The Capranica

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Star Wars and Theology?

No, I am not one of those who attempts to find Christian or moral themes in movies like Star Wars in order to commend them to you and your family's viewing. The article referenced, however, uses the recent release of George Lucas' final movie in the Star Wars' saga to discuss the age old theological (it is more theological than philosophical) issue about a person's essential nature. Are we born good or evil? Popular culture postulates ideologies, not just entertainment, even through entertaining movies like Star Wars. The article notes, How about it, George? Was Anakin born bad? “No,” Lucas told The Associated Press. “That’s why most people got upset about ‘Episode I.’ They said, ‘Well, he should be a monster.’ But he’s not a monster. He has sort of heightened skills and awareness, and he’s smarter than most people, but at the same time, he makes rather bad decisions.” Lucas' response about his movie character reflects the idea that many have about our human nature. Many believe that we are essentially good, but our environment and personal "bad decisions," lead us astray. One psychologist quoted in the article says,

No one is born with a Napoleon complex. Yet our genetic raw material does establish tendencies for how each person will respond to environmental factors, said Alan Hilfer, a child psychologist at Maimonides Medical Center in New York. “We come into the world with a personality, a character. Some kids are more irritable, some more sensitive, some kids are easygoing,” Hilfer said. “We all come in with a particular set of biological pieces to make up who we are. How things act on those pieces determine how we navigate the rest of our lives.”

In other words, we are all basically good natured protoplasm shaped by experiences outside ourselves that compel us to be the people we ultimately become.

Needless to say, our culture's take on the nature of man is one starkly different than that portrayed by our Creator in the Scriptures. According to the Bible, we are all "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). We are "indulging the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Ephesians 2:3). We are plagued by hardened hearts given over to "sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness" (Ephesians 4:18, 19). We have been sinful and not innocent from the time of our own birth (Psalm 58:3). Our helpless state to do anything that would make us worthy before God puts us in the perfect position to see the need for the one and only means of salvation: the perfect life and only acceptable sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We become new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through Christ alone and faith alone in Him we are made alive by God (Ephesians 2:5). Through faith alone in Christ, we are no longer slaves to the sinful nature with which we were born (Romans 6:5-7). Through the latest Star Wars movie, popular culture has reflected another ideology worthy of being captured and brought into obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). So while you enjoy the movie (I did see the 12:01 release Thursday morning), reject the ideology. We are desperately in need of a radical transformation and faith alone in Christ alone is the singular answer to our plight.

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