How does Revelation 21:1–6 apply to science fiction?

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Great question. As a genre, science fiction has always been interested in religion, theology, and spiritual themes. As for how it relates specifically to the passage in Revelation, that's a complex topic. The verses in the biblical book of Revelation refer to the new heaven and earth that will come...

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Great question. As a genre, science fiction has always been interested in religion, theology, and spiritual themes. As for how it relates specifically to the passage in Revelation, that's a complex topic. The verses in the biblical book of Revelation refer to the new heaven and earth that will come about after the end times. This could be related to the utopian themes that are often found in the genre, such as in the work of H. G. Wells or Aldous Huxley. In their books, humanity tries to create a perfect society, free from pain or want or conflict—just as Christians have been promised after Christ returns.

Conversely, there is a dystopian strain in science fiction in which authors imagine a much darker future where humanity has either failed or authoritarian forces have taken control. The classic example is Orwell's 1984. The Handmaid's Tale and its recent sequel are also excellent examples. You could argue that these books show an almost godlike ruling class (or figure) remaking the world in their own image but in a way that harms much of the people it rules. Atwood's books are particularly interesting because her society is one run along religious lines: a theocracy.

The psychedelic final sequence of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke) could certainly be seen through the lens of Revelation. Everything becomes new, as symbolized by the final shot of the space baby.

I would argue that few of these authors are dealing with spiritual themes in any kind of orthodox way, and you'd have to look at C. S. Lewis's space trilogy as an example of a religious author dealing with religious ideas. Finally, I'd suggest looking at the late novels of Philip K. Dick, who claimed to have a spiritual revelation that informed both his life and writing.

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