Each of us was born with an imagination. Since creation, we have possessed the ability to form unseen images and original ideas in our minds — to visualize neverbefore seen characters and to craft intricately interwoven themes never experienced by anyone at any time in history. With our imaginations, we create stories and thus create imaginary worlds where there are heroes and villains, brave little hobbits, and great white whales. Some stories are historical, and some are fictional. Some stories are told to teach a lesson, and some are told merely to entertain. Throughout history, some stories have been passed down by oral tradition from generation to generation, and some stories have been penned and have thereby become part of the world’s library of literature.
While everything written is a type of literature, not everything that is written is worth being read, much less duplicated, printed, and distributed. And although every story will find an audience, most stories have been forgotten and have never earned an audience beyond the story’s immediate generation and context. Few stories, however, have stood the test of time. Few stories have lived on from generation to generation or have been translated from one language to another. Few stories touch our souls in such a way that we are moved to tears. Few stories make us rise in shouts of triumph. Few stories fill us with such passion that drives us to change the way we think, speak, and live. Few stories are truly classic stories. Yet, indeed, in the world’s library, we have universally agreed there are a small handful of stories that we call classics.
In the end, in every culture, in any country, in every generation, we will do everything we must to preserve our classic literature against sophomoric apathy, dictatorial tyranny, generational pride, and unjustified prejudice. Our pursuit to preserve our classic literature is a pursuit to preserve who we are, how we think, and how we live as the human race.
Although all literature is by no means Christian literature, every piece of literature has a theology. The only question is whether its particular theology is biblical. Throughout history, certain pieces of literature have not only been hailed as classics but have depicted biblical themes such as good and evil, sovereignty and grace, sin and redemption, repentance and faith, love and sacrifice. As Christians, we are called to study the Scriptures diligently and to know God as God so that in whatever we do, whether we read stories, write stories, or create stories, we will do so to the glory of the God of Scripture — not the God of our own imaginations.