Prometheus II

As I stated in my last post about Prometheus, I am a Christian who believes in evolution.  I wanted to continue with my theme of Prometheus, not necessarily in a theological view of creationism, but a more literal view.  Basically, now I want to discuss the movie Prometheus, rather than the myth.  Before I go farther, I am clearly stating right now that my post WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for those who have not seen the movie.  I considered writing a post that did was fairly vague, vague enough for those who have not seen the movie to read through, but the topics that I really want to cover are not necessarily superficial enough to allow that.  So, again, this post will contain some spoilers about the movie Prometheus, and if you have already seen it, or do not intend to see it, or do intend to see it but do not care that I will spoil the plot for you a little, read on.

First: Aliens.  Obviously, they discover aliens in the movie, specifically aliens who are believed to be responsible for the creation of mankind.  They are referred to as the “Engineers” assumably because they “engineered” us.  The movie is not particularly clear on the actual intentions of the First Engineer who drinks that voodoo stuff that makes him shrivel up and wrenches his DNA apart as it writhes like some green earth worm frying on the concrete in a Southern summer, therefore creating our red human DNA.  That is part of the mystery of the movie.  Why did those aliens travel from wherever they are from to make us?  Why did they bother?  Were we an experiment?  A mistake, like in the legend of Prometheus (read my last post 🙂 ).  David 8, the (attractive) android, when one of the other characters tells him that humans made androids “because we could” replies with a question, asking the man if he would not be disappointed to hear that from his creator(s)?  Would we be disappointed to hear that from the race that made our race? That we were only created in a sort of play, because they “could?”  As humans, as anything with feelings (as David clearly had some sort of feeling, simulated or not, though that is a topic for another post, maybe one about the definition of sentience) would possibly state, we have a tendency to want to hear that we were made for a purpose, that we, even before we were physically made, were designed with some sort of care and a desire from our Creator to be something of importance to them.  What child wants to hear that they are a mistake?

Second: Faith.  Elizabeth Shaw is the actual main character of the film, and is a very interesting, deep person.  She has spent a good part of her life searching for proof that aliens were the “engineers” of mankind.  When she finally does discover that aliens exist, that their theories were correct (not just because they exist but because they have matching DNA which proves that we sort of evolved from them) she does not lose her faith in God.  She asks “but who made them?”  What if the story of Genesis is only the story of the creation of the Earth specifically, and does not cover the story of millions of other inhabited planets that have other populations of sentient beings?  Surely, if God made them He loves them infinitely too.  Is there room in the story in Chapter One of the book of Genesis to allow for an alien race’s DNA to be added to the gene pool to create our race?  Yes, I believe so, and that was the point Elizabeth Shaw was making.  Just because aliens donated their DNA to create our race, does not make them our gods, nor does is discount the existence of God.  I have watched enough Star Trek to believe that there could be something or someone out there.

Third:  Tying it together.  In Prometheus the film, the alien race that created us is, in no way, shape, or form, friendly.  Yes, we go throughout the movie thinking that they were preyed upon by some other race that attacked them, that they created us, possibly sent one of their own to die creating us (assuming he knew he was going to die and was not some sort of prisoner being put to death or something), but it is clear from the moment they rip Michael Fassbender’s lovely head off, that they were not overly fond of our race.  Does that mean that we were indeed and accident?  I do not think so.  As I have had more than a week since I saw the movie to consider possible courses, and I could very well be wrong (we will find out (maybe) when the next one comes out) that we were spawned to run around Earth, to grow and reproduce to make a nice big population for the kindly Engineers to test their face-suckers on.  This, however, is not (completely) a movie review, so I shall continue with my thoughts on what this means to us, in real life.  What if we were created from an alien race, which was also created by another alien race, which was created by an alien race before than, which was started, from “dust” which actually means single-celled organisms of some kind, by God?  Well, that means that we have a lot more to learn about where (and who) we come from.  Ultimately, the most important point to remember is that no matter the origin of our race, we were, I believe, designed by God, as children of God, who was the true Engineer of our race, forming us with love and intention.

