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6 science-fiction and fantasy movies inspired by the Bible
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Sam Worthington in Avatar (2009). - photo by Twentieth Century Fox

Faith’s influence in the realm of science-fiction isn’t anything new. Some of the most popular moves in recent years, like the 2013 summer hit “Man of Steel,” have actually taken cues from faithful stories and used them as a way to promote a powerful message.

Deseret News National reported on this trend back in April, highlighting how certain movies and TV shows use characters and themes similar to the ones you’d see in the Bible.

“We have so many TV shows and movies where you see the same type of archetypal characters, plots and problems that you would see in religion (and) in religious texts,” Barna Donovan, a professor at St. Peter’s University in New Jersey, told the National.

Similarly, On Faith’s Brandon Withrow wrote this month that the Bible can feel like fantasy and science-fiction to many readers. This may be a reason, too, why a recent study said children are more likely to believe in fiction if they read the Bible.

The Bible and much of our modern media, especially those that delve into science-fiction and fantasy, have deep-rooted connections, with the former influencing the latter for much of the last century.

And science-fiction fans don’t mind it. In fact, according to a report by Omni Reboot, an entertainment news website, science-fiction fans are heavily interested in the Bible and the stories it tells.

Here’s a look at six science-fiction and fantasy movies that have been influenced by the Bible and its teachings.

“Desperation”

Released in 2006, “Desperation” is based off a book of the same name by Stephen King that tells the story of a family that is thrown into jail without reason and seeks to escape. The thing about the sheriff is that he can change his physical form on a whim, which gives the film a science-fiction and fantasy feel.

The biblical references come in the “Desperation” book, which quotes Salman Rushdi’s “Satanic Verses” in the prologue, according to research done by professors at Salahaddin University. Continuously through the book and movie, actions taken by characters are direct references to verses in the Bible. For example, one of the characters, Johnny, looks to find refuge and security, and says words similar to those found in Psalm 11:1 and Psalm 16:1-2.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

Harry Potter is known as the boy who lived.

But he might as well be known as Matthew.

According to Christianity Today, the seventh Harry Potter film and book are actually telling the story of Matthew 6:19-24. In the film and book, parts of the verse are printed on a grave stone of the great wizard Dumbledore’s mother and sister. However, Harry and his friends don’t fully recognize the words when they read them.

The verse on the grave highlights Dumbledore’s struggle to balance his power with his desire to serve a good cause. Other lines from the passage, like “He will be devoted to one and despise the other,” relate back to other characters in the book, like Snape who loves Harry’s mother but despises the boy wizard, Christianity Today reported.

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardobe”

According to Got Questions, a Bible research organization, the C.S. Lewis novel and movie that shows a group of kids entering a fantasy realm that has fallen under darkness is an allegory for the story of Jesus Christ. The character of Aslan, a talking and heroic Lion, actually takes on the role of Jesus. Not only does Aslan die for the sins and mistakes of characters in the movie, but he is also resurrected, much like Jesus in the Bible.

Some have disputed this theory of course, since Aslan kills one of the main villains in the story. But Got Questions pointed out that the Bible said Jesus might commit a similar act.

“Some have complained that as a Christ-figure Aslan should not have taken part in the killing of the White Witch,” Got Questions explained. “But the book of Revelation says that Christ will indeed destroy evil at His return -- and it will not be pretty. The politically correct/humanistic/liberal community is simply not used to thinking of evil as something to be fought, and that such fighting is not only right, it is valorous. ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ reminds us of this truth.”

“Noah”

The recent blockbuster hit “Noah” isn’t just the biblical story of “Noah.” In fact, it may be anything but that.

The film touches on the story, but adds monumental amounts of fictional material, which isn’t a surprise, given the brevity of the biblical story.

Because of these added moments, “Noah” can be considered a science-fiction film. Yes, it touches on biblican themes about the creation of humans, but also adds some fiction elements.

And “Noah” dabbles into the idea of theistic evolution, according to JJ Feinauer of Deseret News National.

“(Darron) Aronofsky’s telling of the creation combined the Darwinian visuals with Russell Crowe’s somber voice reciting a creation narrative similar to that found in Genesis,” Feinaur wrote.

By combining scientific thought with references to the Bible, “Noah” is surely a science-fiction film that takes much of its cues from the Bible.

“Avatar”

According to Religious Dispatches writer Kwok Pui-Lan, “Avatar,” the film directed by James Cameron -- which set all kinds of box office records, including the record for the highest-grossing film of all-time -- is actually a retelling of a biblical story.

Specifically, the groundbreaking blockbuster film retells Rahab and the Spies from the book of Joshua, in which Joshua sends spies to infiltrate Jericho, the spies get caught and Rahab comes to the rescue. This is very similar to the plot line of the “Avatar” movie, which sees the character Jake spy on the Na’vi, get caught and work to save them, Pui-Lan wrote.

“It is a cinematic fable, in real 3-D, of how to remythologize biblical stories and interpret them in subversive ways,” Pui-Lan wrote.

“Left Behind”

The general premise of this movie set to hit theaters on Oct. 3 this year focuses on the apocalypse.
According to Open Bible, a Bible information website, there are a slew of verses that point toward the end of the world, like Matthew 24:36, Revelation 17:8-10 and John 3:1-16:33.

“Left Behind” takes those cues and comes up with a story of what the end of days would look like and how people would react to it. And although the Christian Post says the movie’s predictions shouldn’t be believed by Christians, there’s plenty of references to the Bible to give the film that extra punch of faithful influence.

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner