Sci-Fi Christianity

“If God dwells inside us like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting.”Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey (SNL)

Sometimes I wonder if the world understands the implications of Christian claims more than Christians. We say that God lives inside of us. We are biological temples of our Creator. As children, we are encouraged to ask Jesus into our hearts, and we  embrace the concept without question.

But if we truly believe that, why do we act as if we are alone?

We still invite the Holy Spirit to our worship services as if he is hovering somewhere outside the sanctuary. Why tend to pray outward, raising our hands toward the sky. We talk about the day when we will escape this world and finally see him face to face, as if spirit to spirit is so muted and vague, that the indwelling Christ becomes little more than a “still small voice,” a subtle urging for us to get back on track in our devotions, or witness to that unconverted friend. If nothing else, it is our backstage pass to heaven.

Imagine you are Wolverine. You wake up in the adamantium smelting room in the dam at Alkali Lake (yes, I used Wikipedia), and Dr. Stryker explains that your natural bones have all been replaced by an indestructible metal. You take a second to absorb the information, then say, “Well, I’d better limit my salt intake.”

Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home, I was taught that being a temple of the Holy Spirit meant limiting my sin intake—no cigarettes, no secular music, no R-rated movies, no swearing. Definitely no Bud Lite. However, despite some of the absurdity of Christian culture, there is something valid there. If I believe that the Spirit of God is actually inside of me, joined with me in some mystical union of spirits (I Cor. 6:17), would I really pursue some of the secret sins that I pursue?

In John 14:10, Jesus makes the ultimate sci-fi claim: “The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me and does his work through me.”

Uh . . . Jesus was a host body for his Father? When was that flannelgraph lesson? But if you think about it, this was exactly what we learned in Sunday School when we were invited to becomes host bodies for Jesus. In a sense, when we look at Jesus we should see what this sci-fi existence was meant to look like. And we all know that the life of Christ was not typified by what he didn’t do, but by what he did do.

Here are some of the implications that immediately come to mind:

  1. Hope. If the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in my body (Rom. 8:11), I have no excuse for worry, fear or hopelessness. In fact, if I really believe that God lives in me, worry can be regarded as a form of insanity, even in the midst of great pain or chaos.
  1. Change. I should not be able to live an entire life in mystical union with God without some sort of change. Here is the way I see it—God demands holiness, puts a Holy Spirit inside of me, then . . . I keep trying to do it on my own? More insanity.
  1. Power. God has a lot of work to do in this world, and he prefers to do it through his people. Literally. In his authority and power, God wants to “open blind eyes, and bring prisoners from their dark dungeons” (Is. 42:7). When he sent his disciples into the world, he said “I will be with you always.” To put it simply and redundantly, God’s work should be God’s work.

There are many more implications, but this post is getting long, and I’d like to hear your thoughts. How has sci-fi Christianity made an impact on your life? How should it?

11 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Christianity

  1. “Stranger in a Strange Land”, Heinlein, looks like a Sci-Fi version of the Second Coming. Anyway, Jesus also says that He and the Father are One, and prays that we all become One (John 17: 20-24). This should be seen as a unity of diverse wills, rather than a unity of subverted wills such as the Borg. The idea that “God is Love” (1 John 4) implies a harmony of different wills rather than the consumption of one will by another.

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  2. So why DON’T these things just happen? If God is inside us, why do we worry? Why do we feel alone? Why do I still get angry and hold grudges? Maybe that could be addressed in a future blog post. Because I think our daily reality doesn’t line up with the sci-fi theology, and when confronted with this incongruity, you can’t help but ask Why not?

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    • That is the questions, isn’t it? If God is in his people, why do his people look like everyone else? Why don’t we feel different than we do? Change should be spontaneous.

      You’re right, this could be a future blog post, and an important one, but if I had to answer off the top of my head, I would say that, because God is a person and not a battery, his indwelling spirit can seem as cold and lifeless as a bad marriage. If we do not believe in the relationship, understand it, and engage with it, it will seem like there is nothing there except maybe a little flutter of life from time to time. But like any relationship, spiritual life can be nurtured and become a vital and powerful force in a person’s life.

