Religion plays a very prominent role in the novel, and so do ideas about heaven. This is particularly true because there is so much death in the narrative, and because the world of the novel is so miserable. An important question the novel asks is whether or not the characters—who suffer so much in the mortal world—have any hope of finding relief and joy in the afterlife. Raised as a Baptist, Lauren is taught to believe in the traditional Christian version of heaven. Theoretically, the promise of the Christian heaven gives believers hope and motivation to adhere to moral principles during their time on earth. However, it is clear that in the apocalyptic climate of the novel, the abstract promise of a Christian heaven is not enough in the face of the immense suffering and destruction that occurs in the mortal world. This is evidenced when the deeply religious Mrs. Sims chooses to commit suicide even though she believes that this will mean she is sent to hell. It is also revealed when Lauren hopes that her brother Keith will “rest in peace—in his ashes, in his urn, wherever.” Lauren’s ambivalence about the afterlife shapes the development of the Earthseed concept of heaven. Within Earthseed, heaven is literalized in time and space—Lauren writes that it is Earthseed’s “destiny” to “take root among the stars.” Lauren hopes that Earthseed communities will eventually be able to exist in the literal heavens—outer space. She argues that the promise of this real, physical heaven is better than the abstract promise of a Christian heaven, which does not arrive until after death and which no human can be sure even exists.
Heaven Quotes in Parable of the Sower
Maybe Olivar is the future––one face of it. Cities controlled by big companies are old hat in science fiction. My grandmother left a whole bookcase of old science fiction novels. The company-city subgenre always seemed to star a hero who outsmarted, overthrew, or escaped "the company." I've never seen one where the hero fought like hell to get taken in and underpaid by the company. In real life, that's the way it will be. That's the way it is.
I'm trying to speak––to write––the truth. I'm trying to be clear. I'm not interested in being fancy, or even original. Clarity and truth will be plenty, if I can only achieve them. If it happens that there are other people outside somewhere preaching my truth, I'll join them. Otherwise, I'll adapt where I must, take what opportunities I can find or make, hang on, gather students, and teach.
“Now is a time for building foundations––Earthseed communities––focused on the Destiny. After all, my heaven really exists, and you don't have to die to reach it. ‘The Destiny of Earthseed is to take root among the stars,’ or among the ashes.” I nodded toward the burned area.
God is neither good
God is Power.
God is Change.
We must find the rest of what we need
in one another,
in our Destiny.