C.S. Lewis, Sci-Fi and Movies & TV

If you love C.S. Lewis and Sci-Fi, you will WANT to buy this book.

I wrote the foreword to this mind-bending exploration of all things Lewis and sci-fi in media entertainment.

Here is the description:

The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis’s masterpiece in ethics and the philosophy of science, warns of the danger of combining modern moral skepticism with the technological pursuit of human desires. The end result is the final destruction of human nature. From Brave New World to Star Trek, from steampunk to starships, science fiction film has considered from nearly every conceivable angle the same nexus of morality, technology, and humanity of which C. S. Lewis wrote. As a result, science fiction film has unintentionally given us stunning depictions of Lewis’s terrifying vision of the future. In Science Fiction Film and the Abolition of Man, scholars of religion, philosophy, literature, and film explore the connections between sci-fi film and the three parts of Lewis’s book: how sci-fi portrays “Men without Chests” incapable of responding properly to moral good, how it teaches the Tao or “The Way,” and how it portrays “The Abolition of Man.”

You can get it on Kindle here.
You can get it in paperback here.

Crop Circles: Aliens, Plasma Vortex or Human Creation?

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I was a cohost on this Peeranormal episode on Crop Circles.

Crop circles are well known — patterns that appear in fields of crops when certain areas of the field are compressed. Investigators have long noted how the stalks are bent uniformly, without visible damage. This episode of Peeranormal takes a look at some of the sparse academic peer-reviewed research on crop circles to discuss if they are man-made, created by an unknown natural force, or something paranormal.

Listen to the podcast here.

The Imagination of God:
Art, Creativity & Truth in the Bible

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NEW RELEASE!   NOW AVAILABLE

Want to Know God More? Use Your Imagination

I used to revel in his ability to argue the truth of the gospel, often crushing my opponents in the process. In time, however, I began to realize that winning an argument about the logic of Christianity did not equal persuading people to follow Jesus. What was missing?

Through prayer and searching the Scriptures, I realized that while God cares deeply for rationality, propositional statements were not the only tools he used to reach people with his truth. In fact, I discovered that story, visual images, and other kinds of art were central to God’s communication style because they could go places reason could never go: into the imagination and the heart.

The Bible is a Work of Art

In my new book I help you break free from the spiritual suffocation of heady faith. Without negating the importance of reason and doctrine, I challenge you to move from understanding the Bible “literally” to “literarily” by exploring the poetry, parables and visual images found in God’s Word. Weaving historical insight, pop culture and personal narrative throughout, I reveal the importance God places on imagination and creativity in the Scriptures, and I provide a biblical foundation for Christians to pursue imagination, beauty, wonder and mystery in their faith.

For any Christian who wants to learn how to communicate and defend the Gospel in a postmodern context, this book will help you find a path between the two extremes of intellectualized faith and anti-intellectual faith by recovering a biblical balance between intellect and imagination.

BUY The Imagination of Godexclusively here at Amazon.
kindle, paperback or audio


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“Brian Godawa is that rare breed—a philosopher/artist—who opens our eyes to the aesthetic dimension of spirituality. Cogently argued and fun to read, Godawa shows convincingly that God interacts with us as whole persons, not only through didactic teaching but also through metaphor, symbol, and sacrament.”

– Nancy R. Pearcey, Author, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity, and Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning


BUY The Imagination of Godexclusively here at Amazon.
kindle, paperback or audio

 

NOTE: This book was previously released with the title, Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story and Imagination.

Last Days in the Desert: Boring Arthouse Existentialist Satan Jesus

Ewan McGregor as Jesus

A eatureictional drama of Jesus during his 40-day fast in the desert. He meets a family with one male son and a sick dying wife, and makes a wager with the devil to try to help them through their family problems. Starring Ewan McGregor as Jesus and Ewan McGregor as Satan.

