I don’t know what percentage of you enjoy sci-fi horror movies. But on the recommendation of a friend I sat down to watch Prometheus last weekend and discovered an interested tie in with Jesus.
[The following contains some significant Spoiler Alerts]
To cut to the chase, Prometheus is a sci-fi movie set around the year 2093-4. Two scientist discover evidence that turns our evolutionary assumptions about human origins on its head and suggests that we were created by advanced humanoid aliens which the scientists dub “Engineers”. They set out with a crew on the ship Prometheus to the planet they believe the alien race originated. What they discover, however, is a planet the advanced aliens used as sort of scientific lab, a place where they were engineering weapons of mass destruction. The Engineers have been dead for about two thousand years and the evidence suggested their death was a result of the bio-weapon having accidentally been released before it could be deployed on its target: Earth.
A sole pod is discovered with a living Engineer being sustained in stasis. The scientists awaken the Engineer in hopes of getting answers to the questions, why did you make us in the first place, and why do you hate us so much that you want to destroy us?
But the Engineer is not very chatty. He kills almost everyone in the room and makes haste to continue on with his original mission to destroy Earth.
I found Prometheus to be far more thought-provoking than I expected. It played on ideas related to faith and science, God and origins and the relationship between maker and made evident not just in how the humans react when they discover that to their makers (the Engineers) they are expendable. But also in how they treat their own creation: a humanoid android named David whom the humans have a series lack of concern for.
In the end Prometheus leaves far more questions than answers. And one significant question that went unanswered was why the Engineers would want to destroy their own creation on earth. The most probable answer to that question may be found on the cutting room floor. Listen to this interview between movies.com and Ripley Scott:
Movies.com: You throw religion and spirituality into the equation for Prometheus, though, and it almost acts as a hand grenade. We had heard it was scripted that the Engineers were targeting our planet for destruction because we had crucified one of their representatives, and that Jesus Christ might have been an alien. Was that ever considered?
RS: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, “Lets’ send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it. Guess what? They crucified him.
Scott wasn’t the first movie maker to play on this theme. One thinks, for example, of the original Star Trek Movie or more recently of Knowing with Nicolas Cage. Both movies play on similar themes. And not in an unjustifiable way. For those themes echo in some sense what we read in Genesis 6 where God comes down to see how things are going with his creation, is disappointed with what he discovers and decides to destroy life on Earth and start afresh. Exchange “aliens” for “God” and it seems you have a fairly consistent picture of the character of our maker. So do these Hollywood portrayals accurately depict the character of the Christian God (in their own creative way)?
The difference, I believe, and many are moving quickly in this direction, is found not by looking at that character of God as a distant Maker who stops on by on occasion to see how we’re doing. To get an accurate portrayal of the character of our God, we need to look at him in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelt. Suddenly a world of difference emerges at a key junction.
Rather than being far off, God came near and is always close by. And rather than dying at the hands of his ruthless creation – though, to some extent that is true – he willingly laid down his life. Perhaps most telling of all: rather than seeking to destroy his creation because of their rebellious ways, he’s committed within himself to do whatever possible to redeemer his creation.
But like Ripley Scott’s Prometheus, our solution of a redeeming God leaves many unanswered questions beckoning our attention.