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Psyche

Movie "Knowing" on Netflix -- SPOILERS

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Did anyone see the Nicholas Cage movie 'Knowing' that just became available on Netflix? http://www.flixlist.co/titles/70095135

 

I found the theological underpinnings of the movie rather unusual and am not sure what I thought about it.

 

[spoilerS! if you plan to see this movie don't read on]

 

 

 

It opens with Cage as a professor who is discussing determinism which he says implies the world is directed by a greater power, with the opposite which says life is random and so meaningless. Then he says he believes the latter.

 

A series of events show that the world is going to end but certain children, including his son, will be saved. This ultimately makes him believe in God and reconcile with his father before the end.

 

Afterwards two thoughts rather bugged me. One is that God is conflated with determinism. But to me Christianity is fundamentally about human free will, which is the polar opposite if everything being pre-determined.

 

Secondly, the creatures that seem to be positioned as angels seemed very sinister and threatening, not reflecting anything in the way of love or compassion. They seemed to be depicted more as aliens who were being mistaken for angels contrary to the main characters conversion.

 

I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of others with a stronger grasp of theology as to how the world of this movie is being presented and what you think of it.

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Afterwards two thoughts rather bugged me. One is that God is conflated with determinism. But to me Christianity is fundamentally about human free will, which is the polar opposite if everything being pre-determined.

 

Hi Psyche,

 

Whether man has free will or not is hotly debated amongst Theologians (Arminianism vs Calvinism). Personally, I reject the notion that man has an autonomous or libertarian free will (I am a Calvinist). If you mean by free will that man can make an offering without compulsion then I agree, however, Scripture rejects autonomy. Mankind is limited and grounded in a sin nature and is incapable of going against his/her nature. For example, if I ask you to flap your arms like a bird and reach the heavens you may choose or attempt to try. You'll fail because you're grounded in your human nature. Though you may choose to flap your arms all day long. Scripturally speaking, since the fall of Adam man has been rooted or grounded in a sinful nature, he/she is incapable of "Righteousness". This is not to say that man is incapable of doing any good before other men in their sight, but it does mean that man is incapable of doing good in the sight of a Holy God. Anything else really waters down God's holiness.

 

God is Sovereign, and all things are determined by Him alone. If God, for example, chose a man to salvation and that man rejected God who is sovereign? Of course man would be, and such an example would make God impotent, and a wishful thinker with his fingers crossed hoping that someone chooses him. When it comes to the Elect God leaves none to chance, those Elect before Regeneration and those that'll remain reprobate which are in Adam are completely bound by a sin nature. One is either a slave to sin (natural man) or to God (Regeneration).

 

God bless,

William

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I suppose I would fall somewhere in the realm of soft determinism. That is, while humans have their nature, and behave in a manner that is orderly, to sin or not sin remains what seems like a choice in the moment. It seems to me that there must be some small sliver of behavior that is not predestined for sin/obedience to God to be a matter of personal temptation/responsibility as it is shown in the Bible, such as Jobe or the Binding of Isaac. And there is also the matter of quantum uncertainty.

 

But this is a matter more of personal intuition as I do not have a great deal of education on the subject. So you patience in discussing it is appreciated. It is not a subject I had much interest in when I was younger but one's perspective can change a lot with age.

 

It does seem odd to me how Cage's character describes determinism in a way that conflates a lot of issues for his "students", but I guess they can't have a full mini-lecture in the middle of a movie.

 

I read one person on IMDB who said the movie is in fact a reflection of Scientology. I am not at all familiar with Scientology other than knowing that it used to be popular with a number of celebrities and has something to do with outlandish stories about alien planets. But this connection to the film seems to be debatable and it may be that the writers and director pulled in an eclectic combination of elements from different traditions. http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/06/movies-influenced-by-scientology/knowing

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I think I saw the movie a while ago in T.V but at that time I quite didn't understand the message that was conveyed in the movie.But when I watched the movie I liked it and enjoyed even. I liked the concept and how he decode the puzzle and saves people.

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