Monday, April 26, 2010

Avatar and the Sinful Nature of Man

In the movie Avatar one of the major contrasting situations is between the corporation representative Parker Selfridge and the leader of the Na’vi Eytukan, as embodied by his daughter Neytiri the future spiritual leader of the Omaticaya clan. In the movie Mr. Selfridge is entirely focused on mining Unobtanium – a super conducting mineral. He is impressed with the multi-millions of dollars that are involved with the sales of this mineral. As a result of this focus Mr. Selfridge is willing to rape the land through strip mining, and to destroy the home of the Omaticaya clan – the Home Tree, and to kill off any and all who would interfere with his task of maintaining the bottom line for the corporation.

On the contrasting side of the process we have Eytukan and Neytiri who are appalled at the insensitivity of the corporation people toward the land, trees, animals, and peoples of Pandora. The Na’vi are totally in harmony with the biology of Pandora and the idea of killing anything to get a mineral out of the ground is almost outside of their range of belief. The Na’vi have developed a religion that emphasizes the natural harmony of life and they were obedient to their religious beliefs.

In the movie Avatar the bad guys area the corporate raiders and their focus on the monetary aspects of their mining operation. The good guys are the indigenous population who are focused on their way of life and do not feel a need to participate in the Earth corporation and do not feel that the corporate peoples have anything realistic to offer them that will further their experience with the planet Pandora or any facet of their lifestyle. Both groups see reality through their belief systems and are not interested in changing to accommodate the other party. Thus the dramatic tension is increased in the movie, and all who watch the movie side with corporate barbarians as they rape and pillage the land to get a substance that Earth needs to continue to function, or they side with the Na’vi who are living in peace and harmony and want to be left alone with their planet and their way of life of being in harmony.

A third group is introduced as well the Scientists, as represented by Grace Augustine. The scientists are aware that there is another greater goal on Pandora, and that is to become aware of the Biological “Mind” that is on the planet symbolized by the Tree of Souls and its ability to connect with all life forms. The problem that the Scientists have is that they are unable to present their findings in a commercially acceptable way to the corporation, and in such a way as the Na’vi do not feel another assault on their planetary resources.

The interesting part of the movie is that there are sufficient causes that each person watching can get fully immersed and desire to defend their perspectives and root for the party the most represents their emotional conviction. Each proponent of a perspective will tend to load the opposer’s of their position with negative qualities so that they can feel justified in the officially acceptable position – the one favored by the individual viewer. These issues build with the dramatic tension of the various parties as the movie progresses to the inevitable final conflict in which each party is willing to shed blood and to have their blood shed to protect their position.

In the end the Na’vi, with supernatural help from Eywa, prevail and are able to stop the corporate raiders from destroying the Tree of Souls. The Na’vi send the remaining survivors of the corporation back to Earth and try to reestablish their lives in accordance with their history. Of course, we watchers are aware that there are greater forces that will come back to Pandora with a greater desire to mine Unobtanium, and if the scientists can communicate their findings in a commercially acceptable vernacular Earth may even want the biological insights from the Global mind on Pandora. The Na’vi will be stuck in between these forces and will try to live out their lives while the external forces will force upon them change in many ways. Jake Sulley will end up having to be the moderator for all of these forces aided by Eywa to come up with a position that can satisfy all of the parties involved.

Assuming that the above is a semi-realistic perception of the movies philosophy it brings us back to another party. It has been this writer’s attempt to compare the symbolism of the movie Avatar to that of the Bible. The Bible sees the above issues as a multi-faceted display of human nature that has been separated from the mind and will of God. In the beginning of God’s creation mankind, and all of the plants and animals did not harm each other and all life communicated through the mind of God. In this case it was similar to the biological network of Pandora but with no death or harm, and no balance of good and evil in nature – there was no evil on Earth in the beginning. Each insect, plant, animal, or person, had an awareness of the needs of those around them and strove, in their own sphere of influence, to be of help to all around them. This was God’s Edenic state of life that He wanted for all of His created creatures. As long as everything obeyed God this state of peace would be maintained, however, if anything chose to disobey then this Edenic peace would be shattered and man and animals would then strive to maintain themselves instead of others. Selfishness, and personal motives would supplant the whole and evil and death would affect all things on Earth.

In Eden God created two primary trees – the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God instructed Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of Life, but not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told Adam and Eve that in the day that they disobeyed Him they would set in motion forces that would bring about a radical change in life, as they then knew it, and that all things would begin to die and much suffering would take place on all living things.

As the story proceeds, Satan, disguised as a speaking flying serpent, tempted Eve, who had separated herself from the side of her husband. Satan spoke to Eve in a manner that created a desire to satisfy her curiosity of wondering what made the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil so unique that it could cause death. In the process of the story Eve decides to brave the experiment and eats of the fruit of the Tree. Feeling no harm from it she takes some of the fruit to her husband Adam. Hearing what she did he feels that he will lose her and without consulting with God, he chooses to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil under the heading that he loves Eve so much that he will share death with her if necessary. Soon after Adam eats of the fruit God comes to spend personal time with Adam and Eve, His children on Earth. When God comes to talk a unique event occurs. Adam and Eve run from God and hide in the Garden. The very act of disobedience has established a principle – that guilt that comes from disobedience, causes a distancing between man and God. As distancing occurs between man and God then distancing also occurs between man and man, and eventually between man and animal and nature. When God tries to speak to Adam, the first thing he does is cast blame on someone else. When asked if he had eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil Adam blames Eve and blames God for giving Eve to him. Eve manifests the same thoughts and behaviors as Adam had displayed when God asks her about her disobedience. Thus the Knowledge of Good and Evil has started to spread and those who professed to love each other unto death were ready to blame one another to avoid accepting responsibility for their actions.

