Monday, May 23, 2011

An Open Letter To James Cameron

Mr. Cameron:
I just wanted to tell you that I thought the movie Avatar was a fascinating blend of fantasy, adventure, and spirituality. Avatar was clearly a financial success and it clearly stated that the issues you spoke to in the movie resonated with a large number of people in all cultures around the world. I hope that you found it rewarding to produce this movie and I hope that as you ponder new movies you will remember the things that worked in this movie.

As I was reading about your film history I noticed that you did a TV special “The Exodus Decoded”. This special would indicate that you have spent a considerable time in Bible study, especially in Exodus and the Old Testament writings. In addition, your use of Bible symbolism in Avatar would indicate that you have spent a significant amount of time in the prophetic portions of the Bible like Daniel and Revelation as well. Assuming that my observations are correct it leads me to ask you a question. The question is since you are intrigued by the Bible, and your spiritual gift appears to be that of making movies, and doing it very well, then why don’t you make a movie about the real things of life and do IT very well?

It seems to me that you are clearly financially set now so that if you chose to produce a “real” movie you would not be in danger of losing your financial footing in life. A “real” movie might endanger your position in the Hollywood community but you seem to be strong enough to deal with that kind of adversity if you chose to. So I wonder if you have read enough of the “real” to give you an experience like Jake Sully had in the movie Avatar? When God calls you would you be willing to move to a different world to have that experience with Him and undergo the rebirth that you told about in Avatar?

Since I had these questions I thought I would write them to you, at least on the internet. I am acquainted with a series of books, that you may or may not have been exposed to which tells the Bible story in such a manner that you might enjoy them. The parts of the books which I think you would especially like are the expanded scenes of heaven where Jesus and Lucifer interacted before sin came into the picture. I think you would find the interactions of war in heaven fascinating because you have depicted those interactions so well in your movies, for as the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “…there is no new thing under the sun.”

If you are interested in those stories I would like to connect you to those books written by a lady by the name of Ellen G. White. She wrote a five book series covering the Bible from before the fall of Lucifer until the final resolution of sin and the recreation of Earth. The five books are:
Patriarchs and Prophets – from the fall of Lucifer to King David
Prophets and Kings – from King Solomon down to the time of the return of Israel from Babylon
The Desire of Ages – tells about the life of Christ and is of course at the center of the five books.
The Acts of the Apostles – Tells the story of the followers of Jesus from His ascension into heaven unto the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The Great Controversy – the story of God’s people from the Destruction of Jerusalem to the Second Coming of Christ, the Millennium, the final judgment of evil, and the recreation of the Earth.

I hope that if you read them you will find them as exciting as I did and that they will be a blessing to you as they were to me.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to these thoughts and I hope that you will take these thoughts seriously.

In Christ Jesus
Greg Goodchild

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Avatar and the Pandoran Rules

Jake Sulley first arrives on the planet Pandora and meets with Colonel Quaritch while the Colonel is explaining the Pandoran Rules to all of the new people. The Colonel is trying to impress on the minds of each person that Pandora is dangerous and that certain rules are required to be obeyed if they plan to live and return to Earth. The primary rule is that the wildlife on the planet can be very dangerous and that many people have died when forgetting that life is dangerous on Pandora. I am sure that the Colonel would have told people about the large predators, and the big animals that while not carnivores can still hurt people. Then there was the indigenous peoples the Na’vi who were much bigger than Earthlings, and while having bows and arrows the arrows were coated with a neurotoxin that could kill in two minutes. All together Pandora would be a dangerous place if not dealt with seriously. To forget the Pandoran rules, even for a short period of time would be very dangerous and very likely to end in death for those who forgot the rules and did not live in harmony with them.

