Contact – Carl Sagan (1985)
The American cosmologist, Carl Sagan, penned this novel, originally meant to be a film script, which examines humanities first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. Sagan described himself as agnostic, with his Gifford Lectures (which focus on natural theology) collected together in the book The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God. One of the key themes running through this book is how, if at all, empirical reality and subjective experience, can be related, something that often forms part of the discussion between science and religion.
In 1997 the novel was released as the feature film, Contact, staring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. If you’re not into reading, then the film raises the same sorts of matters, perhaps stressing the science and religion relationship a little more.
Time Quintet – Madeleine L’Engle
A series of five books featuring children and young adults oriented around the Murry family. The books are:
- A Wrinkle in Time (1962); (One of he most banned books of all time!)
- A Wind in the Door (1973);
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978);
- Many Waters (1986);
- An Acceptable Time (1989).
A Wrinkle in Time is the best know of these books, but all of them deal with concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, faith and reason, and the wonder of the universe set within a science fiction world incumbent with a Christian worldview and powers. (I read A Swiftly Tilting Planet while writing an essay on principalities and powers in Paul’s letters and found the imagery in the novel striking).
There have been various attempts to create film and other media versions of A Wrinkle in Time with various degrees of success, and with different approaches to dealing with the religious elements of the book and the family dynamics of characters. For example:
If you want to find out more about the author, Madeleine L’Engle, then I’d recommend the following:
- Bright Evening Star: The Mystery of the Incarnation (2001)
- Madeleine L’Engle’s Christianity was vital to A Wrinkle in Time – Vox.com
- How Fiction Fueled Madeleine L’Engle’s Faith – Christianity Today