I Am Legend and the Riddle of Sin

Posted: October 25, 2011 by jperritt in Action, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
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Through the years Will Smith has put out some very entertaining movies. His first big budget film (which made him a summer movie action star) was Independence Day. That movie came out on my birthday, so we got a big group together and watched that film – it was amazing!

Men in Black I & II (MIB III is set to be released in 2012), i,Robot, and Bad Boys I & II have also been some of the big budget films Smith has attached his name to. I have enjoyed most of these, so I was expecting to see the typical big-budget-Smith-film filled with his one liners – “Welcome to earth!” (After punching an alien in the face) – when I purchased my ticket for I Am Legend. However, there was a little something different about this big-budget-Smith-film.

Yes Legend did have a big budget ($150 million to be exact), but there was a deeper layer to this film that made it somewhat atypical to the box-office blockbuster we are accustomed to.

[SPOILERS: You can skip this paragraph and go to the next, which doesn’t give away key plot developments] For starters, all of the parallels to light and darkness – a clear theme in Scripture – are clearly communicated throughout I Am Legend. The creatures in the film are actually humans that have been infected with something, which makes them love the darkness – those creatures parallel sinful mankind. Blood is the cure for the virus and one man gives his life to save mankind…hmmm…sound familiar? Not to mention the title of the film I Am Legend – God calls himself ‘I Am’ in Exodus 3:14. The film also ends with the awesome Bob Marley song entitled Redemption Song.

These are just a few of the themes, there are many more that are clearly pointing us to Scripture. One interesting line I wanted to point out in this post is a statement Dr. Neville (Smith) makes in reference to the spread of the virus, “God didn’t do this. We did!” Our gut reaction to this statement, may be an objection because we know that God rules and reigns over all things. However, applying this to our sin, which is represented by the virus, this is a correct statement.

In our understanding of the doctrine of sin, we know God DID NOT create sin. God created Adam and Eve posse peccare – able to sin/able not to sin. They both rebelled and sinned against God. Prior to this, however, there was another fall, that is, the fall of the angels. We do not know much about this from Scripture, there are some references to it (see 2 Peter 2:4 & Jude, also the existence of the serpent in the garden implies there was an earlier fall). Although we don’t know much about this, we know the fall of the angels was similar to mankind’s fall in that rebellion was at its core.

Some people argue with the notion that, God created all things [mankind & angels] therefore by implication, he is the author of sin, but this is incorrect. While I say (along Herman Bavinck) that sin remains a riddle, we would be completely wrong to say that God created sin, for many reasons, one of those being that this would completely go against his character. God is a holy and good God, and because of this he hates sin. Therefore, there is nothing in his being that would give him a desire to create sin.

While he is not the author of sin, we would also be wrong to say that the origin of sin caught God of guard. Augustine put it this way, “The works of the Lord are great, well-considered in all his acts of will” – that in a strange and ineffable fashion even that which is done against his will is not done without his will.” And since I’m quoting, let me do it once more. Anthony Hoekema sums things up well:

Sin is therefore against God’s will but never outside of or beyond God’s will. God permitted the Fall to occur because in his omnipotence he could bring good even out of evil. But the fact that man’s sin does not occur outside of the will of God neither excuses nor explains it. Sin will always remain a riddle.

Even though God did not create sin he did give us a cure, but we (and those in I Am Legend) chose to pursue another cure – a man-made cure. By doing so, this caused a deeper, darker virus to become more widespread, which caused people to hate the light. We, quite often, choose many others ways to cure us of our sin, but they end up causing us more pain and frustration.

I’ve heard many people say that we all struggle from gospel amnesia, which is true. We forget that our ultimate cure for every pain in life is the good news of Jesus Christ. We look to money, possessions, friendships, status, job security, 401K, and endless other things to cure our dark hearts, but none of these ‘cures’ will last. The only Cure for our dark heart is the Light of the world and we are reminded of this in the last line of the film which says, “Light up the darkness.”

  1. […] I took into that film for my initial viewing.  I’ve written other posts on this film here and here, so check those out if you want a little more depth.  Today I’m simply musing […]

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