Have you seen it yet?! A highly creative alien-flick with some of the more blatant Gospel themes in recent memory… definitely my favorite blockbuster of the summer. Here are six somewhat spoiler-free thoughts on the clearly very awesome theology at work (ht Jacob, R-J, Mr. T):
1. The film is set in a Johannesburg, a modern day Nazareth if ever there was one, and even opens with a defacto census.
2. In keeping with the Nazareth theme, the vehicle for the redemption of the Prawn species is the least likely of candidates, a dim-witted goodie-goodie (human) bureaucrat named Wikus. Isaiah 53:2-3 anyone?
3. Compassion with “the other” only occurs definitively and effectively via incarnation.
4. The Holy Spirit-driven process of sanctification has never been illustrated more, um, elaborately. In the case of Wikus, the left hand truly does not know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3!); in fact, the unregenerate nature works actively to destroy the regenerate one.
5. Then there’s the imputed vs. infused righteousness debate, which is played out on the screen in the form of Wikus vs. the Nigerian gangsters. The Nigerians believe that by eating alien flesh they will turn into aliens themselves, and hence be able to use alien weapons. Naturally, this doesn’t work. Wikus on the other hand is “covered” in alien righteousness, beginning a process of transformation over which he has absolutely no control.
6. Finally, the ending has Second Coming written all over it. Tim Keller has an excellent sermon series about heaven where he talks about how our beliefs about the future go a long way in determining the way we live in the present, “you are what you hope for” being the refrain. Look no further than District 9!
[BTW, those with sensitive stomachs will probably not enjoy District 9 - the gore-factor is rather intense]