Comparison of INTERSTELLAR to the movie CONTACT

_________

Jodie Foster’s mystical flight Contact

Don’t read this review if you want to be surprised by the ending of the movie. My next sentence is discussing the end.

Over and over in the movie  Cooper (played by Matthew McConaghey) says “someone out there is helping us,” but instead of pointing to God who created us for a purpose, the film points to impersonal chance evolution as the hero and the final conclusion is no one is out there and we have to help ourselves.

John Cage took a long look at chance evolution and based his music on it and the result was horrible. Living in a world created by chance impersonal evolution has caused the loss of significance of mankind and many have given up of a hope of finding meaning. Furthermore, filmmakers such as  Resnais, Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, Bunuel,and  Bergman all attempted to show what it is like to live in the area of nonreason!!!

However, even though there is a clear choice between the two conclusions of how we got here and where we are going, INTERSTELLAR tries to come down on the side of impersonal chance evolution but still give mankind a lasting meaning for their lives when that worldview can only take away any significance for humans!!!!!

The final conclusion of the movie reminds me of the words of Francis Schaeffer when he was discussing the artwork of Francis Bacon then he skips over to  Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, and John Cage and compares them to Bacon in their view that possibly that a message break forth  from the impersonal chance universe:

I have an essay on Francis Bacon by John Russell. Methuan published it in London in 1964.

Bacon goes on, “In my case all painting–and the older I get, the more it becomes so–is an accident.” Now this is very important and to think of Jackson Pollock putting on his paint as a pure accident and you may remember my lecture on Paul Klee.

Paul Klee (1879-1940) speaks of some of his paintings as though they were a kind of Ouija board. Klee thinks that the universe can speak through his paintings. Not because he believes there are spirits there to speak, but because he hopes that the universe will push through and cause a kind of automatic writing, this time in painting. It is an automatic writing with no one there, as far as anyone knows, but the hope that the “universe” will speak.We think of John Cage with the universe speaking though chance.

Now Bacon continues and he says something very similar to what Pollock, Cage and Klee believed, “I foresee it and yet I hardly ever carry it out as I foresee it. It transforms itself by the actual paint. I don’t in fact know very often what the paint will do, and it does many things that are very much better than I could make it do. Perhaps one could say it’s not an accident, because it becomes a selective process what part of the accident one chooses to preserve.”

Now here from Francis Bacon’s own viewpoint. An absurd universe in a total sense and in some element of the paint taking on its own personality and a message may come through from impersonal source.

My thoughts on “Interstellar”: It asks all the right questions but gives all the wrong answers.

I saw the movie Interstellar a couple nights ago, and I’m still thinking about it now. It’s a mind-bending meditation on the meaning of life set within an epic intergalactic journey to save humanity. Superficially, it’s a sci-fi flick. But most fundamentally, it’s about metaphysics and theology.Here’s the plot in a nutshell. At some point in the not too distant future, the world becomes increasingly uninhabitable to humans. The food supply is afflicted by blight, and the world becomes a giant dustbowl. America no longer has a military and has ceased to lead the world in innovation and technology. In this dystopian future, the decline of American greatness seals the fate of the planet. It is only a matter of time before human beings on earth will all die of asphyxiation and lung disease.A farmer and former astronaut named Cooper (played by Matthew McConaghey) is tapped to lead a mission into deep space to find a habitable world in order to rescue the human race from extinction. If the mission succeeds, there are two plans for saving humanity. Plan A involves evacuating humans to the new world. Plan B involves leaving humans to die on earth and starting a new human colony artificially by bringing to life thousands of frozen human embryos.At the heart of the movie is the relationship between Cooper and his daughter Murphy (played by Jessica Chastain). Murphy has already lost her mother to cancer. And she cannot bear to lose her father as well. As Cooper leaves his family to save the world, Murphy falls out with her father.

I’ll let you see the movie to see how the plot resolves. It is gut-wrenching and human. As a father of three daughters, I related to the pathos generated by this film. At every level–dramatically, technically, production value–this movie was very well executed.

Nevertheless, it’s the metanarrative of the movie that is most compelling. A father leaves his home in order to save the family that he loves and indeed the entire world. He is gone so long that his own children began to question whether he will ever come back. The Father’s invisibility causes his children to question whether his word is true. Meanwhile, planet earth has become a kind of Eden that is expelling its human inhabitants. From dust these people came, and to a dusty death they are returning–unless the father saves them. This movie is thick with biblical mythology and allusion.

