W: “War of the Worlds” and the Power of One Word


When War of the Worlds, an 1898 science fiction novel by H.G. Wells, was performed as a Halloween episode for CBS Radio in 1938, it created widespread panic.  Those who were not familiar with the novel assumed they were listening to actual news, and for a few terrible hours believed that Martians were actually attacking the earth!

If you read War of the Worlds, you’ll understand the mistake.  The writing is realistic and precise, coming across as factual events.  If an alien race were actually to wage an attack on Earth, I imagine it might go something like this.  Just as he did with The Time Machine, Wells delivers a fast-paced, imaginative tale that gives readers deep food for thought.

The most remarkable aspect of this work, however, is that while Wells describes world-wide, cataclysmic events, the story resolves by demonstrating the power of one tiny, seemingly insignificant idea.  In this story, while the collective intelligence and firepower of the world’s armies are no match for the Martians, the alien race is completely killed off by an enemy they never saw coming:  the virus.

While the common cold is a mere annoyance to humans, it turns out to be fatal for the Martian invaders.  And this one small factor proves to have such power, that the human race is saved.

As artists, we can often leave others with profound knowledge by focusing on the power of a simple idea, or a single word.

The Bible does this quite often.  We try to make the answer to life’s hardest questions seem very complicated and difficult to search out, but the answer is unbelievably simple: Jesus.  This seems so simplistic, but read the Bible from cover to cover and you’ll realize that He really is the key to our deepest questions.  Why are we here?  What is the meaning of life?  How can we reach Heaven?  How can we know God?  The answer to all of this comes in the form of a single word – a single Person:  Jesus really is the key to everything.

While this is wonderfully obvious to believers, it is extremely difficult for those who do not know God.  This answer is to simple for them, and they are to proud to receive it.  And this great truth becomes the common cold which dooms them to an eternity separated from God.

Perhaps they should consider War of the Worlds, and the fact that often the simplest solution holds the most power.


Photo Credit:  War of the Worlds – Theornamentalist – Public Domain


The Classics.jpg

This post was submitted as part of the A to Z Challenge, where participants agree to write an article that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet, posting every day of the month of April (except Sundays).

Here on The Artistic Christian,  my theme for the month is The Classics.  Each day I’ll examine a book, film, or work of art that has become a beloved classic and discuss what has made it such a success, and what eternal themes it contains that Christian artists can use as modern illustrations.

For daily reflections from my personal travels around the world, check out my companion blog, Everyday Musings, where my theme for April is Reflections From Around the World.


23 thoughts on “W: “War of the Worlds” and the Power of One Word

  1. I thought War of the Worlds was pretty cool, but I hated the Time Traveler for some reason. 🙂

    Good post today. It still amazes me how you can take something like War of the Worlds and connect it to the Bible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Daleen! Some would call this a flaw, saying I’m finding things that aren’t there. Perhaps… but I really do believe that all artists are acting in God’s image when they create, and that therefore all works of art, by their very nature, point back to God.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another of my favorites! I’ve always found War of the Worlds to be a strong Christian metaphor. As much as humans struggle to save themselves, their salvation was always in the hands of someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The simplest solution really is the most satisfactory. I also love how in both The War of the Worlds and in God’s salvation plan, we would never have predicted the resolution or thought of it ourselves until we saw it done. Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

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