The Last Man
or What Can You See?
“In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.” Psalm 19:4-5
The Bible Matrix is found throughout Scripture and Creation at every level. It is the foundation for the best novels and movies because they resonate with us at every level. Like the Bible, the best literature, art, music and movies show us something new every time we review them.
A prime example is a movie I discovered last week, Sunshine, directed by Danny Boyle. It follows the basic pattern, but after some thought, there are many more elements within it that illustrate the history of Adam than immediately meet the eye.
“Our sun is dying. Mankind faces extinction. Seven years ago the Icarus project sent a mission to restart the sun but that mission was lost before it reached the star. Sixteen months ago, I, Robert Capa, and a crew of seven left earth frozen in a solar winter. Our payload: a stellar bomb with a mass equivalent to Manhattan Island. Our purpose: to create a star within a star. Eight astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb. My bomb. Welcome to the Icarus Two.”
If you don’t want the movie spoiled for you, watch it before reading this post. You won’t really get the post anyhow if you haven’t seen it.
The mission is a classic “there and back again.”
THERE: The first mission failed, but the reason is a mystery to those left behind. The Captain of the Icarus I, as first Adam, believes a lie and fails. The second Adam defeats him, comes face to face with the consuming fire — where time stops — and mediates the beginning of a new history through his bloody sacrifice.
BACK AGAIN: The “back again” is the Spirit, the sunlight, the new earth resulting from the new heavens. As mediator, Capa’s wisdom becomes “the light of all men.”
The first Captain sneaks around in the shadows (as Remy Wilkins observed), a serpent crouching in a stolen garden. But he also “eats dust,” dust that is actually dead people, the first covenant. With delusions of grandeur, like Herod, he tries to foil the new covenant. He is the first Captain but he also wants to be “the last man.” He waits seven years for redemption, for Sabbath, but he dies with the old, frozen world.
The design of the hardware is also significant. There is a deliberate contrast between the golden sun, its mediators (the space suits) and the silver servants (wrapped in insulating foil) as the silver lights, the new “stars” hidden in-the-side of the Covenant bomb. (Also notice that the “way” is narrow. One is taken, and the other is lost, like the goats at Atonement, flanking the High Priest.)
As in the Tabernacle, there is the stark contrast between round and square. Round is nature, and square is culture. The ship’s prime shield is a giant cornea, but one that is deliberately blind. The consuming fire can only be glimpsed. But the “payload” hidden behind it is the good work of the hands of wise men. The bomb is a giant cube, with the mass of Manhatten Island. Its matter is so dense that the object has its own gravity. It is lifted up as a serpent in the wilderness.
The Old Temple, a beautiful construct of men, is destroyed, cut into head and body, to bring a new head-and-body unity between heaven and earth by the Spirit.
As usual, Hollywood presents the “religious guy” as the mad villain, and the scientist as the rational saviour, but isn’t this exactly the conflict between Christ and Herod? The wisdom of the physicist (the servant) is more in tune with the way of things than the delusions of the narcissistic king, who sacrifices innocents to prolong his life. He has no concern for the Bride, the Covenant Body.
It’s a beautiful movie. Watch out for the brief glimpse of the Icarus design on the secondary shield as the ship separates and is destroyed towards the end.
There is also a scientific commentary on the DVD, which contains some really interesting facts.
The best writers can’t help but tell God’s story. There is nothing new under the sun.
“Kaneda! What can you see? Kaneda! What can you see?”