The Transcendent and Divine Imagination of George MacDonald, by Wendy DeRaud


Today I am going to introduce you to one of my favorite authors, George MacDonald.


Some of you may already know him through one of his famous devotees, C.S. Lewis. Those of us who are passionate about MacDonald are just that determined to bring knowledge and appreciation of him into the current cultural marketplace of ideas because we believe he is just that good and just that significant to today’s world as he was to the Victorian age in which he as born.

"The imagination is one of the most powerful of all the faculties for aiding the growth of truth in the mind” George MacDonald

MacDonald was a mystic, meaning that, in his own words, “ a mystical mind perceives that the highest expression of which the truth admits lies in the symbolism of nature,” and as Jesus did, used elements of nature to explain greater truths.

MacDonald had a gift of communicating deeper spiritual truths, not only through natural forms and everyday life, as expressed in his novels, but in his fairytales and adult fantasy books, his vivid and inspired imagination takes us readers into places that our minds rarely go, unlocking doors to hidden passageways into fairyland and other unexplored caverns of our inner lives.


Could this be another way of opening our heart’s to the Kingdom of God?

C.S. Lewis said that after reading, Phantastes, by George MacDonald, his imagination was “baptized”. From that introduction, he was not only compelled to turn from Atheism to Christianity, becoming one of the leading Christian thinkers and apologists of our time, but he was also inspired to write his own fantasy books for both adults and children, books that have touched millions of lives with the love and power of Christ, borne in nothing short of the same Divine Imagination.

This divine alchemy of our imagination is clearly contagious in nature, passed on from generation to generation, person to person, and it is mostly through the arts.


There seems to be a transference that takes place when we read a book, watch a movie, see a play, see a painting or photograph, that has been imbued with a certain quality of the sublime. Something inside of us is stirred and we are turned toward an inner reality where God resides.


Having our imaginations baptized will change us, those around us, and those who experience our art. If we are able to absorb the potent and transformative language and imagery into our hearts and minds, we can more profoundly understand the deep things of God, as well as become carriers of these same treasures, and encorporate them into our art-making without even trying or forcing it to happen. That's because the treasures become a part of us.

So look up George MacDonald and find one of his books to set you on this quest to reignite your own imagination, if it’s been lost, abandoned or forgotten. You won’t come back the same.

Tomorrow: George MacDonald and the Spiritual Garden of God