In my book Hollywood Worldviews I write about how the depictions of Jesus in movies throughout the decades often reflect the zeitgeist of the era. I wrote: “A survey of the portrayal of Jesus in the movies yields an interesting mixture of both historical and mythical, human and divine, sinner and saint. In fact, one might say that the history of Jesus in the movies is precisely a history of the theological struggle between Christ’s identity as God and his identity as man.”

A Jesus by any other name

In HW, I called the Jesuses of the movies by their social constructs as depicted in the films:

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965): Leonardo-DaVinci’s-humanistic-Renaissance Jesus.
King of Kings (1961): Youthful-blue-eyed-Aryan-WASP-moviestar Jesus.
Jesus of Nazareth (1977): Hypnotic-eyed-possibly-drug-addict-Jesus-who-never-blinks.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1972): 70s-nonviolent-peace-demonstrator scapegoat-for-the-military-industrial-complex Rock n Roll Messiah.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1982): Confused-epileptic-temper-tantrum-sinner Jesus.
The Gospel of Matthew (1995): Smiley-faced-California-surfer-dude Jesus.
Jesus: The Epic Miniseries (2000): Politically-correct-lovey-dovey-pacifist-television Jesus.
Judas (TV 2004): Dr.-Phil-Scooby-Doo-Shaggy-Malibu Jesus.

Look, I realize how impossible it is to portray the God-man in any way that everyone will approve of. That ain’t gonna happen. (It would take a – a miracle! And then most people wouldn’t believe it anyway)

My definition of the Jesus of The Last Days in the Desert as being a “Boring-Arthouse-Existentialist Jesus” is certainly no disappointment with the very weighty performance of McGregor (The Satan part is addressed later). His acting was profound and very human. He really brought it with this portrayal of Jesus being tempted by the lust, the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life without being a sinner. Fair enough. A Jesus who, like many holy men, fasts in order to draw close to the God he feels out of touch with. A Jesus who wrestles with existentialist issues of presence and purpose, most akin to the Gethsemane scene of the dual natures in conflict.

Or is it?

The director, Rodrigo Garcia, who claims to not be a Christian, said that he could only understand Jesus’ human side. He questioned how could one portray the divine side anyway? Again, fair enough. At least he didn’t try to subvert Jesus into his opposite like the most recent abominable Noah and Exodus movies do with God and their human heroes.

Or did he? Continue reading

Of Myth and the Bible: Part 10 The Lion Men of Moab

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Another strange legendary creature shows up in the Bible that made it into my novel David Ascendant: Lion Men of Moab. In Hebrew, they are called Ariels. They are kind of like werewolves – but more like werelions.

 In 2 Sam. 23:20 Benaiah, a valiant warrior, strikes down “two ariels of Moab.” The word “ariel” is a transliteration because scholars are not sure what it means. The King James and Young’s Bibles translate these opponents of Benaiah as “lion-like men of Moab,” which captures the strangeness of the creatures but fails to express the religious or supernatural connotation of the word.

Some translators translate the phrase “ariels of Moab” as “sons of Ariel of Moab” after the unlikely LXX Greek translation,[1] or “lion-like heroes of Moab.” But there is no Hebrew word for “sons of” in the sentence, no indication of ariel being a personal name, and no Hebrew word for warrior used in the sentence. The Hebrew word for mighty warrior, gibborim, is used frequently throughout David’s narrative and that word is not here. The text says “two ariels of Moab.”

Some suggest it may be a reference to killing two lions. But the very next sentence states that Benaiah, the killer of the ariels, then killed a lion in a pit.

2 Samuel 23:20
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.
The Hebrew word for “lion” is not ariel, but aryeh. Adding the suffix “el” to the word adds a religious dimension of meaning that transcends mere lions. This is why Hebrew lexicons explain the most likely meaning as “lion of god.”[2] El was not merely a name used of Yahweh in the Bible, it was the name of the figurehead deity of the Canaanite pantheon as well as a general reference to deity in Mesopotamia.[3]In 1 Chronicles, some additional warriors from Gad join David when he is at Ziklag, and they are described exactly like ariels as “lion-faced warriors” with preternatural skills:
1 Chronicles 12:8
8 From the Gadites there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains:

Though animal-like abilities is a common metaphor used to describe extraordinary warrior skills, having faces like the faces of lions could mean more in light of the existence of these ariels, or Lion Men of Moab. Since the tribal location of Gad was precisely all the land of Moab across the Jordan, I decided to make the Gadite lion-faced men be those very Lion Men of Moab who converted to Israel and joined David. Two of these hybrid warriors then become the two traitors who face down Benaiah.