In God’s kingdom He has the same thinking. God knows that He has established the laws of life and all who want to live will keep His laws. God knows that His laws are not something He just made up to be difficult but He shared His laws which are the best things that He could possibly do for His people. God knew that His laws were to be life for His people (Deuteronomy 30:14-20) and that they were all based on love, for God is purely and simply love. I John 4:8 God knew that the world was a dangerous place after Adam had sinned and Satan perceived himself as the God of this world (II Corinthians 4:4). God knew that to believe anything that Satan taught was dangerous and would eventually mean the loss of the physical life of the person as well as the spiritual life of the person. So God gave us an interesting progression of truth. God identifies Himself as love, and then He states that all of His laws are centered in two laws – to love God with all your heart and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus claimed that these two laws are the central laws of God and that all of the other laws that God gave were to hang off these two laws. Matthew 22:35-40 so law is the basis of all of God’s laws.

In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy God gives us His laws. He gave us His ten commandments, written on stone and then He gave us many other laws to amplify and clarify the original ten. All of the rest of the books of the Bible show how these laws are to function, and are to be carried out, and lived out, by God’s people so that all of the rest of the world could see these laws and then decide if it would be worth their time and effort to learn these laws.

God gave the Ten Commandments to Israel 50 days after they left Egypt. God wanted to use these laws to establish the foundation of God’s government for Israel as a nation, and to establish the foundations of God’s covenant with mankind – they were to obey God in all that He asked them to do, and God would support and care for them in all that He asked them to do. God spoke them to Israel at Mount Sinai and they were listed as follows:

And God spake all these words, saying,

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. Exodus 20:1-19

These Ten Commandments are the simplest and most comprehensive testimony that God could give to mankind so that they would understand what He wants from them and what they can do for His children. For those who follow these laws blessing and life are promised and for those who disobey any of these laws, then chaos and death were sure
to follow. Like Colonel Quartich’s Pandoran rules, so we can listen and learn from truths of God as revealed in His law. If we follow them we will live and if we choose not to follow them we will die.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Avatar and the Mark of the Beast

In the movie Avatar Colonel Quaritch is the character considered to be the villain in the story. The Colonel was a very decisive individual and had a clear vision of what he needed to do. He had been given his marching orders by Parker Selfridge and he was ready to do all to accomplish his task including sacrifice any thing that was in his way.

Colonel Quaritch had many admirable traits. He was clean, neat, kept himself in good shape. He was a stickler for detail and discipline and he would not hesitate to do the very things he was asking his soldiers to do. He had a vision, he was willing to pay the price, and he did not suffer fools lightly. He stated that “I take care of my own” to Jake and followed through with getting the corporation to ok the surgery necessary for Jake to get his legs restored. The Colonel was a man of his word and he had the fortitude and determination to make his word a powerful issue. The Colonel understood military issues and he was willing to get the information necessary to plan an attack and he was willing to implement the plan.

Colonel Quaritch also had a few unusual qualities about him. Apparently when he first arrived on Pandora he was attacked by a beast and the beast left a threefold scar on his head, and apparently on his heart as well. As a result of this encounter Colonel Quaritch had the opportunity to go back to Earth and have cosmetic surgery but he chose to stay on Pandora and kind of liked the marks on his head. He appeared to see his threefold scar as a testimony of his character and he approved of his character.

Another interesting, and symbolic, quality of Colonel Quaritch is that he employed the name of “Papa Dragon” when in combat. Not only did he use the name but his calm, cool, condescending behavior toward the Na’vi while in combat “And that is how you scatter the roaches”, signified that he was used to killing and saw it as a necessary evil especially to peoples that he did not respect nor like. Colonel Quaritch was a very powerful man and he used his power in a manner that fulfilled his visions of life.

Since we have been looking at the symbolism in the movie Avatar it appears that Colonel Quaritch has many symbolic applications. One of the symbols is that of the mark of the beast. Revelation 13-15 has multiple comments about the concept of a mark of the beast. This is some kind of symbolic quality that shows that an individual has joined the ranks of the people devoted to the great red dragon of Revelation 12 who gives his power, seat, and authority to a beast that comes up out of the sea in Revelation 13. This sea beast then enter into a relationship with a land beast in Revelation 12 who creates an image to the sea beast and then demands that everyone worship the beast that came up out of the sea. Revelation 14-15 then describes a group of people who refuse to worship the beast and instead they choose to worship God only. This contrast between the two groups of worshippers is differentiated by the symbol of the mark of the beast in their foreheads or hands versus the name of the Father in heaven written in their foreheads.

