I’m currently trying to develop a Biblical Perspective of Detective Fiction. Here are my thoughts so far: (sketchy so bear with)
- The genre/text reflects the creativity of God because He made us in His image as creative beings and gave us all gifts to use. Even non-Christians are given gifts by God. Their use of these still brings glory to Him because they are a reflection of His goodness and self.
- Crime is part of the result of the sinfulness and fallen nature of humanity. It is a distortion of God’s creation and damages our relationship to God and others.
- The detective genre gives us insight into our need for salvation. We need someone to intervene and save us.
- The detective figure represents a saviour intervening in the world to bring justice and eradicate evil.
- The detective is a reflection of a person who uses God’s gift of reason for the good of others. S/he shows a Biblical care/love for the wellbeing of others and glorifies God in his/her use of reason and love.
- The detective genre is in some ways a response to the dualism with which we see the world as being separated into material and spiritual realms. We now, in our humanistic society, hold a much more deistic view of the world – the spiritual realm is removed from us or irrelevant, or, if we are Christians we may think God is outside His creation (He isn’t by the way! it’s just we often think He is) – and feel the need to control evil. The detective genre is a response to this and acts as an expression of our need to contain evil and feel safe. The detective genre makes readers feel safe knowing a rational being can solve and contain crime/evil.
And this is about as far as I have gotten.
Any more ideas?
Here are more questions I am thinking of:
What should the Christian response be to crime?
Considering the Bible says, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” (Phil 4.8) should we, as Christians, read literature which takes for its subject crime?
In what other ways does Detective Fiction communicate Biblical truths or grand narratives?
If you have the answers to any of these questions, have more of your own or think my points [above] are dodgy and off track, please let me know. This is a real work in progress and I’d love to hear your ideas, especially from a Reformed Theological perspective. If you can support your ideas with the Bible, even better.
Also, let me know if you have any great Detective Fiction texts you love. What do you love about them and what do you learn from them?
Don’t you love how literature helps you think about the BIGGER things!