A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Video: 2012 and some God Talk

There's something about disaster films that keeps me coming back for more. Perhaps it's the sadistic thrill I get from watching world famous landmarks collapse and crumble into dust. Or perhaps it's the carthatic feeling I get from watching nature turn tables on humans and give them a good thrashing. Who knows. Quite likely there is a medical condition that explains all this but really, what can I say, I'm... complicated.

Generally speaking I don't take any secular end-of-the-world scenarios terribly seriously. And from what I've seen, I don't think the Hollywood types do so either. For them it's a wonderful excuse to blow really important buildings up and to churn out some eye-popping special effects for a good couple of hours. Nobody does it with more glee than Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow director, Roland Emmerich.
So what if they're unrealistic and a tady cartoony. Audiences today are far too sophisticated to embrace the silliness as realistic. So what if a limousine manages to outrun an earthquake. Of course it's absurd. But they know when they go into something like this, they are supposed to suspend all manner of disbelief. I do and I usually have a decent time at the multiplex, munching on my favourite snacks.

2012 follows a fairly predictable disaster film formula with a some degree of suspense thrown in. It's clear that catastrophe is imminent but behind closed doors, powerful forces around the world are at work to mitigate the effects... if that is at all possible. It is a race against time and nothing less than the survival of humanity is at stake.

As a Christian, I find it fascinating that the film makers have fallen back on a well-known Biblical narrative as the film's resolution. I don't think Emmerich and Co. are believers by any stretch of the imagination but even they I suspect struggle to frame the apocalypse outside of biblical terms.

Since Darwin, there has been fierce debate about how the first 11 chapters of Genesis should be interpreted. The plausibility of many events in those chapters have been called into question by those who argue against supernatural occurences or a literal understanding of the Creation record. In our scientific age, our elites assure us that science will be our guide to truth and technology, our saviour. However, I get the impression that while some would prefer that we abandon our religious impulses, the larger population hankers for something transcendental. Despite our modern trappings, in a liberal democratic society we are unable to abandon entirely the Judeo-Christian narratives that have influenced our societies for the last two millenia. We cannot build a society purely on science and technology -- wonderful  tools that they are. We are people of history. History tells us who we are and why we do the things that we do.

Jesus and the New Testament writers perceived the story of Noah as historical fact. 8 times, Noah is mentioned in the NT. Noah's age signalled a time of judgement in a morally corrupt world but in that situation we also see a means of salvation. But in those 8 occasions we are asked to remember history. The ark is more than a cute Sunday School story... it is a type (a prefiguring of something greater, more imporant)... of the Christ who sent to be the Saviour of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think!