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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rise of Original Sin

In the past four days I have seen two trailers on TV for the early August release of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". The movie seems to be a reboot of the "Apes" movie franchise, this one focusing on the origins of intelligent apes, and thus harkens back to "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" (1972) which also delved into how Apes became intelligent and conquered the world. (I note that I have all the "Ape" movies and the TV series on DVD: I am a sci-fi guy.)

In one sense, I find it humorous that the protagonist in the original and this reboot is a chimpanzee named Cornelius who leads his monkey brothers and sisters in revolt against humans. In the original, it came about that humans had enslaved apes as manual labor after a disease had wiped out all the dogs and cats. Whether this reboot will focus on this slavery issue is unknown. The trailer indicates that Cornelius is upset that his monkey brothers and sisters are in cages and seeks revenge against those who have imprisoned them. It is humorous because Cornelius detests human treatment towards apes, but in the real ape world of the jungle apes clearly fight one another in fights over food, territory, and mates.

What this brings to mind, however, is the Christian doctrine of original sin. In the original movies, and the reboots, mankind's innate sinfulness has lead to specific sinful actions that have lead to the apes rising up against their oppressors. The whole theme of original sin is a timely theme to explore especially in the early 21st century where too often sin and its origin is pushed to the side and rarely dealt with in a meaningful manner. Let's be honest: people don't like to think about sin and sin's consequence (which ultimately is death).

Much like in the "Apes" mythology that sinful actions lead to dire consequences, so too does original sin lead to deathly consequences. The entire Bible reveals how God will deal with the problem of sin that has spoiled His perfect and holy creation. Sin is mankind's problem: Adam brought it upon us by heeding the temptation of the devil. God, then, promised a savior, and unfolded this salvation history (Heilsgeschichte) in human history. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" will probably end on a dire note where humans have come under the rule of Cornelius and his intelligent apes. That's how the "Apes" movies predictably end, as they are 70s disaster-theme films. The end result for mankind in this real world is far different: original sin will be overcome at the return of Christ on the last day when sin, death, and the devil are finally and completely triumphed over by the crucified and risen Jesus Christ. The Rise of Eternal Life will then begin.

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