Guest Blogger: John Wheeler
These past five years or so, under the pen names Johanan Rakkav (usually) and Jack Shepherd (with E.V. Medina in the book Realmwalkers), I’ve been spelling out a fictional multiverse which has developed through countless revisions since I was six years old. At this writing, I’m 54.
I understand how my mind works much better now than I did before (my “core type” on the Myers-Briggs grid is ENFP, not INTJ as I was mistyped for three decades), I understand why I’ve struggled revisions and why those revisions have led so belatedly to the fictional multiverse I have now.
Oddly enough, when I try to describe what my understanding entails, words fall short. I see the mechanics in my mind, but when I try to write them down, I find myself using technical jargon which most readers wouldn’t understand. I’m not sure I understand everything about the jargon properly myself. So let me state instead my *aims* as a creative writer, using the structure of my mostly-conscious mind from the top downward as a guide.
First, I want to do God’s will as it’s been revealed to me—which means my creativity, including my creative writing, has to serve that will. I may read and enjoy both “godless” and “paganized” speculative fiction, but I will write neither.
Second, I want (indeed, I need) the freedom to ask “what if…?” without restraints beyond the one just stated—which is why I write and read speculative fiction in the first place.
Third, I need to evaluate the possibilities I come up with according to personal and universal values: what God finds important, what all individuals should find important, and what I individually find important.
Fourth, I try to keep that particular logical order of priorities intact, and also try to make my creations orderly of themselves.
Fifth, then and only then do I ask whether the results “jive” with historical precedent in the Real World.
But there is a deeper part of my mind—part of the normally subconscious—which has to make sense of the whole in terms of logical systems thinking. And because I’m mortal, finite, and inside created reality, I found myself frustrated for most of my authorial life because there simply is no way I could make any limited fictional logical framework I create able to “jive” perfectly with created reality and especially with Godly values. Hence the countless revisions in my fiction over the decades: I got stuck, even to throwing up my hands and throwing out all my previous written work, until my logical systems thinking resolved whatever basic logical contradiction between my Imaginary World and the Real World existed. Then everything I thought I’d thrown out would resurrect itself in my mind like the dreaded Zombie Apocalypse, but in a new and improved form, and I’d have to start all over again.
For someone who suspends disbelief in reading fiction as easily as I do, this phenomenon seemed strange. I think I see the struggle for what it is now: my personal and universal values and my personal logical systems thinking have to agree—and both must agree with what is useful in God’s will as I understand it—or I can’t go forward as an author of speculative fiction. It took me until age 49 or 50—I’m no longer sure precisely when—to create a logical system of fiction which turned this weakness into a strength.
In the phrase “limited fictional logical framework,” the word “limited” is key. Why not create a framework which was *not* limited at its core, and which moreover was designed so that the very *ambiguity* of the framework played to advantage and not to disadvantage? Why not create a framework in which one could ask—directly or by subtle implication—why God is working with man and the rest of creation *this* way and not one of the countless *other* ways He *might* have chosen? Surely these are valid and useful questions, for those with eyes to see their worth!
The above questions are closely related to quantum mechanics, cosmology, theology and philosophy—among other disciplines—in the Real World. I believe in truth that quantum mechanics makes possible not an infinity of parallel universes each with different rules, many of which have variants of myself—this makes no theological sense—but *one* “actualized,” “consensus reality” which changes moment by moment as we all make choices, and also an *infinity* of “potential” realities which represent choices we *might* make. Of course both also reflect the choices the Creator *did* make and choices He *might* have made. Thus the dichotomy between determinism and free will is not only preserved, but (in my opinion) *enabled*. It is God’s way of developing His character in His servants—of bringing them either to salvation or to judgment.
But to set this scenario up to my satisfaction, I couldn’t simply create an alternate reality based on certain assumptions as most authors do. This was precisely what the conflicting parts of my mind sought to avoid, ferociously. But as this option was out of bounds, I had to make one theological assumption which made me uncomfortable by definition—the warnings about adding to or taking away from the Book of Revelation are there for a reason. But “suspend disbelief” enough to make the assumption, and all else follows morally and logically.
We are told that in the New Heavens and New Earth, the former things will pass away—they will neither be remembered nor come to mind. I assumed that ages and ages hence, one of the saints—a former human made a Son of God in Power according to his Savior’s promise—would realize that while his fellow saints wouldn’t need an object lesson about what God *could* have done, *the righteous and rebellious angels alike might*. So at this saint’s request, the Lamb created the Portal of Light in New Jerusalem, stepped through it, and sang into existence the Metacosmic Tree—the logical manifestation of the infinite possibilities of potential reality. He then invited the saint—the former Chris Alain Ralston of Old Earth—to step through after Him, and the saint’s entrance made the number of possibilities finite according to his own nature and nurture.
Within the Metacosmic Realms, an “icon” of this saint now walks about as Alain Harper the Undying Singer: *potentially* the most powerful created being in all of the Tree. Like A.A. Milne’s Christopher Robin (who is Alain’s very distant literary progenitor), he is not so much the *motivator* of the dramatic action as the *pivot* on which the action turns. And there is where the rest of my fiction begins.
John Wheeler is a consultant for the Living Church of God in Charlotte, N.C., and is the editor and co-publisher of The Music of the Bible Revealed by the late Suzanne Hailc-Vantoura. A man of diverse interests, he maintains a number of Web pages and blogs, all of which may be accessed through http://www.rakkav.com. John performs on the piano, Celtic harp, and lyre (kinnor) and composes songs and instrumental works. He has had a lifelong interest in reading, watching, role-playing and writing speculative ﬁction. Realmwalkers is his ﬁrst published work of ﬁction as a co-author. Stories set in his own ﬁctional universe have been published on Triond.com and at his blog, The Portal of Light.