God as Mangaka (or the Re:Creator)

I’ve been having a good ‘ol time with Re:Creators. It’s an eclectic mix of action and comedy and otaku stuff. For those unfamiliar, the premise is that characters from Japanese media are finding themselves sucked into the real world where they are shocked to discover that they are fictional characters. One in particular seems to know more about the goings on, and wants to gather the others for some purpose (a deep and terrible one I assume). Meanwhile, some of the suddenly-living personas are interesting in finding their makers.

As Selesia (a light novel heroine) and Meteora (an RPG NPC) discuss their situation, it becomes clear that they are understanding their creators as gods, individuals with immense power to create and destroy; people who might have the authority to make massive changes in their “stories”; and those worth asking the biggest questions in life.

The idea of “God as author” is a popular one with a lot of benefits for those who want to describe God’s nature and how he interacts with us. I was talking to a friend last week and we discussed the idea of God writing himself into his own story, and how we can understand God a bit through that framework. Unlike the light novel author who runs into Selesia in Re:Creators, though, God has purposely woven himself into our lives.

I wouldn’t call “God as light novel author” a perfect analogy…

It’s a stunning way to view God. For all the words I sing to him in praise, I’m far more taken aback at the idea that he is one with the power to write our lives or erase them, and everything in between. I’m also reminded of one of my favorite writers, George R.R. Martin, whose A Song of Ice and Fire is a complex tapestry of stories and history, myth and characters. I often think about how much brainpower it takes to compose a tale of ASOIAF‘s magnitude and not be overwhelmed by it. God is of course able to handle far more.

Maybe more extraordinary, though, is to think of the comparison this way: I am Selesia. Or Light Yagami. Or Jaime Lannister. My story (or manga) is known from beginning to end by the author of salvation. And it’s so much bigger than me; it’s really a story of humanity, with characters numbering the billions. But in that micro-tale within, the mangaka has inserted himself, not for a funny cameo like Stan Lee would or for self-service, but for one reason above all. He’s written himself in because he loves me.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:16

feature illustration artist: 刃天 | reprinted w/permission

3 thoughts on “God as Mangaka (or the Re:Creator)

  1. I tend to think of God as writing an insanely complex story (or Roleplay) simply because it’s the only explanation that still makes an all-benevolent, omnipotent God make any sense. It often brings me into complicated thought processes about “free will” and “identity.” Because if you have programmed someone with the personality they have, have you not indeed caused their suffering? Even if you chalk up human sin to human curiosity and disobedience, possibly valid justifications on a cosmic scale, you’re still stuck with the problem of the Devil himself. Even though the angels appear to have free will, God is still absolutely “guilty” of creating the personality conditions that caused them to fall in the first place. Why? Because the story needs a villain, that’s why. It’s already got a hero.

    But these are all things I’ve said before in various forms. More on God choosing to add Himself in as a deliberate self-insert, and way of resolving the theological conundrum He’d created. This is one of the more interesting things He could have done, and…honestly I think it’s the best solution that could reasonably have been come to. By bridging the gap between Him and us, He conveys that He *does* in fact get that what He is asking of us is difficult. That He gets our perspective and that even though we’re flawed, He will take all our flaws on Himself, face them all, face all the anxiety and fear and hate and loss and despair and self-loathing…rather than abandon us as we abandoned Him. It can be a potentially powerful message of acceptance and motivation to change, when taken the right way.

    And because we are in a story with such pain, we have been granted the potential to experience *triumph.* Personal, deep satisfaction and affirmation that comes of facing, accepting, and overcoming the self. Something that couldn’t exist in a perfect world.

    1. Jesus coming to us as a human is of utmost importance to our understand of God because as you say, he thus demonstrates and understand of what we’ve gone through. When we’re at our lowest, we know that God has been there, and not in a “oh yeah? You think YOU’RE in tough spot?” sort of way, but in am empathetic sort of way. He is the good husband who loves his wife not only by solving the problem (which he does” but caring for her emotional needs. The models that God presents to us are such important structures for understanding him, accepting him, and living for and like him.

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