I realize the title of this article can be interpreted in at least two ways. Some will read it expecting that I might cite a particular argument King may have made as evidence for God’s existence. But that isn’t exactly what this is about. Not exactly. Actually, I suggest that Stephen King himself is evidence for God’s existence.
In a recent NPR interview, King said, “If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God, there’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together….Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design.”
While King’s statements are themselves intelligently designed, I look further than just his recent words to find evidence for God’s existence. Whether one prefers or doesn’t prefer the literary genres King employs, there is no denying he is an absolutely brilliant crafter of narrative. He has an identifiable character-centered style that is familiar, yet not predictable. Despite the fluidness of his narratives, they are themselves very orderly.
Now, if King is simply a product of randomness, then we are expected to believe that randomness begets order. We should discount any distinctiveness in his writing and chalk it up to mere coincidence. But nowhere in human experience does randomness beget order in any predictable sort of way. Nonetheless, we can expect consistently from King’s writing an exemplary level of literary expertise. How to explain this? If instead of being a product of randomness, King was created in the image of God, then we might make a couple of observations.
First, if God is creative and creates humanity in His image, then we would expect humanity should have a creative streak, right? Second, if God is orderly and intelligent, then we would expect those created in His image to demonstrate some ability to intelligently order their own handiwork.
Now, one might consider, on the other hand, someone like Hitler, and suggest that my train of thought must also credit Hitler’s cruelty as reflecting on God’s character. After all, Hitler was created in God’s image right? Let’s consider that.
In the beginning, God made humanity in His own image (Gen 1:26-27). Adam was given a command to obey God, but was given the power also not to obey God (Gen 2:16-17), and he disobeyed. Paul describes Adam’s action in this way: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men…” (Rom 5:12). Through Adam sin entered the world, and when Adam had children, even though they were still in God’s image (1 Cor 11:7), they now were also after Adam’s image and likeness (Gen 5:3). Why God would allow this, we can’t know, except to recognize He did so to express and demonstrate His own glory (Eph 1).
So when we express our fallenness, we are not expressing His character. On the contrary, we express the opposite. So what makes you or me any different from Hitler? We certainly at some point are all in the same boat, bound by a life of death (Eph 2:1-3). And while we all might not express our sinfulness in such recognizably dark ways as Hitler did, we are all equally as guilty (Rom 3:10-18).
But here is where Stephen King comes in. You see, if King (along with all of us) is really a reflection of creativity and orderliness endowed by the Creator, then we can listen for the voice of that Creator – who has spoken in these last days in Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2), who claims to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and who offers us life and restoration through His grace by belief in Him (Jn 14:6; 3:16). In other words, King is living proof (along with you and I) of the intelligent design he acknowledges in the stars, sky, and bees.
In short, anything good in us is a reflection of God’s own character – His own image in us. While anything He wouldn’t call good is a reflection of our own flesh (that Adamic image), as Paul describes in Romans 7. Further, when we function, we can know we are the product of design, and we are also designers, as we have been designed to be. The question is simply whether we will acknowledge our Designer – the One who holds us together at every moment (Col 1:16-17).
Thank you, Stephen King, for the reminder, and for drawing our attention to the obvious truth that is all too often hidden before our very eyes.