In the Bible, God allows us to see the ever spreading impact of sin by recording the history of man as he has become more numerous and spread over the Earth. God allowed us to follow the life of Cain, the first murderer, and to follow the lineage of the Sethites and Shemites, which would bring us down to the time of Jesus of Nazareth. God revealed to us that without His presence in our lives, we will naturally be selfish, the spinoff of Parker Selfridge’s name. That selfishness will go to any lengths to accomplish the goals of caring for self.

All of us have seen extreme cases of selfishness and evil. We are even used to seeing the end product of selfishness – death. But God says that our hearts, apart from Him, are naturally and readily evil and desperately wicked. That our human nature, unaided by God, will always go in the direction of taking care of self at the expense of others. This mind set was never God’s plan for us. He does not enjoy any of the qualities of the selfish heart. Romans 3:9-20 describes in gory detail many of the wicked things that the selfish human heart is capable of.

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Romans 3:21-24 tells us how to deal with this massive problem and that is to come to God and seek help with this problem.

“ But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

God declares, in His Word – the Bible, that without Him in our lives we will naturally be selfish. Just like in the Na’vi religious experience, anyone without Eywa will not be able to function properly. They will not be able to survive and the animals of Pandora will end up killing the person. In God’s kingdom He did not want anything to die. Only when selfishness came into the world, and bore its natural fruit, death, did any harm come to anything. God wants us to see our selfishness, especially in contrast to the complete unselfishness of Jesus of Nazareth. When we can see this quality in our lives we can trust that God has been working in us and through us to allow us to see this problem. Once we see this then we can ask God for the help that we cannot grant ourselves. But once we ask God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Avatar allows us to see ourselves and to see our selfishness acted out in the lives of imaginary people. We all say that if we were on Pandora we would act in a non-selfish manner to all peoples and all things. Yet we all know that if we were on Pandora we would choose sides and see the side we had chosen as the good side. Jake learned the lesson that he needed help to rescue those whom he loved. He was willing to pray to Eywa the imaginary goddess of Pandora. God wants us to see our selfishness and to pray to the true and living God of the Bible – Jesus of Nazareth. If we have a need and if we seek Him to help us we will have victory over our selfishness and God will banish it from our lives. The choice is ours; the power to accomplish this is His. Let us choose today to get that help.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Toruk Makto – The Pandoran Messiah

In the movie Avatar the greatest hero was the Toruk Makto, one who could ride the great Leonopteryx. This status had been granted to five heroes in Pandoran history. In the process of the movie Jake Sulley became the sixth Toruk Makto. He did this because he had successfully become a man among the Na’vi, the Pandoran indigenous population but had become disgraced because of his connection to the human population who destroyed the Home Tree of the tribe he had entered. To allow a new start in the “people” Jake felt he needed to do something that would grant him credibility and a renewed status among the “people”. To get there he had to connect to the largest, and most dangerous, predator on the planet of Pandora.

To accomplish the task of becoming Toruk Makto, Jake needed to be able to get close enough to the Leonopteryx and be able to get on its back, and then connect with its queue before it could turn on Jake and kill him. Jake concluded that because of its size the Leonopteryx was not going to be attacked by anything and it had no need to be alert. So Jake flew on his Ikran and approached the Leonopteryx from above. As he approached the great dragon he flew low enough to jump off of his Ikran onto the back of the Leonopteryx and connect with his queue. When he had control of the great dragon he flew to the meeting place where the Na’vi were weeping over the destruction of their Home Tree, and the potential loss of the Tree of Souls. When Jake saw the “people” he flew into them in such a manner as to cause the greatest amount of respect and awe that could be generated. The symbolism was sufficient and the people received him as the Toruk Makto. Jake had become the Pandoran Messiah and thus had the authority of leading all of the Pandoran tribes against the Earth peoples.

In addition to being the military leader of the Pandoran peoples, Jake also felt a need of being the spiritual leader as well. He knew what the Na’vi did not know and that was that the Earth military forces were still too much for the Na’vi to handle. To win the fight not only would the Messiah need the military forces of the Na’vi, but would need supernatural help as well from Eywa. Therefore, Jake came to the Tree of Souls, the connecting site between the Na’vi and their goddess Eywa. Jake prayed for special help and was submissive to the goddess of Pandora.

As the movie continues Jake, Pandora’s Messiah, leads the collected representatives of the tribes of Pandora and although fighting furiously are being relentlessly massacred. At the crucial moment when all looks lost the large animals of Pandora suddenly join the fight and with the help of Eywa, and the animals, the battle is won and the Na’vi are victorious. Thus Jake’s position in Na’vi history is secured – the Toruk Makto had accomplished the task that Eywa had raised him up to do.
Again, it is remarkable that the symbolism between the theology of Avatar and that of the Bible is so strong and so clear. In the Bible the phrase of Toruk Makto is not present, but the concept is clearly there. In the Bible there is a clear need, and a clear promise of the coming of the Messiah – the hero sent by God to deliver the people of Earth from the evil enemy of Satan, and his forces.

In the Bible the Messiah, as with the Toruk Makto, must be one of the people. The Bible records that Jesus, the True Messiah, was born of the flesh of Abraham and of David. Hebrews 2:9-18; Romans 1:3. He came to live among men and to be a man Himself. This Messiah had to feel the needs of the people and to be able to lead the people as well.

