What's in your future?
Two minutes and seventeen seconds.
That’s how long it took to change everything. One moment, life is going along as normal. Two minutes and seventeen seconds later and nothing will ever be the same again.
Simultaneously across the globe, every single person on the planet blacks out and has a vision of what they will be doing in six months time. In the meantime, cars are crashing, surgery patients are flat-lining, and surfers are drowning. The world is plunged into chaos. No one knows what is happening or why. And even after all the fires are put out, how will people deal with what they have seen in the future? This is the premise of Flash Forward and I’m keen to find out where this is going.
In the pilot episode of Flash Forward, we’re introduced to the characters who will be helping us explore this strange new world. There’s the alcoholic FBI agent investigating the blackout, piecing together the clues and trying to work out just what happened. There’s his surgeon wife, who is confronted with the fact that in six months time she’ll be with another man. Or the soon to be married agent who is disturbed by the fact he saw nothing, implying that in six months time he’ll be dead. We’re introduced to a number of characters in this episode and I’m sure we’ll be introduced to more in the coming weeks. How they deal with this single event is what interests me most about the show. The gimmick is cool, but if it’s not backed up by characters I care about, then I’m out of here. So far, so good.
So much of how I feel about this show depends on what happens next. I want to see more of how the world recovers from the carnage of this event. I want to see how people use and abuse the knowledge they gained in their flash forward. For example, how will betting agencies cope when a whole bunch of people know exactly how all the sporting events finish up on April 30th 2010? If this show becomes completely about solving the mystery and forgets all this world-building potential, I feel I will be dissatisfied with Flash Forward.
If you had a vision of yourself in the future, how would you deal with it? Would you accept it as set in stone, or would you try and change it? For me, this is the biggest question of Flash Forward. Is this future certain or is it a potential future that is now subject to change? I’m leaning towards the second option, only because no one seemed in the future to be anticipating these events, even though they know the exact time and day of the visions. Time will tell if I’m right or not.
But in real life, I don’t believe in “potential futures”. I believe in a God who is in control of history. A God who knows every event before and as it happens. A God who responds to humanity’s sin in the garden of Eden by promising the arrival of his son Jesus to fix the problem. A God who approached a man in the first century and gave him a flash forward of the future. That is what’s going on in the book of Revelation. It’s one massive flash forward given to the apostle John. He sees a vision of the future. A future where bad things happen, but ultimately Christ is victorious. He sees all of God’s people brought together in peace to worship God.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'” (Rev 21:1-4)
This is a flash forward that we can be assured will come true. God has always been faithful to his promises and he does indeed promise that this will happen. Unlike the characters in Flash Forward, we haven’t been given a date for when Jesus will return. But we are to wait patiently and eagerly for the day, living every day with the knowledge that these events will come to pass.
For more articles by Joel A Moroney, head on over to Pop Culture Christ.