Theology in the unlikely places

‘Interstellar’ made me think of love!


This article was published on Christian Media Magazine on 12/6/14


If ‘Inception’ left you scratching your head, ‘Interstellar’ [Christopher Nolan] has enough to bend your mind.  The spectacular journey across the galaxies, a flesh-and-blood display of the theory of relativity and lots of experiments with time and space warp, which for the most part still falls under sci-fi category, had my head spinning for close to three hours.  This movie has already sparked many blog posts and analyses from a wide range of audience from movie critics and scientists to religious leaders and amateurs.  I have to admit that I have no expertise in cinematography or science and this article definitely falls under the amateur criteria.  Among the many things that left me saying “wow” repeatedly as I walked away from the movie theater, I would like to highlight one concept that affected me deeply from a religious and philosophical perspective.

Although the movie repeatedly makes references to Biblical stories especially that of Lazarus’s resurrection and one can certainly milk out numerous religious parallelisms, the movie is not meant to be a religious one by any stretch.  But I couldn’t help but reflect on the concept of love as a transcendent phenomenon.  A dimension of sort that transcends time and space.  One of the characters in the movie equates love to gravitational pull and dismisses the notion that love is a man-made construct for societal utility.  They quote the examples of our time-trancending love for our dead ancestors and unborn children, who aren’t necessarily part of our society.  I have to agree that even though we are stuck in the unidirectional flow of time and are limited to our dimension of space, our only mode of transcendence during our brief journey through life is love. Love could never have been a product of evolution.  In fact, it fundamentally stands in contrast to the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’.  It is as if we are fitted with antennas for love. We know when we are near it and we cannot stop craving for it. Most obvious good and horrendous evil in this world are attempts to arrive at love.

The origin of love is extraterrestrial and I have a hunch as to where its from. Although I practice science for a living, I think science has horribly failed to explain certain realities of life and one of them is love.  I am going to stick to the story of a God who loved first and created beings in his likeness who are capable of giving and receiving love.  And if that ancient manuscript is right, which I believe it is, it was love that made that same God transcend time and space to live among us and die for us.

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