The doctrine of inspiration has to do with the Bible. The question is about how much of the Scriptures can be attributed to God. The best view seems to be given to us by Jesus Himself. What did He think of the Scriptures? How much can they be trusted? Let’s consider His view:
Whole – Jesus quoted and used the OT consistently throughout His earthly ministry. He validated all of the OT simply by His use of it. In Mt 5:17-18 he said that even the smallest letters and strokes of it would be fulfilled. He also calls it the “law and the prophets” which was a typical way to refer to the whole of the OT. In Lk 24:44 he refers to the law, prophets, and Psalms, making sure that they knew he meant every part of it. In Jn 10:35, Jesus reminded some Jews of Ps 82:6 saying that “Scripture cannot be broken.”
Parts – Jesus’ arguments were supported and strengthened by different parts of the OT. Check Mt 4:4-10; Mt 21:42; 12:18-21
Words – In Mt 22:32 Jesus quotes from Ex 3:6 and His whole argument hinges on the present tense of the word “am.” If the words of the Scriptures were not inspired, His argument would be worthless. In Mt 22:44 a similar things happens – Jesus’ argument is upheld by the phrase “my Lord” from Ps 110:1. It’s clear that Jesus believed that the words of the Scriptures are inspired.
Letters – Mt 5:18 – Jesus declared, “not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.” “Smallest letter” = an apostrophe and Stroke refers to something like the leg on the letter Q. Jesus believed that every letter was inspired.
New Testament – In John 14:26, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead the apostles as they wrote out the NT Scriptures, guaranteeing their accuracy. Also check John 16:12-15. Jesus affirmed not only the OT, but the NT too.
In addition to Jesus, Paul and Peter affirmed the inspiration of the Scriptures.
How does this impact my life? Oh it’s huge! I can trust the Bible! I can rely on it for guidance, encouragement, and simply interacting with God. If every little stroke is inspired then I can pick it apart and study every detail to the smallest degree and discover more and more of God’s message to humanity. It also gives me a standard by which to measure everything. If it were not inspired. . . .gosh, the world would be even more messed up than it already is.
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 162-166)
Here are the basic views for how humans came into being:
Atheistic Evolution – You guys know this one. It comes from Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species which says that given enough time, a combination of atoms, motion, time, and chance will produce a huge variety of lifeforms like we have today. Weaker species are eliminated through a struggle for survival and evolution occurs. This would mean that there is no God for man to be accountable to or any moral absolutes. Survival is the ultimate goal regardless of the consequences to anyone else.
Theistic Evolution – God used an evolutionary process to bring about all that we see in creation. This theory is an attempt to reconcile evolution with the Bible, but it is strongly rejected by both evolutionists and biblicists. This argument breaks down with the analogy between Adam and Jesus in Romans 5:12-21 because it simply doesn’t work if Adam was not a real person. Genesis 1:1-2:4 must also be read allegorically and the statement in Genesis 2:7 doesn’t fit if humanity came from a non-human ancestor.
Progressive Creationism – This theory is also called the “Day-Age Theory.” The idea is that each of the 7 days of creation recorded in Genesis actually refers to a geological age. Most progressive creationists believe that God directly created man and animals, but that some evolutionary processes are still possible within a certain species. Exodus 20:10-11 uses an analogy between God working 6 days and resting and man working 6 days and resting on the seventh. This demands a literal interpretation. Also, if this theory were true, then people must have died before the fall of man. Genesis is clear that death did not enter the world until Adam’s sin.
Gap Theory – This theory places a long period of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This allows for an old earth. They also believe that there was another creation which fell with Lucifer’s fall causing the earth to become chaotic. “Formless and void” in verse 2 describes this chaotic earth. Unfortunately, the grammar in Genesis really doesn’t allow for this gap to exist at all.
Literal 24-hour days – As the Bible describes, God created everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Geological formations which seem to indicate an “old” earth can be explained by Noah’s flood. Scripture seems to indicate that this is the best approach to the origin of man. The more we study, there also seems to be more and more information/science which validates this viewpoint.
