Saturday 10 November 2018

Venom: Has God abandoned us?

Venom is Sony’s most recent comic book movie release not under the MCU banner of movies and while has generally negative reviews from critics, the audience response has been mixed to positive and as earned more than $500 million world wide, so far a modest hit. The movie has its fair share of issues but is not an insulting or insufferable experience but entertaining on all three occasions I saw it.

But I am not talking about what I think of it as a whole nor the Eminem song at the end of the film but a specific line uttered by the film’s villain, Carlton Drake, leader of the Life Foundation who is experimenting on individuals by binding them to Symbiotes as a means of fighting poverty and other issues. The problem is his tests beforehand and during such tests are controversial as his experiments result in individuals dying and bonding people to symbiotes is not an exception as some of the people bonded to them where either incompatible or suffered bodily degradation due to the symbiotes feeding on vital organs.

Before Isaac, one of his volunteers is killed due to incompatibility with the symbiote, Drake relays the story of Abraham and Isaac to him. He claims the story about Abraham and Isaac is not about Abraham’s sacrifice but Isaac’s and not knowing what sort of God would ask that of anyone. Drake also goes on about war and poverty being present and the world on the brink of collapse, claiming that God has abandoned humanity and he won’t abandon it, saying that it’s up to him and others including Isaac to set things right.

When ever scripture is used in cinema, no matter the intent or context, I can understand why some quotations are used but do take issue with how quotes are used.

Firstly, and putting aside for a moment original sin which I believe in, God doesn’t abandon anyone unless they continually reject him. If someone refuses to repent, God will turn his back on them until they die, after which they face judgement or if the person in question repents, to which he will return to them in mercy and grace.

The reason Saul didn’t receive any messages from God was not God refusing to forgive after repentance, it was the fact Saul didn’t repent and grew gradually worse. If Saul repented, he wouldn’t have the kingdom to rule but he would have been loved by God and God would have listened but Saul didn’t repent and in desperation sought out a medium which was the final move in his destruction. David however in Pslam 51 begged YHWH not to take his Holy Spirit away and sought God for forgiveness, he had a repentant heart that was ashamed of sinning against his creator.

Our planet is rotting because of our sins, the sin of Adam bringing “war and poverty” with it. If Carlton Drake was real, he would be very wrong in saying that God has abandoned him partially. I say partially because God would listen if Drake would humble himself. It is not God who stops caring about us, it’s the other way around. We refuse to listen and he has no time for us but if we turn to him, he will hear us. Did God not say to Jeremiah “If you repent, I will restore you so that you may serve me”?

God can intervene with the affairs of men and he has the right to but does allow men to go their own way and thus reap the consequences. In a way, we can sort out the mess in any way we can but we will never be successful in eliminating the problem completely. Only by trust and obedience to God can we get out of our ruts. We are not promised our best life now but we would be better off obeying him and being happier due to holiness rather than engaging in sin, leading to many problems which are numerous to list, including poverty which can either be due someone’s greed robbing others of their hard earned money or laziness bringing poverty upon them not to mention there maybe sickness that’s either their fault or not, a criminal conviction that’s either their fault or not. If one were to follow God’s instructions, we would have none of these problems.

Second, The type of God that would ask someone to sacrifice their son is the type of God that demands utmost obedience and praise, giving up the things we cherish the most if that’s what it takes to be loyal to him. Not an easy task but can be accomplished by God’s grace, “for with God, nothing is impossible”.

Jesus consistent with his Father, told the rich young ruler to part with what he cherished the most then follow him, a hard saying that the rich ruler couldn’t accept. Jesus may give different requests to people, he isn’t saying all are to do what the rich ruler did to his riches, again, the  principle is the willingness to part with something if that is a barrier between you and God, serving him above all else. It may be temporary or permanent, it varies from person to person and not necessarily money or possessions but can be the case.

Third, the story is not so much about Isaac himself but Abraham, it was a test from God as mentioned previously above, a proof of his faith by his deeds, thus preventing it from being a faith without works that is dead. It’s not Isaac’s sacrifice but Abraham’s although Isaac willingly allowed it, being a 30 year old or so at the time, he would be strong enough to resist but didn’t. God stayed Abraham’s hand as a result of his loyalty, after Abraham showed his willingness to obey without exception.

I am not saying Venom was a bad movie, it wasn’t, but I tend to hold films more accountable when they use the Bible in one fashion or another.

Answering Judaism.

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