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Interstellar and the Problem of Hopelessness

My Father-In-Law asked me if I wanted to go see a movie on the day after Thanksgiving, and I agreed. We went to see Interstellar, and it was visually a good movie–but I found it depressing. Really depressing. I won’t ruin the storyline for you, but essentially, the world is running out of resources, and so a group tries to figure out a way to continue the human race on another planet in another galaxy (the science of the movie is actually pretty fascinating!).

It was pretty good Sci-Fi. So why did I find it depressing? Because the movie was really about hopelessness. It was about trying to keep man alive using the same methods that killed man in the first place. It was about trying to fix our problems by finding a new place to have our same problems. And since humans failed the planet in the first place, let’s rely on humans to fix it! And this sort of mentality breads hopelessness, because we simply cannot save ourselves.

In reading Gordon Fee’s commentary on Philippians this week, I came across this quote: “The tragedy that attends the rather thoroughgoing loss of hope in contemporary Western culture is that we are now trying to make the present eternal” (p, 350). This accurately describes the tension and depression I felt in Interstellar. The solution for hopelessness is not to make the present eternal, but rather, the solution is to trust in the one who is eternal: The Triune God of the Bible.

And God loved our hopeless sinful human race so much that he sent Jesus to die as a substitute for my sin against God, and to rise from the dead proclaiming victory over sin and death and hopelessness. Hopelessness is not solved by making the present future, or even by trying make a better future, but only in one place: Jesus Christ.

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