How does this impact my life? This particular issue is at the center of the main attack on Christianity today. I have taught and will continue to teach a Biblical standpoint on this issue to the students in our church. As much as we try to accommodate both the Biblical record and evolution, it simply is not possible without compromising the Scriptures. I will continue hold to the Scriptures over any theory regardless of its popularity. Considering the lack of evidence for the evolutionary theory, I’m actually surprised at its popularity. I guess it doesn’t matter how ridiculous something is – people will believe anything that allows them the ability to ignore God.
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 301-304)
There are a few different theories about where demons came from. Here they are:
(1) Dead people – Some early Christians thought this was the case and it has remained a popular theory even to this day. The problem with this theory is that Lk 16:23 says that evil people are in hell after they die.
(2) Race of People before Adam – This theory is based on the “gap theory” of Genesis. The idea is that there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 and that there was a race of people who rebelled against God which caused them to fall into this demonic state. The problem with this view is that there is no evidence in Scripture that these people ever existed. Also Romans 5:12 says that sin entered the world with Adam. If these guys existed and fell sin had to existed before Adam.
(3) Offspring of Angels and women. Genesis 6:2 says that the “sons of God” had intercourse with the “daughters of men” and created a race of demons called the Nephilim. Scripturally though, there is no indication that the Nephilim were not people or that the “sons of God” were not also people. The verses say they took them as their wives which actually indicates that they were human.
(4) Fallen but unconfined angels. This is the most likely view. When Lucifer rebelled against God, he fell from his place of honor and a bunch of angels went with him. Mt 25:41 actually refers to demons as “angels” so this seems like a probable view. Scripture says there are 2 groups of fallen angels: (1) 2 Pet 2:4 talks about a group who are confined in hell permanently. (2) Lk 8:31; Rev 9:2-11 refers to a group who are imprisoned in a pit. They were “too depraved to and harmful to be allowed to roam upon the earth” but they will be released during the Tribulation to afflict people who don’t have the seal of God on their foreheads.
What are demons like?
1. They are spirit beings. (Mt 8:16; Lk 10:17, 20) They do not have bodies of flesh.
2. They are not omnipresent. They can only be in one place at a time. (Mt 8:28-34)
3. They are intelligent, but not omniscient. (Mk 1:24; Mt. 8:29; 1 Tim 4:1)
4. They are powerful, but not omnipotent. (Mk 5:3-4; 9:22; Mt 9:32; 15:22; Jn 10:21)
Christ has defeated demons! (Col 2:15)
They will be thrown into the lake of fire! (Mt 25:41; Rev 12:9; 19:19-21)
How does this change my life? I’m able to recognize the work of demons more readily and can in turn pray against them. This information also will help me in answering the questions of the youth I work with. Spiritual issues like this are very interesting to students and in answering their questions, I have opportunities to share the good news of the demon’s defeat. Also with good answers to their questions, I can gain the students respect and trust for future conversations.
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 295-298)
It is clear from the Scriptures that angels exist. They are actually mentioned in 37 of the books of the Bible. Jesus Himself speaks of them (Mt 25:31-32, 41) and interacts with them (Mt 4:11). Here are some of the basic teachings about angels from the Scriptures:
1. They are spirit beings. They are called “spirits” (Heb 1:14) and do not have bodies. They also do not die (Lk 20:36) or get married (Mk 12:25). However, they do appear in human form sometimes (Gen 18:3).
2. They are created beings. Ps 148:2-5; Job 38: 6-7; Col 1:16
3. They were all created at the same time. Heb 12:22 says there are “myriads” of them but since they cannot reproduce (Mt 22:30). . . .Col 1:16 also suggests a singular act of creation.
