The discussion of the power of writing leads naturally to the question of what makes something literature, those works that become the staples of a society and then the world in general--those poems, stories, essays, or books, which last through time and touch multiple cultures.
Robert Penn Warren, the first Poet Laureates of the United States (the nation’s official poet), said that fiction should not be an “escape from life but to life.” Pearl Buck (author of The Good Earth) wrote something very similar in her essay “Literature and Life” when she said, “literature does offer the only real escape--but deeper into the world and not away from it.” She came to this conclusion because she also believed that literature should attempt to answer the basic questions of the human heart. Those questions a person asks himself . . .
“. . . when he is alone--hours which he may hate and dread and from which he seeks all sorts of escapes, but which nevertheless, exist--those hours when he asks, who am I and why was I born and what is all this for? Who are these others and what have they to do with me and what have I to do with them? . . . to answer them, one way or another, is the essence of literature.”
Hmmm. Interesting, isn’t it? Through the years, many of us have followed the ideas of writers looking for the answers to those very questions, and have always found the answers lacking. They were either empty or incomplete. It seems in light of the tragedy in France this past Friday, that the perpetrators deemed their answer to these questions was “to kill.”
I find it extremely comforting that the Bible’s entire purpose is to answer these very questions that humanity feels compelled to try and answer. I apologize in advance for my incomplete answers, but here goes. Please feel free to add to these answers. So how does God answer these same questions through His Word?
Who am I? Answer: I am a unique creation of God, formed in His image.
Why was I born? Answer: To be in relationship with God and to glorify Him and bring glory to Him.
What is all this for? Answer: The earth and the heavens declare the power and glory of God and through them God’s love for us is manifest. He has given us this beautiful creation to enjoy.
Who are these others and what have they to do with me and what have I to do with them? Answer: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:38)