"New Jersey is being invaded by Martians!" exclaimed actor Orson Welles.
He was reading the script of a 1938 radio drama based on the novel The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, who died AUGUST 13, 1946.
Herbert George Wells was from an impoverished lower middle class family. He failed as a draper and chemist assistant before going into literature.
H.G. Wells wrote many best-selling science fiction novels, such as:
- The Time Machine, 1895;
- The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896;
- The Invisible Man, 1897;
- The War of the Worlds, 1898;
- The First Men in the Moon, 1901.
H.G. Wells space novels inspired the imagination of Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945).
Goddard remembers, that as a 16-year-old boy in 1899, after reading Wells' space stories, he climbed a cherry tree on his family's farm, gazed at the stars, and dreamed of how to reach them.
Goddard went on to become the "father of modern rocketry."
Wernher von Braun acknowledged his debt to the Robert Goddard:
"Goddard's rockets ... may have been rather crude by present-day standards, but they blazed the trail and incorporated many features used in our most modern rockets and space vehicles."
President Ronald Reagan referred to Goddard and Wells in an address at the National Space Club, March 29, 1985:
"Dr. Goddard once wrote a letter to H.G. Wells ...
'There can be no thoughts of finishing, for aiming at the stars ... is a problem to occupy generations ... There is always the thrill of just beginning ...'"
"Personally, I like space. The higher you go, the smaller the Federal Government looks."
In The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells wrote how the Martians invading the earth were finally defeated by simple bacteria:
“In another moment I had scrambled up the earthen rampart and stood upon its crest ... and scattered about ... were the Martians—dead!
—slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.”
“The torment was over. Even that day the healing would begin. The survivors of the people scattered ... like sheep without a shepherd ... would begin to return ...
The hand of the destroyer was stayed ... At the thought I extended my hands towards the sky and began thanking God.”
After World War I and its horrible destruction, many writers expressed an attitude of disillusionment, such as:
- John McCrae's "In Flanders Field" (1915);
Wilfred Owen's "Anthem for Doomed Youth" (1917);
Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1928); and
- Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" (1929).
At this time, H.G. Wells, who had earlier admitted to being a skeptic around age 12, wrote "God the Invisible King" (1917), in which he questioned traditional beliefs.
He later repudiated much of it as simply being his way of criticizing Europe's misguided loyalty to ambitious kings who caused World War I.
"This book sets out as forcibly and exactly as possible the religious belief of the writer... (which) is a profound belief in a personal and intimate God ...
Putting the leading idea of this book very roughly, these two antagonistic typical conceptions of God may be best contrasted by speaking of one of them as God-as-Nature or the Creator, and of the other as God-as-Christ or the Redeemer.
One is the great Outward God; the other is the Inmost God ...
The first idea ... an idea of a comprehensive God as ruling with justice rather than affection ... a conception of aloofness and awe-striking worshipfulness.
The second idea, which is opposed to this idea of an absolute God, is the God of the human heart.
The writer would suggest that the great outline of the theological struggles of that phase of civilization and world unity which produced Christianity, was a persistent but unsuccessful attempt to get these two different ideas of God into one focus."
Though Wells' book produced more questions than answers, the concept he was wrestling with was the deepest of all theological questions, the balance between LAW and GRACE.
He was struggling to understand the very nature of God.
It is a subject which every parent, teacher, employer, police officer, and judge must deal with on a daily basis.
If a parent, teacher, or boss, etc., only insists on impersonal, legalistic rules being obeyed, the child, student, or employee becomes discouraged, disheartened, unmotivated, and ultimately gives up hope;
but if the parent, teacher, boss, etc., only shows leniency, patience, generosity, and forgiveness, the child, student, or employee becomes undisciplined, negligent, lazy, ungrateful, indulgent, irresponsible, disrespectful, and ultimately rebellious.
In a home, one parent usually emphasizes "rules and law," while the other parent tends to emphasize "love and grace."
Both are necessary.
Though the answer eluded him, what H.G. Wells was exploring was the two profound aspects of God, namely, God is just and God is love.
God is just is seen in the fact that all creation is ruled by laws; i.e., laws of nature, laws of gravity, laws of planetary motion, laws of physics, laws of chemistry, laws of mathematics, etc.
God also has laws for inter-personal behavior, which are embodied in the Ten Commandments, i.e., do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not lie, etc.
If God did not have consequences for violating these laws, He would be lawless. If He is silent in the face of violations, He would be giving consent to the violations, as silence equals consent.
This is no different than a judge who lets all the criminals off the hook. He will get the reputation of being a lawless, corrupt, and unjust judge.
God would be denying that He is a just God if He did not judge every sin. He would, in essence, be denying Himself, and He cannot deny Himself, so therefore, He must judge every sin.
But God is a loving God, in that He provided the Lamb to take the judgement for the sin.
Isaiah 53 states of the Messiah:
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed ... the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all ...
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth."
In Biblical theology, God is completely just, in that He judges every sin, and God is completely love, in that He provided the lamb to take the judgement for the sin.
This was foreshadowed by those who approached God through faith in the sacrificed Lamb:
- Abel who offered a lamb;
- Noah offered a lamb when he got off the ark;
- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who offered lambs;
- Moses had every family in Israel offer a lamb and put its blood over the door of their house;
- the High Priest brought the blood of the lamb into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the mercy seat;
- Solomon sacrificed a thousand lambs when he dedicated the temple.
- Finally, John the Baptist pointed at Jesus and exclaimed: "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world."
There is another aspect to God being a loving God, and us being made in His image.
The most important thing in our lives is loving and being loved, and the more you love someone, the more you want that someone to love you back.
God loves each of us infinitely, therefore, He has an infinite desire for each of us to love Him back.
