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:
- His nickname in school was “Theta Sigma” – the nomina sacra abbreviation for the Greek word theos, “God,” in early Christian manuscripts.
- He was involved in the big bang, the spark that gave rise to life on earth, and more recently, in the defeat of Satan.
- The prophecy about the Face of Boe has him revealing his secret to “a lonely god” who turns out to be the Doctor.
- 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?”
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?