The film writers and makers of Hollywood are remaking and reproducing some of the movies and figures from the past in new and exciting ways. I have enjoyed their recreations of Batman, Transformers, X-men, and so forth. One of those movies which will be released tomorrow will be called “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011). This movie will perhaps be a rebirth of “The Planet of the Ape” series. Before going to watch this movie, I decided to read the book which inspired all the movies: Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle.
In this book Boulle reveals a time and world in which the apes rule over everything else. A couple of humans and their pet ape arrive, are taken captive, caged, and treated like we might treat zoo animals. The apes feed the humans, the dangle things in front of them, and they take the humans for walks occasionally. Reading this book was similar to imagining a backwards zoo – where we as humans are on display and the apes are looking at us. It was quite, well, shocking to picture such a role reversal. Could you imagine what it would be like to be in a zoo while the apes run the planet, have their own theaters with ape actors, have their ape authors, and so forth? This idea of a role-reversal still shocks me to think of it because it is so backwards. What are we to think of this idea?
As Christians, we must reject this idea by revealing its inadequacies. Though entertaining, this idea is erroneous. Apes still lack the mental capacity to rule, to talk, and so forth. Though they can learn to mimic actions of other people, they still cannot learn to read, speak, and write at a level of competency similar to humans. In the upcoming movie, humans will supposedly release some sort of gas that will accelerate all animal intelligence. This invention is simply imaginative; clearly, we don’t have anything like this invention. Furthermore, for the sake of the argument, even if we did invent something similar, we would probably be more inclined to try it ourselves rather than give it to another species. Now, I am all for cultivating our imaginations. Nevertheless, when we use our imaginations to propagate erroneous ideas, then we have misused our imaginations.
As Christians, we must present our Christian worldview in response to this inadequate, evolutionary worldview. In Genesis 1:27-28, Moses writes, “27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” In these verses we learn that God created man and gave him a responsibility over creation – man is to rule over all the creatures, including the apes. Yet, man is unable and unwilling to complete this task as assigned because of The Fall in Genesis 3 (search our other articles for more information on The Fall). Whereas before, man was supposed to rule over everything with a benevolent rulership, now, he rules sinfully, or has apathy for his task, or both. To remedy this sad circumstance, God has sent his Son to redeem mankind. If man will change his mind about his sin (repent) and trust that Jesus Christ has bore God’s wrath on the cross for and rose again for man, now he can be made right with God. Then, and only then, man can learn to rule over the earth in a benevolent fashion again. That is, man should rule with a sense of responsibility. This command from God rules out all forms of animal abuse, reckless animal killing, and so forth. Yet, God still commands us as humans to rule over creation, not be ruled by any part of creation.
I am personally excited about watching this new movie soon. From watching the trailers online and in the theaters, it looks interesting! Nevertheless, we must learn to think and interact with the ideas with which we are being presented. The writers and film makers of the movies we watch are trying to communicate ideas in their movies, just as good authors of fiction do in their books. Yet, we, as Christians, need to be prepared to interact with those ideas in an intelligent and biblical manner. Hopefully this article will help our readers who watch this movie engage the ideas they receive from it and all other movies they watch henceforth.