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Sith Lords, Jedi Knights, and the True End of the World

I think most of the world caught the new Star Wars movie before I did. I always had a soft spot for Mr. Lucas’ universe, though he sometimes disappointed. But I appreciated his effort to do something epic that promoted virtue and pretty much avoided the filth that seems everywhere present in Hollywood.

Lucas sold off Star Wars to Disney in an era when endless sequels are the norm. Probably a good financial move by him and the studio. As I watched the most recent film, it struck me that Star Wars films really can be endless because no one will ever win. The wars will be perpetual. Endless Star Wars are ahead for worldview reasons (philosophical and religious reasons), as well as box office ones.

You don’t have to know much about world religions to pick up on the eastern religious themes in Star Wars. The Force is completely impersonal and unifies everything. Good and evil are kept in balance by the Force (something the east pictures in the famous Yin and Yang symbol). The Force is light and darkness, good and evil in a kind of cosmic balance. So in the Star Wars universe, if good wins, an evil Sith Lord will arise. When evil comes out on top, a Jedi is sure to show up. And on and on it will go forever because the Force has no will or desire to end things, it merely keeps them in a kind of violent harmony. Good will never really win (though in the movies it must, briefly), and evil will never really win.

Contrast this with the vision of J.R.R. Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s basic worldview was Christian, so things have a beginning and an end. God, the guide of all history, seeks no balance, but rather the triumph of good. There is always a divine purpose behind events in LOTR that sees the end of ages and the overthrow of evil. Tolkien viewed fairy stories, and his own fiction, as an embodiment of the reality of “the happy ending” which we all crave. He wrote:

Story, fantasy, still go on and should go on. The Evangelium has not abrogated legends, it has hallowed them, especially the “happy ending.” The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope and die, but he may now perceive that all his bents and faculties have a purpose, which can be redeemed.

 

And that’s what all men really long for, is it not? The happy ending? Redemption? My guess is that your soul does not long for endless conflict, but for peace, goodness, and real love to be everywhere always. We don’t long for balance between good and evil. We long for good to win. (That’s why in popular movies, good does win). It’s because we are image bearers whether we know God or not. We are made in His image and designed for Him and His purposes. In our rebellion, some of us have cast aside such desires as childish in the face of harsh realities. Others cling to the desire for good to triumph, but seek to make the good happen without God—which always fails. Both are forms of rebellion, but the desire is still in us, whether we quash it or foolishly try to make it happen in our own wisdom. The Book of Revelation tells us how things will end. God wins, pure and simple. What is coming is proclaimed in the clearest terms:

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” Rev 11:15

 

Evil had its time, but it will be banished. God will prevail, which means good will prevail, because His infinite power will be directed to the destruction of evil. Evil men will either be bound forever or redeemed. Sith Lords will not reappear.

As the redeemed, our calling is to stand with Him in the midst of corruption until He comes. We are to make His purpose our purpose, even if it means, as Tolkien and the best stories tell us, we must “suffer, hope and die” along the way. Dying, Jesus said, is the way to eternal life. That is not a harmony of good and evil. It is victory. No more sequels. Only joy awaits.

 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in The AFBC Pony Express. Vol. IX, No. 6, June 2016.

 

“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”

– Isaiah 55:3