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Angel Protagonist in a Christian novel? Explorations of a fictitious angel

17/08/2021

When I wrote the novel, ‘Headlines in Heaven’, I had long wanted to explore the world of Christian adult fiction. I felt passionate about planting some good seeds out there, so I thought carefully about what messages I particularly wanted to share with the world.

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I realised that the most important question I wanted my Christian and non-Christian readers alike to grapple with was this: “Who is Jesus Christ?” Is he indeed the Son of God as the bible claims he is? Or is he a liar: Jesus himself frequently claims he is God’s Son. As the well-known Christian writer, C.S.Lewis put it, you need to make your choice between Jesus being a ‘lunatic, liar or Lord’.

I decided that a good start to answering this question would be to focus on Jesus’ miracles. As the apostle John declares, the miracles are recorded in his gospel “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”. (John 20, v31,NIV)

It was then that I dreamed up a fictitious angel, Raphael, who was tasked with reporting on Jesus’ miracles so that all the angels in heaven could share in the Lord’s glory. The next step was to flesh out this idea, and in order to do that, I needed to do some meticulous research. Not only did I carefully re-read all the gospels, but I also did google searches on what everyday life was like in Palestine during that time – particularly for the shepherds, what King Herod’s palace looked like and the life style of the high priest and the other Pharisees.

As note-taking is essential in any research, I selected facts from the mine of information I was gathering that I thought might come in useful.

Now it was time to start my novel: newspaper articles based on the miracles, exultant celebrations in heaven even as the wispy headlines drifted up to the abode of the angels, Raphael’s reactions to the events, and the lives of both the elite and the men and women in the streets make up the bulk of the novel. And of course, Jesus’ miracles and their significance. What would the story be without them?

What an extraordinary writing journey it was for me: from the initial idea, to the reading and research, to the note-taking, to the organising of events, to fleshing out the characters, to actually writing the novel. I can identify with the enthusiasm of all the Christian writers who have gone before me to communicate some important, life-giving messages to their readers. I especially enjoyed exploring what heaven might actually look like, and pored over passages in Revelations long and hard while gathering information for my fictitious paradise. My own descriptions, at their core, were rooted in the biblical accounts of heaven.

All writers of Christian adult novels are privileged to have such exciting source material as the basis for their writing. I’m convinced they will be just as inspired as I was from delving into the rich source of material in the bible.

Breath of God by Gillian Leggat
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