On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we fight the MUTO from Hawaii to San Francisco as we look for Christian themes in Legendary’s GODZILLA. What can we learn from Ford’s change to a missional heart? That we should just let go and let God…zilla? All that and more in 3…2…1!
Let Go and Let God…zilla!
After Godzilla first confronts the MUTO in Hawaii, the Humans have realized that if they are going to have any input as to how this battle is going to end, they’re going to have to use brute, nuclear force. This decision is made much to the dismay of the doctors on boards; Dr. Serizawa even suggests out loud that the armed forces lay off the trigger. They don’t listen, of course, and the results destroy a portion of San Francisco. Once the Humans decide to let Godzilla do his thing, the conflict is resolved: the MUTOs are defeated, and Godzilla is hailed as a hero by both the armed and civilian populations.
To put it to a cliché, the Humans had to let go and let God…zilla. That is, they had to quit trying to control the situation by force, step aside, and let Godzilla do what he was born (created) to do. We liken it to the famous Proverb:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The Military represents Man’s Own Understanding, and Godzilla is the object that surpasses that Understanding – thus forcing the Humans to have faith that Godzilla is actually there to help them. Just like it, whenever we are faced with something more advanced than us, we have to step aside with our own understanding and let God lay down the path for us and be a light to our feet. Then and only then can we walk forward in spirit and in truth.
Scripture is thick with times when God stated, argued, and demonstrated how much He is beyond our comprehension. Through the prophet Isaiah, He states that, just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways and thoughts are superior to ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). When He finally argues with Job, He uses monstrous creatures like the Behemoth and the Leviathan to prove His point of being our superior (Job 41). Finally, He demonstrates His eminence by constructing a lifestyle contrary to the natural order; whereas the world tells us to live out of self-actualization, He tells us to deny ourselves and love others.
Think of that next time someone brings up moral relativism – like when discussing the main message in the film Into the Woods. It takes being faced with the reality of something completely Other that should shake us humans out of any sympathy toward the belief of Moral Relativism.
(Michael and I actually have a decent discussion on the message of Into the Woods at the beginning of the show. Be sure to check it out and let us with whom you agree, because bragging rights.)
Ford’s Change to a Missional Heart
In the beginning of Godzilla, Joe Brody has a mission: to find out what this as-of-yet unexplained phenomenon is (it later turns out to be Godzilla himself) and save humanity from it if it is a danger. He wants his son Ford to join in this mission but is unable to convince him to join while he is alive. in fact, fifteen years pass, and Ford has already started his own family when Joe is arrested for trespassing on the quarantine zone / his former work site. It isn’t until Joe’s death that Ford is finally ready to join in the mission his father started. His father’s death is what changes Ford’s heart from a legalistic one to a missional one.
Being a part of the missional movement, in fact, means to live as if a part of God’s story and mission, not just as if we’ve been given a set of rules that we have to follow until kingdom come. Jesus sets it up nicely in the short parable of the two sons in Matthew:
What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ʻSon, go and work in the vineyard today.ʼ The boy answered, ʻI will not.ʼ But later he had a change of heart and went. The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ʻI will, sir,ʼ but did not go. Which of the two did his fatherʼs will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God!For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe. Although you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.
Just as Joe has set up a mission / story / way for us to go with an ending in sight, God has done the same for us in that He’s established His plan for the world. And just as Joe wants Ford to participate in his mission in solving this mystery of the Kaiju, God wants us to join Him in saving the world from sin and death. But a lot of us are like Ford in that, where we initially may have said, “No,” we’ve had a change of heart and acted in favor of the mission. Of course, now that we’ve made that change, it’s our job to help other have that change, too.
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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
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