Welcome! Today, I am going to share my “takeaway” from Michael Bay’s 2005 Blockbuster The Island, which was the 13th episode of our podcast. Feel free to listen if you would like to hear more about the movie itself and any plot points that you’re curious about or if you would like to hear our conversation that develops a variety of themes throughout. I hope you enjoy thinking critically about the content! Feel free to comment, share any thoughts, or leave information on whatever movies you would like to hear about in the future!


Official plot summary: “Futuristic thriller about a contained, seemingly utopian facility in the mid-21st century. The residents hope to be chosen to go to the Island – the last uncontaminated place on Earth, but when one inhabitant discovers that there are sinister forces at work, he and a female friend make a daring escape.

Similar to movies like Jurassic Park before it, The Island challenges us to take more responsibility over technological advances and the temptation to play God – and it couldn’t come at a better time.

In Jurassic Park, Drs. Ian Malcolm and Ellie Sattler (played by Jeff Goldblum & Laura Dern) have a conversation about what the scientists have accomplished at the park. Dr. Malcolm says, “God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs. God creates Man, man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.” Dr. Sattler jokingly replies, “Dinosaurs eat man….. Woman inherits the earth.” Then, later on, when Dr. Malcolm has the opportunity to share his concerns with the park’s founder, John Hammond, he says, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could [create dinosaurs], they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

In The Island, the scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could extend the lives of mankind, they didn’t stop to think if they should. They didn’t question whether or not they should take the clones to the level of consciousness that would bring suffering to individuals that… may or may not have souls? This, of course, is the question that exists within the movie.

So, we can ask ourselves, “Should humans have the right to create and control life in such a manner?” Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, a prominent Christian bioethicist, writes in “Biotechnology and the Human Good” that Christians must consider the implications of playing God and ensure that any form of enhancement does not undermine human dignity or interfere with the natural order established by God.

However, it gets a lot more complicated when we also take into account that we have some amount of ethical responsibility to seek human flourishing. We want to use scientific advancements and technological innovations to reduce suffering. Dr. Francis Collins, a renowned Christian geneticist and former head of the Human Genome Project, acknowledges the potential benefits of gene editing in his book “The Language of God.” He suggests that it can be seen as part of our call to mitigate suffering and act compassionately towards those affected by genetic conditions.

This whole idea takes on a very realistic bent when we recognize that technology like CRISPR gene editing, originally marketed to develop advanced medicines to treat diseases, are being used to rewrite natural genetic code to allow us to customize our babies in the womb. That’s a completely different idea. So, while ethical responsibility has us wanting to abolish disease, a lack of moral responsibility leads us to misuse it for personal or financial gain.

In his book “Surprised by Hope,” Theologian N.T. Wright reminds Christians of the importance of recognizing the “already-but-not-yet” nature of the Kingdom of God. He suggests that while we have a calling to alleviate suffering and bring healing, we should also acknowledge the limits of our human capabilities and trust in God’s ultimate plan for restoration.

What are your thoughts? Are we giving this type of scientific endeavor enough respect before diving in? Are we considering how the ethics of seeking human flourishing are interacting with other elements of human dignity and God’s ultimate plan for restoration? Does the church have more work to do to process the real-world implications of cloning technology? What are your thoughts?

You can find our podcast at the following link: https://behindthesilverscreen.buzzsprout.com/

Love you all,

Pastor Evan McNeff

Behind the Silver Screen: The Island

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