Well, if you’re a person of faith, you have to be interested in the premise:
a search for the ones who made us. Of course, there’s no “God-talk” (the
literal meaning of the word “theology”) here. It’s all about searching
for the aliens.
Fast-forward 80 years into the future. Space travel is now possible, but
it’s privately-funded, not government-sponsored. Archaeologists, with
several new cave-drawing discoveries from very different parts of earth, have
come to the conclusion that they were all drawn thousands of years ago by the
same kind of beings, and the premise is that they were of an alien race,
trying to send us an invitation to visit them.
So this really rich old guy has put together an expedition, consisting of
scientists, geologists, and a flight crew, and one cyborg-type humanoid, a
robot that looks like a human, who runs the whole ship while the rest of the
expedition sleeps for the entire two years it takes to get there, even at
“There” turns out to be a moon of a Saturn-like planet orbiting around a
distant sun, where the terrain seems desolate, but when our jaunty expedition
sallies forth in their range rovers, they quickly discover an underground
labyrinth that is full of mysteries, not the least of which is breathable air.
Now we sort of juggle a couple of different strands of story line. This is not
only about exploring outer space, it is about seeking our origins as a
species. The idea is that we were actually the creatures and they were the
originators, but if that’s the case, why haven’t we heard from them
lately? And why did they make us in the first place? (Obviously, these
questions have been asked by humankind for centuries, but usually the inquiry
is directed toward God, rather than an unknown race of other-worldly aliens).
Then there’s the strand in the story line of finding out that the aliens are
something less than friendly. Surprise. And trying to do battle with them is
not exactly what we had in mind, and won’t be on equal terms. For those
invested in the horror genre, we have a little nod to zombie combat.
Romance? Sure, a little, but we’re much too busy with historic, mind-blowing
scientific discoveries, not to mention turning over on its head Darwin’s
“On The Origin of the Species.” This film is really fantastic with the
visuals, the believability of the space travel, and the exciting exploration
of the distant moon with its caverns filled with mysterious artifacts.
Oh, and one more thing for the believer: at the end, the character in the
overdub actually says “The Year of our Lord,” when referring to the date
80 years hence, and it’s amazing, in this time of historians both secular
and Christian using the politically correct “After the Common Era,”
designed to exclude all reference to religion, that we would re-insert it
here, perhaps as a tease, perhaps as a way of referencing this cosmos-wide
search for the original designers. And now we not only have to ask the
question, “Why did they make us?”, but also “Why do they now want to
destroy us?” “What changed their minds?”
Well, if you’re a more literal person of faith, and accept the Noah story as
historical, you might have wondered if those treading water watching the ark
float during the horrific rainstorm were asking themselves the same thing,
just before sinking into the watery depths, as if returning to the chaos from
which the order was, ever so briefly, carved out.
Yes, “Prometheus” is the kind of movie that will spur these kinds of
existential thoughts in the mind of the faithful of every religion. And that
may be a movie worth taking a look at, even if you think they’re barking up
the wrong ontology.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving,