Doctor Who: Is That The Question? Is It The Answer?

There have been a lot of hints down the years that the Doctor is in some sense God or a god in the minds of the writers and producers. Here are just a few reminders:

  1. His nickname in school was “Theta Sigma” – the nomina sacra abbreviation for the Greek word theos, “God,” in early Christian manuscripts.
  2. He was involved in the big bang, the spark that gave rise to life on earth, and more recently, in the defeat of Satan.
  3. The prophecy about the Face of Boe has him revealing his secret to “a lonely god” who turns out to be the Doctor.
  4. The Doctor intervenes in history to save, correct, and do what can be done to make things better. He sometimes intervenes in seemingly miraculous fashion, but more often simply plays the role of inspiring people to help themselves.

As the episode “Let’s Kill Hitler” brought religion to the fore to perhaps the greatest extent in the show’s history, making the Doctor’s current chief nemesis (the Silence) a religious order, there is a lot to think about. We have been told that they are trying to answer the oldest question in the universe. But what is that question? Although I like Joel Watts’ suggestion that the oldest question in the universe is “Are we there yet?”, I am guessing that it may turn out to be something more along the lines of “Where did we come from?”, “Who made us?” or “Why are we here?” Or, in more overtly religious terms, “Who or what is God?”

If so, and if the hints at the religious vision of the show that I mentioned earlier are correct, then the stage is set for the Silence to discover (and bring about their own downfall in the process) that the answer to their question will turn out to be the one that they have been trying to kill.

Unlike Rory’s response to ending up miniaturized inside a robot version of his wife, I think we definitely should try to think of this as a metaphor. How often do the quests for ultimate knowledge, whether through religion or through science, end up fighting against that which, or the one who, turns out to be the answer to the question we were seeking to answer in the first place?

  • Angievandemerwe

    YES! Humans seek to understand their environment by making hypothesis, these were the stories that formed religious traditions, or superstitions about the natural world, and people and their behaviors.

    So, who is answered in “God” as the Sun-God, polytheism, and then montheism, before we have come to understand physical laws that govern nature. This was the “ordered liberty” of our Founding Fathers, and their vision and leadership was understood as “God’s Providence”.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PJ6PZMYZVJL4CGQBUYBVMQSDPQ james Harrison

    If MASH had gone on as long as Doctor Who, Hawkeye would have begun to appear as a god figure. Narrative exhaustion.

  • K3vinreesor

    It’s the very anakin skywalker/republic/commentary on extremism trope — becoming the very thing you sought to destroy.

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  • http://morphed2fly.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    Of course the question IS the answer…Who’s the Doctor….this will certainly make the silence…well…scream!

  • Bec

    Maybe Creation and the Big Bang was the result of some blunder on the Doctor’s part? Maybe knowing he did it will reveal his role and undo some terribly complicated bandaid solution he had put in place to stop time and space imploding?

  • Dropkickem

    Did you forget about the fact that The Doctor is ‘A’ Time Lord”? that there were many time lords at one time, but he is the last one. So he is a god but there is no indication that he is “thee God”. or for that matter that there is any one almighty god in the series. at least from what i have seen, tho i wonder what exactly river song is… does anyone know? a human with a (as amy put it) time head? Also river accuses the doctor of having a god complex in the episode the god complex, now, river would know if he was thee god right? and you cant have a god complex if you are god. furthermore if he we’re god he could not die at all ever. he also couldn’t , i almost forgot, what’s rule number one? The Doctor Lies. 

    Doctor Who.? Is the Question and the answer….

    • Booboo 69

      Well if he’s NOT God coz he lies then maybe we should be thinking of He Who Lies, i.e. the other one? The Doctor doesn’t create anything, he’s destroyed his entire civilisation and he tempts people into situtaions that make them compromise there principles. They kill and they often must make impossible choices. As Rory put it, that’s just what the Doctor does, people do stupid dangerous things when they are with him.
      I don’t actually think he’s the Devil. He’s not evil just self-centred. He’s more like an angel, in the same image as humans but different. He’s so long-lived that he’s effectively immortal with the concommitant detachment that goes with watching short-lives age and die. Without humans he loses his humanity but, as Amy put it, we are like pets. He needs that from his companions but it still doesn’t make him human. He’s selfish, swanning around amusing himself throughout time, taking companions for company…which begs the question could he ever really love? He couldn’t love Rose because she would die. River could have been his match except she has sacrificed all her regenerations, but then he already know how she would die (Silence in the Library). When she was about to die she says “that means you knew how this would end all along”.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    It wasn’t River who made reference to the Doctor’s “God complex.” It came, rather appropruately, from the lips of a Muslim worshiper of the God, in an episode which also asked the question who or what time lords pray to.

  • Booboo 69

    If the Doctor is Theta Sigma what about Omega? Omega is one of the founding fathers of Time Lord civilisation along with Rassilon and the Other (the Triumvurate). They have something of demigod status amongst the Time Lords although Rassilon is the only surviving member. If you Wiki Omega and follow the link for the Other it states that the Other committed suicide by throwing himself into the Looms and was later incarnated as the Doctor.

    The Triumvurate created the Eye of Time that provided the power to travel through time by creating a black hole. In the process Omega was sucked into the black hole and was trapped in a parallel anti-matter universe. Trapped in exile he went insane and is bent on retribution against the Time Lords for abandoning him. He has twice tried to escape, first by trying to trick the Doctor into trading places and second by trying the create a “matter” body for himself from the Doctor’s DNA. Both times was thwarted by the Doctor. Omega is a liar and a trickster so if anyone was going to be the Devil it would be him. There is also the metaphor of an anti-matter Hell although Omega’s exile there was not a punishment but an accident. Interestingly, the omega symbol is also on the banners hanging down behind the headless monks in A Good Man Goes To War.

  • Booboo 69

    Anyone else notice the analogy of River Song to Jesus?
    1. First there’s the question over her conception – is Rory her father or was it Dr Who (God). The idea that Dr Who could be her father by the usual biological means was ruled out but that does not rule out the supernatural. I had a theory that the Silence had abducted Amy and spliced the Doctor’s DNA into River’s DNA (there’s the reference to cremating the Doctor’s body so that noone can steal his DNA and the manipulation of foetuses also goes with the whole alien abduction myth which Steven Moffat has exploited in creation of the Silence). Abducting Amy and creating a GM baby could therefore be analogous to the visitation of the Angel.

    2. Her sacrifice at the end to save all those souls from Pergatory and then being granted Eternal Life, taking her place in Paradise surrounded by her disciples.

    I guess the bit in-between isn’t so Jesus-like though with all that blatant disregard for life. She also lies and steals and is sexual promiscuous so I guess the analogy ends there! 


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