4. They are a higher order than man. Heb 2:7 says that angels are higher than men – even higher than Jesus while He was in the flesh. They don’t die (Lk 20:36) and have more wisdom than man (2:Sam 14:20). Their wisdom is limited though – certainly less than God’s (Mt 24:36). They have more power than men (Mt 28:2; Acts 5:19; 2 Pet 2:11) but it is still a limited power (Dan 10:13).
Some of the most prominent angels are:
Michael (Dan 10:13; 12:1; Jude 9)
Gabriel (Dan 9:21; Lk 1:26)
Lucifer (Is 14:12)
Some of the things that angels do include:
Serving God (Rev 5:11-12)
Ministry to Jesus (Lk 1:26-38; 22:43; Mt 2:13; 2:20; 4:11; 28:5-7; 1 Kgs 19:5-7; Acts 1:10; Mt 25:31)
Ministry to Believers
Protection (Ps 34:7; Acts 5:19; Rev 7:1-14)
Provision (1 Kgs 19:5-7)
Encouragement (Acts 27:23-25)
Direction (Acts 8:26; 10:3, 22)
Assist in answering Prayer (Acts 12:1-11; Dan 9:20-27)
Carry us home (Lk 16:22)
Serve God in Judgment (Rev 8:2-12; 9:1, 13; Mt 13:39-42)
How does this change my life? I believe it has and will continue to change my life every time an angel ministers to me as a believer. I am not aware of specific times when this has happened, but I do believe that it has. There are certainly countless times when I have been in need of protection, provision, encouragement, direction, and answered prayer and have received those things. I feel confident in saying that angels have probably had a hand in those situations. I also believe that their work in ministering to Jesus and in serving God have an affect on me – maybe not a direct impact, but that doesn’t mean anything. Also, by having this understanding of angels, I’ll be able to pray specifically for God to send angels when I find myself or my friends in need of these kinds of ministries.
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 287-292)
Some of you may be saying, “What?” That’s OK – let me explain.
This term refers to the times that Jesus was “tempted” by Satan. (Matthew 4) The question arises to whether or not it was possible for Jesus to sin. If you believe it was, then you would say Jesus was “Peccable.” Of course if you don’t believe it was possible for Jesus to sin then you are on the “Impeccable” side of the argument. Here’s the evidence for both. I’ll let you decide what you think:
In general, Arminians are mostly on the “peccable” side, while Calvinists are on the “impeccable” side of the argument. (Should I dare say that Arminians are peccable?jk)
Peccable – Hebrews 4:15 – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.” Proponents of this view say that in order for temptation to be real, it must be possible. If it was impossible for Jesus to sin, then it wasn’t real temptation and He wouldn’t be able to sympathize with His people.
Impeccable – The purpose of the temptation of Jesus was to prove that He couldn’t sin and could therefore be trusted in the ministry He was about to begin. You should also notice that it was the Holy Spirit (not Satan) who initiated the temptation. If Christ could have sinned, then the Holy Spirit invited Christ to sin, but according to James 1:13, that’s not something that a Holy God can do.
Remember, Jesus had two natures – He was the God-man. If Christ was peccable, then His human nature could overpower His God-nature. That just seems crazy to believe. Can the finite nature within Jesus be stronger than the infinite?
Weakness is implied by temptation and Jesus is omnipotent – all-powerful. There was no weakness of any kind in Him.
Jesus was born without a sin nature. There was nothing inside of Him to respond to the temptation and therefore couldn’t sin.
Jesus knows everything – past, present, and future. Sin depends on ignorance, in order for the sinner to be deceived. Jesus could be deceived and therefore, couldn’t sin.
In moral decisions, Jesus could only have one will – the will of His Father. Is it possible for God to sin? Of course not.
Jesus was able to conquer death – He had authority over it. Sin is less powerful than death. How could you be tempted by something you had authority over?
I guess it’s pretty clear that I’m on the “impeccable” side of this argument. There just seems to be alot more evidence and it makes sense.
