Tag Archive | good vs. evil

The End of the Story: Good wins.

Evil has a foothold. This is evident in the daily news stories from all parts of the world highlighting one atrocity after another. The beheading of journalist James Foley by ISIS (Islamic State) in Iraq is just another in a long list of disheartening news stories. Some days it seems like all the love has gone out of the world and that the love of most has grown cold.

The truth, however, is that evil doesn’t stand a chance against good. As a Christian, I already know the end of the story, and it’s that good wins. Love wins, hope wins, peace wins, joy wins. God created the human race knowing that we would turn to evil. The only explanation we have for why he did this is love. He wanted to create something to love. And if you read the Bible, you can see throughout history that although evil exists and although Satan is trying to take everyone down with him to hell, that evil has been used time and again to further God’s plan for Jesus to die on the cross, and after that time, to hasten the footsteps of those Christians spreading the message of the Gospel throughout the world.

In the light of day, a spot of darkness can scarcely be seen, but in darkness a spot of light shines brightly. This is how God works. We don’t always understand it, but the troubles and worries of this life often toughen us up to endure and conquer even worse troubles and worries. History repeats itself. Eugenics and anti-semitism are on the rise. People are exchanging freedom for the illusion of safety. Propaganda is more important than telling the truth. But these events have a purpose. Those who have studied history are waking up faster and faster to what’s happening around them. They are building a mindset to face what’s coming. They will be candles in the growing darkness and will frustrate the darkness as they continue to burn brighter and brighter the more the darkness accosts them. This is why evil can’t win, why it never wins.

God is love. God is holy, and as the creator of the universe, so much more powerful than the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. He uses everything, including evil, to fulfill his purposes. He is a long-term thinker in a way we can barely imagine. His goal is to shower us with love forever in a place outside of the time and space of this universe that He created. Satan’s goal is rather dumb in comparison. Satan has already lost. The place called hell was created first for satan and his followers. It is hell, because it is a place where God is not. It is a place of torment because in hell there exists no love, no mercy, and no relief. Satan’s goal is simply to take as many humans beings with him to this hell as possible. That’s it. That’s his only goal because that’s all that he has. And the most power he can have in this world is to be a prince of it, but never a king.

It’s kind of pathetic when you think about it. ISIS may rule the world someday, but that’s all they have, all they’ve got. They will rule the world and find no delight in it, no joy, no peace, and no prosperity. Their own deaths will gain them nothing, and many of their victims will be laughing as they step into heaven. Just like a candle shines in the darkness, so faith shines in an evil and depraved world. Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed is still saving faith. That’s all God needs to win, a tiny little speck of light that breaks the darkness. One spot of sin can damn us, but one spot of faith in salvation through Jesus saves us.

The truth of this world is that we are all living a grand story created by a being so just, so loving, and such a bright light that darkness doesn’t have a chance. And evil is merely a part of the plot, not the ending, not by a long shot. We have wonders waiting for us of which evil can scarcely conceive. Jesus is the ultimate prince on a white horse, riding to save us, the damsel who in no way can save herself from the dragon. Jesus slew the dragon a long time ago, and is now a king. All authority has been given to Him by His father the King, and He is just waiting for the time when He can take us, His bride, home to eternal bliss.

I am a huge Princess Bride fan, and my favorite scene is when Buttercup drives fear into Prince Humperdinck’s eyes, simply by telling him the truth: “You can’t hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords.” Love, the ultimate Good, wins. And that is the end of the story.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,who have been called according to His purpose.   Romans 8:28

 

If God is for us, who can be against us? –Romans 8:32

 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  –Romans 8:38-39

 

The Universal Battle: Snow White and the Huntsman, a review

Snow White and the Huntsman from first-time director Rupert Sanders is brilliant.  It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a rarity in Hollywood these days to have a big budget movie that doesn’t feel like a product.  There were no cutesy pop culture references, no trite one-liners with a long pause for the laugh.  SWatH is an old yet refreshing story about the universal battle between good and evil.  And for a first effort?  Awesome.  Think what Sanders’ fifth or even tenth film will be like.

First things first:  The dislikes:  I didn’t really care for the dwarves.  They did have some catchy funny lines, but I couldn’t really understand what they were saying and blind dwarf playing by Bob Hoskins irked me beyond belief.  The shots of him looking almost directly at the camera took me out of the film every single time.  Also, I was really bothered that they hadn’t hired actual dwarves or little people for the film.

