H.P. Lovecraft, the Postmillenialist?

This world is beautiful but badly broken. St. Paul said that it groans, but I love it even in its groaning. I love this round stage where we act out the tragedies and the comedies of history. I love it with all of its villains and petty liars and self-righteous pompers. I love the ants and the laughter of wide-eyed children encountering their first butterfly. I love it as it is, because it is a story, and it isn’t stuck in one place. It is full of conflict and darkness like every good story. And like every good story, there will be an ending. I love the world as it is, because I love what it will be. I love it because it spins and tilts, because it’s dizzying, because of the night sky and the swirling lights. But I have run too far ahead. We should be more . . . philosophical.

― N.D. Wilson, Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World

Embracing Postmillenialism has changed many areas of my Christian worldview for the better. One of those areas is how I view the world God has made. No longer do I see this world as merely a temporary journey, but I see it as my home. The world is not my home, but the earth is. God is remaking the world, and He is releasing the curse on the earth, but this is my home. I have become more aware of glory of God’s creation. As I meditate on the creation mandate, which is heavily emphasized among Postmillenial theologians, I become more in love with this earth God gave to us men.

This theme is the thesis of one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most prolific stories, “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.” By far Lovecraft’s longest story, this bizarre narrative, which perhaps more than any of Lovecraft’s works demonstrates his raw creativity, confronts us all with a refreshing and perspective of the glorious world around us. It challenges us to repent of seeing the world as boring and mundane. God’s world is far too exquisite, profound, dazzling, and complex to consider dull. How then does Lovecraft’s story reflect this mindset? (Spoilers ahead).

The story follows Randolph Carter (a recurring character in Lovecraft’s universe) who dreams of another world, a heaven-like city, a city of glory. He discovers the ability to enter into his dream lands when he is dreaming. Randolph enters into his dream land and then goes searching for this city of glory, though he is warned of pursuing it by every dream character he meets.

The story is a very long journey wherein many strange and awful creatures are encountered along the way. The big twist at the end of Randolph’s quest is that the dream-land he seeks, the divine city, is actually his beautiful New England home. New England is the glorious city, a city fit for the gods.

For you know that your gold and marble city of wonder is only the sum of what you have seen and loved in youth… These things you saw, Randolph Carter, when your nurse first wheeled you out in the springtime, and they will be the last things you will ever see with eyes of memory and love… You need only to turn back to the thoughts and visions of wistful boyhood.

So to the organ chords of morning’s myriads whistles, and dawn’s blaze thrown dazzling through purple panes by the great gold dome of the State House on the hill, Randolph Carter leaped through shoutingly awake within his Boston room. Birds sang in hidden gardens and the perfume of trellised vines came wistful from arbours his grandfather had reared. Beauty and light glowed from classic mantel and carven cornice and walls grotesquely figured, while a sleek black cat rose yawning from hearthside sleep that his master’s start and shriek had disturbed.

Randolph Carter had indeed descended at last the wide marmoreal flight to his marvelous city, for he was come again to the fair New England world that had wrought him.

A tribute to the beautiful New England landscape prevalent in most of Lovecraft’s short stories, Randolph’s dream city was merely the combination of all the glorious things in from his home that he loved as a child. The years calloused him to the beauty around him. He sought more elsewhere, when in reality, he already was where no more could be found.

Lovecraft was by no means a Christian. But by God’s common grace, non-Christians often times stumble upon glorious truths Christians fail to find. So let Lovecraft be a guide to lead you away from all neo-Gnosticism. Do not succumb to the pressure to hate the material, to hate the body, to despise the earth. Do not think an ethereal, flighty, spirit existence is a higher form of living. God gave us this home and called it very good. And He is reversing the curse to bring us back to the original glory of that home.

Enjoy your home. Wake up to the glory of the world around you, and let it bring you to your knees in worship of God.

What is this world? What is it for? It is art. It is the best of all possible art, a finite picture of the Infinite.

― N.D. Wilson, Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World

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