BBC Future writer Quentin Cooper has written a piece on human origins in science fiction films. Ridley Scott’s upcoming Prometheus is being kept tightly under wraps but Cooper sees Prometheus as the latest attempt for a simple story about our origins:
What is clear though is that as well as, like Alien, taking terror off terra firma and out among the stars, Prometheus is a voyage into our origins as humans, and where we fit into the cosmic order. That’s if there is one to fit into, be it with aliens, gods, or alien gods. Scott describes it as “not just a scary movie but a really interesting evolutionary story”. Doubly scary then, given that some people seem to find anything “evolutionary” more alarming than a xenomorph bursting out of your stomach.
Cooper observes the scientific story casts humans as simply part of a large cast of 9 million other species. This apparently fuels our appetite for human-centered “creation myths” which he attributes to make believe and describes them as strange. Thus, the final option for the explanation of life is one of extra-terrestrial intervention, popular among science fiction films as Cooper shows. Far from solving the problem, the alien-seeding (akin to panspermia) merely relocates the origin of life question to different environments much more difficult to observe than our own planet.
In contrast, the account of origins presented in the Bible casts God as intending, making and observing his finished creation, much like an artist crafting his work. While humans are presented as the pinnacle of the created order, being created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), they are nevertheless dependent on God for existence and thus ought to derive their meaning for existence from him. Dane Ortlund has compiled a list of messages of the Bible in one sentence, from various Christian thinkers. Some of them are longer than one sentence, but here are a few highlights:
Mark Dever: God has made promises to bring His people to Himself and He is fulfilling them all through Christ.
Kevin DeYoung: A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever.
John Frame:God glorifies himself in the redemption of sinners.
In this way, the Christian story of us offers neither the human-centeredness of creation myths nor the accidental casting choices of chance but the grand story of a loving God and a wayward people.
While Cooper’s article was probably written before the release of this trailer, his primary observation is on song – note the line “How far would you go to get your answers?”. Here’s the trailer: