On page 167-168, the book says, “Suppose I am writing a novel. I write ‘Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!’ For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary’s maker, do not live in the imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of the sentence and the second, I might sit down for three hours and think steadily about Mary.”
Probably because I’m a writer, I’ve always found it easier to understand God when I think of him as an author. He created a wonderful premise for us on earth. He made the world and its laws and he created the “characters” Adam and Eve with their unique personalities.
The Author metaphor has the potential to unnerve people, because they feel that by comparing God to an author, we’re saying that he writes our story all himself, with little freewill for us. For instance, if we think of God as an Author, we might be led to believe he actually planned and scripted the Fall.
Obviously no human metaphor for God is going to be perfect, but as a writer, I think this one makes a lot of sense.
When writing, you do get to create the characters—in a sense. (It usually feels more like meeting someone than creating them though.) You decide their hair color, put them into a family, and—to some extent—get to form their personality. You probably even have an idea of how you want their “story” to go.
However, as your character matures and is shaped by others’ actions, there comes a point when you are not exactly calling your character’s shots anymore. You might know that Paige needs to trust Darren for the story to work, but Paige has decided to take a more stubborn route.
After God's Adam and Eve characters took their own stubborn route, God did some reorganizing of the Story of Man. He realized that his characters were choosing a sad, inefficient path, but he was still determined to give them the option for the best ending, which is through Jesus.
Some might think that as an author, couldn’t you just force the character to do the right thing? Probably. But then not only have you violated the character, but your world of words turns brittle and gray. A good author won’t do that, and God is the very best. Instead, you have to persuade and enlighten your characters through situations and other people so that they will have a of heart. God does this for us.
Like an Author, God’s style is all throughout his Story; his fingerprints are on every tree, every sunset, and every person’s heart. God loves us, his characters, so much that he allows us to be ourselves, make our own choices—and sometimes we choose wrong.
At times it may seem like our Author is putting cruel obstacles in our way for no good reason, like he’s ruining OUR story. But we have to remember that it isn’t just OUR story; it’s God’s.
God doesn’t send misery to punish us. His heart aches when bad things happen, just as an author finds it hard to watch a difficult situation unfold. However, both God and the author know the ending of their story. They’re excited about the ending! They want their characters to see it, believe in it, run towards it! The author knows that Paige got kidnapped so that she could meet Luke; she knows that Darren got lost because he needed to meet Paige.
Thankfully, our Author is one of infinite chances, and if we love him, we can trust that he’s working our story towards the best possible ending.
It's true; no metaphor for God will ever be perfect. But personally, I find the Author God metaphor especially beautiful, relatable, and comforting.