In the movie Avatar, Colonel Quaritch has the threefold scar on his head/forehead, and he also carries a special name “Papa Dragon”. Those who follow him have a spirit of cooperation with him, even if they do not think identically to him. So they have the spirit of the Papa Dragon even if they do not have the threefold symbol on their heads.

The opposing group, Jake Sulley and company as well as the Na’vi, have different markings including that of war-paint. The spirit and goals of the two groups have markedly different goals and different ways of going about accomplishing their goals. Colonel Quaritch wants more military might, and Jake Sulley is willing to submit to a spiritual path and seeks help from Eywa, the goddess of Pandora.

In the Bible the same issue is presented, two different groups with two different philosophies of how to accomplish their goals in life. The one group attached to the dragon and the beast is open to forcing people to agree and obey – worship, and if necessary they will kill to accomplish their goals. The other group, attached to the Heavenly Father, focus on following the Lamb of God – Jesus. They do not want to be involved with issues of force, but they clearly want to worship God and not the beast. The contrasts between the two groups is one of the major principles in the Bible and the primary focus on the issues of the last events in the history of Earth before the Second Coming of Christ occurs.

So one of the goals of the Bible is to determine what this mark issue is how to get the right one and avoid the wrong one. In Revelation 13 the central around which the mark of the beast occurs is that of worship. Worship is basically defined as understanding and respecting a powerful figure, or source, and then submitting to and obeying that figure or source. So to obey the commands of a powerful figure is a form of worship, especially if one loves and respects the powerful figure.

In the Bible the focus of worship is to obey the commands of God. God gave us a number of commands and humanity has played out its struggles regarding whether they want to obey God or not. All through the history of the planet Earth this struggle has been revealed in life. We have seen the results of evil that has been displayed in mankind. Most of the time humanity has been determined to rebel against such commands from God as “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal” or “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. We all readily identify that it would be good to obey these three commands and if we did obey them much misery and suffering would be removed from the lives of people.

But as we all know there are ten of these commandments, not just three. Most of us can figure out, and agree with the benefits of the last 6 commandments regarding how we should treat one another. Whether we do them or not we can at least philosophically agree that the last six of the Ten Commandments would be good if implemented.

The part we seem to get into difficulty with is the first four commandments. These commandments are focused on the worship of God. In commandments one He commands that we do not obey any other powerful person out there that would attempt to counter one of His commandments.

The second commandment is not to make images of God and then worship those images. God does not want this because any image of God will not properly reflect the grandeur and magnitude of God and thus lessens our appreciation of how great He is. Any lessening of the wonderful qualities of God reduces Him in our minds and lessens our respect and adoration of His qualities. Many people state that God will understand that their heart is right and that they want to use images as a vehicle to keep their minds focused on Him. So they want to disobey Him and then want Him to accept their obedience as worship of Him. But God says that He wants their worship because they respect Him enough to obey Him out of love.

The third commandment is to not take His name in vain. Most of the time we think of this commandment as an issue of not swearing by using His name, but this is a bit shallow. While this concept is true the larger meaning is that we are not to falsely claim to be a follower of His when we won’t live in harmony with His commands. If we don’t live like a follower of God, but live like a follower of the dragon then we are violating this commandment. God wants us to live in harmony with Him and obey Him because we have had enough experience to know that His ways are better than the ways of the dragon.

God’s fourth commandment is the most interesting of them all. It is interesting because human logic and reason do not compute with this commandment. We have difficulty understanding a commandment based on arbitrary time. Often times we violate the 1st commandment by obeying our own thoughts rather than obeying God’s thoughts thus we place our own thinking higher than God’s thinking and we end up creating a god out of ourselves.