In the Bible there are a number of people who are considered Anointed ones. We know that Aaron was an Anointed one and he served as Priest in Israel. King Saul was the first Anointed King of Israel, and he was followed by King David who functioned in the position of a Prophet, a Priest, and a King. We also know that Cyrus, King of Persia was considered an Anointed one in Isaiah 45:1. Of this group David was the individual most connected with the concept of the Anointed One. As we see above, David was the great grandfather of the Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth.

One of the things that is unique about David as the Anointed one is that he fulfils all of the prerequisite issues of the Messiah. David was clearly born a man. He grew up simply and he experienced a personal relationship with God at a young age. One of the unique components of David was that he was Anointed by Samuel after being hand selected by God Himself. David was then brought by the providence of God to a unique testimonial experience. In I Samuel 17 we are told the story of a battle between Israel and the Philistines. The then king of Israel was Saul who had been officially rejected by God as being the Lord’s Anointed. When the Philistine champion came on to the battle field, no one dared to fight with him. The Champion of Israel, the King of Israel should have come forth to fight the greatest opponent. When it was clear that no one in Israel would dare to fight Goliath, God brought forth David. David was small compared to Goliath’s height of nine feet. David had no armor other than faith in God as compared to Goliath’s armor of Brass. David had no fear of this giant and strode out onto the battle field in the name of God Himself. When David defeated the Giant all Israel accepted David as their king in their hearts. Most of Israel did not know that God had already Anointed, as well as chosen David, to be their king. David was the type of the Messiah to come – his great grandson Jesus of Nazareth.

In the process of time, God also revealed Cyrus as a type of Messiah as well in that he used this king as the deliverer of Israel from Babylon. Cyrus responded to the instructions of Daniel and he chose to follow through the instructions given to him by God a hundred years before his birth. Cyrus, when he had conquered Babylon, gave directions and financial support to allow Israel to return to Canaan and reestablish their nation and their city in accordance with Isaiah 44:27-45:13 and Daniel 9:24-27.
But the focal point of all of the prophecies of the Messiah as of that of Jesus the Christ (the Anointed One) of Nazareth. He is the unique and comprehensive Messiah. Jesus is the I Am of the Bible as clearly stated in John 8:58. He was the One who spoke to Moses in Exodus 3. Jesus is also referred to as the Creator God the One who created the whole earth, and the universe. John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:13-17. This Creator God promised to come as the Seed of the woman spoken of in Genesis 3:15. As time continued He was incorporated in many other prophecies including that of Abraham and of David. He would come as God, and He would be fully man, a concept that is beyond our understanding. Yet when He came He was announced by an angel, and given the name of Jesus – the Saviour, and the name of Emmanuel – God with us. Matthew 1:21-23

Jesus’ life was marked by many unusual things but especially that of being so humble and loving that no one could identify anything physically unusual but that His Spirit was that of God. When He was about 30 years old He was baptized by the prophet John and when He came up to the banks of the Jordan River, He was Anointed by the Holy Spirit and was blessed by His Father. Luke 3:21-23. This happened in 27 AD in fulfillment of the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. In accordance with the 70 week prophecy Jesus was to be Anointed in 27 AD and then after a three and one half year ministry then He would be cut off from His people. During this ministry Jesus would meet His Goliath – Satan. He would have to defeat this giant the same way His great grandfather had done by the weapons of God. He would conquer the great dragon of Scripture that great Serpent Satan. Revelation 12:7-13 Jesus was the One who bound the strong man of Matthew 12:22-30 and thus won back all that was lost by father Adam.

Jesus won the great battle against Satan in the wilderness, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the Cross of Calvary. Jesus also won the battle in the grave and came forth from death in His own power. In the end Jesus will win the battle again when He returns to gather His people whom Satan is seeking to destroy. Jesus will win each and every battle for He is the Messiah of God.

One of the interesting themes of the movie Avatar is how many symbols the movie borrows to move the hearts and minds of the people. But what Avatar borrows in order to tell an imaginary story, the Bible tells of the true story. We are involved in the fight with the great dragon Satan to this very day, and Jesus, the great Messiah is preparing to come again to gather His people to Himself and take them to heaven, and then return to them to Earth a thousand years later. The difference is that Avatar is pretend, and the Bible is real. The Toruk Makto of Avatar is a wonderful hero, but none the less he is a pretend figure, but the Messiah of the Bible is not only real but He offers all of the wonderful gifts spoken of in the Bible to all who will honestly seek Him with a heart open to truth. This offer Messiah will confirm when He returns in the very near future. This gift is free to all who want it today.

Avatar and the Balance of Life

In the movie Avatar, it appears that the philosophy of life is that there is to be life balanced with death. If there is too much life, then there must be enough death to compensate and keep things balanced. This appears to be the requirement on the planet Pandora the imaginary dwelling place of the Na’vi and all of the exotic wildlife of the planet and all of the exotic plant life of the planet. In one scene in the movie Neytiri attempts to explain to Jake that Eywa, the goddess of Pandora, only answers prayers in the sense of keeping a balance of life and she does not answer any prayers that would cause an imbalance to life. So Neytiri does not expect any answers to prayers that would “favor” one element over another. So Neytiri is shocked to see the wild life join in the battle in the end of the movie to save the Tree of Souls, and to save the Na’vi.

In the Bible God presents a plan of life for the Garden of Eden. On the Earth God wants all things to live in harmony with no loss of life. God writes about it in the following text:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9

Notice in the text that they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, or in any part of God’s kingdom. In the text it reveals that God’s intent in the original creation, and in the new Earth Isaiah 65:17-25, was for no animal to kill or harm another animal. There was to be no sin, and no death, and no harming. God had arranged for all created life to live in harmony with each other. Thus God would produce a balance of peace and harmony without the use of death. In the Bible, death – the function of harming one another – was a by-product of sin. Without sin there would be no death.

