I’ve been watching the TV show Revolution on Netflix. It is a turn your brain off and go for the ride kind of show. I enjoy the concept and the plot. I have no problem with the way it seems to Frankenstein itself off of other Post-apocalyptic works. It starts as a kind of step-child of S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire and CBS’ Jericho. Its not so distant cousins certainly include Jeremiah and I’m sure a host of other shows and books I’ve never been exposed to or can’t recall.
Anyway, by the second season it has been revealed that there are “nano-bots” (minuscule robots) everywhere. They are in the air, in the food, and even in people. These nano-bots have now “woken up.” They have been activated in a way that has made them a high functioning Artificial Intelligence. In a conversation between three characters they get equated to a brain. this is the conversation that I want to reflect on in this post. Here is how it goes (You can find the scene in Season 2 Episode 11 24:00 – 26:30)
In talking about the nano-bots the character Grace begins with,
Then when talking about another friend who gave the nano-bots their mind, Priscilla adds,
I wonder why he wasn’t called too
This is a lot to take in
Aaron, how is that any different from God
*dramatic eyebrow raise*.
*shocked head shift*
… and cut.
Now, I should mention that the three people in this conversation are trumped up to be some of the smartest people left on the planet. Yet somehow, the differences between a quadrillion mini-robots that are up your nose and have the consciousness to know it and God escapes them. To me this is a media reinforcement of something that Fr. Robert Barron points out time and time again, so many people have a poor understanding of the God they reject. The reality is, and this might seem revolutionary to some, but the God that so many atheist’s reject, I would likely reject too. I don’t believe that that God exists either.
I don’t believe in a god who is the biggest, baddest, being in the universe. Nor do I believe in a god who has a summer cottage just near Venus. Nor is God the oldest thing in the universe, or the smartest, or any of that.
The nano-bots in Revolution are far from analogous to God, because though they are so small as to be invisible, they still are a created, resident of space and time. When a Christian speaks of God, they are not speaking of a cosmic being that is invisible. Rather a Christian speaks of the reason why there is a cosmos in the first place. As the reason for the existence of the universe God is not “a part of the universe.” God is not a being, but instead is the reason and the sustenance for existence. This very reality of God’s transcendence is why the incarnation is the central mystery of the Christian faith. This is about God, who is outside time and space, neither an inhabitant of the universe nor a traveler through time, entering into the world. Of all the options available, God chooses, of all things, a vulnerable baby racing rapidly from 1 cell to 12 to 9 months later being born in poverty.
This show seems to only equate power, grandeur, and greatness with God, but reflected through all of our human understandings of those words. In reality, the Christian revolution is in the assertion that through Jesus, God’s greatness is revealed to be in His meekness, humility, mercy, and hospitality.
The shocking reveal in this scene wasn’t that these nano-bots “were like God,” but that such a poor analogy was proposed as obvious and true in the first place.
It’s not God’s similarities to Revolution‘s nano-bots that make me a person of faith, but rather the differences. That might be a revolutionary idea. It was for me. It was revolutionary enough to me to make me a disciple.