But the fourth commandment, the Sabbath commandment, is viewed by God as a “sign” or mark of our surrender to His ways of thinking. In Exodus 31:12-17 God views His Sabbath as a sign that God sets us apart for His personal use. This sign/mark is a statement that we will serve God and no other. This sign is also a mark that we think that God is the original creator of the world and the universe, including any potential planets like Pandora that might be out there. This sign has a visible quality to it that God arbitrarily assigned. He wants us to worship Him on the 7th day of the week or Saturday. It is interesting that in our culture almost everyone knows that Sunday is the 1st day of the week but they have difficulty determining what day of the week the 7th day is.

It is interesting to note that most of us think that any day of the week will do as far as God is concerned. However, when He personally expresses the idea that He wants us to worship Him on the 7th day of the week, in addition to our daily worship on every other day, we find that a bit demanding. We ask who does He think He is to command us to do something that we can not figure out in our own minds. God, of course, wants us to think of Him as God, higher than even ourselves, and He wants us to think of Him as our Creator and thus deserving of our respect and honor.

To clarify this point of worship God has given us many stories in the Bible to testify of how He thinks about the Sabbath and of whether it is important to Him or not. We find in the Creation story that God created the Sabbath while making the first week of Earth. He wanted His children to join Him in celebrating the completion of His works of Creation. Genesis 1:1-2:3; Hebrews 4:1-11; Exodus 31:12-17. By the book of Exodus we see that mankind has already forgotten this concept and God has to restore the concept to His people who will be priests and teachers to the world in Exodus 5:5. He refreshes their minds again when He gave the manna and gave them manna each day for 5 days, doubled the gift on the 6th day of the week – Friday, and then gave them no manna on His Sabbath, so they would have time to spend with Him on His 7th day. Then He pronounced His will to His people at Mount Sinai and proclaimed His law, and His Sabbath day, as a sign of obedience to Him.

In Jeremiah 17 God told Israel that if they insisted upon rejecting His Sabbath He would allow people to come to Israel and burn their cities down. This eventually happened because the people refused to worship and obey God and refused His protection from the powerful nations around them. I Chronicles 36. When God brought them back to Israel, after 70 years of captivity, God reminded them again of their need to refrain from disobeying Him and keeping all of His laws including the Sabbath day. Nehemiah 13.

But Israel had a difficult time with all of these commandments and by the time that the Law Giver Himself, came to earth in the form of a man, Israel had so altered the Sabbath commandment, with all of the other commandments, that they were offended when Jesus lived out His commandments on Earth. Jesus, Himself the Lord of the Sabbath, showed Israel, and thus all of the rest of the world, how Sabbath was to be kept in Matthew 12 and John 5 and 9. The Jewish leaders rejected Jesus’ testimony and chose to reject His Sabbath and thus His special sign and mark. By the time that Jesus had completed His mission they were ready and willing to kill Jesus, reject His authority and choose Rome as their king and thus they chose Rome’s mark as well.

After the time of Jesus the disciples kept all of His teachings and continue to live out all of the laws of God by faith in Him and His power through the Holy Spirit. They observed their surrender to Him by keeping His laws and displaying the sign of surrender to Him by obeying His Sabbath commandment. See Acts 13. By the time of Paul God was warning that people inside of the very church of God would seek to turn His people away from Him. Acts 20:27-31.

In a few hundred years there were two churches struggling to reveal the commandments of God. Both of them claimed to be in harmony with God and both of them claimed to be worshipping God by obeying His commandments. For 1260 years this contest went on and the only way to tell the difference between the two was by their obedience to the commandments of God and the presence of the spirit of the dragon or of the spirit of the Lamb. One group attempted to keep all of the commandments of God, including the Sabbath, while the other group new and improved God’s laws by substituting laws of their own making, including changing the Sabbath from the 7th day of the week to the 1st day of the week. This will be the identifying mark and test in the end as well.

God has said that the great issue in the Revelation 13 will be worship. One group will claim to be worshipping God, while changing His laws, and the other group will be claiming to worship God while maintaining and obeying the revealed laws of God. Colonel Quaritch revealed His character by how he treated those weaker than himself. He also had the three scars to testify of his toughness. Revelation 14 states that God’s followers will have the three angel’s messages to testify to their relationship with Him, and that they will keep God’s laws by faith in Jesus.

