29 August 2002
Although billed as a science fiction movie, the reviews of the popular press claim that Signs is about a spiritual journey and a restoration to faith. This notion intrigued us because practically all ‘sci-fi’, although often entertaining, fails to glorify God the Creator in any way.
The scene is set in a small American farming community where the central character, Graham Hess (an ex-Episcopalian priest played by Mel Gibson), has turned his back on God, due to the horrific death suffered by his wife in a roadside accident. Sadly, this concept rings true today, especially in the church, where a rejection of a normal reading of the book of Genesis has caused many to view God as a ‘cruel Creator’. The understanding that an original very good Creation has been spoiled by sin—thus bringing death and suffering into the world—would help to reconcile millions with the pain and difficulty of living in this cursed world (see our new book, right).
Things go from bad to worse for Hess when strange crop circles appear in his corn fields and things start going ‘bump in the night’. It soon becomes apparent on the nightly TV news that aliens are visiting the Earth and harvesting human beings (the reason was never explained). His crisis of faith deepens and he even forbids prayer at the dinner table. He exclaims to his brother and children that ‘we are on our own’ (in the context that there is no God to help them). This is ironic, as later on in the movie he then ‘confronts’ God, and exclaims ‘I hate you!’
One should be warned that this movie has some genuinely scary and tense moments, particularly during the final confrontation with a left-behind alien intent on revenge with Hess. It is at this point that the real meaning of the title Signs is revealed. The irreconcilable events in his life that caused him to turn his back on God, now viewed with meaning and purpose, ultimately restore him to faith.
For the Christian, one is reminded of Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ Unfortunately, this movie does not portray the real God of the Bible but one of man’s own making.
Alien life can only exist from one of two causes—it was created by God or it evolved (made itself by ‘natural’ processes). This movie presumes that there is a God.
However, if sentient aliens are part of His Creation, then mankind cannot be the focal point of His created universe. This is because the Bible teaches that the entrance of sin (Genesis 3) had the consequence that ‘. the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now’ (Romans 8:22). This implies that any created intelligent beings on other worlds would have been affected by Adam’s sin and the subsequent Curse through no fault of their own. We should also remember that Christ the Creator (Colossians 1:16)—the last Adam 1 Corinthians 15:45)—came to this Earth to redeem not only mankind whom He loves, but His entire Creation back to himself. There is no provision to redeem any other species, any more than there is to redeem fallen angels (Hebrews 2:16). Mankind and the Earth are clearly the spiritual centre of God’s universe.
The secular concept of intelligent alien life is implicitly based on the premise that if life evolved on the Earth it must have evolved elsewhere in this enormous universe (see ‘Is There Intelligent Life in Outer Space?’ booklet (right) and our Q&A page on Aliens and UFOs). Evolution, with its millions of years of death and suffering, is opposed to the Biblical account of the entrance of death through sin. This ultimately destroys the very reason for Jesus’ redemptive work on the Cross—paying the penalty of death for our sin.
Although this is an entertaining and well-crafted ‘thriller’, it fails to satisfactorily answer the ‘big picture’ of why is there death and suffering in the world. Such things are answerable only when one views the world through the Bible—God the Creator’s revelation to mankind—as the ultimate authority.