1. I loved the movie Arrival. However, the writer of the short story the movie is based off utilizes an Eastern mindset about time. Time, in some forms of Eastern thought, is a circle. It does not start at a single point and goes forward from there. It is a unifying element of everything. Therefore, when the Aliens from Arrival observe they will need humans in X number of years, they are stating time is constant loop.

    Also, there is a deterministic view of events in Arrival. That life is inescapable and the choices we make are pre-determined. It was a great movie. I loved the language aspect of it as well.

    As to your points about how ‘alien elements’ can be consumed by human thought as it relates to our understanding of God, you make a good point. The Christian fringe community would ascertain the aliens are spiritual beings made of the same ‘stuff’ (for lack of a better) of God. Whether or not that’s true, is up for grabs. But perhaps that’s the point.

    Good post!

    • Travis Perry says:

      Parker, I took the deterministic element to be a product of the time-travel-by-mind aspect of the plot. That is, you can make any choices you like, but in the end, if you know the future beforehand, you will know what happens to you based on your choices before you arrive there. (Though the whole thing about one of the aliens being killed and being there before his death and NOT being around after his death is totally linear and contradicts the basic idea of the rest of the story.)

      Knowing the future outcome of choices before you make them winds up being rather deterministic, even if you argue the choices were not predetermined. If you know what your future is going to be as a result of your present actions, before you do anything, how can you really have a free choice?

      This is one of the ways the concept of God can be difficult if you really think about it. God offers us real choices (or someone could say “at least it seems he does”) but at the same time completely knows our future, knows what we will do in advance. How could anything a human being does be anything other than what the Lord already expects of us? E.g. how could God call on the kings of Israel to follow him faithfully and bless or curse them based on their actions, when he knew in advance exactly what they would do?

      I think the answer to that involves God thinking in ways beyond our capacity, as opposed to the divide between human freedom and Divine sovereignty being some kind of illusion. Or as opposed to God putting on some kind of show for the benefit of humans, pretending to ask people to make choices while at the same time knowing the choices are not real. We have genuine freedom of will AND also from God’s point of view all our choices are already known, revealing a divine understanding totally unlike that of a human being.

      The aliens of Arrival and some other science fiction aliens help demonstrate that a mind we would call “alien” has some things in common with the mind of God. We are only like our Creator to a degree, in aspects, but not in the whole. (I think so-called “real” aliens are another topic, one I will get to later.)

      Thank you for your comments!

What do you think?