God will have a group of people who will follow Him to death if necessary. The Dragon, and the beast, will have a group of followers that will do the same. We know how Colonel Quaritch ended up. God states that His curse (Revelation 14:9-11) will be upon those who refuse to worship Him for they will have no protection from the deceptive miracles of power that the beast will do. Revelation 13:12-16. Just as the battle between the Colonel and Jake became inevitable so this last battle will happen on this Earth, and each one of us will have to take a decided stand. We know it will happen because of the ability of God to know the future. I hope all of us can learn from the experience of the Colonel and not be on his side. Choosing the side of the Colonel will lead us to acting like him and thinking like him. God would like us on His side but to do that we must decide to worship Him and obey Him. We get to decide which mark we will have.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why Does James Cameron Use Bible Symbols In Avatar?

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.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Avatar and the Warrior Princess

One of the central themes of Avatar is the feminization of the Pandoran Government and Religion. Mo’at is the spiritual leader of the Omaticaya Clan, Eywa is the feminine goddess of the planet and the Neytiri is the warrior princess of the clan. Eytukan is the leader of the clan as long as he maintains the blessing of Mo’at. Tsu’tey is also a leader into battle, or the hunt, but is not the leader when it comes to spiritual things which is the basis of leadership in the Na’vi system. Thus the male is the figure head ruler of the clan but the female is the true leader in this culture. But in this article I want to focus primarily on Neytiri and the role as a leader in the clan.

Neytiri was to be the successor to Mo’at as the spiritual leader of the clan and the interpreter of the will of Eywa for various activities that the clan participated in. Neytiri was responsive to the will of Eywa in not killing Jake in the beginning of the movie and of being willing to take him to the home tree. This would indicate that Neytiri was very sensitive to the spiritual issues of her clan and her willingness to suppress her desires for the good of the clan and to accomplish the will of Eywa. In addition Neytiri was a warrior princess and when necessary she was able and willing to use physical force to take care of a problem. Neytiri was going to shoot Jake when the seed of the holy tree rested upon her arrow and she was willing to not kill to be obedient to the will of Eywa. She delivered Jake from the animals attacking him. She recognized that a special message was being communicated about Jake when all of the seeds landed upon him. She was willing to disobey her father’s command to not bring any Avatar to the clan’s home, and she was willing to save Jake from Tsu’tey’s attack. Neytiri was a warrior and a servant to her goddess, she was a warrior princess.

As we have discussed before James Cameron appears to have used the Bible as his original source of symbolic issues. The warrior princess symbol is also expressed in the Bible. This concept is first expressed in Genesis 3:15 where God says that He will put enmity between the woman and the serpent and between her seed and the serpent’s seed. This text gives us some clue to the conflict between the great serpent Satan, and the woman – mother Eve.

The next literal example of a warrior princess is that of Jael in Judges 4-5. God has allowed Israel to be subservient to Jabin king of the Canaanites because of the sins conducted in Israel. God has raised up a judge and a prophetess by the name of Deborah. She alerts a man by the name of Barak that God has called him to deliver Israel and he will get the glory of defeating the general of the Canaanite army. But Barak states he will not fight this battle unless Deborah goes with him to the battle. Deborah agrees to go with Barak in Judges 4:8-9. Deborah also prophesies that if she goes with Barak, Barak will not get the glory of defeating the opposing general Sisera but that the glory will go to a woman who will kill the general. Barak is willing to not receive the glory to be sure that he wins the battle. So in fulfillment of the prophecy Sisera, the Canaanite general flees from Barak because the Lord had delivered his armies into the hands of Barak. When Sisera flees providence directs him to the home of Heber the Kenite because there had been peace between Sisera’s king and the house of Heber. When Sisera arrives he meets Jael Heber’s wife and asks for sanctuary. She offers to give him something to drink and to hide him n the tent and if any man comes looking for Sisera Jael was to tell them that she had not seen anyone. After lying down to rest Sisera falls asleep and while he is sleeping Jael kills him by hammering a tent stake through his temples. She thus has the honor of killing the opposing general in the time of Israel’s great tribulation.

