Klaatu’s Ark

I finally watched the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connoley, and of course GORT.

The allusions to the story of Noah and the ark were explicit, but I wonder how many who are familiar with both stories will really think about both the similarities and differences.

For one thing, it seems that a super-intelligent, powerful alien may well be the closest we can come, in the context of our own worldview, to the ancient views of God that are the heritage not only of ancient Greece, or Rome, or India, but also ancient Israel. The movie’s aliens are united, a closer parallel to ancient Israel’s stories than ancient Babylon’s, for example. But the similarities are there: a paternalistic caretaker, concerned for all creation, who comes to carry out judgment against humanity’s ethical failings. And like the theology of the Jewish Scriptures (in contrast with modern Christianity’s most common emphases), these matters must be resolved in present history rather than an afterlife, and while the dead do not rise, they do live on through their offspring.

If people really want to see a deity that is like a person but greater, whose mind can be changed, one who (to echo Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) “has need of a space ship”, then perhaps astronomy is the best path. But while some who seek God are looking for such a being, others are looking for the One, the “God beyond God”.

There are also echoes in The Day The Earth Stood Still of Christian ideas, such as when Klaatu comes down to Earth, taking on human flesh to dwell among us.

So, as a new year begins, both the seeking after God and the denial of the existence of God will continue. But as always, it depends what sort of a God you are looking for or denying. And for those who define God in terms of ultimate transcendence and infinity, by definition such a God will never be “found” but will always be an object of seeking. Perhaps the key difference between worldviews is not whether the quest to know just a little more about the reality that transcends and encompasses us, but whether such knowledge comes via the scientific method, reason, meditation, study of ancient texts or modern ones, or by the wise use of any and all methods at our disposal.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03449188541044487588 Hugh

    ‘ So, as a new year begins, both the seeking after God and the denial of the existence of God will continue. But as always, it depends what sort of a God you are looking for or denying. And for those who define God in terms of ultimate transcendence and infinity, by definition such a God will never be “found” but will always be an object of seeking. ‘Perhaps the key difference between worldviews is not whether the quest to know just a little more about the reality that transcends and encompasses us, but whether such knowledge comes via the scientific method, reason, meditation, study of ancient texts or modern ones, or by the wise use of any and all methods at our disposal’As usual … right on the mark ( or should that be .. on the matthew :) )Happy New Year James … I take it that you still celebrate this ancient Christian fectival :) Cheers …

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03449188541044487588 Hugh

    Oh ..and just as a little addendum to my previous post . Adrian Worsfold has a beautifully amusing piece concerning NT Wrights latest sermon to his flock . I know Adrian deals with mostly UK Anglican matters but this broaches on you’re recent themes of biblical interpretation . Plus , Adrians wit is sublime :) . Just in case you haven’t caught this , it’s at ..http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/12/drum-says-liberalism-is-to-blame-for.htmlI love these bits …’If you look very deeply deeply into the text like I do, then it can suggest all manner of things, and so I select from it what I and the hermit Newtich want, and then use it to bash the Enlightenment, the theological modernists and the Government. You see, a lifetime of looking at this and shaking off my abusers clearly brings out the deep Jewish meaning that I can claim means something in Christianity, a religion Jesus never intended to start unless I can ask my hermit Newtich how we can swivel things around to mean what they never did.”Can you not hear that noise in my ear? Well Word, Wisdom, Law, Temple; and the fifth one is the Spirit, he said, quoting from a time when these concepts meant anything in particular. And so it came to John, not any old John or the John, and certainly not what Americans understand by the John, and we shall deal with them later, but the John who says: ‘The Word became flesh and tickled us”Cheers ..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04570106602777322387 The Celtic Chimp

    James, We will use any and all methods available to us? How about phoning up a psychic? Some methods are just plain useless when trying to asertain the truth. Wild musings about unprovable entities never has and never will expand our knowledge or contribuate anything to finding the truth. Through our materialist examination of the universe we have discovered much about ourselves, our nature and our world. Is it really so terrible that this might be all there is? Is the amazing world we find ourselves in just not enough?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Well, I did specify wise use, and presumably the wise way to “use” a method of prognostication that is accurate at the rate of chance (or worse) is to ignore it, unless someone comes up with a way to improve or refine it?

  • http://www.saint-petersburghotels.com/ Saint-Petersburg Hotels

    Fantastic story of Klaatus Ark.it seems that a super-intelligent, powerful alien may well be the closest we can come, in the context of our own worldview, to the ancient views of God that are the heritage not only of ancient Greece, or Rome, or India, but also ancient Israel. The movie's aliens are united, a closer parallel to ancient Israel's stories than ancient Babylon's, for example. But the similarities are there:


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