There’s no sign of America’s love affair with such stories winding down. Publishers Weekly reports that, in 2014, sales of printed juvenile science fiction/fantasy/magic books grew by an astounding 38% – more than twice what the next most successful genre could muster.
What gives? Why do we devote so much of our pleasure-reading time to the most unrealistic of genres, especially when we’re young and have an entire world stretched out before us? Is this world not exciting enough for us?
It’s no surprise that we can find the answers to these questions by consulting the word of God.
For instance, King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, tells us that our Creator has written eternity in our hearts (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). Deep down inside, we know that this limited life is not all there is; we know that there is more.
And somehow we know that this more will not be found on the earth we now occupy. As Hebrews 13:14 reminds us, this world is not our permanent home.
What’s more, the Bible teaches that our lives beyond these earthly senses will, at least for some, represent a vast improvement over the world we see today. For instance, referring to heroes of the faith from Abel, Enoch and Noah to Abraham and Sarah, the writer of Hebrews tells us:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
So we know these things instinctively, even if we’ve spent years burying that knowledge beneath layers of earthly pleasures and concerns. We know that we will live forever. And we hunger to know what it will be like.
Unfortunately, many of us simply ignore what the Bible has to say on this overwhelmingly important topic – even though it’s our only demonstrably authoritative source of truth.
Perhaps that’s understandable: We want to be able to define eternity, to say who gets in, under what circumstances, for what purposes. And we want our arrivals to be celebrated because of the stellar character and extraordinary benevolence we demonstrated on earth.
But creating such a world is hard work. It takes a lot of thought and effort and planning and recording of our ideas to invent a world that’s everything we want it to be. So the vast majority of us leave that to professional writers, limiting our involvement to selecting, reading about, and contemplating the fictional fantasies that best suit our tastes.
How bewildering that so many of us turn to fiction when we could go straight to the Bible for the truth about everlasting life. And how eternally tragic that so many embrace fictional “entrance requirements,” rather than consulting God’s word to find out what it really takes to ensure oneself of a heavenly forever.
If you are not sure of these things yourself, I hope you’ll decide today to find out what the Bible has to say. How foolish it would be to trust eternity to the imaginings of a writer who has simply created the kind of world he’d like to explore.