Magic in Fantasy Fiction: Powers of God and powers of the Devil

There are many ways that various writers have dealt with the subject of magic in their stories, but most pitch a “good” wizard or witch against an “evil” wizard or witch.

Gandalf and Balrog

What is acceptable when creating a fantasy story from a Christian worldview? We know that God condemned wizards, witches, sorcerers, mediums, and the like. Some Christians are apt to ignore or else deny that the Devil has real power in the world. He, like God, can perform signs and wonders, but just because there is power in such things does not mean that they are right.

We read of magic in fantasy stories and, interestingly, throughout Biblical history we have stories of what we can term “magic.” Moses’s shepherd staff was empowered by God. At will he or Aaron could throw it on the ground and it would transform into a snake. He stretched it over the Red Sea and the water dramatically divided, leaving a dry path for the Israelites to pass over. Angels of God were seen with flaming swords and chariots of fire and other spirit beings manifested themselves. Even after Biblical history signs and wonders of God continued. In Eusebius’s History of the Church he details a war in the heavens above Jerusalem, and other wonders.

The Devil is a chief imitator. It gives him great pleasure to copycat God’s marvels. God sometimes allows it and certainly he allows it in the devil’s followers.

Magic, if we are using it to refer to all of these things, can be good or bad. In writing fantasy we need to be intentional when dealing with magic. If we are intentional then people can analyze and determine what is proper and good, and what is demonic and wrong.

It is important to remind readers that just because something is unexplainable, miraculous, or extraordinary does not mean that it comes from God. Be sure which Master the “magic” serves.

Question: How does your worldview affect the use of magic in a story?


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Most obvious thing about me is how much I love reading and writing. This is truly my passion and has been for almost as long as I can remember. I know that sounds cliche, but it is true. Growing up in a conservative Christian home I learned to value God, intelligence, and life. I am always learning. I am a husband and a father of three young children. I love my family and my life. God is good and I attribute my success to His provision.

Great fantasy stories are a lot of fun. I write the stories that I want to read and am fortunate enough to have several published novels under my belt as well as more in the pipeline.

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2 thoughts on “Magic in Fantasy Fiction: Powers of God and powers of the Devil

  1. Very good point!
    I had wondered about the same thing concerning magic and the like. What you said about Satan copying God’s wonders, that “The Devil is a chief imitator. It gives him great pleasure to copycat God’s marvels”, it is very true. Chapter 4 in “The Genius of Ancient Man – Evolution’s Nightmare” [‘Two Kingdoms and The Counterfeit’] points this out very vividly. What ever God does, Satan tries to duplicate it, but to his glory instead of God’s.
    [One example is how God uses mountains to speak to His people. What I mean is, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on a mountain (Gen. 22:2), God gives Moses His law on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 34:2), Mount Zion is where God dwells, etc. Satan took note of that and influenced the people to build their own mountains to their gods: ziggurats, mounds, pyramids, oblisks, henges, and more! Satan is driven to be a twisted image of God.]

    I also agree with your last statement: “Be sure which Master the “magic” serves.” It reminded me of what Aslan said in the movie “The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe” (I don’t know if he says it in the book). In the situation where the White Witch asks for Edmund’s blood, Aslan says, “Do not recite the Deep Magic to me, Witch. I was there when it was written.” Aslan [as the God character] obviously had power in that arena, in comparison to the Witch.

    Thanks, Mr. Appleton!

    • Glad you enjoyed it! This is a difficult topic to elaborate on, sometimes, but there is so much great material when we delve into these lines of thinking.