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Saturday, March 21, 2009


Last night I watched the series finale of the reimaged TV show ,,Battlestar Galactica". Overall, I thought it was a good finale. I pondered some of the lukewarm Christian themes that ran throughout the series.

I thought the title ,,Daybreak" was very fitting for the last episode. Throughout much of the series, the characters experienced one challenge after another, one heartbreak after another, and seemed to always be on the verge of complete annihilation. ,,Daybreak" brought some much needed hope and grace upon a group of people who were so overwhelmed by the law, sin, and death.

Daybreak has a strong element of resurrection theology. The rising of the sun each day in the east is symbolic of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. We also have the promise that on the last day we will receive a daybreak -- a rising up of our own dead bodies to everlasting life.

BSG had a theme of cycles: all this has happened before and will happen again. This is very common in Eastern philosophy and culture. While Buddihsm and Hinduism have strong strains of cycles, so also Christianity. Ecclesiastes laments that there is nothing new under the sun, implying that sin and the world continues ever onward in a series of cycles. Nothing ever really changes, sin and death still swing around and snatch away happiness and life. Someone must show up to break the cycle and restore hope. Christians see that occur in Jesus Christ.

And in the midst of this, God sends other people to touch our daily lives and remind us of the hope we have in Christ. The original series had the angels of light: advanced beings who flew around space in ships of light. It was tacky and very 1970s-ish. Ron Moore took a more human approach and had these guides appear as ordinary people in cognito. We never really discovered that three of these angels were guiding the Colonial Fleet until the last few episodes. It worked well, because there was an air of mystery of who these beings really were and more importantly for me, these beings were very subdued and working simply and behind the scenes. That is how the angels often operate in the Bible. The Scriptures talk about entertaining angels unaware.

The finale had a few illogical flaws, like why would everyone gladly give up all their technology, especially medicine? The show's answer was to break the cycle of violence between the humans and the cylons. Unfortunately, another cycle of sin and destruction would quickly arise and dominate the people. Our history proves that.

I would also would have liked to have some more explanation about the Lords of Kobol and the 13th tribe. There was not much closure there.

The best scene was with Baltar and Caprica. Baltar was such a despised individual, the worst of the worst. He always did things in his self interests and gladly endulged in all sorts of vices. He represented us, the worst parts of our fallen nature. I always liked the Baltar character (and the fact that all the characters were realistically human, making all sort of mistakes and doing things out of selfishness), knowing that but for the grace of God I would be like Baltar. Baltar finally gets grace and redemption as the series closed. He didn't deserve it, but that's what makes grace grace. We don't deserve God's love and forgiveness, yet we have them nonetheless. If that's the highpoint of the series, then I rejoice at being reminded that we are redeemed by grace and resurrection will also be ours, too, and that by Jesus alone.


publiusthegeek said...

I really enjoyed your comments on Daybreak (and its following post on Baltar). Baltar was my favorite character on the show and I agree with you about much of the story being about his redemption. I think of the line in Luke 15 regarding sinners applying to Baltar:

I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

In my mind it is a perfect example of an undeserving man finding grace. I seem to recall BSG's executive producer Ronald D. Moore was raised Catholic.

Peter said...


I remember learning in one of my college courses that all stories can be summarized as either
"Someone came to visit" or
"Someone went on a journey". BSG employed both themes, and did it superbly. Your quote from Luke 15 absolutely summarizes BSG and Baltar. Re. Moore being raised Roman Catholic makes sense, as I saw several liturgical elements show up throughout the show. (like, "So say we all" which is a different way to say "Amen. So shall it be."). One of my seminary professors (Dr. Rossow) taught us to look for "hidden" Christian themes and the gospel in novels and movies. He said that many authors and writers deliberately slip in subtle gospel themes to their works.

I hope Moore continues to do such fine work with the spin-off "Caprica". This show has the potential to really delve into the human soul and what it means to be human.

tiger said...