The film asks all the important questions. In one of the most penetrating scenes, an astronaut named Ameilia (played by Ann Hathaway) talks about human love and how it tends to transcend space and time. Love resides outside the measure of empirical science. Nevertheless, no one questions the existence of love. Perhaps the existence of love reveals that there is more to the universe than meets the eye. Indeed, the rescue mission is motivated in part by an invitation by invisible other-worldly beings who seem to be aiding humanity’s rescue.

So the film does ask all the important questions. Unfortunately, it also gives many wrong answers. Without giving away specific details of the plot, the big discovery at the end of the movie is that Cooper realizes there is no one out there to save humanity. Humanity must save itself if it is to be saved. We are the answer to our own questions. At the end of the day, the universe is a closed system, and there is no mysterious other worldly being trying to save us. If we want to be saved, we will have to pull ourselves up by our own humanistic boot straps.

There is more that can and should be said about this movie. I look forward to reading other reviews. This was a rare, smart, thoughtful movie. Highly recommended.

_________________________________________________

On December 5, 1995, I got a letter back from Carl Sagan and I was very impressed that he took time to answer several of my questions and to respond to some of the points that I had made in my previous letters. I had been reading lots of his books and watching him on TV since 1980 and my writing today is a result of that correspondence. It is my conclusion that Carl Sagan died an unfulfilled man on December 20, 1996 with many of the big questions he had going unanswered.

Much of Carl Sagan’s aspirations and thoughts were revealed to a mass audience of movie goers just a few months after his death. The movie “CONTACT” with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey  is a fictional story written by Sagan  about the SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI). Sagan visited the set while it was filming and it was released on July 11, 1997 after his unfortunate death.

The movie CONTACT got me thinking about Sagan’s life long hope to find a higher life form out in the universe and I was reminded of Dr. Donald E. Tarter of NASA who wrote me  in a letter a year or so earlier and stated, “I am not a theist. I simply and honestly do not know the answer to the great questions…This brings me to why I am interested in the SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI)…Let me assure you, one of the first questions I would want to ask another intelligence if one were discovered is, DO YOU BELIEVE IN OR HAVE EVIDENCE OF A SUPREME INTELLIGENCE?”

HERE IS WHERE I’M MAKING THE COMPARISON BETWEEN THE MOVIE “CONTACT” AND “INTERSTELLAR” AND THAT IS BOTH MOVIES SUGGEST THAT WE CAN POSSIBLY GET SOME ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS FROM THE IMPERSONAL CHANCE UNIVERSE!!!! Late in the film CONTACT Dr. Arroway makes contact with a more highly evolved form of intelligence and asks him some questions. 

Was Sagan ever satisfied with the answers he came up with in his life? It is my view that  true peace and satisfaction can come from a personal relationship with Christ and only in the Bible can we find absolute answers that touch this world we live in. The Apostle Paul was totally content when he wrote the book of Philippians from a jail in Rome right before he was beheaded (according to tradition). Paul observed, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). On March 11, 2012 my pastor Brandon Bernard at Fellowship Church Little Rock read that scripture and then commented:

Paul is reminding us that in every circumstance and in everything he has gone through that his satisfaction is found deeply in Christ. You think about this guy who is writing from prison. He is in this prison cell and it is a hardship in his life, but him of all people is saying that “I am writing to you but I am content and I am satisfied.” That is a statement you don’t hear from a lot of people these days… A lot of people are discontent and dissatisfied… Think about the poets from your generation or the generation before us. How about the deep theologians called “The Rolling Stones.” Remember them. They wrote this song “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And you know what they say after that phrase? “And I try and I try and I try.” I am not sure how deep most of their lyrics are, but they voice the cry of many people. “I can’t get no satisfaction and I try and I am trying and I am trying.”

What about one of those other poets by the name of Bono who wrote a song called, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” It is interesting. “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” It has a nice melody to it but there is probably a reason why it is so popular because there is a lot of people deep down in their soul feel like they haven’t found what they are looking for.

It is true. What is so funny to me is that what is so desired is so elusive. 

Rice Broocks in his book GOD’S NOT DEAD noted:

Astronomer Carl Sagan was a prolific writer and trustee of the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) founded in 1984 to scan the universe for any signs of life beyond earth. Sagan’s best-selling work COSMOS also became an award-winning television series explaining the wonders of the universe and exporting the belief not in an intelligent Creator but in potential intelligent aliens. He believed somehow that by knowing who they are, we would discover who we as humans really are. “The very thought of there being other beings different from all of us can have a very useful cohering role for the human species” (quoted from you tube clip “Carl Sagan appears on CBC to discuss the importance of SETI [Carl Sagan Archives]” at the 7 minute mark, Oct 1988 ). Sagan reasoning? If aliens could have contacted us, knowing how impossible it is for us to reach them, they would have the answers we seek to our ultimate questions. This thought process shows the desperate need we have as humans for answers to the great questions of our existence. Does life have any ultimate meaning and purpose? Do we as humans have any more value than the other animals? Is there a purpose to the universe, or more specifically, to our individual lives?