Psalm 57 was written when David was on the run and hiding out in a cave from Saul’s bounty hunters. Verse 4 says, “My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.” Though a surface reading of this text appears to be an obvious figurative expression of David’s enemies, scholar B. Mazar suggests it may be a reference to a mercenary military corps of archers whose emblem was the lion-goddess.[4] Could they have come from Moab?

So what if these ariels are hybrid creatures reminiscent of the Watchers’ miscegenation in Genesis 6? What if they are elite warriors with hairy bodies and lion-like faces that only one of David’s own gibborim Mighty Men could slay? After all, the exploits of those Mighty Men in the passages we have been looking at are supernatural slayings of giants and hundreds of soldiers by single warriors. If these ariels were mere warriors, then the feat accomplished by Benaiah in slaying them would be the only one in the entire passage that was banal and without significance.

These ariels were something more than men, something supernatural.The ancient understanding of ariel as a lion-like hybrid humanoid finds support in a later Nag Hammadi text that speaks of a gnostic deity, Yaldabaoth, who was an ariel (spelled slightly different): “Ariael is what the perfect call him, for he was like a lion.”[5]

The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible says of this possible religious mythical interpretation of ariel:

This interpretation could be supported by a recently found bronze-silver figurine from Tell Abū el-Kharaz in Transjordan representing, according to the excavator’s opinion a male lion-faced warrior(-god?), which can be viewed, because of its appearance and its attributes, as a male pendant.[6]

The author then reveals that the word ariel shows up in the Mesha Stele, a Moabite stone inscription not too long after the time of King David.[7] These are the very Moabites from which 2 Samuel says the ariels come. The line of text in question could be translated, “the lion figure [ariel] of their beloved (god)’ which was dragged before Chemosh after the fall of the Israelite city.”[8]

Bible scholar B. Mazar notes this Mesha Stele connection and adds that the word ariel became a synonym for the lion-headed cherubim at the base of kingly thrones.[9]

So in David Ascendant, I created a special unit of these Ariels, lion-headed warriors of Moab, to explore that supernatural dimension with imagination that fit the thread of the cosmic War of the Seed.

The ancient Book of Jasher was a source text for both Joshua and David’s stories (Josh. 10:13, 2 Sam. 1:18). The extant version we have of the Book of Jasher, though dubitable, tells of two different stories that contain hybrid creatures that may be similar to the lion-men of Moab or the satyrs of Banias. In Jasher 36:29-35 we read of Anah, one of the sons of Seir the Horite, (remember the Seirites’ connection to satyrs) during the days of Abraham. There is a large storm that the writer says caused a group of about 120 “great and terrible animals” to come out of the forest by the seashore to be witnessed by Anah feeding his asses.

Jasher 36:29-35
And those animals, from their middle downward, were in the shape of the children of men, and from their middle upward, some had the likeness of bears, and some the likeness of the keephas, with tails behind them from between their shoulders reaching down to the earth, like the tails of the ducheephath, and these animals came and mounted and rode upon these asses, and led them away, and they went away unto this day.[10]
Another chapter in Jasher tells the story during the youth of Balaam son of Beor, about a strange animal that was devouring the cattle of the people of Chittim. A man named Zepho went in search of this creature and…
Jasher 61:15
he came into the cave and he looked and behold, a large animal was devouring the ox; from the middle upward it resembled a man, and from the middle downward it resembled an animal, and Zepho rose up against the animal and slew it with his swords.[11]

Were these creatures mere legends or were they genetic hybrid remnants of the miscegenation of the Watchers?

