Sci-Fi Fantasies Evince Yearning for a Return to Eden that Doesn't Involve God

Editor's Note: This article was generated by machine translation, so our staff cautions the reader about possible inaccuracies that may have resulted from this. However, it was deemed worthwhile to still publish such a piece because of the intrinsic value of the message - which remains evident even in its translated form.

Our Savior's Church is not devoid of futurological and eschatological representation of the future, it lives it and really possesses extraterrestrial technology - "the time machine", possessing the experience of using it. And it is not only scarce, but still existing, described in the tales, legends, hagiographies of saints, when there was instantaneous movement in time and space, who were real as in the past contemplators of the earthly paradise of Eden, describing in detail to their contemporaries biochemical processes of the biosphere and even bringing objects from there. So were in the future, in which, as an accomplished fact, the salvation of mankind has already been accomplished, in which there were both born and unborn people, and they communicated with them. But it goes much deeper than the possibility of a "time machine".

What is the need for fiction? Why does the "time machine," especially in recent times, so deeply concern modern man as a kind of panacea for solving problems (fantasy novels are written, terrific movies are made)? Regardless of religion, culture, country, social status, age and development, something unites people and mysteriously in the Edenic way beckons a person. And having received a new invention, knowledge, achievement, which used to be unattainable and dreamt fantasy, suddenly it ceases to be valuable, the man is not satiated with it, he is not happy... and here unfolds a new coil of fantastic premonitions, of which something will also become yesterday's day. Don't you feel there is some kind of flaw here? "Take humanity everything you can only invent, including the time machine." So what's next? Will the machine make you happy?

One can see deep psychological moments in the need for fantasy, an attempt to compensate for what has been lost - Paradise as man's nature in power, and man's perfect place to be.

Always, through the history of humanity, known and unknown to us vanished civilizations, when artifacts found, from microscopic to gigantic monumentalism, amaze us all with our contemporaries with one pervasive common thread: the tragedy of humanity, which ends in death.  All of humanity's existing holidays, from personal ones (e.g., birthdays), to all sorts of public, state (I do not take perversions into account), and religious ones, are an attempt to recreate or come close to the bliss of a lost Paradise. And the desire to have a "time machine" outside God is again an attempt of the human spirit to rise above matter, time and space, and thus this inner and deeply natural attitude, even for a hardened atheist fantasist, speaks subconsciously and internally of the need for eternity of human existence.

But God does not leave humanity alone in its struggle with this tragedy of death, man immediately after his expulsion from Paradise hears the prophecy and lives in hope of Him who "yesterday, today and in the future is the same. The mystery of this eternity of man's being is revealed even before Christ's incarnation from the future! Who "the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End," He overcomes death, giving mankind eternity! This ark of salvation for humanity and at the same time the divine-human organism is the Church of Christ. It is called the "Eldress", for she was created before the ages! So we read in a doctrinal book with mystical visions and revelations from the Shepherd Angel to the prophet Hermas. In a book given to the Christians of the Roman congregation of the 2-3rd century called the "Shepherd" of Hermas. (Although this book was quite common in the ancient Church, it never made it into the canonical Gospel books).

Why are fantasy books written and fantasy movies made? To escape from reality, to embellish reality, to find ourselves, to reveal creativity, a method of progress and self-discovery? All questions can be answered with a "yes." But the answer lies much deeper, in the very ontology (naturalness, state) of man. In the Christian cosmogonic and anthropological worldview, fantasy desires, dreams of a mighty man, as has already been said, are humanity's attempt to compensate for its lost nature and to regain the place from which humanity was expelled - Paradise.

Our Russian compatriot and great preacher of the future - the future Resurrection of mankind - St. Seraphim of Sarov not only on Easter, as established by tradition, but throughout the year he greeted his visitors and interlocutors with a triumphant and triumphant greeting: "Christ is risen, my joy!" And this was not merely a good-natured wish, to which, in the Kuraev manner, the well-known "Same to you" might be a reply, but a much deeper and more expansive look into eternity, where in the future resurrection the seer exclaimed to the children and companions of Christ, with inexpressible and genuine spiritual joy, singing: "Christ is risen, my joy"! This living example of our history tells us that we, with Christ, are building the future - eternity already and now.

Knowing the future and fleeing to another time (with a hypothetical possibility), no matter how well-intentioned (to improve something), devalues responsibility and the value of moral choice. And this is the value of man himself in eternity, and all our naive and romantic dreams "if I had been born then and there, or got there..." - though a beautiful dream that urges us not to bear our cross. Betrayal, desertion from reality, in which here and right now it is possible and necessary to perform feats of spirit (as we know, in war deserters were shot, and it was considered morally justified).

