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Digital Subscriptions > Life and Work > March 2018 > Faith and Frankenstein

Faith and Frankenstein

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of the novel Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley. The Rev David McCarthy reflects on the Christian messages of the novel – and its revisions.


THE desert of ice cracks and upon a splintered piece the broken Frankenstein appears. Not the Creature, but Victor, ‘The Modern Prometheus’ of Shelley’s caution. Rescued by a ship on its own voyage of discovery, he tells his story: a fanatic’s obsession with creating life. In misery he recounts the misery he has forged and his tale has never left our imagination. Even when we have distorted it, the icon has still remained. Why?

Perhaps it’s because Frankenstein touches a nerve; a nerve which runs deep within us. Identity, Love, Power, Responsibility, Good, Evil, Revenge, Forgiveness, Fanaticism and Pride are among the i bres entwined in this story – words from today’s headlines. Mary Shelley weaves a story which pushes us to ask profound questions, uncomfortable questions. Agreeing with her answers is not the point; facing up to her questing is. As in the best of science i ction and fantasy, we are called not to run away from reality, but rather, to see it more clearly. So, when reading Frankenstein we wonder about who we are and what motivates us; and like the Creature we say:

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND AND BREXIT - What it means for the Kirk, at home and abroad There are so many questions’: A Church Elder in Brussels A DIVINE GIFT - The benefits of humour Plus much more across 60 pages