Washington Times: Filmmakers raising hell

What does capture the popular imagination is the drama that led to the creation of hell. Ray Griggs, a film producer in Simi Valley, Calif., is trying to raise the $160 million he says it will cost to film his trilogy on the fallen archangel Lucifer, described at www.luciferthemovie.com. An eight-minute film short won a best animation award at the 2007 Beverly Hills Film Festival.

Mr. Griggs is marketing his project as a drama about the fall of the most exalted created being in the universe, whose ambition corrupted his judgment, alienated him from other angels and caused him to foment division in heaven.

“I want to tell how he fell from pride, about the great battle in heaven, his dislike for Christ, his control over humans and his final end,” Mr. Griggs said. “But I didn’t want the stereotypical Christian film. I have made an exciting action and adventure story out of Lucifer, one that has really great biblical principles.”

This kind of backdoor approach may be one of the few ways people feel comfortable bringing up hell.

“While the church isn’t talking about hell, the very best people in the culture are,” Mr. Harmon said. “The single best depiction of hell in the 20th century is Jean Paul Sartre’s ‘No Exit.’

“In the 19th century, there was a moral revolt inside the church against the God of the Bible, so the emphasis of theology on judgment, sin, hell and the wrath of God all got thrown into question. Now when I talk about it, I ask people when [was] the last sermon you heard on hell. It is always a small number. And it’s usually the Baptists who’ve heard about it.

“But you cannot dislodge hell out of Christianity. If salvation means anything, there has to be something from which you are saved. It is a crucial part of the overall faith fabric but culturally the church has lost that.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, Eschatology, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Theology

15 comments on “Washington Times: Filmmakers raising hell

  1. Katherine says:

    Dr. Harmon, in all this time reading your weblog, I have just found out that you are an expert on Hell. So much of revisionist “theology,” if one can call it that, consists of trying to avoid or explain away things that aren’t “nice.” Modern Western life is so antiseptic that we often forget issues of life, death and eternity.

  2. anglicanlutenist says:

    The protagonist looks like at any moment he might well say….” I caan’t belieeeve it’s not buttah”. And he’s doing your stock hollywood cgi ‘legolas mega-elephant slaying thing’.
    If you need a laugh this morning….. go check out the trailer.

  3. Christopher Hathaway says:

    Ummm… is that supposed to be Saint Michael the Archangel?

    There is a very good reason why depictions of hell and Satan are sparse in the Bible, and why they should be carefully done, and seldom visually done. If they appear ludicrous or entertaining the effect is wasted.

    The Book of Revelation was not written so Christians (and nonChristians) could say “that’s cool” or “that’s scary”. People already knew who Satan was and didn’t need to have him described. They needed to know he would be defeated.

    Personally, I think if people don’t believe in Satan or Hell the last thing we should do is try to convince them they are wrong. I don’t mean we shouldn’t correct them, but that we should do that last, that is, after they have been taught the truth of sin and redemption. Until they believe in the need for salvation and the power and bondage of sin their minds aren’t ready to learn about secondary matters. It will only distract them and maybe close their ears.

    Those who already believe in Hell and the Devil but have forgotten about the need for salvation, or its possibility, can be well instructed through reminders of how Christ saves us from Hell, and how awful it would be if we weren’t saved.

    I could be wrong in this, but I note that belief in the devil and in hell are not part of the Creeds, which tells me that they may not have been seen as primary articles of the Faith.

  4. libraryjim says:

    how about:
    “He descended into hell….”?

  5. Mike Bertaut says:

    Too much: “I just love to dress Goth and read about Vampires and Demons and stuff! Charmed, Buffy, Angel, Ghost Whisperer, these are the COOLEST Shows!!! And how about that Constantine! Whoo!”

    Too Little: “Surely you do not believe to reintroduce, at this time of the day, Old Hob complete with horns, tails, and hooves? Come now, this is the 21st Century for goodness sake! Don’t try to scare us with fairy tales.”

    Well, I don’t know what the time of the day has to do with anything….but …..


  6. Christopher Hathaway says:

    But Jim, that’s not the same “hell” that we are talking about. The hell in the Apostles’ Creed is Hades, not Gehena or the Inferno.

  7. dwstroudmd+ says:

    CH, The real problem with Hell is on whose authority the teachng rests. If you do a Bible search, you will find the word and teaching falling from the lips of our Lord first and foremost. Try blueletterbible.org and use the search for word or phrase feature. You can quickly locate the words employed and their meanings and history and citations.

