Rejecting the Outer Darkness


Have you ever thought about how frightening space is?  The void, the darkness, the cold, the silence and the vacuum.  We can only experience it through the glass of a climate-controlled space helmet because it’s so deadly. It lacks the essentials needed to sustain life such as water, warmth, and air.
But there’s one thing we need just as much, maybe even more.  That one thing is community.  While we can biologically survive without other people, real life can’t be lived in isolation.  Even the monks who spend much of their time alone and in silence come together to pray and share meals.
This reality was brought home to me in a profound way a while back when Steph and I went and watched Alfonso Cuarón’s groundbreaking movie, Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.  Much of the buzz has centered on the visuals, but it was the story that I really found moving.

One of this year’s biggest blockbuster films may be a great metaphor for what it means to be human and why God created us for one another.

In the film, Bullock’s character, a technician on board the space shuttle Explorer, has to fight for survival after a cascade of satellite debris smashes into the shuttle, killing nearly all of her crew. Tumbling helplessly through space in her space suit, in a communications blackout and her suit’s oxygen reserves running low, Bullock, and the audience as well, get a taste of what isolation really means.  It is very terrifying.
The thought of dying alone, spinning away from earth and the human race into the blackness and never being found, plays on some of our own deepest fears.
I won’t give away the ending, but Bullock’s character is shortly reunited with a wise-cracking fellow crew member played by George Clooney.  And though the two remain in peril for much of the film, we feel palpable relief along with the heroine when her threat of eternal separation abates.
Isolation seems to be the director’s intent in this movie.   Consider that the movie gives Bullock a back story that focuses on self-isolation borne of grief.  It’s a renunciation of love and friendship she imposed on herself after a loved one dies, convincing herself that no guiding Intelligence inhabits the heavens.
It’s only the loss of her crew, which leaves her living out the meaning of irreversible solitude, that causes her to cry out for earth, for love, and for God.  She even rejoices in the barking of a dog over her radio.
It’s hard to imagine a better metaphor for salvation than God’s gravity snatching us from the void of eternal aloneness.  I think that’s part of what Jesus was getting at when He likened Heaven to a wedding feast, which will be the ultimate celebration of community and togetherness, and simply called Hell, “the outer darkness.”
C. S. Lewis said something similar in The Problem of Pain, when explaining how he thought of damnation:

“In the long run,” he writes, “the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is itself a question: What are you asking God to do?  To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help?  But He has done so, on Calvary.  To forgive them?  They will not be forgiven.  To leave them alone?  Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.”
In the lives of a Christian, salvation is much more than escaping punishment or attaining bliss in this life as well as the next.  It is the restoration of what it means to be truly human.  This restoration is relational: we are brought into right relation with each other, with creation, and most importantly with God.  For the mind trained to think Christianly, films like this one offer a glimpse of that truth as through a glass (or a space helmet) of what is really out there.  It shows us just how cold, dark, and lonely hell really can be and in the process it makes heaven seem that much grander.  It should make us even more thankful that Jesus died so we do not have to experience hell.

We can reject the outer darkness and be brought into the light for all eternity.

About wmarsau

Most of the people who visit this blog already know me so it is kind of pointless to try to describe my life in this short little blurb. What is the purpose of this blog is the question. Over the course of this last year I have been exposed to some amazing people and have made personal development an important focus of my life. Being successful, not by the world's standards, but by God's has become my main focus. Mainly, I want to work to develop myself as a person who is kinder, reaches out to help those in need, and truly makes a difference in this world. To this end I am constantly reading and am exposed to so many differnet things along the way. These have been amazing and it is helping me grow so much. Then I started to think, "Why am I being so selfish?" You need to share with others these amazing things you are learning and being exposed to. That is where this blog comes into play. As I am reading and experiencing things that are truly amazing and life changing, I will be posting them on this blog. Obviously, I will not be able to post everything in it's entirity, but I will be summarizing them and letting you know the source of the article or book they come from so you can check them out later if you wish. I want this blog to be a place where you can go to often and be inspired and leave here with a smile on your face. I will be covering all kinds of different topics dealing with success and personal development. Topics like taking action, relationships, living to your potential, reinventing yourself, finances, leadership, presenting, goal setting, time management, etc. I will also be occasionally including topics on cooking, music, and gardening because they are special interests of mine. As a little disclaimer, I have given my life to the Lord and he is #1 in my life. I am his servant and everything I do in life is for his glory. With that being said, religion influences all areas of my life. There will be references to God in this blog because I can't seperate God from this or any other area of my life. I want you to know that if you do not believe in God, that is fine. That is your choice. This blog is open to anyone who wants to better their life. I will not be trying to influence or pressure anyone into having a relationship with the Lord from this site. Please don't feel uncomfortable. You can just read the portions of the blog that you wish to. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me. We will learn together to be the kind of people we were designed to be. Anyone can make a difference in this world, but it starts%
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