In Many Dimensions a mysterious stone surfaces in England that can transport an individual from one location to another, heal the sick, and travel through time. This “Stone of Solomon” can also be divided infinitely without diminishing the size or quality of the original.
So everyone’s trying to get their hands on them: government officials, airline moguls, hospitals and entire villages! The stone it seems represents the power of God. So when two government-types are trying to avoid distributing this powerful artifact they come up with a plan:
Mr. Garterr Browne smiled slyly. “Ask yourself,” he said, “why people – this
Mayor, for instance – are making such a fuss about the Stone. Why, because they think it does things.”
“So it does,” Lord Birlesmere said.
“Never mind whether it does or not,” Garterr Browne said sharply. “The point is that they believe that it does. Very well. What do we want to do then? Stop them believing it. How do we do that? Tell them, and show them, that it doesn’t.”
“But it does,” Lord Birlesmere said again.
“The first thing I said to myself,” Mr. Garterr Browne went on, “when I realized it, was – people must simply not be allowed to believe in it. The second thing was – thank God it’s stone.”
Lord Birlesmere sat and stared. Mr. Garterr Browne sat and smiled, then he resumed.
“How can one stop them believing in it? As I’ve just said – tell them it doesn’t work; show them it doesn’t work. And if it does, show them something that doesn’t.”
Mr. Garterr Browne had a fake stone that looked similar to the real thing made up, and was able to somewhat successfully dupe people into thinking it was the “Stone of Solomon,” and had no power.
I think this scene is currently playing itself out in our society.
I believe Christianity is true. I think there is a large body of evidence pointing to this conclusion.
In our unbelieving culture (even within churches) there is much doubt to be found, though. I think this has happened partially because of poor theology. Somehow, we’ve come to believe that the “Power of God” in our lives equals “Getting Whatever We Want and Never Suffering.” So as our culture cries at us “it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, Christianity doesn’t work because you don’t have everything promised to you,” we often throw up our hands and say, “you’re right, it doesn’t!”
What has happened here, though, is we’ve been fed a false power, a false stone if you will. Somewhere along the line, people begin to understand that the power of God is nothing more than a genie in a bottle with the “infinite wish” in play. God’s power doesn’t work like that. He is not a man that I should order him around, and he is not my servant. I am His.
So, we look for the wrong sort of power, find nothing, and begin to doubt God. Instead, we need to understand that we human beings are physically flawed, morally flawed, spiritually flawed, and socially flawed. Yet God, in His infinite love regarded us so much that he lower Himself and took on human form, dying the death of a murder, and defeating the grave through His resurrection. He effects all things to work together to bring His children closer to Himself and further away from our flaws.
I don’t know about you, but I think the greater show of power in life is a reformed alcoholic-absentee father, who now loves his wife and children, rather than a Porsche suddenly appearing in my driveway.
I loved Williams’ story, and I love stories with implications that can inspire thought processes like the one I just shared. Every Williams-reader I talk with discounts Many Dimensions as boring and directionless. William’s magical-realism, coupled with the rare glimpse into post “Great War,” pre-World War II world brings Williams’ book up into my highest regards.