I recently watched a 2009 Christian movie, In the Blink of an Eye. It is about the rapture, but it is not your typical apocalyptic rapture film. The movie stars David A.R. White, who is in a lot of Christian movies. Eric Roberts (brother of Julia, and an award-winning actor in his own right) also has a role, and it appears that he has been in quite a few Christian movies himself!
The movie is about two detectives, David and Larry. Larry and his wife are evangelical Christians, whereas David is a skeptic. David and Larry are investigating a kidnapping of a musician, and they end up taking their wives onto a yacht, upon somebody’s invitation. Larry’s wife Suzette leads David’s wife Lori to Christ, and, in the course of the movie, Larry, Suzette, and Lori all three vanish! David gets to relive that day a number of times. He not only uncovers more about the case that he is investigating, but he also comes to learn more about why those three people vanished (it was the rapture), and how he can get right with God. At the end of the movie, David calls his supervisor (played by Eric Roberts), telling him that God loves him and warning him not to take the mark (the mark of the Beast in Revelation 13). David and his wife then vanish.
I would not say that this was a good movie, but the Groundhog Day feel of it certainly made it entertaining. Here are some religious/theological issues that the movie brought to my mind:
1. When Suzette is leading Lori to Christ, Suzette makes a number of interesting points. Suzette is saying that people need a savior from sin, and Lori replies that she cannot think of much that she has done wrong. Suzette gently responds that the entire human race is in a condition of sinfulness. Suzette also says that Lori will feel at peace in her life when she accepts Christ, regularly asks Christ for guidance, and obeys Christ’s teachings.
In another part of the movie, Larry tells David that prayer can help a person feel better, and Larry also says that Jesus died so that he can live. In one of David’s re-livings of the day, Lori vanishes, whereas David does not, and David wonders what God wants from him, since at that point he believes in God. David asks Larry in a subsequent reliving of the day what distinguishes Larry’s faith in God from his own, and Larry encourages David to trust Christ as his savior.
These parts of the movie raise in my mind a variety of questions. Does Christianity truly lead to inner peace? How does any of this relate to my life? Am I being asked to do things that I cannot do? What has distinguished my faith from that of others? Perhaps the overriding questions that I have are: What have I done wrong? And what can I do correctly?
I acknowledge that there is something wrong with the human race, including myself. I liked how Suzette did not point out Lori’s flaws but rather said that we are all fallen. On the issue of inner peace, I recognize that there are many who follow a spiritual path who gain inner peace and joy as a result, and I believe that I have seen this occur in both Christian and non-Christian contexts. I do not want to judge people who follow a spiritual path yet remain depressed, however, for there are a variety of reasons out there for depression (i.e., clinical). Moreover, I realize that, at least for me, following the Christian life is not easy: I am challenged in my ability to believe, and also in my ability to reach out to others in love. Being a Christian does not come like clockwork to me, as seems to be the case for many other Christians (or so it appears to me, from my limited perspective). Consequently, I find myself listening to Larry and Suzette and wondering to myself: “What exactly am I supposed to do here?”
2. In one scene of the movie, David is talking with Larry about end-times prophecy. Larry refers to a book by John Hagee that he is reading, and Larry says that the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was a significant event. David asks why, and Larry inquires if David knows of any other situation in which a nation was re-established after being persecuted, separated, and exiled for so long. (I may getting pieces of Larry’s point wrong here, but I believe that I have captured the essence of his argument, and maybe even improved on it a bit!)
Does the re-establishment of Israel demonstrate the existence of the biblical God? I cannot think of too many other nations or people-groups that have survived for a long time, notwithstanding persecution, separation, attacks, and exile. Maybe one can cite parallels, however, or offer secular reasons for why the Jews have survived as a people.
3. It is interesting to me that God gave David so many chances to get things right—-to learn what the rapture was, to get right with God, and to be raptured—-whereas God did not offer this opportunity to so many others in the movie. Others in the movie were clueless when the rapture happened and were left behind. Why did David get more of a “chance” than others did? I can somewhat sympathize with those who believe that God will give non-Christians post-mortem chances for salvation, since, in this life, not everyone has the same chance, or so it seems to me. My Armstrongite heritage said that people will be given this chance in the new heavens and the new earth, after Christ has returned. Some maintain that God can appear to people in a dream right before they die and offer them a chance at salvation at that point. I don’t know who is right on this issue. I would like to think that God loves all people and will give them an opportunity to know who he is and to accept his love.
In my case, as one who has heard the Christian message repeatedly, I wonder how I can be a Christian in the place that I am, as one who is fearful, introverted, and even a bit skeptical.