Sacred Sci-Fi: How a Liberty Professor Created a Biblically Inspired Space Opera

Barron BellBy Barron Bell8 Minutes

DOMINION: Fall of the House of Saul is the culmination of a journey that started in a darkened movie theater in 1977. As a young boy my eyes and ears were dazzled when that iconic first note of John Williams’ score blared and bright yellow words “Star Wars” scrolled from the bottom to the top of the screen. I didn’t know it then, but my little six-year-old mind didn’t stand a chance. Star Wars was my introduction to sci-fi, and I never turned back.

After becoming a Christian at the end of high school, I developed a passion for biblical history. I could visualize the narrative text in the books of Samuel and Kings and a seed was planted. I was also fascinated by the words of C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The way the authors could craft epic stories using biblical inspiration watered the seed that was planted. As an up-and-coming comic book author … I wanted to do this.

Instead of re-treading previously used tropes, I wanted to take the biblical narrative of the story of the rise of the kingdom of Israel found in 1st and 2nd Samuel and set it in space, and the kicker was, instead of humans, I wanted to use anthropomorphic characters. DOMINION is a combination of the sweeping sci-fi space opera, Star Wars, and the majestic epic of the Chronicles of Narnia. I knew it would be a stretch, but thankfully my publisher, Mark Stancil of Terminus Media, caught the vision.

I wanted to take advantage of the history in between the verses in the books of Samuel and use that as inspiration to tell a story of the royal family of a galactic kingdom in crisis. By taking historical figures, even those who may have had very minimal exposure in the Bible, I wanted to create an ensemble of strong and consequential characters.

DOMINION was an opportunity to merge the two things I really loved, sci-fi and biblical history into a sweeping space epic of my own. I started with 1 Samuel 15 as a starting point for the narrative and branched out from there. In this chapter, the Lord rejects King Saul and strips the kingdom of Israel away from him because of his disobedience by not utterly destroying the Amalekites, but taking their spoils and leaving the king alive. The news is delivered by High Priest Samuel. Imagine now, that the setting is an altar on a small moon. Israel now becomes DOMINION, the LORD is now the ALMIGHTY, and King Saul, a majestic lion in mechanized armor is confronted by Samuel, a withered crow in priestly garb. The Amalekite spoils are large spacecraft landing around a battalion of DOMINION soldiers. Intrigued, yet?


Typically the story of David and Goliath in sandals and ancient armor is the go-to adaptation from this part of the Bible. I wanted to dig deeper, however. Instead of the typical “Battling Giants” story, I wanted to delve into the tragedy of loss and squandered potential. The story of King Saul was much more intriguing to me than David … it was a true Shakespearean tragedy. I also wanted to explore the implications of Saul’s decisions upon his family. This is where my imagination flourished. I started to build the ensemble of Saul’s family from seeds planted in the biblical text.

Prince Jonathan and Samuel are referenced many times in the Bible so they were relatively easy characters to construct. Their motivations were very clearly stated and their ultimate fates were also well documented. The challenge came in establishing the characters of Princess Michal and Queen Ahinoam. DOMINION needed strong female characters with rich, and complex stories that could balance the male characters. While Michal can be found mentioned in a few passages in 1st and 2nd Samuel, we first see her as David’s prize for defeating Goliath in 1 Samuel 18. We first find Ahinoam in 1 Samuel 14 and the only details we find is that she is the daughter of Ahimaaz. She goes on to become David’s wife after the demise of Saul.

I wanted to elevate these two characters beyond the role of property, this is where the DOMINION narrative diverges from the history. Queen Ahinoam is a complex matriarch, somewhat akin to the historical Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, who was the true power behind her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten, who descended into madness.  Ahinoam will serve a similar role in DOMINION as King Saul’s mind unravels after losing the kingdom. Ahinoam straddles the line between loving wife, mother, and the unseen power behind DOMINION. Princess Michal, on the other hand, leads two lives between elegant princess and freedom fighter who secretly pilots an old version of her father’s armor on the crumbling borders of DOMINION.

DOMINION is Science Fantasy. As many may guess, this is not a work to be dissected for it’s biblical accuracy. It does adhere to the main storyline, however, and hits the major beats. Saul loses the kingdom to rival; David. David fights a giant and eventually ascends to be king. The difference is in the nuance of how things unfold. In DOMINION we dig deeper into the family dynamic of how the decisions of a narcissist king affects not only his family, but the kingdom as a whole. King Saul is a main character but not the most important one. The story extends to how prince Jonathan longs for his father’s approval. Princess Michal seeks more to life than being a pampered princess, longing to be of service to her people. Queen Ahinoam is duty-bound to support her husband, even in the midst of his mental decline, while also upholding her family and the kingdom behind the scenes. We are dedicated to making DOMINION a great story that can be enjoyed like Narnia or The Lord of the Rings.  More importantly, however, I pray that God uses this story to lead the readers back to the source material … the BIBLE.

Order a copy of Dominion: Fall of the House of Saul by Dr. Barron Bell