I am not someone who typically watches Marvel movies, but for whatever reason last night, I decided to take a chance and watch their new movie Doctor Strange (it may or may not have to do with the fact that I’m a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch). While it really was every bit as action-packed and entertaining as I hoped it would be, what actually stood out to me the most were some of the messages hidden throughout the movie. Just a heads up, there will be spoilers.
‘He deceives you. His eternal life is not paradise but torment.’ [The Ancient One to Doctor Strange]
The whole concept of the movie itself, this battle between ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ of the temptation of the possibility of eternal life, fear of death, hunger for power, is quite reminiscent of what happened in the Garden of Eden. Kaecilius is tempted by what Dormammu offers, which is eternal life when Earth is consumed by the Dark Dimension – this can happen because Dormammu’s universe is timeless. He is so consumed by his own fear of death that he is willing to sacrifice all of Earth to get this eternal life, even though it is far from what he thinks it will be like. In the last part of the movie, we see Doctor Strange battling Dormammu in an eternal loop of time, living the same moment over and over again. Even Dromammu himself admits that that is torture.
But Kaecilius is in all of us – that want to preserve ourselves at any cost, thinking that living forever in this physical world is so great. Satan makes it so easy as well, by tempting us with all the wealth and success in the world that makes us want more and more, and want to prolong our temporary lives just to get it. Let us never forget that Satan is the ultimate deceiver, whose lies we cannot bow down to – In their case the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God [2 Corinthians 4:4].
We were created to live with God, who offers an eternal life that is only good, because God is good. If we continue to let ourselves be deceived by Satan’s lies, ultimately we’ll end up with his version of eternal life. There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened [C.S. Lewis].
‘Death is what gives life meaning – to know your days are numbered.’ [The Ancient One to Doctor Strange]
If there were no consequences to our actions, it would never matter what we did. Likewise, if we have infinite days, each day ultimately doesn’t matter. As great as I used to think it was to know when and how I would die, knowing doesn’t prevent the inevitable. The suspense of not knowing is what allows us to choose to live each day like it’s our last, but only if we remind ourselves of this truth daily. Every day, I have to ask myself now, ‘Is what I’m doing today what I would spend my last day doing?’ and ‘Am I happy with how my relationship is now with God?’ Although Jesus is really what gives our lives meaning and purpose, it’s also because the spiritual death that we would experience without Him saving us that pushes us to search for Jesus and that purpose in life. Life, apart from God, is short. Life is fast. Life is a gift and privilege that doesn’t last.
If today were your last, would you do what you’re doing? Or would you love more, give more, forgive more? Then do so! Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again. [Max Lucado]