures and symbols are irredeemable, I don’t buy it. To ban things just because Satan has used them doesn’t make sense to me (with the exception of overt satanic symbols). Some of the godliest books I know have goats, rainbows, or falcons, etc. in them. These creations were God’s before they were Satan’s, even the dragon and the snake.

Some are adverse to fantasy because, in it, the type of creature they associate with evil is the good guy. I agree that we shouldn’t glorify evil (with antiheroes and such), but creating an Elliott or a Toothless is hardly evil. All of God’s creation is capable of glorifying Him, even spiders, goats, and dragons. That’s why He made them.

A Special Attraction

Dragons and snakes fascinate children, especially boys. Consequently, these creatures may be more effective at drawing their minds to God than any others. Dragons, like other extinct creatures, have a strong fantasy element while still feeling real. Whether they are hero or villain, these creatures can have a sanctifying influence on a young life.

They’re Not His!

Though the devil may be labeled a serpent or a dragon or a goat, every creature that moves (or has moved) on this earth is God’s, and Satan can’t have them. Therefore, all elements in our books should be clearly shown to originate from God, not from magic or witchcraft. I believe the darkest creatures on this earth are fair game for us as Christian authors, in both positive and negative roles, and should be used to the glory of God in our stories.

Okay, I’m preaching to the choir. But how do you feel about this? What’s taboo? What’s not?

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