I’ve been running a Dune book club over at
dunecember.com since December, in case you didn’t know. We (and I) just finished the book this week, and I wrote a looooong recap of the last 50 pages and discussed it a bit. I had some more that I wanted to share with regards to my perception of the book’s conclusion and the official Dunecember blog didn’t feel like the right place for it, so here we are.
Over in my post, I said:
This book seems to make the case for looking toward the unexpected, the uncontrollable, the “chaotic” over the planned and the foreseen. It’s an interesting way to look at things.
And I have found myself looking at things this way since I first read this book a few years ago. It’s not an easy way to look at things without a sufficiently-large view of God. The “chaotic” mentioned above is, to me, only literally chaotic to those (including myself) who are incapable of understanding God completely. I believe that God has ultimate authority in every situation and that nothing happens beyond His control. This is a tough way to look at things because, well, shit happens. Daily. From tiny things that suck all the way up to enormous, ghastly tragedies.
Either these things are out of God’s control, or they are part of his plan in a way that will eventually glorify Him. For God to be the supreme being He says He is (“the Beginning and the End”), He must be capable of thinking and planning beyond anything humans are capable of perceiving. Thus even horrible atrocities must have a place in His plan, since they occur and everything that occurs is part of His orchestration.
(This does not square with the concept of Buddy Christ–the God who’s totally your best friend and is going to make you rich. It also makes people uncomfortable to think that every terrible thing they have experienced has been for a reason–understandably, I might add, since people go through terrible things and have a tendency to blame God for making their life hard.)
In Dune, the best-laid plans of a powerful order are diverted by one woman’s decision, due to her love for her husband, to have a boy instead of a girl. (Within this order, women are capable of such minute control of their bodies that they can determine the gender of their child.) Centuries of careful breeding are thwarted by this one decision, and the son becomes the One that they have sought all this time.
While I know that fiction is not evidence of the manifestation of God in our lives, I believe that the act of creativity and creation can be a form of worship–that even non- and anti-Christians can reflect God in art. I think God is reflected in Dune.
Accepting the idea that “chaos” in our lives can be God’s path for us is weird and kind of difficult. In Dune, Paul (the aforementioned One) has limited precognition–he sees things that could happen based on his actions. Sometimes, though, his perception of his various paths dips out of his view. These are the times he knows that he must act–he fears and anticipates them because he knows that it is in these moments that change will come into his life. Our lives have similar instants where small decisions make a big difference later on. Sometimes, we can even see these decisions coming and decide whether to embrace or avoid them.
My encouragement for you is: embrace these decisions. Trust God. Know that things won’t always been perfect or even good, but that He has a place for you in a plan so complex that we aren’t even capable of comprehending.
(Before anyone brings it up–I’m not arguing for predestination 100%. I think that predestination/free will is not an either/or situation. The best way I can put it is especially for nerds: think of light. It is a particle, a photon. Also, it is a wave. Sometimes it acts like one, sometimes it acts like the other. But as far as we can tell, it’s both at the same time. That’s my answer to the predestination/free will argument–as far as we can tell, it’s both at the same time.)