Saturday, July 09, 2005

Cosmic Despair

"This can't happen!" The images pulsated in my head. It was sickening. All the while, something inside me shouted, "This can't happen!" But could it?

The power of a movie like War of the Worlds is rooted in the idea of a godless universe in which there is nothing certain except despair. The utter annihilation of the human race is the ultimate nightmare, and yet in a cosmos without God, it is inevitable. Wells' story simply multiplies the effect. The aliens don't simply wipe us out, they desecrate our bodies and our earth by the most horrible means imaginable. The idea of human beings being used in this way, a la The Matrix, seems inconceivable to us. It violates some innate sense of goodness and purpose in the universe.

To the degree that one has embraced a naturalistic worldview, one will be horrified by the real possibility of alien invasion and annihilation. To the degree that one holds to a Christian worldview, one will see this movie as an amusing, albeit disturbing, fiction. I felt the conflict in my soul between the two beliefs. But deep down, there was a resounding "NO," I knew this was impossible.

I know this because the total obliteration of humanity is an act with no possibility of redemption. God does nothing without redemption. Not only that, but God has shown us a glimpse of our ultimate destiny and the return of his Son, and so we know the story cannot end without that chapter.

War of the Worlds is a vision of a purposeless, meaningless universe without God. One in which despair is the only foundation and truth. I am glad for the periodic sci-fi movie that illustrates this, if only to show the absurdity of life without God.

Did anyone else feel the tension?


Anonymous abe said...

i haven't seen the flick, but i've never thought about total annihilation that way. i think you're right.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Jill Pole said...

Yes - Chris, I agree with this. I think I understood what you ment a little better than on my blog. One thing I'm curious about -- did you enjoy the movie as entertainment?

6:46 PM  
Blogger chris said...

I always enjoy Tim Robbins, and Cruise & Fanning weren't bad either. As art, my enjoyment of it was a little obscured or overshadowed by the disturbing nature of it, similar to The Passion. I was certainly caught up in the suspense and excitement of it. At times it was hard to "suspend disbelief," and there were a few plot problems that made the story implausible. But, hey, pretty good for a story published in 1898.

9:38 PM  

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