God’s Kingdom Versus Transformers
By Dr. Brad Cole
We recently had the unenviable “opportunity” to watch Transformers 3, a movie that Roger Ebert gave one star and described as “a visually ugly film with an incoherent plot, wooden characters and inane dialog. It provided me with one of the more unpleasant experiences I’ve had at the movies.” For us, however, the movie served as a reminder of how different God’s kingdom is from any kingdom of the world.
At the very end of the movie, the “hero” Optimus Prime has the inevitable showdown battle with the deceiver, Sentinal Prime. Sparing the details, the fight ends with Sentinal lying on the ground pleading for mercy. Optimus refuses to listen and shoots him in the back of the head – execution style.
Problem solved, wild applause from the audience, THE END.
This is the basic formula used for most action movies. A villain uses treachery to gain power, rules with cruelty and an iron fist, and then is defeated by a humble, underdog hero. The theological point of all this is to consider a basic question: by what means do the heroes in popular movies defeat the villain? In virtually every case, it is through violent methods using weapons that range from swords and guns to light sabers and phasers. With only slight variation in terms of plot, this is the only option available to the good guys.
It seems that we have been brainwashed by everything from real world history to fantasy movies to believe that this is the only way to defeat a violent enemy.
God’s kingdom, however, is nothing like this.
God’s kingdom looks entirely different.
Unlike the heroes in action movies, God is not an underdog who is slightly outmatched by his Adversary in the power arena. God has all the power and could vanquish all evil forces with a thought. Yet his means of defeating the ultimate enemy was not through violent means. His weapon was unthinkable: to become a baby, humbly serve, and finally to lay down his life instead of using his power to eliminate the enemy.
We need to take another look at God’s kingdom as revealed by Jesus and to discover that the power of his kingdom is not in the arena of bright lights, muscle, “wind, earthquake and fire.”
“Everyone has become a captive of a fateful illusion that believes itself able to drive out evil by force. In this world where we everywhere marshal force against force, we must learn that force at best may succeed in containing a few manifestations of evil, but it can never conquer or eliminate evil. On the contrary, the force with which we fight evil has mainly the consequence that we ourselves become the victims of evil. As we resort to force against others, evil attacks us from behind and makes us evil ourselves.” – Helmut Gollwitzer