Star Wars Episode 1 -- Midichlorians and God

During one of many awkward dialogues in Star Wars, Episode 1, Qui-Gon Jinn takes young Anakin aside to teach him how the Force works. The Force works really well for Anakin because has a lot "Force Genes," also known as Midichlorians. According to Qui-Gon (and Obi-Wan Kenobi) Midichlorians float around in people's body like little tubes of super-Force glue. The more of these pseudo-genetic things you have, the better you will stick to the Force (or the the Force will stick to you).

The fact that George Lucas tried to define the Force in such limited terms continues to offend Star Wars fans today (nine years later), because this was a misguided attempt to quantify something powerfully mysterious that was therefore better left out of any Webster's definition.

The same thing applies to genuine divinity as well. God is unquantifiable--that's part of what makes Him God. Not only is He too big to measure, He transcends even the concept of measurement. He makes Himself knowable through Jesus Christ, but this too is a mysterious phenomenon. Ultimately we will never be able to define Him in human terms, nor will we be able to wrap our mortal minds around Him. This is a good thing; this hints at the fact that He is God.

Star Wars fans respect the Force (even though they know George Lucas imagined it) to the point that they are upset by his attempt to quantify it (him/her?). Thus it is ironic that many, maybe even most, people are offended by God's infinitude.

It is both good and necessary that God is immeasurable by human standards; otherwise he would be excessively limited, or mortal and therefore not worthy. People prefer to impress an excessively human character on God, as if He has room to improve, but this would imply that He is not perfect already, which would make Him less than divine.

People liked the Force as it was before Episode One--untainted by this unsavory attempt at defining it in pseudo-scientific terms. Indeed, the ultimate question for all things -- "Why?" -- must transcend pragmatic phraseology. Science, for example, can tell us how things work, but it can't tell us why. Observing the way things are is a far cry from explaining why things are. Take gravity for example. We can observe the fact that two masses tend to exercise an attractive force on each other, but why? Someone must have invented the concept of gravity... why don't two masses repulse one another? Or electricity at the atomic level, or the fact that water expands when it is frozen... why?

To know God we have to surrender any right we think we have to define Him. He will never fit in a religious or intellectual box. He will always exceed our expectations... and these are all good things. Incidentally, getting to know God is the most effective way to expand our intellect, our faith and our ability to deal with this present life.


Anonymous said...

"People prefer to impress an excessive human character on God..."

It's interesting that you make this statement while continually using the personal (and gendered) pronoun "He" when describing God. I think your use of the pronoun extends beyond simple semantics for two reasons: i) your obsessive capitalization of the H in He speaks to a close attention to detail and word-choice, and ii) the English language is equiped with a non-gendered, non-human (as it were), essentially neutral term--"it"--that you avoid using completely.

I think using "it" or "It" when referring to God is discomforting, in part, for exactly the reasons you discuss, namely people's unwillingness to separate the human from the divine. But the fact remains that it--"It"--is really the more appropriate pronoun. I think your constant use of "He" shows how the struggle continues even for one that is more aware, so to speak.

Pat R said...

thx for pointing out that typo anon