A major element in the philosophy of God was that He was able to maintain ecological, as well as spiritual, harmony. He would limit the numbers of people and animals to that there would not be so many creatures that the food supply would be insufficient to care for everyone and everything. God would not need, nor use, death to be the stabilizing force. God would be the stabilizing force and thus love, rather than death, would maintain the balances of life.

A question comes up of where then did death come from? God told Adam that in the day that he ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then the issues of death would start to function. On the other hand, if Adam, and Eve, remained faithful to Him there would be no death, and thus no destabilizing forces, no curses on the land or on Earth, or on the people.

A scenario is presented in Matthew 13:24-28

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?”

In the Bible, the reason that there is death or suffering is because of the work of an enemy – Satan. God’s purposes have always been life and love. Satan brings death and suffering to all things. So the Bible encourages us to come back to God, receive of His gifts of love and to allow Him to bring us back into harmony with Him. In order for this to happen our thinking, as well as our perspectives must change. We must see God as a God of love. When we can see this we can allow Him to adjust our thinking to the point that any vestige of sin, and thus any vestige of death, will be removed, and we will think like God thinks. We will find that God does not need, or want, anything to do with death, or sin.

It is an interesting thing that we are so accustomed to death that we see a strange sort of beauty in the stark qualities of life. We see rocks, dead trees, waxed colored leaves, as sort of having a distinct beauty. This indicates that God has left some awareness of beauty even in these things, but rocks with no covering of soil and grass, trees dead, fallen, and without leaves, and the colored leaves showing the changes brought about by the death process, all are manifestations of an alien process. God did not want any of these stark reminders of death. God did not want us to have to see these things for to see these things meant that sin had come into the world, something that God did not want.

Yet even here, God, knowing all of the future, recognized that when giving mankind freedom to choose, must take into account the possibility of sin occurring. When it did occur, God initiated the plan of redemption – to eventually restore His natural balance, a world without sin. To get there God Himself was willing to come to die to save not only the human beings, but to restore the Earth to its original beauty and purity. This is briefly described in Isaiah 65:17-25.

One of the strongest features of the movie Avatar was the emotional movings of being able to see a planet of such beauty as that described on the imaginary planet of Pandora. This primeval calling to return to home was the emotional hook for many of the movie goers. Yet God wants to far surpass the beauties of Pandora. He wants to redeem His planet, remove the disease of sin, and restore His people to their rightful position of ruling the planet in a manner that will be totally in harmony with His thoughts and His plans. This return to Eden restored, is offered to each and every human being on this planet. If you have a desire to experience the wonders of Eden, the purity of an unsinful, undying planet, God calls for you to choose Him today. All you need to do is to start seeking Him and you will find Him for He is not far from you. Ask Him to communicate with you and He will seek you out and start that relationship with Himself. He offers you more than what Avatar and Pandora offer. He offers you the opportunity to go to the restored Earth that will have no death or any suffering. Please accept this offer today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Avatar and God’s Use of Nature

In the movie Avatar one of the emotionally charged scenes is where the Na’vi are getting slaughtered by the more sophisticated weaponry of the soldiers of Colonel Quaritch. Earlier Jake, knowing that he was going to be outgunned, had prayed that Eywa would help him to win the battle. Jake did not have a full understanding of what Eywa would be able to do but he did recognize his helplessness and he was going to ask help of anyone, and anything, that would deliver his people, the Na’vi, from sure slaughter. In the final moments of the battle, when disaster appeared to be sure, there was a significant movement on the horizon, that could be picked up by the Colonel’s instruments on his ship. The Colonel could tell that something was moving but he could not tell what it was. Then, all of a sudden, the large land animals, and the Ikran, sent by Eywa, attacked the soldiers. The overran the soldiers on the ground and destroyed all of the robots. The Ikran attacked the helicopters, and Jake used the Leonopteryx to halt the air battle. Even Neytiri was able to mount a Thanator and carry the fight to Colonel Quaritch. The Sacred Tree was saved and the battle turned for Jake and the Na’vi.

The concept of a god, getting involved in the affairs of men, and doing something substantial is an awesome thought. It is wonderful to think that some supernatural entity would want to assess and then get involved with resources that we do not have to offer and hopefully to do the right thing for us at the right time.

Again, it is intriguing that Mr. Cameron would be able to utilize the concept of divine intervention through animals to save the people. I believe that Mr. Cameron is aware of the many Bible stories that tell the story of God getting involved with the affairs of men and helping man in various ways regarding animals, and chose to incorporate this story into the movie Avatar. I would like to share just a few stories of animal involvement through the interventions of God.

1. In Genesis 6-9 God calls the animals out of the forest to enter into Noah’s Ark – two by two for the unclean animals and seven by seven for the clean.

2.In Genesis 6-9 God also uses nature to cleanse the Earth and He effected nature in such a way as to overflow all of life, that was not on the Ark, and to destroy all people and animals through the flood.

3. Exodus 7-14 tells the story of the various plagues that God sent on the then greatest nation in the world, the Egyptian nation. He sent frogs, lice, flies, locusts, and used many of the natural elements including the Red Sea to conduct warfare on Egypt.

4.In Numbers 11 God sends flocks of birds to feed the Israelites in addition to what He fed them each day through the Manna and supplying water from a Rock.

5. In Joshua 10:10-14 God uses hail to kill the enemies of Israel and stops the sun and moon, to allow the warfare to continue without obstruction.