How does this impact my life? In some ways I must admit that I feel convicted. Jesus had two natures in Him and of course the God-nature always won out. I have been given the Holy Spirit to influence me and my flesh still wins out sometimes. I understand cognitively that it’s because of my sin nature. . . .I just feel convicted because I don’t like that Holy Spirit’s work get crushed within me, by my sinful self. There’s also something comforting knowing that Jesus could never sin – that means He can be trusted forever. It means I know more of Him to know this about His character. It means I’ve been drawn closer to Him.
Just another thought – In answering this question about how these concepts will impact my life, I feel very inadequate. Many of these concepts are pretty new to me and therefore I don’t know how they’re gonna impact things for me. They certainly will shape my theological standpoints and my understanding of God’s character. As life rolls along – these concepts which are just seeds right now, will take root and change my life in ways that I could never explain right now. By the way, to you Professor Shockley, “thank you for these assignments – I do believe they will make a difference in my life.”
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 236-238)
In hanging on the cross, Jesus was our substitute. He was without sin. We are not. It is sin that deserves the punishment of death (Romans 6:23). Jesus took on our sin and died in our place – substituting His own body in place of ours. This concept is important because Jesus is the only man (of course He is God too) whose perfect, sinless life was sufficient to pay for the sins of the world. The good news is that He did it and that God’s righteous judgment is still intact because His just demands have been met.
This concept is clear throughout Scripture:
Isaiah 53 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
Matthew 20:28 – . . .the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
I Timothy 2:6a – who gave himself as a ransom for all men. . .
Galatians 3:13a – Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. . .
2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Peter 3:18a – For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous. . .
How does this concept impact my life? In every way. I live because Christ died in my place. He took on my sin – it is no longer my burden. It has been paid for by Jesus’ own blood. He has conquered death and brought me into the family of God. In this life and beyond I will enjoy the favor of a Father who is God. It’s a classic statement, but appropriate here – Because He died for me, I choose to live for Him! I’ll never be able to substitute myself for Him, but He has called me to try – to work on becoming like Him and to then represent Him to the world. It’s an incredible privilege that I’m honored to be a part of.
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 323)
This is the term used to describe Jesus’ humanity and His divinity. The idea that he is both God and man at the same time is strange. When Jesus came to earth from heaven as a human, he also took on a new nature (human nature) which he had not experienced before. These two natures are united together perfectly in Jesus, but they still maintain their separate identities. Jesus (the God-man) is fully human, but he is fully God at the same time. How this works is one of the mysteries of God that has stumped mankind for many generations. He is one man, but has two natures. Whoa! This concept is important to us too – here’s why – Jesus had to be God so He could live perfectly without sin and could become the “perfect sacrifice: for our sins. He also had to be human so that God could die. By becoming a man, Jesus also became the ultimate priest. By being God, He was able to properly act as a Mediator between God and man.
How does this impact my life? In every way. It’s only because the Word was made flesh that I have been saved. Jesus’ death and resurrection (pictures of His humanity and divinity) secure my new life. It is in serving this man, that I find myself serving God. Cool stuff.
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 227-229)
This is a paper I had to write for my class. It’s a bit more interesting than some of my other posts lately.
It was 1977. I was eight years old and my dad was taking my younger brother and I to the movies. Just going to the movies at all was a rare treat, but this was a special day. I had been waiting for what seemed like forever to a young boy, for this day to arrive. I had heard about the hype and commotion over this film, and there was something in me that just longed for adventure. Maybe it’s something God placed within me – maybe it’s just my sinful self wanting for something more – but either way, that day would not be a disappointment. I remember leaving the theater that day with such excitement – feeling like something had changed – like nothing would ever be the same. What I felt was a sense of something larger, like the world wasn’t just about me anymore. There was more to it. My little corner of the universe was just that. . . little. What I was feeling – what I had experienced was just a microcosm of what the world was celebrating. Star Wars mania hit with resounding blows. Every friend I had was collecting Star Wars cards and action figures and quoting lines from the films to each other – and it wasn’t just the little kids like me either, it was universal. It was huge. It was larger than life. It was Star Wars! Today the Star Wars kingdom has exploded into so much more. There are on-line communities who explore the “expanded universe” (including books, video games, etc. which were not a part of the films) together and even argue over the finer details of the films. There are an ever-increasing number of action figures and Star Wars merchandise on the shelves at stores and even television shows that parody the films.
