I grew up with monster movies and gothic thrillers. One of the most famous movie monsters was the Frankenstein franchise. And, being today is Halloween, what better way to connect spiritual things to such a holiday than to discuss the background of this story.
Mary Shelley wrote her Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus just over 200 years ago in 1818. The story is a fusion of romance, science fiction, and gothic interests. It plays off of ideas from John Milton’s Paradise Lostwherein the creature is called “Adam”, but Victor Frankenstein rejects his creature, calling him a “demon”, “devil”, and “abhorred monster”. She also utilized some Greek mythology in her story as well.
But, while her story sparked much interest in the topic of the influence of man on the earth, and his influence on ethics, the long history of Hollywood movies has helped spread that theme even further. Most haven’t read her novel, but most have seen some version of it in cinematic form, from the movies (including comedic efforts such as Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein, and Young Frankenstein), to cartoons, and so forth.
Carnegie Mellon University compiled a book in 2017 by a few of its professors entitled, Frankenstein’s Legacy: Four Conversations about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Modern World. In this book, Barry Luokkala, a professor of Physics, discusses the following about Dr. Frankenstein:
He was trying to do something that nobody had ever done before, trying to endow life to something that was lifeless. In effect, it’s a God complex. He wanted to be God. That isn’t said in so many words in the novel Mary Shelley wrote, but it is said on the screen in the 1932 movie: “In the name of God, now I know what it feels like to be God.”
That piece of his monologue was edited out after the Hays Code started to be enforced strictly, because you couldn’t take the name of God in vain like that. They just blurred that out with all of the thunder and noise in the laboratory and outside the castle in the later release of that movie.
I didn’t know that he said that until I got the DVD, which had the restored original soundtrack and dialogue. I though, “Oh, wow. That’s what it’s all about. Frankenstein wanted to be God. He wanted to create life out of lifelessness.” Brad King, ed. Frankenstein’s Legacy: Four Conversations about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Modern World. (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: Carnegie Mellon University: ETC Press, 2017). 51-52.
As we’ve discussed over the course of our time in Genesis, the nature of sin is such that all people want to be God (even if they don’t articulate it in such overt terms). Deification was what the serpent used to tempt Eve with in the Garden. It is why people refuse to humble themselves, to bow the knee to Jehovah, and to love one another. It is the disease that infiltrates all aspects of our lives, society, culture, religion, and any other aspect you can name.
In Genesis 6 we see that this wickedness spread so thoroughly throughout the earth that even the animals had become violent. We see that women were engaging with demons. We see that violence had become the norm. We see that people lived with absolutely no thought of their Creator. And we see that God chose to balance the scales once again and restart humanity through the line of Noah.
We also see throughout the Bible that a time is coming when God will permanently balance the scales and set up His perfect Kingdom where the evil affects of sin will have been vanquished and we will perfectly worship Him for eternity.
- For Thankful Thursday, let’s once again reflect on and give thanks to our Great Creator. Read each verse below and write out how you can thank God now for each of these attributes:
- Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.
- Zephaniah 3:5 The LORD is righteous within her; He will do no injustice. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He does not fail. But the unjust knows no shame.
- Revelation 17:14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
- II. Samuel 22:32 “For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God?
- Proverbs 21:12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, Turning the wicked to ruin.
- We have so much we can thank God for each and every day. Consider these things:
- This world is Satan’s kingdom, but he has no authority except what God has temporarily and limitedly granted him, and his reign will end shortly.
- If God cared enough to save 8 people out of the billions who were probably on the earth at the time of the Flood, then He cares about each and every one of His children even today amongst 7+ billion inhabitants.
- God never promised us a rose garden while we’re on earth, but He does promise us an eternal dwelling with Him that will make a rose garden look ugly, depressing and inadequate.
- Proverbs 2 (the whole chapter) tells us that the wicked rulers work together to fight God, but He laughs at them and they will lose. It also says we’ll be blessed if we put our trust in Jesus.
- Lastly, though Frankenstein’s monster is fantasy, the desire to rule and reign outside of God’s purview is alive and well in humanity. Man’s heart, in its sinful, depraved condition, has no room for God. Not only thank God now that He alone is God, but that He has graciously called out people everywhere, of every nation and tongue, while they were yet sinners, to be redeemed. He has changed their hearts, and they are new creations. This includes you and me as well. He has chosen to save us by the power of His blood, despite our rebellious hearts, and to that we owe Him all our gratitude and thanks.