    This topic allows for a great deal of imagination in its expression and may be why it was chosen. Another telling you might be aware of is PARADISE LOST by Milton and much more voluminous and detailed, The DIVINE COMEDY by Dante. Either of these latter would constrain the film maker by the plethora of images contained and well developed story lines. I suspect I’ll be looking for those when I see the film.

  8. libraryjim says:

    check out the [url=http://www.christiangoth.com/]Christian Goth[/url] site and the companion [url=http://www.christiangoth.com/christiangothicgathering.htm]Christian Goth Gathering[/url] site and tell me what you think.

  9. John Wilkins says:

    Darfur. Auschwitz. Iraq.

    Hell exists. On earth. Here. The sin is that we don’t really give a damn to change it. We’re too worried about the afterlife.

  10. Mike Bertaut says:

    #8, Library Jim. Thanks for those references to the Christian Goth sites. I found some relatively normal theology being propounded there (it was a little to “I” focused for my taste), and it occurred to me that these sites are actually Christian outreach to outcast kids. The whole theme seems to center around giving the dispossessed among teens (and we’ve all got experience with what can go wrong in that situation) hope in something other than the “dark life”. I never question God’s ability to move a person in a situation to begin a mission right where they are, and that seems to be a lot of what I read. I tried to empathize, to imagine myself an outcast teen (not that hard, as I was tall, overweight, had terrible acne, glasses, braces, what a mess!) and imagine if I had been unable to target a specific peer group and re-make myself into someone they could find acceptable (which I successfully did) and if I had someone else to reach out to me with a different and more meaningful message at that time, and I’m thinking I would have really appreciated it.

    So, although the Goth movement in general has an overall idiom I still think is dangerous, I think these “Christian” Goth sites, especially the first one, offer another way for the dispossessed to find God. Among abused teens, hope can be hard to come by.

    #9 JW, in one thing we seem to be in agreement: The Enlightenment far overstated man’s “new vision” of who he was. We can’t gain a new understanding of man as a creature who tends to good instead of evil without acknowledging that the average person has no idea what he does, to himself or those around him, on a daily basis. If there is one thing committing to Christ has done for me, it is slowly perfecting in me an empathy that has really opened my eyes to everyone else’s plight, and done it in a way that leads to right actions.

    Any other motivations for helping my fellow man are short-lived, suspect, and weak. Only those daily motivations and understandings put forth by Christ directly into my head, at prayer times and others, are durable and visionary. I hope that makes sense!

    And in essence, you are correct, if we submit and allow this new vision to rule our lives, then the afterlife becomes a given.

    But I could speculate how so many actions within TEC would be different if all submitted to Christ in this way. No VGR consecrations (he would never have been so selfish and damaging for his own motives), no splitting of churches (unnecessary, as the issues would never have arisen and again, too much damage to continue), no lawsuits, no sleezy legalisms, no flip flopping, the list goes on.

    A Blessed Day to you All…and…

  11. Bill C says:

    The trailer reminds me of Conan the Barbarian! It is not at all how I envision heaven (or hell for that matter). C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra” and “The Last Battle” do that beautifully for me.

  12. anglicanlutenist says:

    What I’d like to know is what do these goth kids do on the night before All Saints Day? Do they put on kakhis and izods, liberally apply cold cream, rinse and go out and scare people? Having had a goth kid, (of sorts…..he’s settled now into just anarchy) (damn…now we’ll NEVER make the cover of “Teaching Home”), bear with them. They’ll really get through it. (clothes shopping at christmas for your little gothling is a snap though, I must admit).

  13. libraryjim says:

    ha, cute!

    (there is a link on the site I posted above — Christian goth — that gives Goth Christmas decorating ideas. check it out!)

  14. libraryjim says:

    Oh, man, I almost forgot about [url=http://www.angelfire.com/goth2/exnihilo/freaksgotochurch.html]this site[/url].

    It tells of a youth pastor who got the idea from a Christian magazine of dressing up in Goth attire along with the kids and attending Church that Sunday and the reaction of the congregation (many of whom watched these same kids grow up!) It’s an interesting commentary on how “the Church” treats those who are different.

  15. libraryjim says:

    One more note: That is a side page, here is the [url=http://www.angelfire.com/goth2/exnihilo/]home page[/url] for the site above. It has links to other stories.

    (Some of the content is hard to read due to the choice of font).