He does not "need" our love, as He is not incomplete in any way, just as parents do not "need" the love of their children but nevertheless they desire it.
Deuteronomy 6 states: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
But love, by its very definition, must be voluntary. The moment it is forced, it is no longer love. It evaporates.
All of creation obeys God, but God, in His eternity and infinite wisdom, wanted a creature in His image that could love Him.
Therefore He had to give man the free will whether or not to love Him in order for the choice to love Him to actually be love.
By His grace, some people have responded to the drawing of His Spirit to love God.
Unfortunately, there are individuals that harden their hearts and resist God's grace, choosing not to love and obey God.
These people influence others, who together commit selfish acts.
The cumulative effect of these ungodly acts has resulted in the tragedies and wars which mankind has experienced.
The evils in the world are not God's will, but the result of men hardening their heart and choosing not to follow God's will.
And God, who is just God, will someday judge them on the day of judgement.
H.G. Wells explained in his later work Experiment in Autobiography (1934), how much of what he wrote in "God the invisible King" was a primarily a reaction to human loss during World War I fighting against Germany's King, Kaiser Wilhelm II:
"I thought it was pitiful that (men) ... should pin their minds to 'King and Country' and suchlike claptrap, when they might live and die for greater ends,
and I did my utmost to personify and animate a greater, remoter objective in 'God the Invisible King.'
In 'What Are We to Do with Our Lives?' (1932) I make the most explicit renunciation and apology for this phase of terminological disingenuousness."
Just as all political parties are the same in the sense that they are all political; they are all different in that they do not all have the same political platform.
Some place a higher value on the life of unborn children than others.
In the same way, all religions are religious, yet they do not believe the same thing.
Some place a higher value on human life than others.
H.G. Wells wrote in Outlines of History (NY: MacMillian Co., 1920, Vol. 2, p. 13):
"Because Mohammed too founded a great religion, there are those who write of this evidently lustful and rather shifty leader as though he were a man to put beside Jesus of Nazareth or Gautama or Mani.
But it is surely manifest that he was a being of commoner clay; he was vain, egotistical, tyrannous, and a self-deceiver;
and it would throw all our history out of proportion if, out of an insincere deference to the possible Moslem reader, we were to present him in any other light."
A British skeptic made similar remarks. Oxford professor and noted secularist Richard Dawkins stated:
"Islam deserves criticism on account of the logical consequences of its dogma, namely, that the murder of fellow human beings is to be rewarded with sensual pleasure in a hedonistic 'Paradise'—a concept born in the fantasies of an Arab rebel some fourteen centuries ago.
The religion of Mohammed is a dangerous system when the teachings and example of the 'prophet' are believed and followed ..."
"I’m pessimistic about the Islamic world. I regard Islam as one of the great evils in the world, and I fear that we have a very difficult struggle there ...
There’s a belief that every word of the Qur’an is literally true, and there’s a kind of close-mindedness there ... There are people in the Islamic world who simply say: 'Islam is right!'; 'We are going to impose our will'; and there’s an asymmetry.
I think in a way we are being too nice. I think that it’s possible to be naively over optimistic."
American skeptic Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011), wrote similar views in his book god is not Great (2007):
"Islam in its origins is just as shady ... as those from which it took its borrowings.
It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or 'surrender' as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain.
There is nothing—absolutely nothing—in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption."
Richard Dawkins interviewed Christopher Hitchens for the publication New Statesman, 2011:
Dawkins: "Some of our friends are so worried about Islam that they’re prepared to lend support to Christianity as a kind of bulwark against it."
Hitchens: "I know many Muslims who, in leaving the faith, have opted to go ... to Christianity or via it to non-belief. Some of them say it’s the personality of Jesus of Nazareth. The mild and meek one, as compared to the rather farouche (wild), physical, martial, rather greedy ...
Dawkins: "Warlord ..."
Hitchens: "... Mohammed. I can see that might have an effect."
Dawkins: "Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?"
H.G. Wells wrote in The Pocket History of the World (August, 1941):
"Ideas of human solidarity, thanks to Christianity, were far more widely diffused in the newer European world, political power was not so concentrated,
and the man of energy anxious to get rich turned his mind, therefore, very willingly from the ideas of the slave and of gang labor to the idea of mechanical power and the machine."
H.G. Wells commented on the U.S. Constitution in his Outlines of History (NY: MacMillian Co., 1920):
"Its spirit is indubitably Christian."
H.G. Wells was initially against a Jewish homeland, but after the Nazi holocaust atrocities of World War II, he changed to supporting the Jews.
He even initiated correspondence with chemist Chaim Weizmann, the future first President of the State of Israel, admitting (David Lodge, The Man of Parts, Harvill Secker, 2011, p. 403):
"My own ... tactlessness, aroused the resentment of Jews who are essentially at one with me in their desire for a sane equalitarian world order.
For centuries the Jewish community, whatever its Old Testament tradition, has been the least aggressive of all nationally conscious communities. Mea Culpa."
H.G. Wells examined another profound question, namely, science teaches what man "can" do, but it is religion teaches what man "should" do.
This question is applicable today with reports of organizations harvesting baby body parts, and laboratories experimenting with mixing human and animal DNA.
In The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896, H.G. Wells depicted a medical madman who engaged in freakish scientific experiments to create horrible human-animal hybrids.
In The Outline of History (1920), H.G. Wells wrote regarding future generations:
"Education is the preparation of the individual for the community, and his religious training is the core of that preparation."
In The Secret Places of the Heart, 1922, H.G. Wells reflected:
"Sir Richmond and Miss Grammont went out into the moonlit gloaming ... crossed the bridge ... and followed the road beside the river towards the old Abbey Church, that Lantern of the West ...
Said Sir Richmond ... 'It's only through love that God can reach over from one human being to another. All real love is a divine thing."