I’ve been reading Florian’s Gate, which I realize you released over a decade ago, and have been greatly enjoying it.
Last night, I was reading Gregor’s story about how he was able to get back into Poland after the death of his wife. Obviously, it involved deception—which I’m sure would be very realistic in an unlikely situation like that.
I’d like to ask whether you hesitated at all about having one of your godliest characters dabble in deception? He doesn’t seem to regret having lied to the officials at all when he tells the story to Jeffrey. Did the circumstances justify the lies?
I’m an indie author and I’m currently working on the second book in my Christian fantasy series. The protags are godly characters who are really defined by their relationship with God. The story has been working up to two of the magi going undercover amongst the enemy. Some people have shared their opinion that it is impossible for a Christian to go undercover without sinning (again, deception).
While I can cite a handful of passages in which people were commended for lying—the midwives in Egypt, Rahab—and even point to a prophet in 1 Kings 20 that God apparently instructed to flat-out lie to King Ahab to prove a point, I’m not sure how persuasive this evidence is.
So when I came across Gregor’s story last night, it reminded me a bit of this portion of mine. I wondered if you had any insight you’d be willing to share. I realize that this is a reference to a random paragraph in a book you wrote long ago, but any thoughts you have on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
It is great to connect with readers on a level like this, where we’re discussing a substantive issue like the one you raised.
There is no cut and dry answer, for as you rightly pointed out, there are indeed times in the Scriptures where deception is apparently condoned. Doing the wrong thing for the right reason, is really what we’re talking about. In Gregor’s case, I justified this by the simple fact that he did it to save others besides himself. He was working for the benefit of others, in effect momentarily sacrificing the truth in order to keep them sheltered from the dark events threatening to overwhelm them.
As a rule of thumb, it would definitely be better if your characters representing the faithful adhere to the ‘rules of the road’. But sometimes this simply won’t work. In my case, I decided to write the scene in the manner that seemed most realistic, and in this particular case I was actually following real events that had been related to me by Baptist seminarians who had survived in East Germany under the Communists. In your case, working in fantasy…Pray hard, is basically what I would urge you to do.
P.S. All three books in The Priceless Collection were re-released last year. Click here to learn more about them.