Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’

81st Academy Awards¨ Press Kit ImagesMost of us are familiar with the story of Aaron creating a golden calf for the people of Israel to worship. Aaron apparently made the calf by mistake – “I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf'” [Ex. 32:24]. Hollywood, however, has taken Arron’s lead and forged a golden statue of their own and given it the name ‘Oscar’. This little golden statue represents joy, sorrow, jealousy, anger, covetousness, and just about any emotion imaginable for Hollywood stars and starlets.

Even though I can’t remember the article or publication, I can remember reading Matt Damon’s reflections on his Oscar aspirations. He took a role in Courage Under Fire, which required him to lose a great deal of weight. Without the assistance of a personal trainer (he didn’t have extra cash because he wasn’t the powerhouse he is now), the pounds began to come off. He successfully lost a significant amount of weight, but the film and his acting didn’t get the recognition he hoped for. Plus, he saw a doctor after all the weight loss and he was informed that this rapid decrease in weight almost cost him his life.

It wasn’t until many years later that Damon won an Oscar for Screenplay in his 1997 Best Picture nominated film, Good Will Hunting. Even though I cannot recall his exact words, Damon states that his name was called out, he went onstage, received his little golden man and thought, Is this it? Is this what I’ve been longing for? Is this little golden statue what I almost gave my life for?

I don’t think Matt Damon is a Christian, but I honestly don’t know enough about his personal life to say one way or the other. However, he is illustrating the idolatry that we know is present in each of our hearts. Even though we may not be longing for an Oscar, we have our lists of little golden men. Maybe they come in the form of a new car, a bigger salary, a slimmer waistline, more vacations, or [fill-in-the-blank]. I’m not picking on Damon, because I really enjoy his films and he is like the rest of humanity. Plus, I’m glad that he saw the emptiness of his idol and I pray that he follows after the only One who is able to fill the void in his heart.

In just a few more days, many more golden statues will be passed out to Hollywood hopefuls. Maybe you’ll be cheering alongside these actors, actresses, and filmmakers with a similar desire for them to win. Maybe you won’t even tune in to see who takes home the prize.

Whether or not you care I think it is an important event for Christians to take note of, because it is a window into the heart of our culture. Whether we like to admit it or not, Hollywood wields a great deal of power. Actors and actresses have influence. And, on Oscar night, we get to see which films they think are noteworthy. They let us in on what they consider to be worthy art. We so often want to know what messages are being communicated through film and what truths resonate with this culture. Well, Oscar night takes much of what Hollywood holds dear to their heart and displays if for all to survey.

So go ahead and tune into the Oscars with a watchful eye. Learn a little bit about the culture we live in. And, see if it grants you greater opportunities to bring the Truth to bear in this, often, dark sphere of our culture.

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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.”