6. In I Kings 17:3-7 God uses Ravens to feed His prophet Elijah.

7. II Kings 2:23-25 God uses two bears to kill 42 teens who were mocking the prophet Elisha.

8. In Daniel 3 God displays how He is able to control fire when his servants are cast into a fire without being burned.

9. In Daniel 6 God controls the lions in the den from harming Daniel.

10. In Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus controls a storm and brings it to a close.

11. In Matthew 14:15-21 Jesus feeds 5000 men, plus women and children.

12. In John 11 Jesus resurrects a man who has been dead for 4 days.

13. In I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Jesus resurrects all of the righteous of all ages.

14. In Revelation 16 Jesus uses plagues again to destroy the earth.

These 14 stories tell just the surface of the many ways that the God of the Bible, the God of the universe is able to control nature and use it in any way that He needs to in order to accomplish His Holy Will.

As Jake was thrilled by his deliverance from the Colonel, so we are to be thrilled by all of the resources that Jesus has to accomplish our deliverance from Satan. When we read the Bible we have the opportunity to have our hearts go out to Jesus and trust that He is interested in us and He can care for us in a 1000 ways of which we know nothing. It is our privilege to get to know God and to learn how to trust Him and interact with Him while we help others. This is our gift from heaven.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Avatar and Gaia Worship

In the movie Avatar there are many scenes that communicate the idea of the plant life and animal life of Pandora being in a unified relationship. Each animal is equipped with an antenna, or a queue, that allows the animals to communicate with each other and that the whole would be the planet Pandora. This unified communication theme, and all of the ecological issues that go, with it are very similar to the Gaia hypothesis, In the Gaia hypothesis it is thought that the Earth is in many ways similar to Pandora, that all ecological systems are entwined and are reactive and supportive to each other. The whole Earth is viewed as a singular ecological system and that this whole system can be regarded as a singular entity – Gaia. When this thought is combined with a theology of ecology one is confronted with the spiritual worship of the Earth or Gaia – the earth mother. This process is expanded and enhanced through the Gaia mythology system as described in Wikipedia.

In the movie Avatar there were several scenes in which the science of the Gaia hypothesis was presented. Dr. Augustine attempted several times to communicate to Mr. Selfridge about the communication potential of the planet and even stated that the real treasure of Pandora was not Unobtanium but the communication abilities of the flora and fauna of the planet. Several scenes are presented in which Dr. Augustine is attempting to process the idea of the interconnectedness of the trees and how it matched, or even surpassed, the connectivity of the brain. Dr. Augustine wanted to get to the Tree of Souls and take samples of the tree to complete here analysis, but was killed before she could do this as a scientist. Other scenes were presented that when one of the Na’vi died they were buried in the earth with one of the seeds of the sacred tree planted with them. This was the normal course of life and death on the planet Pandora.

There were several other scenes that communicated the spiritual nature of Pandora. One of the scenes was when Jake seeks to take the wounded Dr. Augustine to Mo’at the Tsahik, or Shaman, of the tribe. She takes Dr. Augustine to the Tree of Souls and attempts to transfer her "soul” into her Avatar body. In the event itself the Tree of Souls sends forth fine root like tendrils to enter into the body of Dr. Augustine to facilitate the process. But the attempt failed due to the weakened condition of Dr. Augustine and the lack of time to complete the process.

Another scene shows Jake coming to the Tree of Souls, as the gateway of speaking to Eywa, the goddess of Pandora, to pray for help in the coming battle. Jake is aware that 2000 warriors is not enough to take on the weaponry of the mining encampment. So he ask Eywa for help. Neytiri replies that Eywa only helps to maintain the balance of life, and does not interfere with such things as warfare. None the less, Jake prays as the best that he can do. In the ensuing battle the Na’vi warriors are being destroyed systematically and have no functional chance to win the battle. But then Eywa sends all of the large animals of Pandora to attack the Earthlings. Through this direct involvement of Eywa the battle is won. Neytiri is excited that Eywa had responded directly to Jake’s prayer and that good had triumphed over evil

The third scene is after the decisive battle Jake asks Mo’at to again attempt a transfer of a human soul from a body to the Avatar body, but this time he asks it for himself. Jake’s human body is brought to the Tree of Life, as well as his Avatar body and this time the transfer works out properly. Jake is now integrally united to his Avatar body and will never go back to the human body. Jake is once and for all Na’vi.

All of these scenes are wonderfully symbolic of things that are spoken of in the Bible. The greatest of all is that of Jesus. Jesus came to earth, as Jake came to Pandora. Jesus came, however, as a decision on the part of God to become a human being, once and for all. In this process the Holy Spirit implants Jesus into the womb of Mary. Jesus grows up, in harmony with the laws of human growth and becomes Jesus of Nazareth – the Anointed One – The Christ – The Messiah. Jesus became a part of mankind forever. He is now in heaven working in our behalf to help us become prepared for the Earth made new.

The Bible does not view the planet Earth as a goddess. The Bible clearly declares that Jesus is the Creator of not only the Earth but of the universe. He is the Creator of everything in the universe living or not. Colossians 1:13-17 He is the One with all power and He is the One to Whom we are to pray and seek for help in times of peace as well as in times of crisis.

On the other hand, the Bible clearly indicates that the Earth, as well, as people, are fearfully and wonderfully made. Every system of life on the Earth was designed by the infinite mind of God to be interdependent and interlocking. See Genesis 1 and 2. He made the Earth to be a perfect habitation for His most wonderful creation – Man. Man was unique in that Man was designed to be able to enter into the spiritual things of God. All other things were made to support Man, on Earth and for Man to watch over and nurture on Earth. Earth was a perfect place to give honor and glory to God.

