Friday, September 17, 2010
The Ω Man
Richard Matheson writes book. Boris Sagal writes movie. Francis Lawrence remakes movie. There and back again, the post-apocalyptic tale with Robert Neville, the apparent last man standing in this book made movie made recent remake, at the center of LA (or NY for all the newbs and Fresh Prince fans). In the world of Omega Man, warfare wreaked havoc all over the world leaving some very strange company behind. And like Neville, there was a whole world that is found hiding right outside of my window. So what if it's just a window into the digital world courtesy of Steve Jobs. Some days you watch movies and Biblical imagery seems inadvertent, or naive at best. But the The Omega Man is different. Somebody slipped those screen writers a copy of David Scaer's book and changed the title, All Cinematogrophy is Christology. Some days it's unavoidable. But I didn't think of this all by my lonesome. I was tipped off by a member at our church (here's to you, Andy) that this movie was loaded with symbolism. Apparently there are blogs and discussion boards all over the Internet mining the riches of one of Charlton Heston's lesser known films in an ongoing theological discussion of the movie's symbolic, Biblical significance.
So, get your shovels. There may still be some gold in them thar hills. Even the title would pique the ears of any first year Greek student: Omega. Even if you're not a philologist (that's nerd=speak for one who studies language origins, etc.) Revelation comes to mind (Rev. 1:8, 21:6, 22:13). Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. It appears that Neville is the last man on earth he is not. There's the plagued Family who have become experts at pillaging, burning and killing anyone and anything not inflicted by their disease (hmm, sounds like sin). Matthias, the Family leader finally thinks he's got Neville in his sights. He's trapped and they put him in their kangaroo court:
"We waited for you, Neville, so you could see this: The end. The end of all you done. You see, none of it was real. It was illusion. Your art, your science, it was all a nightmare. And now it's done. Finished. My brethren, our task is nearly complete. He was the last of those who brought the punishment to us. We have cleansed and purged his world. Now we must build."
"Build coffins, that's all you'll need," retorts Neville. Quite right.
The plague effects everyone, kills everyone. Everyone except Neville. He may not be the last man on earth, but he might as well be. He is immune to the plague. In fact, His blood becomes the serum that saves some would-be-members of the Family from death. But not before he narrowly escapes the "cleansing" fires of set by the Family in Dodger Stadium, and much like Jesus walking through the crowds who sought to stone him off a cliff in Luke 4, Neville escapes. He lived to die another day. Another hill. Another day. It was not yet the fullness of time.
But when Neville meats Lisa and the children she's guarding, one of the other adults, known as Dutch, says, "Christ, you could save the world." What else could you say when you discover that the only possibility of rescue is found in one man's blood? Of course, most people drop the C-bomb or the GD-bomb in vain. But Dutch gets it. And sadly, so does the Family. They know Neville is the last man standing between them and "victory." Which is why they seek to kill him. And spoiler alert - they do kill him. He gives His blood for the healing of Ritchie, Lisa's son and then he gives his life for the rest of the children. In a fountain. With 8 sides. He is pierced by a spear. There's blood. There's water. There's a man dying for the life of the world, killed by those who had no use for life at all. The Omega Man becomes the Alpha of life for Dutch and the children. He dies a cruciform death and his blood saves and in doing so points us to the only Omega man we need, Jesus Christ. His blood avails for all.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance...For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. - Hebrews 9:11-22.
So when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs...But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. - John 19:33-34.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, proclaimed that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ - 1 Peter 3:18-21.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. - Romans 6:3-4.