Stories are a way to deepen our understanding of humanity, of truth, of God. The Gospels show us Jesus was an avid storyteller, and it’s clear He designed us to enjoy stories. I believe that both the telling and receiving of a story can even be an act of worship. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R. R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and The Circle Series by Ted Dekker are among the more obvious examples, but I think that God can also use what some would consider secular storytelling to help us understand truth and even bring glory to God.
I consider Interstellar to be among the most beautiful films of all time, both visually and thematically. The glory of God’s magnificent creation is on full display as we join this small crew of astronauts who traverse through space to discover new worlds. The musical score is exceptionally ethereal, a heavenly harmony of church organ keys and soaring orchestral arrangements.
The central character in Interstellar is usually called “Cooper” or “Coop,” but his full name is Joseph Cooper. As a student of film, I believe it is no accident that the Nolan brothers gave this character the initials “JC.”
Interstellar is a story of someone who must take on a daunting mission in order to save mankind from extinction, which is a sort of eternal death. Cooper must journey through time and space to achieve this seemingly impossible task.
More importantly, Interstellar is a film fundamentally about the transcendent power of love. It is a long distance love story between a father who leaves his home and a daughter who anxiously awaits his return. Although the analogy is not perfect, it should ring a bell or two.
One character says, “Maybe we’ve spent too much time trying to figure this out with theory… Maybe love is some evidence, some artifact of a higher dimension… Love is the one thing that we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.”
What a powerful idea that love is something transcendent we are incapable of completely comprehending. As Christians we believe that “God is love,” that Christ’s sacrifice of love redeems us so that we become part of His family, and that “the greatest of these is love.” It’s by the unstoppable love of God that we are welcomed into His story.
“I’m coming back,” Cooper says while squeezing his teary-eyed, confused daughter Murph. This line immediately made me think of two things our Savior said. Firstly in the book of Revelation, Jesus tells John, “I am coming soon,” referring to His Second Coming. Likewise, in John 14:3, Jesus says, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” This second verse is especially relevant to the plot of Interstellar.
As a Christian, my enjoyment of Interstellar is made that much deeper as I ponder the lengths to which my Savior went to save the world. The love of Christ changed the course of history. It’s timeless. It’s unconditional. Through His victory over depravity and death, all of mankind can be saved and receive new life.
Through the extraordinary event of Resurrection Day, I am able to cling to that promise that echoes through time and space.
I’m coming back.
Yes! Lord Jesus, come quickly.