As I look back on those days, I ask myself, “What was it about Star Wars that resonated in such deep ways with people all over the world?” I believe that the answer to that question can be found in how the themes of the films line up with the longings of the human heart which God placed within each of us. Although the writer, George Lucas was simply trying to tell a good story, these films actually point to God. (Maybe that speaks of the longings of Lucas’ heart too.) Speaking of his intentions with Star Wars in an interview, Lucas said, “I wanted it to be a traditional moral study, to have some sort of palpable precepts in it that children could understand.” He continued, “There is always a lesson to be learned. . .Traditionally, we get them from church, family, art and in the modern world, we get them from the media – – from movies.” Later on in his career, Lucas said, “The Force evolved out of various developments of character and plot. I wanted a concept of religion based on the premise that there is a God and there is good and evil. . . . . I believe in God and I believe in right and wrong. I also believe that there are basic tenets which through history have developed into certainties, such as ‘thou shalt not kill.’ I don’t want to hurt other people. ‘Do unto others…’ is the philosophy that permeates my work.”
It becomes evident that Lucas wasn’t specifically writing about the God of the Bible, but I intend to point out many of the places where his Methodist upbringing reveals itself. Although there are many illustrations from each of the six films, I will limit myself to Episode IV, “A New Hope” which was the first film to be made.
In the beginning of Episode IV, we meet Luke Skywalker. He is a young man who feels trapped by his circumstances. He senses that there is more to life than the crops and equipment repairs that he has learned under his uncle Owen. Luke, like every Christian, has a calling on his life. He’s not sure what it is, but feels an unrest and restlessness, until he finds rest in seeking the ways of the Jedi. This longing, this calling is described by C.S. Lewis, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. [So] I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” This longing is also described by Blaise Pascal as a “God-shaped vacuum” or in Ecclesiastes 3:11, God says that He has “set eternity in their hearts.” God is calling each of us into relationship with Himself even in the way He created us. Like us, Luke would not find rest until he found it in his calling.
It’s also interesting to note that Luke was tired of the normal life he had been leading. John Eldridge says, “In the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” I believe that this is true – little boys play and imagine their future as warrior heroes, firemen, and athletes who’s lives are filled with one adventure after another. How many little boys dream of being office desk jockeys? If this is true, then Luke was given an opportunity to chase those desires in ways that every man longs for. Eldridge continues, “If we believe that man is made in the image of God, then we would do well to remember that ‘the Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name'(Ex. 15:3).”
In one scene, Luke, with light saber in hand, is concentrating on a silver sphere which hovers in the air. Without warning, the sphere lunges forward and emits a small electric bolt hitting Luke in the hip. Han Solo laughs saying that no light saber can compare to a good blaster. Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi and new friend of Luke’s just smiles on as Han rants about his doubts concerning the “Force.” Obi-Wan places a helmet on Luke’s head with the blast shield down and encourages him to try again. Luke complains that he can’t see anything, but Obi-Wan continues to encourage him saying, “This time let go of your conscience self and act on instinct.” He continues, “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” Luke gets hit again, but then settles in and concentrates. He moves quickly without hesitation, and blocks the sphere three times in a row. “You see,” said Obi-Wan, “You can do it.”
Luke replies, “You know I did feel something. I could almost see the remote!”
“That’s good.” Obi-Wan smiles, “You have taken your first step into a larger world.”
