During the discussions of various subjects of the movie Avatar it has been my assertion that James Cameron used Bible symbols in this movie. I have attempted to show these connections in a variety of ways. It will, of course, be up to each reader as to whether my assertions are correct or merely my assumptions and the apparent connections are merely happenstance. But a reasonable question does occur and that is why would Mr. Cameron use Bible symbols in a secular movie? I think that is a reasonable question and I would like to briefly address this concept.
It is my believe that Mr. Cameron wants his movies to be successful in conveying his thoughts, for his ideas and beliefs to have the most powerful impact possible, and to have commercial success for himself and for his investors. In order to accomplish these ideas Mr. Cameron would have to use ideas, methods, symbols that have a positive effect on the audience he is aiming at, and that audience is humanity, worldwide humanity. Mr. Cameron has been in the business of selling ideas long enough to know that one can have an idea but if only a few people see it or hear it there is not much impact. He has refined his craft to the point that he knows what sells, how it sells, and to whom it sells. So Mr. Cameron has been willing to study the most effective ways of communicating his ideas and has settled on movies. Movies are powerful tools because of the truism “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Mr. Cameron also knows that the picture is better if it can communicate a thought in the context of a story that moves the audience to a response, and the response that Mr. Cameron is looking for is repeated viewing of his movie, an open mind and heart to the message, and a willingness to share this thought with others. To accomplish this, the movie, and the message, must contain thoughts that will accomplish these tasks. To accomplish these tasks, on a worldwide basis Mr. Cameron must get to points that every human being can respond to. The best place to look for such things is again to the Bible.
The reason the Bible is so powerful is that God wrote it. Since God created mankind one must assume that God knows human beings pretty well. He knows what makes them tick and He knows the things that block thinking, feelings, and decision making and He knows what opens the hearts and minds. God knows how to make people decide and He knows the boundaries of fairness and freedom to choose. God has a perfect understanding of self-control, and He has the requisite understanding of the time necessary to accomplish any undertaking that He decides to do when interacting with mankind. God also has an understanding of sin and of how sin blocks all of the above issues.
With these thoughts in mind let us discuss briefly Mr. Cameron’s goals. We have stated a brief list above of some of the reasons that Mr. Cameron wants his movies to be commercial successes. In order to accomplish His task Mr. Cameron has been willing to study the methodologies that successful sales people have used to accomplish their goals. The greatest sales person is God.
In God’s sales program He is trying to sell us the idea that we have a problem – sin. He wants to sell us on the idea that this sin problem has been problematic for 6000 years on Earth plus the time in heaven when Lucifer fell. He wants us to understand that this problem has a time limit and will self destruct. In addition He wants us to know that there is an implacable enemy that is encouraging us to self-destruct in a thousand ways. He wants us to know that this enemy started his career in heaven as the closest created being to God in the entire universe. God wants us to know that this being – now called Satan – will use every positive thing that God has initiated and twist it enough to cause death and destruction to mankind, and in principle, to any other living organism in the universe. To communicate these ideas God has used creation, mankind, angels, and the Bible. Each of these entities has a special role in communicating the above ideas, while maintaining freedom to choose to respond to His messages. God knows that these messages are difficult to understand because of the effect of sin on our nervous systems, our bodies, and our awareness of data. God also knows that unless He helps, through the power of His Holy Spirit we can not get certain information, nor make certain decisions without His help. This entire process is called the Plan of Salvation.
As James Cameron has studied out God’s plans, and methodologies, he has seen that God wants to affect us at the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels. God has chosen to reveal His truths to mankind at a story level for this level allows us to receive His messages at all three levels at the same time. Mr. Cameron is also aware that God has left certain prime directives in each heart and mind. One of those prime directives is the need to worship. Every human being worships something on a regular basis. This worship can be as simple as following the steps of a movie star and trying to replicate that person’s power, persona, and appearance in our own lives, or it can be a destructive worship of trying to copy the lifestyle of a favorite criminal or gang members. But however the worship is done Mr. Cameron recognizes that worship is a principle that all people respond to. Thus in the movie Avatar Mr. Cameron has placed on display a variety of worship scenarios. One of the worship issues is the veneration that the Na’vi has for Eywa. They also show the worship that Parker Selfridge has for money, and of course the worship that Colonel Quaritch has for power. Mr. Cameron knows that the audience can respond to these forms of worship for they are universal in all human beings.
One of the interesting things about Mr. Cameron is that he also has an awareness that there are other prime directives in the hearts and minds of people. In Avatar he has displayed his awareness that people have an innate calling to return to their Edenic home and he has created a little sample of what the Garden of Eden may have looked like by his rendition of the planet Pandora. Many viewers have gone into a state of depression in their longing to return to Eden but do not know how.
In addition Mr. Cameron is aware that to get back to the Garden of Eden God has laid out a process. He reveals this process in the changes in the life of Jake Sulley. As Jake goes through his various stages of change, the audience recognizes these steps and they are hoping that he makes it for they also are aware that they have a similar process to go through. Thus the audience can identify with Jake and they encourage him to be successful in his endeavors. All people like a success story that they can see is similar to their walk in life.
A final concept Mr. Cameron uses is the idea of victory over evil. He has displayed in Avatar the greed and avarice of mankind. All people recognize these traits in others, as well as themselves. Most everyone can recognize sin at this level and are happy when the little guy, in this case Jake Sulley and the Na’vi, wins a victory over these sins. The audience can relate to these concepts and they enjoy the vicarious victory over the villains.
A tragedy in the movie, that is not addressed, is the idea of how each person in the audience will have victory in their lives over the villains that they have addressed. Mr. Cameron does not show how this is to be accomplished for the audience in real time. Mr. Cameron recognizes that not everyone in the audience is a hero type like Jake Sulley. The audience recognizes this as well. The audience wishes that there was a real hero that could help them in their walks of life that could deliver them from external villains as well as internal villains. This hero is not revealed in Avatar because Mr. Cameron is also aware that if he reveals That Hero he might lose the majority of his audience because That Hero is willing to tell the whole story and will openly and freely communicate to the audience what they need to do in order to be saved and to have all the things that they want in reference to returning to their Eden home. That Hero, by the way, is Jesus Christ of Nazareth – the True Avatar – The very Creator of the Universe who came to Earth, in human form, to communicate with His estranged people.
I will be asking Mr. Cameron, in a future article, to communicate these issues in a more comprehensive manner to his audience. But for now I just want to conclude this article by stating that Mr. Cameron has used the principles that God had granted to us in a marvelous manner. Mr. Cameron has studied the communication patterns that God has left us and has incorporated them in many of his movies, and especially in the movie Avatar. If Avatar turns out to be a trilogy, we will see these principles on display again. We have benefited by the efforts of Mr. Cameron but we also can study out these principles directly by studying the Bible ourselves. If we truly would like to go to Eden we can get there. God has given us the plan. He has revealed the principles to us. We can learn them just as Mr. Cameron has learned them. We personally can live out the Jake Sulley story in real time and have real time results. The symbols revealed in the Bible and in the movie Avatar, can be lived out and experienced in this real life, not just in a movie theatre. Make the decision today. Ask God, the One greater than Eywa, to come to you and to teach you the symbols that He has given to us. Ask Him to teach you, and to help you to participate in the plan of salvation. Tell Him of your desire to go to the Eden Home promised to us in Revelation 21-22. Allow the symbols to become reality for you.