Who is the God of “Jurassic World”?

If you know me at all, and if not I hope you will get to know me, then you know I am a movie person. I love them. I studied and wrote about them in college. Movies are the medium that speaks to me the most, it is a place I often meet God more so than on Sunday mornings. The art of movies moves me. When anyone asks me what my favorite movie of all time is, it’s an easy answer, Jurassic Park.

Dr. Grant sees the magic!

Imagine being 8-years-old and having your dad take you to see dinosaurs come to life. Jurassic Park was my first and closest experience ever with magic. What Steven Spielberg and his team accomplished back in 1993 still echoes in the most interesting parts of my imagination. It was a movie that proved to me that anything is possible and is my measuring stick for all movies to come and in the many viewings since that special time with my dad my love for it still grows. Yes it was a blockbuster, but Jurassic Park is about so much more than sharp teeth and vibrating water glasses.

Then, the highly successful film did what almost all highly successful films do, it spawned sequels. I’m probably a little nicer to them than most and that is entirely because of my love of the first and how captivated I am with dinosaurs. However, even I can’t argue that, with The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, the franchise lost its magic. They didn’t seem as heavy and there seemed to be a lack of respect for the dinosaurs who consequently became giant slasher movie villains. They were just different, BUT now we have Jurassic World!

Taking in Jurassic World!

The magic of the original will probably never be duplicated but Jurassic World sure did come close. Returned are our claustrophobic encounters with our thundering friends. Back is a deep love and respect for the animals themselves. The boss of the theme park even says they were created to show us how small we are. And with that, the inspired, thoughtful storytelling of the original is revisited.

These movies with all of their terror, power, and destruction scream to me questions about our place in the grand story of the world. We see how big and perfect these beasts are and how can we not stop and wonder why is it that, in the bigger picture, they went extinct and still we roam free in this world. The answer may be found in the opening few scenes of Jurassic World where I didn’t count but am sure that word “control” was uttered over ten times. If the dinosaurs, or humanity for that matter, could control our own fate, they would still be making foot prints in our mud.


The horror of the Jurassic series only comes once humans attempt to assume the position of the one that does have control. The consequences are bloody. Jurassic Park asked all of these questions well through the bumbling, stuttering prowess of Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm (who makes a small cameo in World via his book “God Creates Dinosaurs”). World continues to ask those questions of what kinds of creative power humans should play with but it asks a bigger question fans of the series have been asking since the first film, what would happen if the park actually opened? What if the creators of the park, the engineers of the dinosaurs were successful?

Claire and Owen

The answer takes us deeper down the humans-playing-God rabbit trail. We have Claire who will continue to be one of the most talked about roles due to recent headlines calling the film sexist. I never saw Claire as a stereotype, but the logical type of person it would take to assume the role of running Jurassic World. She is cold, harsh and sees everything around her as commoditized assets. Real relationships…with her family, with her love interest, with the creation itself seem foreign to her. This cold distant character is not unlike how some perceive God.

Then we have the business of Jurassic World. We have a culture that is failing to be impressed by the majesty and wonder of the dinosaurs. Kids are getting bored and are hard to impress. How often today do companies stress over holding the ever changing focus of our youth? How do you make money then? Let’s let sponsors name the dinosaurs as if they belong to them, as if like a scripted TV show they can control the outcome of their name being plastered across the display case. This picture of an overbearing master to which the animals must bear the image of seems to be another perception of God I encounter.

Dino love!

However, then we have Owen. He cradles the dinosaurs when they are young to form a bond, to gain their trust, to let them know he will never leave them. He names them because he loves them. His desire is to be their father figure, the alpha, someone that will help their community form and desires to see them flourish on the island.  This is the picture of God I know. Our God that gave us his image, that calls us by name, that is sovereign, is our father but gives us the ability to choose him.

Being concerned with the flourishing of the entire world, contributing to the restoration of the relationships in our lives between us and others, between us and creation, between us and ourselves, and between us and God are impossible tasks. Still we are not that different from the curators of Jurassic World. Every day in thousands of different ways we try to assume God’s position. We try to take control in areas of life that we have none and sometimes the results are bloody. Thankfully God is always willing to call you by name, draw you near, and take his loving, powerful position back.

Love is more than a theory


Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

”Where there is life, there is hope.”

This is a climactic line in “The Theory of Everything,” an adaptation of Jane Hawking’s memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.” Jane is, of course, the wife of legendary theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It is interesting that in that way the movie is not so much about Stephen but Jane. My question is that if Jane wasn’t in Stephen’s life, and if she wasn’t a person of faith, would he have had a life at all?

Hawking spends much of the film trying to figure out the biggest questions in the universe. He is a man with many limits setting out to prove that that world actually has no bounds, i.e. no God. Which leads to the trouble with the film, at the beginning of the story I wasn’t familiar with what made Stephen Hawking who he is today and expected through seeing his life and paralysis depicted on screen I would find out, but by the end of the film I still had no idea who Hawking was or what he actually believed. What’s interesting, though, is that there is never a time when you don’t know what Jane believes.

This film, after all, really is about Jane and the life she led alongside this prolific mind. We see her transform from a glowing, sultry co-ed into a drained, frustrated, messy wife and mother as she shoulders the responsibility of being the care giver of Stephen and their three kids. We see her, in one telling scene, frustratingly explain to a fellow church goer what Stephen believes about the nature of God and the universe.

The conflict she deals with on what must be a daily basis gleans through a trembling, forced voice and jerky hand gestures as she rushes teaching about the laws of relativity and quantum theory. Her beliefs must come into question constantly in this household, so much so that she must, next to Stephen, feel silly or even less intelligent at times. What we know, though, is that Jane is also a Phd., a bit of information delivered in the closing text of the film.


The real Jane and Stephen Hawking on their wedding day.


“A Brief History of Time” spent 237 weeks as a best seller.

We only get a few scattered scenes of Jane studying, but we never see a graduation, we never hear her recite the Spanish literature she studied. Nor do we really see Jane interact with her children that much (they spend most of the movie as toddlers and infants). Jane’s role in this story is not of a doctor or a mother, her role is the hope and the life in Stephen’s life. She marries Stephen after they discover his aliment. She makes sacrifice after sacrifice so that he has the best life possible. She even chooses at one point to make both of their lives more difficult in order to save his. She loves, sacrifices, and serves in a way that can only be described as Godly.

The contrast between Jane and Stephen is starkest when Stephen is in pursuit of his theories of the origins of the universe. His quest is to prove the random, unpredictable, godless nature of the world. This may be fitting for someone whose infinite intelligence could never have predicted his degenerative disease. This theory of unpredictability is sought after, though, around a life filled with relationships that in film standards are nothing but predictable.

The minute Jane walks into her local church to join the choir to see it is led by a young, dreamy Hugh Grant type, the audience knows they will surely fall in love. A busty, seductive fire-haired speech pathologist enters the picture and we know it is only a matter of time before Stephen falls for her. All of the quantum theorizing in the world cannot disprove the laws of human attraction apparently.

By the end of the film, much like in the research of Hawking, there are more questions than answers. How did this world come to be? Is there an equation that bonds the entire universe together? I still don’t know by the end if Stephen believes there could be a God, but I do know that if it wasn’t for the God in Jane we may never have had “A Brief History of Time.” This is a film worth watching and questions that are worth engaging. Also, if I could predict an upcoming event in the universe it would be that both Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne will be getting some extra attention come February.