The next part of the symbolism of the warrior princess is spoken of in Romans 16:20 “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly…” This text states that God will subdue Satan through the efforts of His church. In Bible symbolism a woman always represents a church. A good woman represents the church of God, and an evil woman the church of Satan. See II Corinthians 11:2; Jeremiah 6:2; Revelation 12; and Revelation 17. God says that He will use His church to win His great war against Satan and even refers to His church as His battle horse. “…for the Lord of hosts hath visited His flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.” Zechariah 10:3

So in the Bible God’s church, symbolized by a woman, is described as a warrior princess, a suitable bride for Jesus. Jesus as the Warrior king, has a bride who is able to fight as well. Thus just as Jake and Neytiri are suitable for each other on several planes, so God and His church are united as husband and wife, and are a warrior couple as well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Avatar’s Tsahik

In the movie Avatar one of the main characters is Moat, Neytiri’s mother. Moat is the Tsahik of the Omaticaya Clan. Moat, as the Tsahik was to monitor and facilitate the will of Eywa – the goddess of Pandora.

Moat is introduced in the movie when Neytiri, in response to the “signs” given by the clustering of the seeds from the holy tree on Jake, brings Jake Sulley in his avatar to the clan home. Moat comes out to investigate hears from Neytiri, the next Tsahik, that Eywa has spoken of and approved of Jake. She conducts a judgment by taking a sample of Jake’s blood to analyze it and to see if there is any treachery being conducted by Jake, and his fellow humans. Not much detail is given as to how and what Moat was judging but the end product was that Jake was granted trainee status and was allowed to become a part of the clan if he could pass the training that Neytiri was commanded to grant him.

Moat is also presented as the one with enough spiritual common sense to release Jake after he is taken a prisoner for confessing to be a spy for the Earthlings. Moat also supervises, and facilitates the attempts to heal Dr. Augustine by transferring her consciousness to her avatar, and conducts the successful transferring of Jake’s consciousness to his avatar, on a permanent basis.

Moat seems to be the High Priestess of the religious activities for her tribe and the spokesperson for Eywa. All religious activities are led by her, and all activities are sanctioned by her as god’s representative. Moat is the spiritual leader of the tribe and even the tribe leader would submit to her decisions since she is the spokesperson for God.

In the Bible women play many roles but none are as forceful as that of Moat. The story of Deborah in Judges 4 probably comes closest to the role of Tsahik. The Bible clearly states that Deborah is a prophetess – a female prophet. She also plays the role of a judge, the final arbiter of legal issues in the nation. She can claim to be the spokesperson for God for that is the role of a prophet, and the Bible states that several women were prophets. But one thing Deborah is not recorded as doing. She does not go into the temple to offer any kind of sacrifices to God. This role seems to be an exclusively male role in the Bible. But the role of spokesperson for the will of God, as a prophetess, seems to be an event that is used frequently.

Two other examples of people being prophetesses would be that of Hulda in II Chronicles 34:19-28. She receives the message from the king of Judah and communicates the will of God to the king. Miriam, Moses’ sister, was also a prophetess and led out in various spiritual activities. Exodus 15:20-21. In the New Testament one of the disciples had daughters who prophesied.

So there are similarities in the Christian religion to the role Moat displayed. God’s ideal was for a man to be the spiritual leader of His people. God wanted Adam to perform this function in the beginning and to have the first born son to be that spiritual leader after Adam. In the time of the Exodus God expanded this role and gave it to the High Priest.

After Israel came to the land of Canaan the role of spiritual leader was altered in an unusual way. The people did not want God to be their spiritual leader, or their king, and they pleaded with God to give them a king just like all of the other nations. They wanted someone that they could physically see and hear and they wanted someone to watch over them in a standard way. In this story God allowed them a king, and the king God chose was King Saul. King Saul fulfilled all of the issues that the people wanted – he was tall, handsome, powerful, big, and had some leadership qualities. But his heart did not stay right with God and he led Israel away from God. God countered King Saul with a King of His own choosing and raised up King David – a leader, and a prophet.