Likes, likes and likes:  The cinematography was breathtaking, and I couldn’t help but smile at all of the references to other fantasy films like The Lord of the Rings.  The forest could’ve easily been haunted by the spider Shelob, or Gollom or both.  Not surprisingly, Charlize Theron outshone the rest of the cast when it came to the acting, but villains usually have the most personality in these sorts of tales.  Kristen Stewart did a great job as well, especially with her voice.  I don’t know if the accent she used was pitch perfect British, but it sounded natural, which frankly is more important.  Chris Hemsworth’s huntsman brought a wonderful gravitas to the production.  The actor is twenty-something, but has such a maturity and presence about him that instantly brings integrity to the screen.  As the “prince”, Sam Claflin didn’t have much screen time to shine, but he had one or two scenes done really well.  The story itself was good, if unfocused at times.  I liked the idea of rediscovering a world that maybe you once knew (the enchanted forest), but had long forgotten in dealing with the darkness and brutality of life.

Themes:  We tend to pull out from films and stories something of what we believe or how we see the world.  I’m no different, and as a Christian immediately latched onto the theme of good vs. evil in Snow White and the Huntsman.  Snow White whispering The Lord’s Prayer and the beginning seemed at first like a throwaway reference to her “goodness” (i.e., she believes in God or is religious, so she is good)  But they expanded on that idea of her goodness by showing the empathy she feels for other people and creatures, signaling that if her goodness comes her faith, it’s a deep faith, something that is part and parcel of herself.  Her personality is quiet, calm and sure.  She doesn’t panic or babble and her presence is a sanctuary for those around her.  This is how I’ve always thought of Jesus Christ, as a sanctuary, and so that’s the symbolism that stuck for me.  The stag or hart of the forest that they show about halfway through, is also something that has been used as a symbol or reference to Jesus.  So, the stag giving its blessing to Snow, could be like Jesus blessing the Church.

In contrast, the queen Ravenna is rough and loud and has no empathy, not even, I think, for herself.  She’s merely a wretched creature, much like other iconic villains such as “The Eye” Sauron from LOTR and the serpent-like Voldemort from the HP series.  Her life is utterly dysfunctional and she takes absolutely no joy in the world.  Her power is oppressive, but not really interesting.  This is a person who has no imagination, much like the ultimate prince of darkness, Satan.  And for some reason, these super powerful bad guys can’t rule on their own, they always have these lackeys hanging about.  Ravenna has a brother who does her bidding.  He’s as chained to evil as she is and distinctly lacks purpose.

The ultimate love story:  Snow White and the Huntsman is an epic love story––it’s just probably not the love story we usually think of.  The love story in the film isn’t really between Snow White and the huntsman, but is between Snow White and her kingdom.  Magnifying that in a Christian theme:  The love story is God and His love for this world.  Snow White can symbolize God, the savior Jesus, or, most-fittingly, the believers in Christ, or the Church.  The queen then, would be the Devil, Satan, the very powerful, but not powerful enough, ruler of this world.

If that is the case, if the love story is actually between Snow White and her kingdom, then it makes perfect sense that the chemistry if any between her and the Huntsman is so subtle.  It makes sense that he kisses her dead lips not because of romantic love, but because he had started to hope in something good and pure again and it was taken from him.  The Huntsman is searching for spiritual truth.  He threw his lot in first with the queen, hoping she could bring back his dead wife.  Yes, Satan promises this as well, through witchcraft, spells or other means, but he, like Ravenna, truly has no power in the giving or bringing back of life.  All they bring is death always and forever.

At the end, much like Satan, the queen declares that she will give this world “the queen it deserves,” all this while standing in the midst of flames in case we should fail to see the reference.  The world is awful and burdened with sin, it does deserve a a terrible tyrannical ruler.  It deserves that, but what the world actually has is a living God who is both love and justice.  The Church (Snow White) has true faith in God’s love and justice.  She empathizes with the creatures of the world and even with the queen, but for there to be any justice, she must slay the queen, and that’s exactly what she does with her new believers’ help (the Huntsman and the Prince).  From her sorrowful expression, it is clear that Snow White, much like God, is not happy to have to slay the wicked, though again, it is necessary if there’s to be any justice at all.  If the world is to ever be free of his reign, the Devil, along with his minions and believers, must be condemned to hell, apart from a loving God that he will never understand.  In the end, the believers in God, love and justice, can say to the Devil or the evil queen “you can’t have my heart, my heart belongs to someone far greater than you.”

Romance:  There is a romance between Snow and the Huntsman, but it is very, very subtle and a touch I absolutely loved.  Not every romance is all wittiness, winking and wooing.  I think when the Huntsman kissed Snow White, it was a last-ditch effort at having hope.  When she rose from the dead that’s when he began to truly love her.  I think the moment Snow realized that she loved him was when he made a flirty comment about her chain mail.  She didn’t know what to say, I think, because she realized at that moment that true love was dawning on both of them.  The ending was perfect:  They didn’t need to kiss, they just exchanged a look that seemed to be her declaring her love for the Huntsman, and him accepting that love and pledging loyalty to her.  Okay, I’m probably reading too much into it, but I thought it was a beautiful moment and a thought-provoking movie.  It is one I definitely want to see again.