*As a bonus to my post, I would like to offer you a link to the most hilarious summary of Prometheus that I have read.  Click hither and laugh 🙂


Prometheus I

Prometheus, in Greek Mythology, is the Titan who both forms mankind from clay, and gives his creation fire (after Zeus took it from them in his fury at Prometheus) so that they can survive in the harsh, dark world they had been born into.  As punishment for his crimes, including bringing fire to mankind, Prometheus is chained to a rock and for all eternity has his liver eaten out by an eagle, each day.  The organ grows back after each feast in preparation for a new, fresh torture the next day.

This image of the creation of mankind is not beautiful or peaceful, and it does not glorify our Creator.  The myth paints a picture of a Titan, a lower being in comparison to the gods who rule Olympus, who chooses to create mankind from clay, basically solidified dirt, and is punished for both their creation and for bringing them the means to survival.  Prometheus is not a character who is mighty or particularly praised, but is made out to be a sort of “trickster,” a low-class immortal who broke the rules and paid the price for his discretion.  He forms mankind, us, from basic nothingness, and to be more specific, only forms men (women come in a little later as another punishment to men for Prometheus’ perceived tricks – think Pandora and her “box”).  The genesis of our race was not blessed or remarkable, but a sort of mistake, a painful birth to make the beginning of painful births.  Zeus later further punished the new mortals by informing them that their lives would have been easy if Prometheus had not upset him, that they would suffer and starve and have to work their whole lives for a shattered image of what happiness would have been.  Prometheus, therefore, is the bringer of both life and death to humans.

The Judeo-Christian story of creation is a little more kind to us lowly humans.  As is fairly commonly known, God began by creating the Heavens and the Earth, then made day, night, land, sea, stars, animals, plants, etc. and ended by creating Adam, the first man, out of dust (granted, fairly similar to clay).  Eventually, when Adam gets lonely, God creates Eve, and they sin, and are thrown from the Garden of Eden, forever causing the suffering of future generations with the knowledge of the difference between wrong and right.  In this story of creation, the God that creates man is glorious and good, and most importantly loving.  He directly and purposefully creates mankind with the intention of them living in ultimate joy, praising Him.  It was not the error of the Creator that cast the humans into a less ideal existence, as it is the Prometheus myth, but the error of the people.  That is the important difference between the Greek mythological tale of Creationism, and the Judeo-Christian version – personal choice, the right to decide one’s own fate with the guidance of God who is ultimately in charge and can step in when asked for (a miracle), and love, a loving God who is a father, not merely a Creator.

Both the myth of Prometheus and the Judeo-Christian Genesis reflect on humankind.  I, personally, am a Christian, therefore I believe in the Christian story of creationism.  However, I also believe that a day to God is not necessarily 24 hours.  I DO believe in evolution, that those beginning days where God created the animals could have been billions of years, allowing animals to develop from single-celled organisms into the animals we know, including ourselves.  That being said, if the Judeo-Christian story if what really happened, the story of Prometheus is reflective of mankind’s image of ourselves.  Mythology is, and this is not of my own making but a widely accepted idea, how ancient humans explained what they did not understand.  The gods of not only Greek and Roman mythology, but Anglo-Saxon and Viking and Native American mythology, among many, many others, were not perfect, but flawed.  They were immortal people who were vengeful and kind, vindictive and forgiving, who toyed and punished the mortals for entertainment, and who blessed them beyond their wildest imaginings.   It makes sense that people would explain a dangerous, beautiful, ever-changing world by saying that it was ruled by dangerous, beautiful, ever-changing people.  The story of Prometheus then, in that vein, is how people thought they had been made.  It made sense that if birth was so painful and took nearly as many lives as it gave, that a Titan, the lower-class of the immortals, would make an even lower-class mortal and experience eternal pain for the birth of an entire race.  If even from the beginning of our race, we have thought rather little of ourselves, explaining our creation as a mistake, then how is it that pride is our greatest downfall?