Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Right Way to Save the World

**Disclaimer:  The following blog post may contain spoilers.  Proceed with caution.**

The two most recent Marvel plotlines that I watched were the latest season of the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the movie X-Men Apocalypse.  Both the movie and the TV series featured their own villain who was compared to a god and who aimed to gain control of the minds of everyone on Earth.  “Apocalypse” was a powerful ancient mutant who was going to transfer his soul/being into a psychic in order to use his powers to telepathically take over minds.  “Hive,” enemy of SHIELD, was going to use his parasitic nature to infest everyone in a planet.  They were formidable enemies with people with special abilities coming up against them to stop them.  My kind of stories!

I’m going to ask a question that may seem strange to you.  Would it really have been so bad if the bad guy had won?  When you think of it, if they had won, the citizens of the planet would not be unhappy.  In the case of Apocalypse, the thoughts that they would be thinking wouldn’t be their own, and they would all be co-operating.  In the case of “Hive,” not only would the people be co-operating, but the parasite infesting their mind would keep them in a perpetual euphoric state of bliss.  Isn’t happiness all we want in the end?

Don’t get me wrong, I was rooting for the good guys in both Marvel stories as neither antagonist offered the ideal end game.  It’s interesting, though, when we look at what we have against the bad guys in the context of our real world question of evil.  Even the most faithful among us at times ask the question, “if God is good, why does he let evil happen?”

The answer lies in the concept of free will.  In giving us free will, God was giving us the ability to choose to not obey him.  That disobedience is how evil entered the world.  If we truly wanted all evil and suffering to end on this planet, the thing that would be necessary would be for God to take away enough of our free will that we no longer had the ability to make the mistakes that caused the suffering.

If the Marvel bad guys had won, they would have done something similar.  They would have taken away humanity’s free will and have everyone living together in harmony.  Do you recognize the biggest thing wrong with that picture?

Whether or not you believe that God was the one who gave us it, it’s obvious to most of us that having free will is part of what it means to be human; taking away our freedom to make our own choices is taking away from our humanity.

So what’s the point of it all if we can’t achieve a society in which we have both free will and an absence of pain and suffering?  Are we resorted to merely just doing what we can and hoping for the best?

Unfortunately, while we dwell in our mortal shells, things aren’t looking up.  If there is an answer that allows one to achieve a perfect society while holding on to both free will and our humanity as we scientifically define it, I would like to hear it.

The end game presented in the Bible shows one where we can achieve utopia without necessarily giving up free will.  Yes, it does happen after our physical body dies, but I would argue that with our new bodies we are not less human, but more.

According to the Bible, we were giving free will, but we were ultimately meant to use our free will to choose God.  We designed so that we would get the ultimate amount of satisfaction and happiness the closer we got to God.  The reason that so many choose paths away from God is because it’s a much easier task to focus on the tangible and grasp for the happiness that we can see and understand.  Even though the happiness God offers extends far past the physical, pursuit of it often means giving up lesser but more visible pleasures.  The reason I said that with our new bodies we would be more human is because in this form we will have less ties to the things that tempt us to reject God, thus giving us a greater ability to do what we were created to do.

Heaven is designed so that we may gain the pleasure that we were created to feel.  In Heaven we will know the joy of being in close proximity and close relationship with God.  We will have our free will and choose to be perfect for the same reason that God chooses to be perfect.  When one already has obtained ultimate satisfaction and happiness, one has no desire to change that state, even when one has the free will to.

Both Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and X-Men Apocalypse have suggested the ancient super beings in their narratives have inspired passages of the Bible.  What they didn’t mention was that further examination of the mysterious and ancient biblical pages would reveal that regardless of how awesome the god-like beings Apocalypse and Hive were, they had nothing on the God will ultimately conquer the world and defeat evil.

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