Yes, I admit it, I watched the Thunderbirds movie recently on television. I know it’s been out for several years, but that was my first opportunity to see it. Good clean fun — something of a rarity in today’s smut-ridden, foul-mouthed cinema. And, for a change, a good modern adaptation of a classic. (I am old enough to have watched the first run of the original television series.) The technological update was convincing, at least superficially — I’ll leave the Physics of Star Trek boys to pronounce definitively.
There was plenty of subtle humour which poked a little fun at the original series. But then if you can’t laugh at yourself, you aren’t really a complete human being. (I should know, I’m Irish.) And, of course, it is complete fantasy, so the characters are larger than life — and that’s as it should be.
But, fantasy or no, like all stories it has its own theology, philosophy, or worldview. It was refreshing to see evil in the midst of the Garden. Not that I find evil refreshing or ultimately attractive, but it’s not often Hollywood tells us we are bad at heart. But, then, again, that wasn’t really the message. Alan had his flaws. He was susceptible to the lure of the Hood. But ultimately good triumphed over evil and Alan redeemed himself by sheer force of will. And flawed Alan saved the evil Hood, though it definitely was a struggle. And in saving the Hood he ultimately saved all of the world.
Stirring stuff. A real ripping yarn. But flawed theology.
True, there is evil in Paradise. There is a tempter. And we can succumb to temptation and evil. But it’s not just the odd person who is susceptible. We all are susceptible, and all have succumbed. All we like sheep have gone astray and turned every one to his own way. (Isaiah 53:6)
As for saving ourselves? Forget it. It’s not mission impossible, it is impossible. None of us is good enough to pay the price of sin, he only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in (as Mrs Alexander put it). Our situation is not so precarious we need International Rescue — it is beyond even them. We need divine rescue. But when that divine rescue was being accomplished there were no awestruck crowds at the scene, or enthusiastic school boys crowded round the television. There was no applause when the rescue was finished.
Sure, there were crowds — it was a spectacle. But there were no cheers, just jeers. And as they echo down through the centuries, instead of dying echoes they are swelled by millions more. We just don’t want to be rescued. We can do it ourselves, if we feel we need it at all. But, frankly we’re not that bad. We have our weaknesses — that’s just being human. But rescue? We’re well short of needing that,
The truth, however, is we are well short — well short of God’s glory, his absolute standard of holiness. And help is available through trusting in Jesus Christ, God’s divine rescuer. Would that we would all come to repentance. It’s only then that life begins, the life that is life indeed.