A larger world. Isn’t that exactly what Luke had been looking for? Are we any different? It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, young people want to be somewhere else – somewhere unknown – someplace new – someplace different. We all long for more – for adventure. I can’t help but notice that what it took for him to take his first step into this new world was a little faith. Faith that he could hit the sphere without his eyes. Just as Obi-Wan led Luke into this kind of life-changing faith, Jesus came to lead us there too. What is faith? Well, according to Star Wars, it’s trust in yourself, your “instinct.” As Christians we can’t ascribe to that, but at least they got the trust part right. For us, it’s trust in Jesus. Luke had to trust Obi-Wan’s leadership and he had to “let go of his conscience self.”
This part we can agree with. Letting go of ourselves, we must trust Jesus. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Another place that we see clear spiritual implications in Star Wars is with the systems of the Jedi Council. According to Genesis, man was created in the image of God, and as such, we are not loners – we need each other. In the same way, God Himself is a community – Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The structures of the Jedi reflect this. According to Timothy Paul Jones, “Every Jedi needs guidance and no Jedi stands alone. Every youngling has a teacher, every Padawan has a guide. Not only do the Jedi draw wisdom from living mentors, but they also absorb the teachings of past masters.” This echoes the rabbinical educational systems of the Bible. Ancient Jews knew community in ways that we have lost over the years. A young man who sought to be educated would go to a Rabbi and begin to live under his “yoke” (teaching). In a very real sense, it was the rabbi’s job to train this young man in the way of the masters. Not unlike the Jedi, the rabbis themselves had been trained by learned men and continued to seek and “absorb the teachings of past masters“by studying the Scriptures. I personally believe that this helps to explain the popularity Star Wars. We all long for this kind of community and the Jedi council seems to be a form of family that is healthy. Jones continues saying, “Every part of a Jedi’s existence is inherently communal, a matter of doing life together.” I wonder how the Christian community would be different if we truly sought this kind of existence. If we each were involved in small groups who were honest about their lives, encouraged one another, gave advise to one another, held each
other accountable to the Scriptural guidelines we claim to hold so high? What kind of group would it take for us to find a true community that we respected enough to actually seek their counsel? At one point in Episode 6, (I know. . . I am limiting my argument to Episode 4, but please allow me this indulgence.) Emperor Palpatine tells Luke that his weakness is his “faith in your friends.” I long to be accused of being that kind of friend. It’s no wonder we all relate to Luke so well – he’s the kind of guy we all wish to be and to have as a friend.
Another scene in “A New Hope” also stands out for me for its’ spiritual implications. Han Solo, Chewy, Luke, and Obi-Wan Kenobi are in the Millennium Falcon and chasing a small fighter when they come across a “small moon.” As they approach they realize, “That’s no moon,” but it’s a space station. We know it now as the “Death Star.” As they approach they get caught in its’ “tractor beam” (also called a grappling ray) and cannot fight against it. The only way to escape is for Obi-Wan to make his way to the main reactor (where the tractor beam drew its power) and shut down one of its’ seven links. The “Death Star” is without a doubt a clear representation of the power of evil. As Christians, it always amazes me at how Satan seeks us out to “steal, kill, and destroy us.” Much like the tractor beam, when we’ve come too close, he draws us in and seeks to turn us to the “dark side.” Without the aid of Jesus (a spiritual Master similar to Obi-Wan) we could never get out of Satan’s clenches. There are many other comparisons between Obi-Wan and Jesus, but I’ll stick with just two: (1) Luke Skywalker’s life is completely changed when he meets Obi-Wan and begins his Jedi training. In the same way, Jesus transforms us and trains us in the proper ways to live. (2) It’s also interesting to note that Obi-Wan dies in Episode IV and is actually stronger in death than even in life. Much like the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent after His death/resurrection, Obi-Wan appears as a spirit to Luke and speaks to him to give him strength and guidance during the rebel’s trench attack on the Death Star.