Read about the Lion Men of Moab in the novel, David Ascendant, Book 7 of Chronicles of the Nephilim.


[1] “Although the LXX interferes seriously in the text, presupposing a double haplography in the Hebrew text, this reading points into the right direction. As a matter of fact NKH Hiphʿil in the historical books never means to strike upon an object (cf. also E. Jenni, ErIs 24 [1993] 114–118), but to strike down, i.e. to kill somebody… Consequently, Ariel here designates some kind of person, best translated as ‘lion of God’: S. Münger, “Ariel,” ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 88–89.
[2] Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic ed., 72 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000).
[3] W. Herrmann, “El,” ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 275.
[4] B. Mazar, “The Military Élite of King David,” Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 13, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 1963), 312.
[5] James McConkey Robinson, Richard Smith and Coptic Gnostic Library Project, The Nag Hammadi Library in English, 4th rev. ed., 173 (Leiden; New York: E. J. Brill, 1996).
[6] S. Münger, “Ariel,” ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 89. Münger refers to the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (P. M. Fischer, ADAJ 40 [1996] 101–110, esp. 103–104 with figs. 3a-b).
[7] 850 B.C.
[8] S. Münger, DDD, 89. Pritchard’s Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament translates ariel as the name of the king of the city, and Hallo’s Context of Scripture translates it as the more unlikely object, fire hearth. James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near East an Anthology of Texts and Pictures, 3rd ed. with Supplement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 320; William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, Context of Scripture (Leiden;  Boston: Brill, 2000), 137.
[9] B. Mazar, “The Military Élite of King David,” Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 13, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 1963), pp. 316.
[10] Johnson, Ken (2012-01-09). Ancient Book Of Jasher (p. 129).  Kindle Edition.
[11] Johnson, Book Of Jasher (p. 223).

The Glory of Story: Genesis 1 and the Art of Storytelling

I am posting this playlist of clips from my friend, Jim Womer’s class on The Glory of Story. It was a powerful influence on my understanding of story from the Bible.

Watch the complete playlist of all segments on YouTube here.

These are edited segments of a 2.5 hour lecture

To buy the full 2.5 hour lecture, The Glory of Story:
(includes movie film clips not shown on YouTube version)
http://www.godawa.com/Store/#GloryofStory

Discover the hidden treasures within the biblical “creation model” found in the book of Genesis. Decode the”seven days of creation” as an organic template for story structure.

• You will learn how to organically generate dimensional back stories and characters from a simple logline.
• Identify and address story problems in any stage of the writing process from outline to finished draft.
• Identify characters that are out of balance with the story, why they are out of balance, and what must be done to realign them or omit them.
• Identify the true motivations behind any character’s dialogue and actions.

CONTENTS:
Introduction: The WHY vs. the WHAT of story
Act One: Born Identity vs. False Identity and Hero’s Departure
Act Two A: Hero’s Descent, Plan A, Point of No Return, and Bonding
Act Two B: Hero’s Eclipse and Ascent
Act Three: Abyss, Gauntlet, Hidden Truth, Deliverance, and Return

“I heartily recommend this series on storytelling structure based on Genesis One. I use it myself. If you buy it in combination with my “Screenwriting for Christians,” you will have an unbeatable combination to help you write stories with an incarnate Christian worldview.”
— Brian Godawa

 

Aaron Judkins Interviews Godawa on Nephilim, Noah’s Ark and the Watchers

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Listen to Epic Voyages Radio Interview of Godawa here.We talk about the rise and fall of the Nephilim in the Biblical Cosmic War of the Seed. Watchers, giants, and other bizarre phenomena of the Bible as it appears in the novel series, Chronicles of the Nephilim.
The host of the show, Dr. Aaron Judkins aka “Maverick” is an author, explorer, & archaeologist from Texas. He has a passion for searching for the truth about the mysteries of the past- exposing forbidden archaeology & forbidden history. He appears in the new documentary “Finding Noah,” about the current search for Noah’s Ark.

See his website, Man Vs. Archaeology, here.

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