Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Solomon Kane/Darksiders/Legion - What kind of God?
There have been a number of supernatural media circulating of late, both in movies and video games, demonic forces, powerful angels and anti-heroes seeking redemption have been the order of the day over the past two months or so so I thought I'd pass comment on some of what's being said or implied in these stories.
More importantly to see what they say or imply about God. The Lord Almighty seems to be a background character in these things, which I think uncovers our natural tendency to view God as a distant overseer rather than the true creator and active sustainer of all things.
I should state before I continue that this is not a criticism of the media I will discuss. I'm not implying that they are being immoral or heretical in exploring the themes that they do, rather I am using them as a basis to think about the real God and what he is like. I am neither cultural analyst nor theologian and so I must make it clear that these are my thoughts and as such are susceptible to error and this whole thing could most certainly do with more preparation and thinking, but here goes.
1. Solomon Kane - Redemption from Evil
Solomon Kane is kind of a messed up guy. He has been an evil dude, doing lots of murdering and pillaging until he realizes his soul is at stake and swears to live a life of peace so that his soul may be spared from hell. His dilemma was portrayed excellently in the film as he accepts beatings and tries to resolve things peacefully until ultimately pushed into fighting.
In the film: Solomon has crossed a line and is now doomed to Hell because he has commited too many evil deeds. However his companion tells him (conveniently) that he can be redeemed if he defeats the forces of evil and saves his daughter from them.
Therefore: There is a 'line in the sand' that if you cross, condemns you to Hell no matter what. To be saved from Hell you must either avoid crossing this line or prove yourself useful to God in some manner and earn your freedom.
But: The Bible teaches that 'there is no one righteous' (Romans 3v10), if there is a line in the sand then we're all on the wrong side of it. That means that being redeemed is essential for everyone, not just 'bad people'. You don't need to fight a demon army to prove yourself because 'a righteousness from God has been revealed...through faith in Jesus Christ' (Romans 3v21-22).[my italics]. Redemption is essential, but redemption comed from God himself - read the rest of Romans 1-3 for more, as well as the Gospels.
2. Darksiders - War on Earth and Heaven
Darksiders is the tale of War, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse who is implicated in a conspiracy that has doomed the human race and unleashed the forces of Hell. Now he must battle against the forces of evil that rampage across a post-apocalyptic Earth and clear his name as well as defeat the enemy. Let's forget that the horsemen are metaphorical (Revelation 6) and have a look anyway shall we?
In the game: Darksiders is clearly fanciful and makes no apologies for it, so maybe they aren't sending a message with this piece, but it is interesting nonetheless. War has been deceived and the demon realm has won and destroyed Earth and War must prove himself innocent to God.
Therefore God: Is unaware of all that goes on in His realm and the enemy are capable of deceiving Him and His forces to their own ends. For such a significant catastrophe to take place God is either incompetent or incredibly far removed from what goes in in His creation.
But: Satan himself cannot escape God's eye, in Job 1 Satan has to present himself before God
and asks permission to strike Job, and even then only gets a limited power to do so. God is the one who says to the snow 'fall on the Earth' (Job 37), he is still actively involved in our world and neither men nor demons can deceive Him or thwart his plans.
3. Legion - God Giving Up
In Legion, Angels are sent to Earth with one purpose: the destruction of humanity. However there is a child that could change humanity's fate, a child as yet unborn. Michael rebels and aids a group of humans to defend this child and save humanity from destruction.
In the film: God has tired of humanity and prepares to send the forces of heaven to extinguish the human race. Michael rebels against this command and arrives ahead of the forces to fight his brothers, who use a particularly demonic set of abilities, including possession, to attack the small group.
Therefore God: Has 'lost faith' in humanity, has had enough of us and decided to jack it in and destroy the whole lot of us because of how violent and unpleasant we are. Comparisons are made to the flood, only this time God isn't using water but angels.
But: After the flood God promised never to flood the world again (Genesis 9) and yes that only covers water-based destruction specifically but he still made a promise to the human race, and God keeps his promises. It didn't take long after Noah for humanity to resume it's unpleasantness and God did plan to do something about it - and he did, He 'gave His one and only Son'(John 3v16). The God who went to such lengths to save undeserving sinners won't forget us or get bored of us.
I know this has been simplistic in approach, but without time to research this properly I felt it best to keep things as basic as I could manage, I hope it's of some interest.