Exploring Religion in the Primal Patterns Series
September 14, 2011 18 Comments
In the Sneak Peak on the Primal Patterns series, we discussed multiverse-building in the series and the similarities with other science and speculative fiction. In this installment, I’d like to talk a bit about the religious implications of the series and what readers are getting into.
In a story that features Lucifer, Jehovah, angels and demons, the reader is probably expecting to be immersed in frequent religious references, culture, and symbolism. If you are expecting another Dan Brown novel, however, you are going to hit the end of the first book with some major disappointment. If Lucifer sees himself as the devil in the Bible, he doesn’t realize the significance of his connection, and he doesn’t give the mapping much thought at all. Because of this, the first book centers more on his reactions to the changing multiverse around him. But the Primal Patterns series is certainly coupled to earthly religions, and fans of philosophical and metaphysical musings will probably enjoy the second and third books more than the first one.
The first three books of the Primal Patterns series mirror many events in the Old Testament. You could say that the Old Testament is a shadow of the first three books (according to the series). What comes to light, starting in book two, is that many of the authors in the Bible really were “listening” to God by tapping into the Order Primal accidentally. Human prophets may have been oracles, and many of their predictions come true in the series. The series also has fun with some of our favorite biblical stories.
There is a major and potentially controversial aspect to the first three books and one that I assume may cause some friction with readers. I don’t want to give away too much, but I will relate the source of this decision in writing the series. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by the perplexing differences between God in the Old Testament and God in the New Testament. God in the Old Testament seemed especially callous. He smited and flooded, basked in animal sacrifices, and gave humans such mind-bogglingly immoral tasks and tests involving murder and rape that you get the feeling that God is extremely cold. You might argue that humans did these things and just watched, but if God was especially interested in humans, as the Bible claims, then he certainly didn’t go out of his way to stop us from doing something he didn’t like.
In the New Testament, God seems almost replaced entirely. He’s a personal deity that wants to talk to you, help you, and be your best friend. This begs the question: what happened? There are as many schools of thought in philosophy on this as you can shake a stick at. From my readings, the extremes of philosophical musings to this question would probably be 1) God grew up or got milder, 2) God is a human invention and reflects mankind’s values, themes, and situations at the time of the writing of each chapter, or 3) maybe there was more than one God involved. The series combines several concepts from other earthly religions into the overall story arc, and hopefully, it presents a fun philosophical journey when you peel back the layers.
Will that make readers uncomfortable? I’m not sure, but I hope you don’t mind being led down that avenue to ponder on it for yourself. I think it’s important to remember that this is a work of fiction. Some of my favorite books of all time have grabbed me by surprise when I found a hidden layer and decided to peel that back. In general, that’s the kind of story I want to write. There are no new themes, really, and I do not claim to present questions that no one has ever asked before in the history of time. But I do intend to write entertaining, layered stories about mankind’s past and future.
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment to this post or email me at email@example.com.