I’m sort of a nerd. I haven’t always been that way. I grew into it. I’m not ashamed of the fact.
I have always enjoyed movies. But when I was younger I didn’t care much for black & white films. I was entirely disinterested in Science Fiction.
I actually laughed at my dad when I caught him watching Star Trek in the living room. Not anymore. No sir. Not anymore.
Today I enjoy reading theology books and contemplating the mysteries of the universe. When I want to wind down and detach from the world a bit, I watch a sci-fi film. I like to feel like I’ve entered another dimension of reality. It’s therapeutic and stimulating all at once. I told you I’m a nerd.
I have especially grown to love Rod Serling’s TV episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959-64). There are so many theological and ethical messages that are nicely illustrated in the original series.
The original Star Trek episodes are of the same sci-fi strata.
In the future, I’m gonna use some old sci-fi to help us rethink God in Christ.
I’ll begin with the last five minutes of “It’s a Good Life” (season 3, episode 8) from The Twilight Zone.
A little boy named Anthony has divine powers that are wreaking havoc on everyone in his world. He does some really bizarre things. The neighbors witness him create a three-headed gopher and kill it because he can. When he gets angry at people for the slightest reason, he makes them disappear.
He even turns someone into a jack-in-the-box before sending them to the “corn field” never to be seen again. Right before he makes it snow on the crops in the middle of summer, destroying the harvest.
Anthony doesn’t even allow people to think bad thoughts about him. So his parents and neighbors all try to convince each other that Anthony is really good after all. They dare not question the justice of Anthony, or else.
He can do it because he’s Anthony. And it’s The Twilight Zone.
I think this episode epitomizes the idea of some really bad pop-views about what God is like. Some call it Calvinism. I call it The Twilight Zone God.
Don’t you think it’s time for someone to knock some bad theology over the head? Isn’t it time that we seriously consider how Christ is the full revelation of God? Let’s say “No” to The Twilight Zone God.
D.D. Flowers, 2013.
* This post inspired Greg Boyd’s message: Escaping the Twilight Zone God.