The devil’s prime narratives include the rehabilitation of history’s evildoers and the maculation of its heroes. The point of these wicked stories is not to show that their subjects weren’t in fact as good or as bad as they are generally thought to be, but to relativize the difference between good and evil, for which they stand as symbols, however imperfect.
Godly narratives, on the other hand, are not hagiographical in the corrupt sense of ignoring or minimizing the flaws of the good (witness the scriptural treatment of Joseph or Simon Peter). In them, rather, the imperfect human icons are shown for the sole end of their transparency to the Glory of God.
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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