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Edge of Tomorrow: a movie review



Variety calls Edge of Tomorrow "a cleverly crafted and propulsively executed sci-fi thriller."  Directed by Doug Liman (made famous by his 2002 The Bourne Identity), the film stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, with Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson in supporting roles.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I can tell you that an alien species called Mimics have invaded Earth.  They are controlled by a single entity called the Omega, which possesses the ability to reset time.  As a result, it knows everything that has happened and can repeat days to its advantage, making it an unbeatable adversary.

Cruise's character kills a very rare Alpha Mimic and is doused in its blood, which gives him the same ability to reset time.  In other words, every time he is killed in battle, he begins the same day again but with the knowledge he gained before his "death."  Through multiple death/life loops, he learns more and more about the enemy.  He and Emily Blunt's character eventually work together to destroy the Omega and win the war.

The movie is a spectacular summer flick (I saw it in IMAX 3-D and my ears still haven't stopped ringing).  Cruise plays this kind of role naturally, and Blunt's character is appropriately intense.  But my interest in this review is not with the movie per se, but with two theological themes it illustrates.

First, consider the past omniscience of the enemy.  Because the Omega can endlessly reset time, it knows everything that can be known about the war from its inception to the present.  This knowledge gives it a tremendous advantage in its conflict with humans.

Now consider our spiritual enemy, Satan.  He has existed from the beginning of human history, and has been tempting us from Adam and Eve to today.  He knows human nature far better than we do.  He knows everything that has worked to deceive and destroy us, and uses this past omniscience in his war against humanity.

But here's the good news: our Father has all knowledge of past, present, and future (cf. Isaiah 46:9-10).  So when we are tempted, we should take the test immediately to him.  When we stand and fight in our own strength, like humans against Mimics we will inevitably fail.  But when we turn to the One who is both omniscient and omnipotent, we find the power we need.

Second, let's think about death and resetting time.  Tom Cruise's character is terrified when he goes into battle the first time.  But after several death/life loops, he comes to see death as the necessary next step to life.  In fact, when the enemy kills him, it actually makes him a more knowing and thus more formidable adversary.

When this fact occurred to me during the movie, I thought immediately of Jesus on the cross.  Satan thought he had defeated our Father by killing his Son.  But he didn't know that Jesus' death would make our eternal life possible, or that our Savior would be raised from the grave to reign as our glorious Lord.  What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good.

It is the same with the death of God's people.  Jesus was clear: "Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:26).  When we take our last breath on earth, we take our first breath in heaven.  We step from death into life, from time into eternity, from this fallen planet into God's glorious paradise.

If we would see our death as Tom Cruise's character sees his, we would view it not as the end of life but as its beginning.  Such knowledge would strengthen us as we battle our spiritual enemy.  And when that enemy is finally destroyed, victory will be ours eternally.

I recently spoke at the memorial service for Dr. Yandall Woodfin, my major professor during my doctoral studies in philosophy and one of the strongest believers I've ever known.  Dr. Woodfin ended his great textbook, With All Your Mind: A Christian Philosophy, with a passage I used to close my remarks:

It can be for any of us who trusts in Christ as it was for Christian and Hopeful in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.  As they approach the river of death, which has no way around nor bridge across, they ask about the depth of the water and are told, "You shall find it deeper or shallower, as you believe in the King of the place."  Upon entering the water Christian begins to sink and cries to his companion that the billows and waves are going over his head.  To this Hopeful responds, "Be of good cheer, my Brother, I feel the bottom and it is good."  Christian soon finds solid ground to stand on and "the rest of the River was but shallow."


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