The Geek’s Gift for Wonder

Maybe this is a broad statement, but I think geeks have a particular advantage in matters of faith: We know how to appreciate the impossible. From books to games to movies, we expose ourselves to worlds of wonder on a regular basis, escaping to realms where the unbelievable is common happenstance. For me, part of the fun is working out the fantastical worlds – how they operate, what the people do, how the environment works. But another part is simply reveling in implausibility: Imaginary creatures, supernatural abilities, anything that isn’t easily explained.
As Christians, I think we need a fair dose of appreciation for the inexplicable. I’m by no means advocating belief without reason (as my pastor would say: “Don’t check your brain at the door”). We must always challenge our faith through Biblical study and prayer, and seek foundations for our most crucial principles. However, I think there’s also a certain maturity to admiring what’s unfathomable and allowing mysteries to just “be” in the presence of an Almighty God.
You may have heard Christian arguments against enjoying fantasy (by which I mean any entertainment that features what could never happen in real life). I’ve attended Christian meet-ups reaming the idea of escapism. Everything in moderation and discretion, by all means, but here’s where I think the genre should get a little leeway. Taken as a whole parcel, I view it not as a denial of reality, but as a desire to marvel at something we don’t understand.
The Psalmists were willing to admire such mysteries (just go read Psalm 104 for a poet’s full appreciation of God’s sovereignty). They gave perspective both for the awesome power of their God, and for the finite nature of mankind. And what about the book of Job? While we typically look to him for solidarity in suffering, his own encounter with Jehovah shows us even the real world we attempt to understand can be beyond our grasp. When confronted with his overwhelming powerlessness before God, Job declared: “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:3) Might it be considered an act of worship to acknowledge God has ways far beyond our comprehension?
We live in an age where miracles are excused or explained away instead of regarded with an attitude of possibility. I believe the reason we are drawn to the fantastical is rooted in an inherent awareness the unexpected is possible with an omnipotent Creator, and geeks have the opportunity to translate their fascinations into faith that theirs is a God who is similarly unlimited by the confines of reality.
I know dragons aren’t real. I know animals don’t talk. I know people can’t develop telekinetic powers (*tries anyway*). Still, in enjoying these fantasies, I’ve developed an expectation for the impossible – an openness to the ways God can and has worked to show His glory. In the midst of reasoning, consider that sometimes it’s enough to look at what God has fashioned and see it in the light of the fantastical.

Amanda Bizeau-Nicol

Amanda’s love for video games started way back when she used to watch her brother play the NES; one day, she decided to pick up the controller herself, and the rest is history! She's currently working to upload her longtime fanfic work - The Fluffy Tadpole - to Archive of Our Own. In her spare time, she writes fiction, cross-stitches, whips her husband at puzzle games, and creates Myers-Briggs profiles for fictional characters. (Shh… It’s all perfectly normal…)

4 Comments

  1. Zero Tolerance on June 12, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Narnia is certainly a faith-based attempt to provide reason to the fantastic. However, we seem to be
    waiting for the modern equivalent (that is, in text form, modern Narnia films
    understood), as C.S. Lewis is…dated, compared to modern authors like R.A. Salvatore, J.K.
    Rowling, and George R. R. Martin (aside: it is no accident that these
    modern fantasy authors stylize their names in abbreviation like Lewis did).

    Meanwhile, the world has Dr. Strange to explain the inexplicable. Like the
    golden calf the Hebrews erected in the OT as God was forging the
    10 Commandments, the world is more likely to create some “other”
    explanation for phenomenology before dismissing such things outright.

    • Amanda Bizeau on June 15, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      Interesting perspective! Your parallel to the golden calf of Exodus gave me pause for thought, as I’d never seen it from that angle. What I’ve always found interesting is the world’s absolute denial of the supernatural when it comes to an all-knowing, just God (“it’s scientifically improvable”); yet they leap into wild wonders with secular abandon when desired and convenient, never considering the creative omnipotence necessary for these marvels. (Dr, Strange pun maaaaaybe intended?)

  2. Marco Nicol on June 6, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Telekinetic powers…..hmmm….wonder what franchise THAT could possibly be. 😛

    • Amanda Bizeau on June 6, 2017 at 1:51 am

      Listen…I don’t need you reading into my perfectly innocuous comparisons that definitely have nothing to do with personal fan bases… 😉

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