Darth Vader is still another clear representation of evil or Satan. Throughout the film, he recognizes the potential in Skywalker, and seeks to turn him to the “dark side.” Satan works in similar ways trying to position himself in such a way that we would respond to him favorably. Douglas LeBlanc says, “This is realistic filmmaking, for few of us merely stumble into doing evil. Often because of fear, pain or a sense of helplessness we lash out.” Dick Staub adds another dimension saying, “Darth Vader was persistent in his pursuit of Luke Skywalker, desiring to turn him from a potentially powerful foe to a deceived ally, a relationship that parallels the dark side’s hounding of the Jedi Christian. . . There is Hope. Julian of Norwich warned, ‘Jesus said not: thou shalt not be troubled, thou shalt not be tempted, nor thou shalt not be mistreated. But he said: thou shalt not be overcome.’“
One of the enjoyable aspects of Star Wars is the clear distinction between good and evil. It’s not difficult to realize that Darth Vader and all of the Empire are the “bad guys” and that Luke, the rebel alliance, and the Jedi are the “good guys.” This also aids in the appeal of these films. It’s easy to imagine yourself in the struggle when the battle lines are drawn so clearly. Unfortunately, the world we live in has a difficult time with making these distinctions because Satan has attempted to redraw those lines. Through our daily news, we witness parents who abuse their children, preachers who cheat on their wives, and all sorts of other contradictions. It’s not as hard as Satan wants us to think though. Like Star Wars, Paul spells it out pretty clearly saying, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” With the battle lines drawn so clearly, I find myself wanting to join the rebel alliance against the evil forces of sin in this world. Would you join me in my struggle?
There are so many more examples of Christian theology in the Star Wars films, but I will not tackle any more for now. Notice the implications of some of these quotes from the other films:
Luke: “I don’t. . .I don’t believe it.”
Yoda: “That is why you fail.” (Episode V)
Luke: “I’ll give it a try.”
Yoda: “No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” (Episode V)
Qui-Gon Jinn: “Our meeting was not a coincidence. Nothing happens by
accident.” (Episode I)
Qui-Gon Jinn: “Nothing happens by accident. . .Finding [Anakin] was the will of
the Force.” (Episode I)
Anakin Skywalker: “I’ve become more powerful than any Jedi has ever dreamed
of.” (Episode III)
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “You have made a commitment to the Jedi Order, Anakin. A
commitment not easily broken.” (Episode II)
Yoda: “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” (Episode
Yoda: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to
hate. Hate leads to suffering.” (Episode I)
Luke: “Father, please. Help me.” (Episode VI)
Luke: “But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: “You will know. When you are calm, at peace.” (Episode V)
To summarize, let’s do a quick overview. It seems that “Star Wars” resonated with people because of the deep desires that God has placed within us as humans. George Lucas himself has those longings and therefore, Star Wars reflects them. Those longings are personified in Luke Skywalker who dreams of a life of adventure and purpose. As he learns to trust Obi-Wan Kenobi, he steps into a larger world and begins his journey to becoming a Jedi. Christians must also take these steps into a new life by trusting in Jesus and beginning their journey to becoming a disciple. Like God Himself, the Jedi Council and educational structures are practiced in community. We Christians must also find community for encouragement, accountability, and strength. Satan’s pursuit and power are personified in Darth Vader and the Death Star, but we find hope in overcoming them in Christ. As Obi-Wan made the way for our heroes to escape, Jesus has made our escape from sin possible by his work on the cross. As Obi-Wan’s death led to greater strength in a spiritual form, so Christ’s death and resurrection have brought about the gift of the Holy Spirit, empowering us to live as Christian Jedi Masters.
“Star Wars” was an epic film which inspired people all over the world to imagine and dream! As they watched, they believed in the heroes and rooted them on. The battle between good and evil is an epic battle! Will you join the forces with me in the struggle? Will you believe in the hero (Jesus) and root Him on? It’s an adventure that we all live. My prayer is that you’ll live it on my side of the battle line, ’cause in the end. . . . . . JESUS WINS!!!!!