The Source Code Eschatology (part 2)

Posted: September 28, 2011 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

By Matheus Santos

Yesterday we began to discuss this remarkable movie.

If we dig further down deep, even using a little of our imagination, we will see that the movie borrows biblical imagery to present some important components in the plot. Various parallels can be drawn between the Trinity and the three main characters (Stevens, Goodwin, and Dr. Rutledge) who are involved in the decision-making process of interfering in an appointed moment of the physical chronos in order to save  the lives of some people. The “Trinitarian” decision and how they exercise their “sovereign plan” in the movie is not the exact analogy I’m looking for here (especially because they don’t follow the same criteria of what the Bible presents regarding the doctrine of Trinity, though we should recognize there are some suggestions that their jobs permit them to control, with some limitation, some events in the major chronological timeline in a way that only an almighty God could do). Besides, this theme is too big of a discussion for this space, and certainly not our main focus here.

However, my guess (and I think it is plausible) is that the movie depicts, even though in a smaller and somewhat imperfect scale, the role of the Father, Son, and Spirit in accomplishing redemption. Despite the fact that each on the characters is doing something different, all three have a common aim, which is executed through the sending of the “Son,” played by Stevens, who has to go to a realm which is not the reality where he lives primarily, who follows the order of his “Father,” played by the commanding figure of Dr. Rutledge. (I don’t have an immediate connection for Goodwin as a representation of the Holy Spirit in this dynamic, but I’m open to further investigation). In many other senses, the film employs a Trinitarian cadence as it describes the work of the trio throughout the different source codes; despite each person’s distinct function, they are of equal mind toward a common goal: saving lives. Rutledge plans, direct, and sends; Colter is sent by Rutledge and is subject to his authority and obedient to his will (or, at least, attempts to be in the plot), and Goodwin carries out the will of Rutledge by orienting Colter in his role. Coincidence or not, this dynamic greatly resembles the uniform pattern of Scriptures concerning the differences in roles between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father planned redemption and sent the Son into the world. The Son obeyed the Father and accomplished redemption for us. The Father didn’t come to die for our sins, nor did the Holy Spirit, but that was the role of the Son. This pattern can be seen in many biblical testimonies (John 3:16; 4:34, 5:19, 6:38, 14:26, Rom. 8:29, Gal. 4:4, Eph. 1:3-5, Heb. 1:3, 10:5-7). The biblical doctrine of Trinity affirms that the Trinity makes the atonement possible. Redemption of man is accomplished through the distinct and unified activity of each person of the Godhead (cf., Heb. 9:14). We should point out, however, that in the Trinitarian work there is no disagreement of intentions, as there is in the film; and of course, God the Father does not have disregard for the Son’s life as in the film, nor sees him as merely a means to an end.

I also think it is crucial to acknowledge an eschatological aspect of redemption and consummation very evident in the movie. At this point, Captain Stevens’ typological representation of Christ as a Savior fits a little bit better in the spot, at least in part. Although Captain Stevens is not sent to the train to bear the penalty for the passengers’ sins and die in their place in the likeness of Jesus, a saving purpose is denoted to his character and defines the mission of his transition between the two worlds.  For Dr. Rutledge, the death of the people in the train was an inevitable fact (in this matter, the mad scientist doesn’t resemble at all the God who knows everything), but Colter’s actions revert a picture in which the  people’s death was certain (not necessarily deserved). More important to the understanding of the movie’s complex quantum reality scheme is that his saving acts can bring ultimate reality change to the final destination of the lives in the train, against all the theories and mathematical calculations defended by Dr. Rutledge. The restoration of life and concrete hope of life after unquestionable, certain death definitely are themes that are thought through the storyline. In a biblical perspective, Christ’s full work perfectly accomplishes God’s will, but differently from Captain Colter Stevens, Jesus’ experience on the cross is beyond our comprehension. His victorious resurrection and exaltation represents a pattern that will someday be reproduced (and partially reproduced already) in those who believe in him. Because of the resurrection, the Christian has great hope that generates confidence in all circumstances. Because of his ascension we know about the permanence of resurrection, leading the way for the assurance of everlasting resurrection to a place specially prepared by Jesus himself, a place for all the elect and redeemed people of God (John 14:2-3).

Honestly, I do believe that Source Code has a very unique voice and style in a genre that can be quite cold sometimes because it is plot-driven and technical. Furthermore, as Vera Farmiga says in an interview in the movie making-of: “What is so great about this movie’s storytelling type is the depth to which the characters’ psyches are explored.” The audience has the chance to live with Colter Stevens, discovering the movie from the very opening scene when nobody has a clue of what’s going on. It’s pretty intense! Thematically and visually, Source Code speaks to a new generation of directors and producers who have developed a new language that departs from the traditional Sci-fi method to a more elaborated style that embraces flavors of romance, mind-bending action, and philosophical/existential investigation. A great deal of investment in special effects will also be found in this motion picture, making the whole fun much more entertaining and drawing us along with the action scenes.

I hope you enjoy Source Code as much as I did. May you watch, read, discern, and analyze whatever appears to you with a Christ-centered mind, and biblical-oriented eyes.

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  2. DustyOldTrail says:

    I didn’t understand all of those words but I feel smarter for trying. Thank you for the review, I hardly ever view the Trinity when I try and break down movies (ok so this is the first tim). It’s definitely an aspect I’d like to explore more.

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