(Fantasy – Fiction – Facts – Faith)
Fantasy is something that’s believable but not real. But that’s also true of physical reality. No, really! The “real” we feel and see only holds true at the scale we perceive. Put it under the most powerful microscope imaginable and the apparent reality falls apart. It has gaps. The spaces between things like electrons are hugely greater than the electrons themselves. And even those sub-atomic particles aren’t as we thought they were. When scientists look inside an atom at the greatest magnification now possible, they find that the electrons spinning around the nucleus have no actual substance. They’re just a charge – and not even a positive charge. As for the nucleus, which is many times bigger than the electrons, it’s a tiny package of even tinier things that we call particles. But we only call them particles because we’ve run out of words to fit with what’s there. It’s reality, but it’s more like fantasy.
I’m not a scientist, but I take a keen interest in most branches of scientific development. It’s fascinating to see how much that we now accept as fact was in the realms of fantasy when I was a child. And I wonder how much that is now speculation and fantasy will become the stuff of science in the future. I wrote the above paragraph just as the thoughts occurred to me one evening – and I promptly saw where it could lead me. I’ve written a number of books but, until now, they have all been on the non-fiction shelves. I have long wanted to write a fiction story, but I couldn’t find a credible plot. But now I had the first paragraph of what would become the book, “Shemayin”. I had the first idea, but it didn’t have that title, nor a story line, nor any characters – yet! However, I soon found a character and popped that opening paragraph into his mind. His name was Daniel John – known to his friends as Danny – and his adventures took him out of this world.
When Danny headed off into the unknown, even I didn’t know where he would end up. But, when he landed on an impossibly distant planet, I grasped the potential of the story and its relationship with “life after death”. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not claiming miraculous inspiration. It’s rather that the logic of the situation was inescapable. Danny’s arrival on Shemayin opened up fascinating opportunities for me to explore the facts of resurrection life. I look forward to physical resurrection on a renewed earth – earth invaded by heaven – because that’s what the Bible promises. But I’d really like to know what that would be like – so, I got Danny to ask the questions I would ask if I were there!
- Since many nationalities will be in that new world, what language will we speak?
- What will we do all day?
- Physical bodies need food, so will there be farming?
- What about other work? (Manufacturing, art, administration, housekeeping etc.)
- If nobody dies, won’t the place become overpopulated?
- Why do the trees beside the river in paradise need healing leaves?
- …and more
I couldn’t make Shemayin the renewed Earth in my tale because the story needed Earth to remain unchanged ready for Danny to return home. But Shemayin is an inspiring vision that draws on images some readers will recognise. Its animals aren’t afraid of humans. Its city has a river that flows out from the centre, flanked by medicinal trees. But, most importantly, its people live productive lives, doing practical things, enjoying and caring for their environment. As for government, they need very little because they have no desire to do anything harmful, hateful, or dishonest. They do have a ruler, but he rules by wisdom – and everyone respects him. It’s a place I’d really like to live in. It’s very much like the place where I expect to spend eternity.
A common assumption is that good characters are boring, and villains make for more interesting reading than heroes. I disagree. On that principal ugliness would be more attractive than beauty. However, Danny’s adventure becomes uglier when he returns to Earth and encounters violence and dishonesty. But romance is in the air, and beauty follows him home.
The book, Shemayin, is not just a story, but an exploration of a part of the Christian faith that matters to all of us who love life. Concepts of “heaven” are often expressed in airy-fairy terms that lack lasting appeal and fall short of what the Bible actually describes. For that reason, the book ends with an epilogue – a separate chapter that explains the true Christian hope of physical resurrection.
I didn’t foresee how this story would develop, but I enjoyed writing it – and I hope that you’ll not only enjoy reading it, but that it will spark your imagination about your home for eternity.
© Derrick Phillips 2023
Available in Paperback or Kindle eBook format from AMAZON UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shemayin/dp/B0BPB44QZT/#h
Or AMAZON USA – https://www.amazon.com/Shemayin/dp/B0BPB44QZT/#htt