Eschatology

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Star Wars made $50 million on its first day breaking a record. Not surprising. Good reviews, good word of mouth, eager expectation to finally settle the transition from one trilogy to the next all make for success.

It got me to thinking. I was wondering why even though this is the darkest of the movies it will also be the most succesful. Part of me mourned that we as a society like darkness better than light, and are more eager to see sadness than joy.

Then I changed my mind. The fact is that Revenge of the Sith illustrates one of the most brilliant aspects of Christian theology. This movie is great because it not only has a mythology, it depends on an eschatology, a doctrine of “last things”.

We already know the end, and that makes watching the middle more exciting. We know Palpatine will be killed by Anakin, and so we watch Palpatine’s seduction of Anakin with sadness, and with a knowing hope. Things do not get better after this movie. Worlds are destroyed, the wookies are enslaved, a moon becomes a destroyer of worlds, is itself destroyed and rebuilt. Fear takes hold. Between this movie and the next, the galaxy is mired in ruthless dictatorship, where evil becomes the good.

But, there’s the end. And we know the end. We shouldn’t be afraid, we shouldn’t give up hope, we shouldn’t abandon our lives. We should not look around and see chaos, then despair. We should not hear rumblings of evil’s power and become slaves to its control. Fear should not rule, because no matter what it looks like, Luke will grow up, Anakin will destroy Vader and the Emperor, and the universe will be balanced again.

That’s the beauty of Revenge of the Sith. We watch with horror knowing the triumphant end.

I think Paul and some others said that’s the same deal with the Christian faith. The problem is we either forget or do not believe that what will happen will actually happen. We are called to live as though the last movie already came out, even as we watched Revenge of the Sith with Return of the Jedi in our minds.

That’s called having a good eschatology, and it can make the difference between a life lived triumphantly and a life lived fearfully.

One Response to “Eschatology”

  1. Zippy In Asia Says:

    nice post. condenses many of my own thoughts as i watched ROTS last night (with Chinese subtitles!)