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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Pascal’s God-shaped hole working its way into literature and film

“An old saying goes, in order to experience Easter you must go through Good Friday first. According to The Dark Knight Rises, the third instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, even superheroes aren’t immune to this tenet. The film provides a thorough examination of the themes of sacrifice and resurrection, two of the fundamental principles of the Christian life.”

The previous instalment of the Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight, was the story of Batman as suffering servant. At its climax, Harvey Dent becomes Batman’s Judas as Batman decides to take responsibility for Dent’s crimes so that those sins could be forgiven and the people of Gotham saved. As a result, in The Dark Knight Rises “we meet Bruce Wayne, beaten and battered, hidden, in isolation from the world and all relationships. He has seemingly lost everything, his health, his reputation, and the love of his life. All has been lost for the sake of the people of Gotham.”

The villain of the latest film, Bane, “throws Batman into a prison described as a literal hell on earth where the suffering is not physical, but the hopelessness sprouting in the hearts of its inmates when they look up at the sky, knowing that escape is impossible. From this, our Dark Knight is resurrected, conquering “death” and then later conquering the Enemy, bringing freedom.”

“Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is a retelling of the real Messiah-hero story.” What is the significance of the story of Easter being retold in the garb of Batman?

Firstly, it shows us the continuing resonance of the Easter story. It is a real story; “real stories are ones that reflect true things about life, human nature, and the world we live in.” Secondly, it shows us that “people, whether they realize it or not, long for the gospel. There is something in the story that resonates with us, even if we are resistant to the message on a conscious level. We’re wired for it. Maybe it’s Pascal’s God-shaped hole working its way into literature and film.”

As we celebrate Eastertide together, we can reflect that the real Messiah-hero story continues to impact on the lives and imaginations of many in our world even when transposed into other stories and mediums. This Eastertide, may we come to know the real Messiah-hero deeper ourselves and step into his story of death and resurrection for ourselves.

(This post is based on material from,,,,


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