Magic is a touchy subject for a lot of us Christians. I know for me, at least, I've never been able to think of the right way to handle it so that the good guys could wield it. So, the other night I was kind of just mulling over a villain I have in Red Sea Rising, Lord Marthos. I was considering the magic he has, where it comes from, etc.
Then, it was like the light came on all of a sudden. Let's see if I can put this all straight, because I think it's good.
Ok, of course in our world what is called magic is wrong. Hands off! Ouija boards, tarot cards, fortune telling, etc, as well as blood rituals and voodoo, are just plain evil.
But, as I've seen pointed out elsewhere, even in our world we have the miracles of God that may seem like magic to some people. And in The Archives of Anthropos, a series of Christian fantasy written in the 80s and 90s, the good guys wield power from God, which is basically 'good magic'.
So, here's my thoughts:
There is good and bad magic. The bad magic comes from rituals, 'spirits', spells, etc. Things have to be done before anything will happen, and it has to be learned.
The good magic comes from Enderel (my name for God the Son). It may be in an object, such as the Joy Light (hey, subject for my next post!), or it may come directly from Enderel to the person, or it may be something they were born with (I'll have to think on that aspect a bit more before I decide to use it).
I remember a good quote from C. S. Lewis that went something like this: 'Magic is not the way in which quacks pretend and fools believe they control the elements. It is instead, "This is a magical flower. Take it with you, and the seven gates will open of their own accord." '
Magic in a fantasy world is a tool, in a way. A sword can be used for good or ill. So can magic. Enderel's magic can be used rightly, or twisted. All evil magic is just that: twistings or imitations of the true power which comes from Enderel alone.
And, as with any other tool, there are clearly defined boundaries that can't be crossed. Just because the power is different does not mean it can be used amorally, or immorally, without consequences.
The Arvindians, having fled from a sorcerer, are very suspicious of any kind of magic. They would rather just leave it completely alone. A lot like many Christian fantasy writers :) A lot like me, before now.
So, all of you who are unsure or leery about the good guys using magic in your stories, remember: fantasy has fantastic elements. We can't redefine moral boundaries, but we can use magic to make the grass grow, or to put courage in the hearts of men, or to raise a fallen fortress. All of these things can be accomplished (to some degree at least) without magic: the sun and rain make things grow, heroic deeds and words can inspire, and men can build a ruined edifice.
Take courage, and let's use even the magic in our stories to the glory of God, and not make it an amoral thing as it is in Harry Potter. And let's make sure we stay within the God-ordained bounds.
What are ya'lls thoughts on magic?