When I was in Middle School I was obsessed with Battlestar Galactica. When my friends and I would have slumber parties we would dye mashed potatoes green and call them “mushies”. In 8th grade art when we did metal casting I made Captain’s clusters and one of my oil paintings was a viper.
I thought that all the religious symbolism was cool. The twelve tribes paralleled the 12 tribes of Israel. I greatly enjoyed the reboot, even if it couldn’t hold a candle to my childhood fixation. They also dealt with deeply religious issues. It was Adama’s faith that led them through the dark toward what they hoped would be a new home. It was like Moses leading the Israelites through the wilderness to the promised land. The Bible is full of stories of God’s people trusting that God will get them out of the trouble that they have gotten themselves into.
In neither version of the series did they get what they wanted in the end. The original ended with Battlestar Galactica 1980. Which in-and-of itself was horrible. But when they got to Earth we were not advanced enough to help them. It was even worse in the second series. We had destroyed ourselves and they found only a dead world. So what does that say about faith and hope?
In the second series there is a discussion between number 6 and Baltar. Number 6 begins “Commercialism, decadence, technology run amok… Remind you of anything?” Baltar reflects that humanity always brings about their own doom, back in the colonies and even here on earth. They debate whether it can be different this time. Can humanity start over without destroying itself? Oddly enough it is number 6 who believes that it can. I don’t know whether it is because the Cylons actually had deeper faith at that point in the series or because she believed in infinite possibilities. But it makes you think.
Human society does seem bent on self-destruction. All you have to do is watch the news. So where do we find faith to get past our own destructive natures? How do we find hope that it can come out different?
As a Christian and a good Calvinist, I believe in total depravity. We are all sinful. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In Romans 7:19 Paul Puts it this way, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” On our own we would probably wind up completely destroying the earth. We aren’t all that far from doing that today. Our hope comes in the fact that we are not on our own. Paul goes on to explain that it is Jesus that sets us free from sin and death.
It is only in giving our lives to Jesus and following him that we start overcoming our sinful nature. Our trust in Jesus allows us to choose to do good. Following Jesus reminds us to look out for our neighbors and treat others as we want to be treated.
In my years as a youth pastor the youth were always begging me to do Bible studies on the book of Revelation. It was as close to Horror as you can get in the Bible. It is creepy and weird and more than a little scary. But those who look at the prophecies in the book of Revelation and see doom and despair don’t understand it. It was written as a letter of hope to a crushed and downtrodden people.
Like the scriptures that Adama followed and trusted to lead the “rag tag fugitive fleet to Earth” the book of Revelation gives hope that sinful humanity isn’t going to get the last word. Yep, human nature is going to be bent on destroying creation up until the end. But this is God’s creation. Jesus will come back and rescue it from our inept hands. The scary predictions and condemnations aren’t for the people who trust God. It is a word of Justice for those who have been stepped on and persecuted and forgotten. When you watch the news and see the horrible evil going on, those are those metaphorical monsters. When Christ returns he will be battling racism, sexism, violence, injustice. The things that are destroying our world and our humanity will be stopped.
That is good news! The Kingdom is coming and some day everything will be put back the way God intended it to be. That doesn’t mean that we should just sit back and wait. Jesus also proclaimed that the Kingdom is at hand. As people of faith we are to do our best to bring the kingdom about here and now. We are called to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. As Paul said, no matter how much we want to, we are going to fail sometimes. We do what we don’t want to do. But with Christ’s help we can do our best day to day. With confidence we know that justice will not completely depend on our success. Justice, goodness, and peace are the ends that Jesus will bring. We just need to keep our eyes on our heavenly goal.
So say we all!