The Lust for Divinity and the Movie Beowulf; Mans Total Depravity

OK, so hows that title for an attention grabber. Lets read about the original sin:

Genesis 3

The Fall of Man

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

……..

22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

—————————————————-

I have been somewhat enamored on the idea of why God did not want us to know good and evil like He did in recent years. The tree we were NOT suposed to eat from was even called the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. For many, knowing good and evil is what Christianity is all about and the height of their being Christians.

I took off a bit early on Friday and since it was too windy to ride my motorcycle I actually rented a couple of movies to relax and take it easy from work. Since the kids and Sue were not around I decided to rent an action movie or what I call a man movie.

The movie was Beowulf. Its about a midieval danish king and the setting was a time where Glory was what made men approved by other men. They sang songs of their war victories and glories. They gloried in their conquering of women and they gloried in their magnificent feasts of drunkenness where they told stories and sang of their glories and conquests.

All cultures have a sense of something where if I have this one thing I will be approved and have glory. In asian culture if they lose their job there is so much shame they wont even tell their families. The asians also laugh at American culture who find their glory in looking thin, beauty, and wanting botox injections and cosmetic surgery.

In the movie Beowulf, he actually had more then enough glory for most men … but he lusted for this glory. IN the movie, to get the highest glory, he actually lived a lie to become the King. The root of this lie affected the relationship with his queen whom he did love and it took a toll on his soul as he live his life in complete and utter pretense about his glory.

Toward the end of the movie Beowulf, on the brink of trying to fix this life and this lie he had been living came to grips with himself when he said to his wife: ” I am not the man you think me to be. Keep a memory of me not as a King or hero, but as man fallible and flawed.” At this point in his life, Beowulf understood he had lived a life of pretense.

This might seem a bit far fetched in todays culture, but Genesis tells us that Beowulf was engaging in a carnal form of the mans original sin. The fall tells us we live lives of self-glorification as opposed to living in a trust-relationship with God and only glorifying Him. The passage above says the serpent tempted us with being “like God” or being our own god. The story of the fall also tells us that mans idea of good and evil is fatally flawed and I believe this is something most Christians do not quite get. Our undestanding of good and evil is so flawed that we actually use the idea of morality as a power play for self-glorification where instead of submitting to God we use it to build ourselves up and look good in front of other people. We do the same thing with theology. Instead of using it to glorify God we use it to look good in front of others. While we discuss morality and theology we are actually engaging in self-glorification (being our own god) and we often don’t recognize it.

What we are basically doing in this self-glorifying process is temporarily medicating ourselves with our relationships, the rightness of our popularity, the rightness or our behavior, or the rightness of our beliefs.

This is why, I believe. Romans 1:17 is so important.

17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]

This verse says the only righteoussness we can have is through Gods atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ. The rest of the first part of Romans discusses our complete and utter inability to please God on our own efforts. Our only rightness, our only unmoving sense of approval can be found ONLY “in Christ”.

The point is this, I believe today our ultimate lust is a lust for divinity … to be our own gods and to live lives separate from God as we use anything at our fingertips for self-glorification. This is the message that comes from the fall of man.

Brothers and sisters, if we dont find our rightness in Christ we will find our righness in some other thing we can glory in completely apart from God. If we don’t find our rightness in Christ, we WILL find our rightness in something else: relationships, materialism, beliefs (name your idol here). This list is endless.

Lets find our rightness only in Christ (Romans 1:17) so we can most fully glorify God.

Jon S

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4 thoughts on “The Lust for Divinity and the Movie Beowulf; Mans Total Depravity

  1. Heather

    “Man movie” made me laugh. I was thinking the other day how different men and women tend to be in the things that naturally interest us.

    Never read Beowulf but it sounds like a really sad story.
    Sort of reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes, in a way.
    It is weird how so many of the pagan mythologies will mimic (often with wrong emphasis on man’s greatness) Biblical truth. It seems to echo the reality of Romans 1 that we naturally have been given a knowledge of God but suppress that truth in our own unrighteousness.

    I do think you’ve made a good point here and your post echos much of what I’ve been contemplating lately about the essential nature of our sin against God.

    Even for Christians, the daily duty of man to heed Micah 6:8 (He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does Jehovah require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?) is not something that comes easily.

    Because we often refuse to walk humbly WITH God, we also fail to obey the other two requirement of loving justice and mercy.

    We do need to take care to continually crucify our fleshly desires and ask the Lord to fill us with His goodness.

    A while back, I was having to back up my train of faith and take a good hard look at what it really means to repent and nearly had my jaw bounce off the floor when I realized that Romans 1 includes a “gentile-mind friendly” account of the fall.

    http://onmysoapbox2.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/the-slow-learner-contemplates-repentance/

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Oddly enough this was an animated “man” movie. Kind of an oxymoron huh?

    To be honest it was a bit gory. There was an underlying theme that made me think about the realities in my life that I found however.

  3. centralityofthegospel Post author

    “gentile-mind friendly” is a very astute observation. I may re-use that term in the future.

    πŸ™‚

  4. Heather

    “Oddly enough this was an animated β€œman” movie. Kind of an oxymoron huh?”

    We watched a comedian once who was talking about how annoying it is to watch movies with someone who always says “that’s fakey” to every unrealistic scenario. I laughed at that because I know someone who was always doing that and it IS annoying.

    The comedian then gave an example of how he and his friend were watching Disney’s animated Pinnochio, and how his friend was criticizing the scene where Gepetto is in the whale catching fish after fish without bait.
    He pointed out the inconsistency of his friend’s critique because the guy didn’t get upset when the puppet came to life or the cricket did a song and dance about it.

    And of course, he answered the most obvious question concerning why he and his friend were watching Disney’s Pinnochio in the first place.

    He said it is because they’re GUYS!……………and it was on. πŸ˜‰

    Don’t know how true that is. But the macho inflection on “GUYS” set me up to expect a reasonable explanation as to why it makes perfect sense for grown men to watch animated movies.

    Actually, I’ve come to believe that most animations were never intended for children. Even the older ones carry a lot of subtle adult themes that I never caught as a kid.

    Anyway. I once was told I was welcome to “plunder” from a fellow blogger whatever I found helpful. You’re welcome to do the same as I can’t take credit for any of “my” good thoughts being due to my own abilities.

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