God’s goal was to have a spiritual leader, a prophet, and a priest all mixed into one person. Eventually that Person came and He was Jesus the Son of God. Jesus was the Tsahik, as well as the Toruk Makto, as well as the Clan leader. All of the spiritual issues in the Bible were to lead our minds to the One who fulfilled all of concepts of the Bible. Jesus fulfilled every spiritual model in the Bible. He was not only was king, prophet, priest, and man; Jesus was God in the flesh – the true Avatar.

So in conclusion, Moat gives us some ideas of what God is like in her role as Tsahik. But God wanted a larger picture to be presented. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the son of Mary and Joseph of Nazareth was the true Tsahik.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Avatar- "I can See"

One of the constant metaphorical themes in the movie Avatar is the saying “I can see you”. This is a statement often used in the Na’vi clans as a statement of recognition when greeting each other. Norm, Jake Sully’s Avatar driver co-worker, spent a great deal of time trying to get Jake to see that this statement is not only a greeting but it is a statement of spiritual awareness and emotional sensitivity, toward the person you are “seeing”. “I can see you” is one of those all purpose, multi-level greetings that go as deep as the relationship of the people will allow it to go.

This statement is also a Bible concept. God uses this phrase, this concept, in many different ways as well. God states that when people are in a state of rebellion they cannot “see”, or hear, or understand spiritual things. This statement is made when the disciples come to Jesus and ask Him why it is that He speaks in parables. They are questioning why He does not just come out and say certain things to people? Jesus answers in the following way:

“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Matthew 13:13-15

Jesus, Himself, says that people, who are religious, conservative, state that they want to know the will of God, but they cannot and will not see spiritual things that disagree with their preconceived ideas. Therefore, God Himself has to use special teaching methods to communicate ideas to them in a way that hopefully their preconceptions will not interfere with the truths that need to be heard and then they will turn away from truth before faithfully and honestly evaluating the thought.

God also says that people, in a non-converted state cannot process spiritual thoughts. He says the following:

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which mans wisdom teacheth, but which
the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:13-14

God teaches that when a person is spiritual, having had a conversion experience from a personal relationship with God, then they can hear spiritual truth and then respond logically and reasonably for they have a spiritual understanding of truth. But without this spiritual understanding then spiritual things sound just plain old
foolish. So, for example, Colonel Quaritch could hear the statement “I can see you” and he would evaluate it from the purest form of logic. Yes I can see you physically, or yes my satellites say you are there, but if it came to seeing a spiritual quality, Colonel Quaritch would “see” this as soft and unimportant and thus block off an avenue of awareness that could be helpful.

Probably God’s ultimate statement on the issue of “I can see you” is recorded in the Love Chapter of the Bible in I Corinthians 13. In this chapter God says the following:

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:9-12

God says that when we are in a state of spiritual love – fully in harmony with the mind of God – then we will see things and hear things and will understand many of the things around us.

These concepts especially apply to the movie Avatar. I have talked to many people about the spiritual symbols in the movie. The people look at me blankly and say “I didn’t see any spiritual symbols in the movie.” I am totally impressed with that statement because they didn’t see anything, they saw a movie about blue people on another planet and they saw it as a movie of entertainment. They did not see the spiritual principles. They did not see the potential for truth or error, they just saw a movie.

On the bright side of the picture, when I shared with them some of the observations I had on the movie, a little light began to dawn on them. They said “Really, I didn’t see any of that by myself, but now that you mention it, there could be some ideas like that. I think I will look at it again and maybe I will see something.” This is one of the major principles of the Bible, one shares thoughts with another and then if they are willing they may go back and look again. Then they may be able to share with God “I can see you.” If that happens to even one person, it will be well worth all of the time of writing to allow someone else to see God, and His truth, in a movie like Avatar.