God warned Man not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil but to eat of all of the trees of the Earth but to especially eat of the Tree of Life. If they would do this then no death would ever come to the planet. Yet Man sinned and turned away from God and listened to Satan – the one proved to be the enemy of Man and of God. When Man sinned against God, He initiated the plan that He had already planned out and that is that Jesus, the Everlasting Son of God, would come to the Earth to become a Man. Through His efforts all who chose could come to Him and He would effect a change of nature so profound that Man would be able to again come into harmony with God and to be able to live in the presence of a Holy God, whose very brightness was deadly to sin of any kind. When God was finished there would be a transfer of His life and power into the follower of God which would accomplish the miracle of being able to life the Christian life. This process is called salvation, and when it is done all evil will be removed from the world, the planet itself will be cleansed and restored to it’s Edenic beauty and Man will be able to live on this planet forever.

So again the issues of the concept of Gaia are true in its limited manner. But the concepts involved in the worship of God are true in a comprehensive manner. God is not limited to one planer but is in charge, as the Creator, and Ruler of the entire universe. God can be talked to at any time though the miracle of prayer. God is always willing and interested in His children and any thing that effects them. Through His power God wants to change us from the effects of the disease of sin to that of living a life without sin, or it’s negative effects. When we become so aware of our limitations God will assist us in victory over sin, and will change us and bring us into harmony with Him and to be able to live in His presence for ever. All of this God offers us if we will but allow Him to communicate with us. All of this story is told in larger degree in His Bible. It is wonderful that Mr. Cameron has allowed God to lead him to present His truths in such a creative manner. Yet, God has more to offer than what has been presented in movies such as Avatar. God will come and communicate to you personally if you will but ask.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Avatar and the Gospel

The gospel is one of those words that people use and they are often not very familiar with the theology that goes behind it. In the movie Avatar the gospel is revealed through the experience of almost every significant figure in the movie. Both bad and good responses tell the story of the gospel, of opportunities slighted and opportunities taken advantage of. But for simplicity’s sake let us focus on Jake Sulley and Colonel Quaritch.

The movie starts with Jake leaving earth due to the death of his twin brother. Jake has decided to take the offer of the mining corporation who want Jake to fulfill the obligations of his brother whose DNA was used to make an Avatar for the mining corporation on Pandora. Duet to the DNA match Jake would save the corporation and would give Jake a new start. Jake could make good money and perhaps get the operation that would allow Jake to regain the use of his legs which he lost due to a spinal injury during his time as a Marine.

When Jake made the final decision he was willing to leave his old world and head out for the new. With the death of his brother he no longer had any emotional attachments to Earth and could leave Earth and not look back. Pandora offered distance and the opportunity for a new life.

When Jake arrives at Pandora he has spent several years in suspended animation while traveling to Pandora. Jake arrives at the mining station of Hell’s Gate and is able to ignore all of the comments that people make about his disability and is interested in learning about the new things in his sphere of influence. Jake meets Colonel Quaritch and they feel a mutual respect for each other due to their military activities on Earth.

Soon, after this experience with the Colonel, Jake is able to have his first experience “driving” an Avatar body. Jake is overwhelmed by being in the Avatar for he can feel his feet again, although those feet belong to the body of the Avatar, rather than his own real feet. Jake runs out of the awakening room, and experiences running for the first time in years. Being in his Avatar body is an awakening to a new way of life and Jake enjoys it thoroughly.

Soon after this Jake goes on a mission with the rest of the Avatar crew and we are shown Jake experiencing the newness of life in his Avatar body. He is able to do, to move, and to experience life at a level that he has almost forgotten about. While moving around in the field he encounters the larger life forms of Pandora and gets separated from the rest of his team. During this time he meets Neytiri who saves his life from Viper-wolves. Neytiri attempts to send Jake back to the Earthlings, but Jake asks for help from her. During the interchange the Tree of Souls communicates to Neytiri that Jake is different and something special. She decides to take Jake to meet the Shaman of the village, her mother. When Neytiri’s mother finishes her examination she allows Jake to stay and commands Neytiri to train Jake in the ways of the Na’vi. Jake is thrilled and passes this information on to the rest of the team when he returns to his real body during the time of rest for his Avatar body.

Upon returning and sharing the information about the Na’vi accepting him and training him, Quaritch offers Jake a new life if Jake will get him pure data on the living arrangements of the Na’vi. For this information Quaritch will “take care of my own” by having the corporation grant Jake the funds sufficient to get the surgery necessary to restore his legs. Jake is willing to enter into this new opportunity for a new life. The Colonel is willing to give Jake 3 months to learn how to be a Na’vi and get the information and then the Colonel will have sufficient information to be able to properly attack the Na’vi. This is what is referred to in the Bible as an Old Covenant gospel the good news of a new life by working out an arrangement usually at the expense of other people and usually by some human method of change.

For 90 days Neytiri trains Jake about the ways of life in her village and with her people. During this time Jake grows stronger as an Avatar, while his human body grows weaker. In the training process Jake has to wrestle with many new ideas of love, life, death, and the ways of a spiritual person. At the same time Jake is exposed to the ways of Colonel Quaritch and his views of life. Colonel Quaritch is a very simple and straightforward man. He is loyal to the corporation and he will do anything to accomplish his mission – not to save people but to fulfill the quota that he promised to assist with. The Colonel will do anything to fulfill his promise and nothing of the heart or of the spirit will change his direction.