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  3. Sci Fi Christianity ( which really isn’ t Christianity at all) paralyzed my life. Until I understood the indwelling life of Christ and believed that He actually does dwell inside of me, my life was one of defeat and hopelessness. Belief is the key. Faith follows belief. Christ said ” if you believe,all things are possible” . I think He is talking about a victorious spirit filled life of whatever God has purposed for me since before the foundation of the world. When I pursue Christ and cooperate with the Holy Spirit His presence is mind blowing. To try and explain it would definitely sound like Science Fiction to the worldly .Not being a Sci Fi fan though, I don’t have any comparisons.

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    • Ha! Here’s one: At the end of Star Trek 2, Spock is about to die, so he puts his spirit inside of the doctor, then dies. In Star Trek 3, after Spock’s dead body is renewed on the Genesis planet, his resurrected body is given his spirit back in a ceremony on Vulcan. Yes, science fiction. But this reflects an interesting spiritual reality that non-believers have explored in sci-fi for years without even realizing it.

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  4. At the end of the Matrix trilogy, the Oracle is asked if she knew it was going to happen… she replied “no, I believed.” That is a lot of movie work to look at knowledge (yada) vs belief. The knowledge of good and evil that is offered as the super power of being like God (Genesis 3: 5). Lucifer’s desire to place his throne above the stars of God (Isaiah 14: 12). God is not looking to control or be controlled. In the end, all dominion, authority and power are destroyed. (1 Corinthians 15: 24-28) Meanwhile, Sci-Fi tends to be more about the power to destroy enemies rather than the power to love them.

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  5. Sci-fi eh? Invisible kingdom? Christ’s church here on earth is alive and flourishing, John! Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.”

    We are the members of Christ’s body! Romans 12:5 : “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” His church is not invisible or his spirit something unable to be seen. He makes himself visible in the book of creation and nature, the liturgy of the word, scripture, and the breaking of the bread in the holy eucharist.

    “Take this all of you and eat, for this is my body.” The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His blood that was shed IS the New Testament (or covenant). The new testament needs to be read in light of this holy sacrament. Before it was written down as a document, it was done as a sacrament. “And do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus said do this, not write this. This new covenant is the source and summit of all Christian life and faith.

    When Jesus broke bread, did he say this is like my body or this is something like my body? No he said this IS my body and my blood. When taking communion whether we like it or not, acknowledge it or not, that is Jesus fully present, body, blood, soul and divinity. In the last supper, God himself is holding God himself, looking up and giving thanks to God the Father. Imagine that for a minute. The last supper is an image of the Holy Trinity.

    You quote: If I believe that the Spirit of God is actually inside of me, joined with me in some mystical union of spirits (I Cor. 6:17),… this passage is referring to the union of a couple in marriage during the marital act. The previous verse states that “the two will become one flesh.” Literally two becoming one…so in a marriage, divorce is essentially suicide.

    You also quote John 14:10 . Here’s a head twister for ya… Jesus states that the Father and him are one: “The Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Later in verse 28 he states that “the Father is greater than I”. Which is it?

    Well, too much for now…will continue reading and commenting later on!

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    • Christian! So great to see you on here.

      Funny that you mentioned John 14:10. I just led a two-hour bible study on that very verse tonight with fifteen college students. A great time! And an important section of scripture. We’ll explore it in future posts for sure.

      As for the church being visible. Of course it is! But it’s life source is invisible. That’s why Jesus was called, “the image of the invisible God.” All spirits are invisible, which is why Jesus said, “No man has seen God at any time, but the Son of God has revealed him.” And the Church is Christ’s body on the earth by his Spirit. Thus we have a “kingdom” of God on earth, ruled over by the resurrected Christ (a son of David) by the Holy Spirit.

      The Church is not just an organization, but a divine organism, an extension of the reign of God so that “his will is done on earth as it is in heaven.”

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  6. Black Holes and Klein Bottles are Sci-Fi props that challenge our minds like the concept of “He is in me and I am in Him.” Sin is more external such as “Sin lies at the door, and its desire is for you, but you may rule over it.” (Genesis 4: 7) Also the concept of “be angry, but do not sin.” The science of psychology would have us believe that problems are inevitable and due to our life experience. The promise of the Bible is that with God, all things are possible. Many believers will testify to the power of the Holy Spirit to rescue the broken soul.

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  7. As Science gets into quantum-mechanics, there is increased acceptance of events that are outside statistical norms. The concept of a Collective Consciousness suggests that we can foresee and influence events beyond physical contact. This would be the Body of Christ at the Pentecost. In physics, science is looking at “something that happens now is affected by something that happens in the future”. So, spiritual presence may not be interior or exterior, but collective; and not tied to a finite timeline.

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