Doctor Strange Review
This compelling movie gives a glimpse into some fascinating spiritual realities.
Doctor Strange is another Marvel masterpiece that opens our eyes to the deeper dimensions of life.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a neurosurgeon at the top of his field, until he is involved in a horrible accident that crushes his hands along with his career. Hoping to find a cure, he ends up in Nepal and is thrown into the world of the mystic arts. He soon finds himself fighting off all sorts of enemies and eventually having to fight for the survival of the earth. As I watched this, I noticed two main biblical themes arise:
- The spiritual realm
- The reality of eternal life
As the film explored both of these themes, it led to one important lesson for viewers.
1. The Spiritual Realm
When first confronted with the mysterious ways of magic, Dr. Strange reacts quite strongly with pride, suggesting that it is all a trick or just a drug. The character called ‘The Ancient One’ (Tilda Swinton) even recognises this and suggests he might prefer to understand spells as being like a computer program, just so his modern materialistic mind can cope with it. Like Dr. Strange, many in our modern western culture struggle to acknowledge anything beyond what they can see and touch (and to speak of such things can be seen to be crazy).
Yet in the Bible we see clearly that there is a spiritual dimension that is real and God has even given us his Spirit to dwell inside us. On several occasions in the Gospels, Jesus confronts demons and evil spirits (eg. Mark 5). Plus in Ephesians 6, we read about the reality of the spiritual battle that is going on around us. Yet perhaps unlike the mystics, we are not aiming to transcend our physical bodies into the spiritual realm, instead we are looking forward to a new creation where we will have new physical bodies (Philippians 3:20-21). Equally, Christianity is not to be confused with evil and unhelpful cult practices that happen in various places around the world. This movie certainly alerts the audience to a reality that is outside of ourselves, we must then go to the Bible to understand it more fully.
2. The reality of eternal life
The other theme raised in the movie is a comparison between eternal paradise and eternal torment. Interestingly, one of the main objectives of the villains in this movie, apart from the normal death and destruction, is to win people over to spending eternity in the dark realm. Yet when Doctor Strange looks at the evil ones possessed by the dark lord ‘Dormammu’ he says “If your leader looks like that then I don't want to be part of that kingdom.”
Eternity is something spoken of clearly in the Bible. The evil character Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) is right when he says that we are made for eternity. Indeed, Ecclesiastes 3 says that God has “set eternity in the human heart.” Yet the Bible is ultimately clear that this perfect life and paradise is only on offer for those who put their trust in Jesus. For those who don’t, they face eternity under the judgment of God. John 3:36 puts it the clearly: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” We have our own Ancient One who gives to his king all power and authority and a kingdom that last forever, just check out Daniel 7:13-14.
It’s not about you
Both of these big themes get summed up in one of the key moments in the whole movie. As the Ancient One passes on her ultimate piece of wisdom, she says to Doctor Strange “it’s not about you.”
This is the lesson we all need to remember over and over again as we get caught up in our own lives thinking we aren’t in control. In light of the spiritual realm that exists and eternity that is to come, we must remember these words “it’s not about you.” This world revolves around the Lord Jesus, he is control, not you, and he is the only one who can fill you with his Holy Spirit and give you eternal life. So we are to humble ourselves by the only, true, sovereign God.
Doctor Strange is a thought-provoking addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and hopefully will open the eyes of viewers to some deeper themes of spirituality and eternal life.
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