As the time draws near for a final decision Jake is torn between the new feelings he has develop for Neytiri, and her family and way of life, and those feelings for his earthly connections including Colonel Quaritch, and the science team that he has been sharing his observations with. Jake has been making great progress with Neytiri and she feels that he has made enough progress to take the final step of bonding with an Ikran – the flying dragons of Pandora. If he survives this final step he will be a man, in the eyes of the Na’vi, and will be accepted into the village as a man.

Jake is allowed to go through the experience of bonding with his own selected Ikran and survives the harrowing process. As a result Jake is admitted into the fellowship of the Na’vi. As a result of this step he is allowed to accept a mate from the people and he chooses Neytiri and she chooses him. That very next morning Colonel Quaritch, and company, sends a bulldozer to start the mining process near the home tree and Jake decides to defend one of the sacred trees, as well as rescuing Neytiri. His loyalties are growing more and more distant from the mining company and the ways that they use to accomplish their goals.

In the process of defending the sacred tree Jake attacks the bulldozer and takes away their sight – they can not see the literal forest, and they can not see the spiritual forest that surrounds them. Jake goes back to the home tree and attempts to warn the people of the coming of the mining camp. The people are distressed for the damage that the miners have done to the planet, and now to a sacred tree. While trying to explain what happened Colonel Quaritch sees Jake as a traitor and brings him back from the Avatar body to face the judgment.

Colonel Quaritch accuses Jake of betraying the company for the sake of the native. Jake pleads with the company boss who gives him one hour to warn the Na’vi to leave the home tree area for that is where the company has come to mine the minerals under the home tree. Jake is rejected as a traitor by the Na’vi as he has been by the Earthlings and the Na’vi fight and end up losing their home in an attack by Colonel Quaritch in home tree itself. For a time he is persona non grata to both sides. Again Jake has to face his feelings and has to make decisions that will affect his destiny in life.

After being rejected by the Na’vi, and by the Earthlings, he is given an opportunity to flee to the mountains with the Avatar crew. He decides that he will help the Na’vi come what may. He is able to regain his Avatar body and is granted an awareness of a plan of how to become the Toruk Makto, or the Messiah, of the Na’vi. He is able to link with the giant dragon of Pandora and when he arrives at the meeting with the Na’vi he is granted the opportunity to share the plan of saving Pandora that he has thought of. He rallies the other tribes and they have enough warriors to try to take over Hell’s Gate.

Colonel Quaritch is also aware of the gathering of the warriors and initiates a plan to destroy the Tree of Souls and make a spiritual scar on the people so that they will never again attack the Hell’s Gate camp. The Colonel gathers his troops and sets out to attack the Na’vi. During this battle Eywa comes to the aid of Jake for Jake came to recognition that he would not be able to defeat the Colonel even with the help of the warriors. Jake is willing to surrender to the point of praying to Eywa, Pandora’s goddess of nature, to ask for help in defending the planet and the way of life of the Na’vi.

In this great last battle Eywa sends the large animals to assist Jake and the battle is slowly won. During the battle Jake and the Colonel have a final encounter. Both Jake and Colonel Quaritch are in artificial bodies – Jake in his Avatar, and the Colonel in his robotic external suit. In the battle Jake decides that he wants to be with the Na’vi forever. When he wins the battle with the Colonel Jake asks if he can be transferred into his Avatar body forever and Eywa grants this request. Jake becomes a Na’vi forever.

In the above brief description of the events of the movie Avatar, many different concepts were expressed. In the movie Jake finds his true love and is allowed, by the movie, to find true happiness, justice, and success. It has been this writer’s goal to reveal the gospel of the Bible in the various articles written about the symbolism incorporated in the movie Avatar.

From the Bible’s perspective the movie tells the story of the gospel in a twisted way. God would have each person see the gospel of the Bible so that the joys displayed in the movie can be acquired in the way that God has intended for it to be acquired. From the Bible’s point of view Jake Sulley both Messiah – the Toruk Makto, and he is an individual in the process of accepting the gospel of Christ. Colonel Quaritch represents both the role of Satan, and the role of a sinner trying to decide to either follow God or to follow the things of the world. The interactions of these two figures – Jake, and the Colonel summarizes the story of the gospel

Jake makes the decision to follow his heart and the Spirit of God. So each of us on Earth can follow the movings of the Holy Spirit and can respond to God when He reveals Himself to us on Earth. At the very same time there is a Satan and Satan wants to interfere with our relationship with God. As Jake discovered that there was a plan that was unfolding for him he was willing to let go of his old world and embrace truth as it came to him. So for us each of us we have to let go of the old and accept the new revelations granted to us by God. Jake had to accept help from one whom he could not see, so we have to accept help from a God that we can not see but that has provided abundant evidence of His presence and His power. When we are willing to see that the things of this world have little lasting value then we will make those final decisions that God requires in order to make a change in us.

In the Bible each person can have a personal acquaintance with God. God will unfold events in such a manner that each individual will recognize that God, and no one else, is talking to us. Based on our decisions, in light of the information granted, God will work for us to draw us closer and closer to Him. When the final decision is made God has promised to give us a new body one like the one originally given to Adam – tall, powerful, intelligent, and immortal. We can have that body if we are willing to accept all of the gifts of the one true God – Jesus of Nazareth. If we accept God’s gifts then we will have the opportunity of going to heaven, and then will return to this earth to participate in the judgment scenes of the symbolic Colonel Quaritch – Satan. When Satan and all of his people are judged, then God will recreate this Earth and make it again like it was in the time of Eden. Then all of mankind will live in an environment much more glorious than that of Pandora.

The story of the Bible is the offer of the gospel – the good news of total restoration to an open relationship with God. Each person will have the opportunity to receive this gift or to reject it. What will you do?

