City Galaxy of God?

Shadow at Evening by Chris Walley is among the books I read on the return trip from Asia. This book is self-described as “Christian Science Fiction” a genre I have never before approached. In the fiew works of Chrisitian ficion I have read, normally Christian themes, teachings on soterieolgy, salvation, or a recasiting of the Chrsitian myth are essayed. In this, it seems to me different.

In Mr Walley’s story (of which this book is the first half of the first book of a tirlogy), starts with an expansion fo the City of God as it were. 12,000 years ago, in the battle of ideas which comprise our world, Chrsitianity had a decisive victory. As a result, the known world(s) are all Chrisitan based and caled the Assembly (of God is assumed it seems but not stated). Thousands of world have been terraformed, and Gates lead from star to star. Interstellar travel is slow by ship, which is how initial (robotic) terraforming ships initially move out, survey and being the terraforming process. After centuries, when the world is inhiabitable Gate traffic commences and settlers arrive. But the technology isn’t the striking, or startling aspect of this story. Everyone in the Assembly society is Christian, and not just Chrisitianized or basically secular but heavily influenced by Christian thought as in the Western world today. I have less trouble believing it “might be nice”, than believing “it might be possible”.

Howeve, on suspension of disbleif, the story then commences. Our main character Merrel is a forester, which in these modern times means surveying land and observing (and I guess tweaking occaisonally) the eco-system as it adjusts to the new world. However, all is not well, in our Universe for Farholme (and the Assembly as a whole perhaps by stories end) are entering a time of testing. Victory over unbelief was apparently not as complete as we (and our heroes) were lead to believe. Contact with those dissenters from “the Way” from some 11,000 years past … are back … and “they’re bad”. Actually, the “badness” of the enemy is not just a philosophical viewpoint, for it seems in their exploration of Gate technology, the depths of hyperspace is where dwelt the fallen angles, devils, and demons who have come to some sort of an “arrangment” with the forces opposing the Assembly which fled 11 millenia ago. So our heroes have more to deal with than a reacquiatance with sins long forgotten (war and such) but this battle will be fought on venues as well. For example, a fronter family Merrel meets at first, in the indirect (spiritual?) influence of the “invader” starts to evidence unusual behavior. The husband lies, he and his wife quarrel, and even (gasp) take to bolting their door from the inside.

Mr Walley’s book is well paced, well imagined, and engaging. Proof is in the pudding as they say, and I’ve ordered the sequel (the end of “book one”) which arrived today. Book two (the full 2nd book of the trilogy) is ordered and due for release in September. I’m still not sure what I think about what this society and it’s almost complete “victory” has to say about the fall of man and relationship between the City of God and the City of Man but, nevertheless I want to know what happens next. So … on to the next, and maybe for further reflection on Mr Walley’s eschatological vision.

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  1. posted at kneon transitt shouldn’t be allowed to blog. Spotlighting a *must have* Christian graphic novel that, quite honestly, should be in every library. Mark Olson at Pseudo-Polymath presents City Galaxy of God A book review of Shadow at Evening a Christian Science Fiction story and a genre he’s never encountered before. Semicolon considers A Catholic Taste in Books “These are some of the books with a Catholic taste that I’ve read and enjoyed.

  2. […] Mark Olson at Pseudo-Polymath presents City Galaxy of God […]

  3. Did it address the issue of only the earth being given to humanity to steward?

  4. Mark says:

    Well, thousands of planets have been colonized, but only one of the main characters is from “Ancient Earth”. But, no there is no mention of earth vs other planets being the only place given to humanity to steward, however it is also Mr Walley’s premise that on no other planet has other then unicellur bacterial life been found.

  5. Martin LaBar says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’d never heard of this book.

    I found this post through the Christian Carnival.

  6. I think it has a problem biblically, then. Lewis deals with this by not having the people out there be humans descended from Adam and Eve. I don’t mind scifi that has humans colonizing other planets or even with only faint memories of Earth. Firefly was exactly that, and it was excellent. But it’s a little strange to write it as a Christian novel and not even deal with the issue of God telling Adam that he was being given the Earth to steward and care for without any indication that it would be ok to go other places and care for things not given to us (never mind to use other planets as a fallback for not stewarding the Earth properly).

  7. Mark says:

    There is no indication that the planets are being colonized because earth has any sort of resource or ecological mismanagement. Actually the impetus for colonization was assumed and the reasons for it are not discussed, the diaspora and spread of humanity among the stars is just a given. Mr Walley’s Assembly has set strict limits on technological growth and expansion sort like high tech Menonnites or Amish perhaps, and perhaps he feels that expansion into new realms physically is needed to replace the technological progression to which we are accustomed.

    The “buffet/cafeteria” of Christian sects has also disappeared, there is only one catholic faith and there is no real discussion as to how that came about, it’s all in the distant past I guess.

  8. Parableman says:

    Space Exploration and the Creation Mandate…

    This idea for this post occurred to me when reading this post, at Pseudo-Polymath, which reviews a Christian science fiction novel. I wanted to expand a little on a comment I left on that post. The novel in question involves people from Earth colonizin…

  9. Chris Walley says:

    Hi. I’m the author (dont you just love Google?). Thanks for the comments. The theology is orthodox but a bit unfamiliar in these days of the imminent Second Coming as Orthodoxy. As for the Adamic Mandate being limited to the earth I see this as being expanded. After all in the OT Abraham is offered the land of Israel; in the NT the church is offered the world.

    Feel free to chase me up on my website or blog.



  10. Chris, that was all I was looking for. If we wanted to get into a discussion of whether it’s true, that would take a more serious discussion of the issues, but as far as this question was concerned I just wanted to know if you’d thought through the issue. It appears you have.

  11. Chris Walley says:

    And just to say my own blog “News from Farholme” is now on



  12. […] Mark Olson at Pseudo-Polymath presents City Galaxy of God […]

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