Mainstream popular culture tends to prefer human-made cataclysms to the biblical variety. We love to be entertained by portrayals of environmental disasters, viruses unleashed by unethical experimentation, or aliens swooping in to take advantage of our shoddy management of Earth. But there’s little room for good old-fashioned divine intervention.

This might be changing. The new Noah movie and the coming remake of the Left Behind series, starring Nicholas Cage, put a divine agent front and center, and the new HBO drama The Leftovers breathes an air of supernatural mystery into the genre. God is not present directly, but the disaster that befalls humankind has a biblical ring to it.

Three years prior to the main action in The Leftovers, 2 percent of the world’s population disappeared instantaneously in a Rapture-like event. There seems to be no pattern, no rhyme or reason for why some have disappeared and others have remained. What could possibly unite Pope Benedict, Jennifer Lopez, and Condoleezza Rice—all real world celebrities supposedly raptured? Centered in the fictional small town of Mapleton, New York, the series follows those who are “leftover” as they try to resume normal life in the face of destabilizing loss and uncertainty.