Avatar and Prayer

In one of the pivotal scenes of the movie Jake recognizes that unless something supernatural happens, he, and his warriors have no chance of winning a battle against a seasoned and well armed Earthly military force. So with this thought in mind Jake goes to the Tree of Souls and submits to Eywa and asks for her help. Jake is not sure what it is that he is doing, or if it will be successful, but he asks from the perspective of one who has nothing to lose and everything to win.

Neytiri was watching Jake in prayer and approved of the fact that he was praying at all but counseled Jake that Eywa only gets involved with supernatural support to maintain the balance of life. But she was happy that Jake was at least asking in the Na’vi manner.
Jake’s prayer was simple, heartfelt, and to the point. He needed help and he was willing to get help any way that he could even if it meant to pray.

In the process of the movie, Jake, and his warriors attack and get soundly defeated. As the casualties mount Jake is discouraged and is wondering if he did the right thing to rally the warriors to fight knowing that they were no match for the advanced weaponry of the company. When everyone’s hope was lowest and Neytiri was contemplating sacrificing her life with one last attempt to kill an enemy, the sound of much movement is heard and what is seen is all of the larger animals of Pandora have been sent by Eywa to fight against the company. With the land animals fighting the ground troops and the Ikran fighting the helicopters all of a sudden the odds of winning the war increase for the Pandorans and Neytiri cries out that Eywa had heard Jake’s request and had answered his prayer. Eywa gives Jake, and the Pandoran warriors, the victory.

James Cameron used the issue of prayer in a very successful manner in his movie – Avatar. He gave a wonderfully touching rendition of prayer through Jake and Neytiri. The Bible also tells us that prayer is an essential part of the relationship between man and God. God wants us to come to Him in faith trusting that He will answer prayers, and He will even prompt us to pray for things. In Romans 8:26 it says that the Holy Spirit, one of the three member of the Godhead, prays for us for we know not what we should pray for.

Prayer, in the Bible, is a communicating link between God and man. God is all knowing, and foreknowing as well. God knows what we will pray about, what will happen, and He even prompts us to ask for specific things so that He can help us, and still keep us focused on the small tasks of life.

In the Bible, God has prayers of all kind taking place. He encourages communication with Him at all levels and in all ways. The following are references for a variety of different prayers and communications:

Genesis 3:8-19 Jesus comes looking for Adam and Eve to find out what happened to them.
Genesis 4:6-15 God’s communications with Cain about Abel.
Genesis 5:24 God’s interactions with Enoch were of such a nature that the Bible records it as walking with God, and God took Him.
Genesis 15:1-21 Interactions between God and Abraham.
Genesis 17:1-22 More interactions between God and Abraham.
Genesis 18:1-33 God informing Abraham about his son to be, and discussions about Sodom and judgment.
Genesis 21:1-20 God’s discussions with Abraham about Hagar and Ishmael and then God’s discussions with Hagar.
Genesis 24:1-27 Prayers about getting a wife for Isaac.
Genesis 28:10-22 God’s communications with Jacob and Jacob with God.
Genesis 32:24-31 Jacob wrestles and prays with God.
Exodus 3:1-22 God’s communications with Moses just prior to leading Israel out of Egypt.
Exodus 15:1-21 Israel’s prayer to God in song.
Exodus 20:1-26 God speaks to Israel and they become afraid and want an intercessor to speak for them rather than directly to God.
Exodus 33:9-34:28 God and Moses communicate with each other.
Joshua 2:1-21 Prayer between Rahab the Canaanite and God’s messengers.
Joshua 5:13-15 Prayer between Jesus and Joshua.
I Samuel 1:9-18 Hannah’s prayer for a son and God answer her through Eli.
II Samuel 7:1-29 David’s prayer of thanks to God for allowing him to have success and to have a son who will build the temple for God.
Psalms 51 David’s prayer of repentance for taking his friend’s wife and then for killing the friend.
I Kings 3:5-28 God and Solomon discuss spiritual gifts and then Solomon applies the spiritual gift in judging Israel.
II Chronicles 5:11-7:3 Solomon’s prayer to God to bless the temple and all of the worship activities that would be there and the various ways God responded to the prayer.
II Chronicles 20:1-30 Jehoshaphat’s prayer and God’s answer.
Daniel 9:1-27 Daniel’s prayer of repentance for Israel and God’s answer to the prayer.
Luke 1:26-56 Mary and Elizabeth’s prayers of thanksgiving for the births of God’s forerunner and the Messiah.
Luke 1:67-80 Zacharias’s prayer of praise for the Messiah.
Matthew 5:1-7:28 Jesus, the Son of God, communicates His holy will to His people.
John 17:1-1-26 Jesus’ prayer to His Father in Heaven for His disciples.

The above list is a small sampling of a variety of prayers that shows how God speaks to His people and how they speak to Him. All through the Scriptures God shows how He handles difficult situations and how He chooses to take care of His people. II Chronicles 20:1-30 is one of those crisis situations similar to the experience that James Cameron attempts to reveal in the movie Avatar.

It is this writer’s hope that as you meditate upon the events of the movie Avatar that you to would seek to have a prayer experience with the real God of the universe. As the people above prayed in faith to Him which can not be seen but whom we can experience, God answered those sincere prayers and revealed enough of Himself that they wanted to have a deeper experience. This opportunity He offers to you today. Read the prayers, and then read the stories and by reading them your faith will be strengthened and you to will seek God to have your own personal experience with Him. This is the promise of the Bible. That which was intimated in the movie of Avatar, can be experienced in reality through direct communications with God.