Without giving away too much about the movie Avatar, I thought I’d offer a few thoughts on its themes as to how it relates to Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
- The movie has very strong themes of empire, greed and violence. In the movie, humans go to the planet Pandora in order to exploit it for its natural resources which results in conflict with the native Na’vi people. The conflict results in vast suffering, destruction and death. Like both the humans and the Na’vi, the church has historically bought into power, greed and violence. In doing this we have pushed people away from Christ rather than drawing people to Him. Truly, followers of Jesus should humble ourselves as servants (Philippians 2:3-8) , seek the advantage of others (1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1) , walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6) , and suffer evils as Jesus suffered (1 Peter 2:21-24). That to say, we should not start conflict as did the humans in the movie, nor should we return evil when we receive it ( Matthew 5:38-42, Romans 12:16-21, Proverbs 20:22) as the Na’vi did.
- The movie also highlights the interdependence of people with nature. The Na’vi are a pantheistic people and therefore have an interaction with nature that only a few of the humans can appreciate. This is seen in the Na’vis deep connection with animals and plants and in their horror at the humans wanton destruction of nature. While pantheism is an abomination to God (Romans 1:18-32) , abusing God’s creation goes against God’s plan as well. God’s creation is good and he has entrusted it to His people (Genesis 1:28-31). Through sin all of creation has fallen, which includes people, animals, plants, weather etc. And though Christ’s death was certainly to reconcile us to God, it was also to reconcile all of fallen creation to God (Colossians 1:19-20, Ephesians 1:10). Because of this we are to further manifest God’s Kingdom, which includes caring for what God cares for -His creation. So, we should clearly not worship nature like the Na’vi, nor should we abuse God’s creation as the humans abused Pandora.