A quick note on my last post:
As the foundational story for humanity, the Bible informs all other stories. I previously use the word “embraces” because it lends itself to the idea that the Biblical story is bigger, overarching all other stories. Informs works at a different level: more logical, yet less true in a certain sense.
We see how the Bible informs stories in our culture today (and throughout time) by examining the Biblical tropes that continually repeat themselves in stories throughout time: the Christ figure, the idea of redemption, the restless wanderer (which at one point, a whole nation gets into this one), the conversion experience (happens once or twice), the spurned lover, the misunderstood hero, the existentialist searcher, the …well, you get the point.
Sure, some stories were written before the Bible, or without knowledge of the Bible. But they’ve stuck around because they tap into the way that God designed our lives (and therefore story) to work. In that sense, looking at the Bible as this design, this foundational story: the Bible still informs (or embraces) these other stories.
Capturing the essence of a story is difficult and ambiguous. But perhaps it is better to put that the Bible embraces these essences. The deeper truths behind a good story. Yet, even more than the truths which can be pulled out and easily spoken, the Bible embraces the plot, the beauty of a good story, the turn of phrase, the paradoxical nature, the mystery behind everyday objects.
As a story involves more of these ideas, labeled so banally as a tight plot, or developed characters, or beautiful language, then the story’s essence matches closely the Biblical story. The Bible embraces it, so to speak, more tightly.
And we call it a better story.
We call it this because it matches the foundational story which defines humanity. Some humans may reject the story, just as some humans reject their family. They may go so far as to avoid the family reunion, or even change their name. But the same family blood runs through their veins; the same story is true and foundational for all. Which is why writers have an impulse towards it, without even knowing.
This does not mean that all writers are Christian writers (I may get into that later…we’ll see). But it does mean that those who can best understand stories are Christians. We have the full picture, the full story.