“Do you think that God lives in Heaven because He too lives in fear of what He’s created…here on Earth?”-Romero (as portrayed by Steve Buscemi in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams)
This quote haunts me. These words, spoken almost at random by a tortured scientist in a 2002 kids’ movie, echo in my brain whenever I think about the nature of man and the existence and temperament of God. The scientist, Romero, reveals why his island is inhabited by giant genetically engineered animal chimeras in this scene of the film. He regrets what he created. He fears what he created. His rambled musings lead him to wonder aloud “Why do they hate me so? I created them…”
In William Blake’s The Tyger, the poet muses on a similar question with what I see as a great deal of overlap. The titular tyger is described in hellish detail, building a fearsome image in the mind of the reader. We consider the image of a beast with eyes of flame stalking through the woods at night, a dangerous eldritch abomination forged in the fire by a mysterious immortal hand. Blake is shaken by the thought, and much like Romero, he questions whether God was happy when He made this horrible creature. “Did he smile his work to see? / Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”. It was at this point I thought that perhaps this tyger might not be a tiger, and may instead represent a much more dangerous apex predator, man.
Both the 1794 poem and the 2002 Spy Kids 2 screenplay ask us to consider a God who may fear His creations, but why has this idea of a God regretting his creations taken hold? I propose that there are two main reasons that thinky-type people have given this a think.
- We see horrible things happen all around us, and we wonder what could cause an all-knowing and all-caring being to create pain in the world. Many are forced to consider God has left us behind.
- We imagine that God, if He is like us, likely screwed up just like we always do (classic humanity).
Now, other thinky-type people have already noticed that these ideas conflict with most Christian conceptions of God. He doesn’t make mistakes. It is very much not His thing. In fact, the Bible says that at least for humanity, He is pretty cool with sharing Heaven with us if we’re all cool dudes about it. Below is one quote that shows His willingness to allow us into his cloud-house if we listen to Him.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”Romans 6:22
And yet, despite this and many more comforting Bible quotes, people are still concerned that He might not actually like us. We humans are pretty bad in a lot of ways, and many of us do not dedicate our lives to serving Him. God may not necessarily fear us, but He knows He cannot control us. Our most dangerous trait is free will. God stays in Heaven because He knows it’s the only way He will get us to behave. Otherwise we are the tygers, and we are the genetically-engineered animal chimeras.
But what happened to our tortured scientist, Romero, you may ask?
Spoilers incoming for a movie that’s old enough to vote.
Well, Romero regains control over his chimeras, and much like God, he stays on his island with all of the very best-behaved creations. He even sends away a small spider-monkey with the main character, Juni, to go back home with the Cortez family in this classic scene.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”John 3:16