The holder of a revelation about the future must be prepared for moral responsibility with a pure soul. And this can be deeply intertwined in the personality: the tragedy of events and inner experience, as it is clearly and obviously evident in the biblical prophet Jonah. After all, his attempted defection failed. In order to change the evil future and the tragic fate, at that time, the inhabitants of the megalopolis - Nineveh, needed not a "time machine" at all, but something that really changes the future - repentance! After all, everything is in God's hands.

Even if we allow for the possibility by technical "machines" of instant movement in time and space, it will be associated primarily with a highly moral state and organization of the human soul, where responsibility for the fate of humanity, awareness of God's Providence and the holistic inseparable course of human history prevail. Such examples of contact, both with the past and with the future, are evident in the spiritual phenomenon of the Holy Spirit's gracious gifts - clairvoyance of the elders. Only a pure heart can have contact with the books of human destinies and the course of history, where a gentle touch to their pages by an experienced clergyman (not a magician, not a shaman, not a psychic clairvoyant), heals both spiritually and physically, changing the course of history as private destiny and humanity, and leads man to the ultimate meaning of his eternal existence - salvation! And where eternity is, there is no need for a "time machine. For then humanity itself (as a holistic and divine organism) is beyond time, permeating all the existence of time.

Time is not distinct and separate from space and matter. But time has a beginning and an end, historically integral, and paradoxically, with its non-identity and finitude, time is infinitely valuable for the Man of eternity, (in this sense the word "Man" can be written with a capital letter), in which (in time) due to moral choice and work "Christ from future" gives his future - eternity, and in it now a dreamlike extraterrestrial "time machine".

The moral condition of man and draws a representation of the future. In the prism of Christian anthropology and eschatology, the futurological view of man, after the resurrection, is a possessor of the fullness of divine grace, where the body possesses a greater capacity than Adam's condition in Eden.  And by virtue of deification, dominion over the space of time and matter. A world without God and beyond Christianity in fiction is presented in corruptible form and imbued with the tragedy of humanity. For Christians, it is clear that this is a consequence of the fall into sin.

Close to the ideological ideas of Christianity about the society of the future, oddly enough, is the old and good, somewhat romantically naïve fiction of the USSR. Ivan Antonovich Efremov's The Andromeda Nebula is such a classic and striking example. Oh, how it stirred millions of minds, people lined up in libraries for this novel, which was popular until the early 1990s.  The world and the social order of society there is built in the ideas of a bright and fair communism, with a developed, highly moral and high-tech society (heaven on earth), where the morality is the moral code of the communist, the ideology of society development - the communist dialectic, it lives all of humanity, it is cultivated instead of God. The greatest evil in the story is man-made disasters, which man does eventually cope with. The positive and negative characters are clearly expressed. I do not wish to belittle the merits of other works by our science fiction writers, which touch on deep and philosophical themes, but the purpose of my article is not to analyze them, but to make a general presentation. Take for comparison Western fiction, particularly the United States, the future world there is presented in vivid variety, where there is a constant war of worlds for resources, power and glory. Ideas, plots, characters are commercialized, debauchery and violence, cynicism are cultivated, the line between good and evil is blurred. If we consider the fantasy technology and techniques, it is a pathetic plagiarism of the science fiction of the USSR, where even the names were stolen. For example: in "Nebula..." there is a main positive Russian hero, the Gift of the Wind. Doesn't that remind you of anything? Think back to Star Wars. Yes, yes, that's the same Darth Vader, who is supposed to represent ideologically the Russian as the ultimate evil. Or take the movie "Stargate," where the central sci-fi object of movement through the universe and time is a displacement ring - it's plagiarized from the same "Nebula..." Ring of Communication, etc. But there is something in common in all these fantasies, something that has been praised in man since ancient times: courage, nobility, sacrifice, love. In these fantasies, as well as in modern fantasy computer games, there is room for the devil and all his various modifications, but there is no room for the Christian God, God - Love.

All possible dreams of the future are almost always characterized by nostalgia for the good past. But the ontological sense of the soul is nostalgia, an inner longing and grief for the lost paradise and unity of the human race. And this eternal demand of the soul for a beautiful future, nostalgic mood for the good and the past, the unity of the human race simultaneously occurs and is sought in the bosom of the eternal "Old Woman", created before all time - the Church of Christ!

And if one were to imagine, to imagine such a scene, suddenly so fortunate, a contemporary telling fantastic and cosmic dreams of a bright future, such as my beloved Saint Seraphim of Sarov, then unreservedly, I am sure, in his response about the eternal and future of humanity will sound: "Christ is risen, my joy."

Archpriest Oleg Trofimov, Doctor of Theology, Master of Religious Studies and Philosophy

Source: (Russian)

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