I finally finished reading Stephen King’s massive (so thankful for the Kindle version!) 11/22/63. It was my first Stephen King novel, and I’m now a fan–an unlikely fan, considering that I don’t generally care for his genre. But his vividly descriptive writing drew me in and had me looking for spare moments to get back to the story. As he fought to change history, the protagonist Jake often noted the way the past harmonized with the present — those weird “coincidences” that he kept seeing. And lo, and behold, here’s one for me.
As any time traveler knows, the main danger is the butterfly effect. Who knows what one tiny little change might mean in lives decades later? That theme is all throughout 11/22/63. As I was reading Tim Keller’s Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering (an unlikely pairing with Stephen King, no?), I came across the same concept as Keller writes about reconciling the existence of evil with the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. He describes the butterfly effect, illustrating with a quote from a Ray Bradbury short story, and then he writes:
If an all-powerful and all-wise God were directing all of history with its infinite number of interactive events toward good ends, it would be folly to think we could look at any particular occurrence and understand a millionth of what it will bring doubt. The history-butterfly effect means that ‘only an omniscient mind could grasp the complexities of directing a world of free creatures toward…previsioned [good] goals….Certainly many evils seem pointless and unnecessary to us–but we are simply not in a position to judge.’ [Moreland and Craig, Philosophical Foundations]
I’m about a third of the way through Keller’s book, and it is EXCELLENT. I’m marking it up like crazy. There’s so much to think about, and Keller references sources that are making my books-to-read list even longer.
Happy reading to you!