____________

Carl Sagan had to live  in the world that God made with the conscience that God gave him. This created a tension. As you know the movie CONTACT was written by Carl Sagan and it was about Dr. Arroway’s SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI) program and her desire to make contact with aliens and ask them questions. It is my view that Sagan should have examined more closely  the accuracy of the Bible and it’s fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament in particular before chasing after aliens from other planets for answers. Sagan himself had written,”Plainly, there’s something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death…If some good evidence for life after death was announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere antedote”(pp 203-204, The DemonHaunted World, 1995).

Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague. He had taken a look at Christ’s life in the gospels, but said it was unrealistic for God to send a man to communicate for God. Instead, Sagan suggested that God could have written a mathematical formula in the Bible or put a cross in the sky. However, what happens at the conclusion of the movie CONTACT?  This is Sagan’s last message to the world in the form of the movie that appeared shortly after his death. Dr Arroway (Jodie Foster) who is a young atheistic scientist who meets with an alien and this alien takes the form of Dr. Arroway’s father. The alien tells her that they thought this would make it easier for her. In fact, he meets her on a beach that resembles a beach that she grew up near so she would also be comfortable with the surroundings. Carl Sagan when writing this script chose to put the alien in human form so Dr. Arroway could relate to the alien. Christ chose to take our form and come into our world too and still many make up excuses for not believing.

Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book SHADOWS OF FORGOTTON ANCESTORS  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special. However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie CONTACT when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.”

Dr Sagan deep down knows that we are special so he could not avoid putting the word “precious” in there. Francis Schaeffer said unbelievers are put in a place of tension when they have to live in the world that God has made because deep down they know they are special because God has put that knowledge in their hearts.We are not the result of survival of the fittest and headed back to the dirt forevermore. This is what Schaeffer calls “taking the roof off” of the unbeliever’s worldview and showing the inconsistency that exists.

In several of my letters to Sagan I quoted this passage below:

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.(A)

18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],(B)

21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

__________________________________________

Can a man  or a woman find lasting meaning without God? Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at life “under the sun” in his book of Ecclesiastes. Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus matter.”

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

_______________

Kansas – Dust In The Wind “Live” HD

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless.” I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

Livgren wrote:

“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

You can hear Kerry Livgren’s story from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Rolling Stones: “Satisfaction!”

U2 Still Haven’t Found (with lyrics)

__________________

Related posts:

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part F “Carl Sagan’s views on how God should try and contact us” includes film “The Basis for Human Dignity”

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

Carl Sagan v. Nancy Pearcey

On March 17, 2013 at our worship service at Fellowship Bible Church, Ben Parkinson who is one of our teaching pastors spoke on Genesis 1. He spoke about an issue that I was very interested in. Ben started the sermon by reading the following scripture: Genesis 1-2:3 English Standard Version (ESV) The Creation of the […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 5 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog _______________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 4 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog______________________________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

Carl Sagan versus RC Sproul

At the end of this post is a message by RC Sproul in which he discusses Sagan. Over the years I have confronted many atheists. Here is one story below: I really believe Hebrews 4:12 when it asserts: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)jh68

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 5 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog _______________________ This is a review I did a few years ago. THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 4 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog______________________________________ I was really enjoyed this review of Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot.” Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot by Larry Vardiman, Ph.D. […]

Atheists confronted: How I confronted Carl Sagan the year before he died jh47

In today’s news you will read about Kirk Cameron taking on the atheist Stephen Hawking over some recent assertions he made concerning the existence of heaven. Back in December of 1995 I had the opportunity to correspond with Carl Sagan about a year before his untimely death. Sarah Anne Hughes in her article,”Kirk Cameron criticizes […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

In this post we are going to see that through the years  humanist thought has encouraged artists like Michelangelo to think that the future was extremely bright versus the place today where many artist who hold the humanist and secular worldview are very pessimistic.   In contrast to Michelangelo’s DAVID when humanist man thought he […]

Was Antony Flew the most prominent atheist of the 20th century?

_________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: