Why Did I Watch Good Omens?

 
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The new Amazon series Good Omens tells the story of the apocalypse from the perspective of two friends - an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley.

Crowley is trusted with transporting the adorable, baby anti-Christ from hell to the hospital. But, once he’s handed him over in a basket, a group of satanic nuns send him home with the wrong family.

Heaven and hell spend the next several years trying to find where they left the little anti-Christ.

It becomes clear that both sides want the world to end. That way they can settle who’s stronger once and for all.

In this fantasy world, human history since Adam and Eve has been a long game where humans are the pieces and souls are the prizes.

It has all been building up to a final showdown between God and Satan. Nobody knows why, because God is distant and her plan – God is a woman – is beyond understanding. If it costs a few million human lives, so be it - it’s all part of ‘the great plan’.

But Crowley and Aziraphale aren’t satisfied with God’s aloof and ruthless plan, so they fight against it. Even the anti-Christ – the real hero of the story – isn’t happy about the world being destroyed.

On the face of it, it’s all quite funny. But not everyone’s laughing.

Controversy

Some Christians are angry about the series, claiming that its poor theology is blasphemous and should be pulled immediately.

After a lot of debate about how much it bashes Christianity, the question is simple: Why did I watch it? And in one sense, the answer is also simple.

I watched Good Omens because I’m a fan of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – the original book authors.

But more than that, rather than just getting upset by how anti-God it is, the series gives us a glimpse of society’s view of God. It shows us their feelings about Noah’s ark, Jesus and more.

And sure, they’re confused about a lot of it. Good Omens has Jesus being crucified for telling people to be kind!

But this gives us an opportunity to respond to people’s misunderstandings. We can’t do this if we don’t know what they are.

This doesn’t mean that Christians should engage with everything.

Pornography, for example, is always dangerous and sinful. I would also certainly count myself out of being able to faithfully watch Love Island.

But Good Omens won’t necessarily trouble Christians any more than living in a fallen world does.

We share this world with many people who think like the writers of Good Omens. And understanding where they’re coming from turns controversy into conversation.

Conversation

I’ve had some great chats off the back of Jesus Christ Superstar which is just as inaccurate. Popular culture is safe ground for people who aren’t Christians. They’re happy to chat about it.

Good Omens directly features God so we can get straight to the point.  

It’s interesting that, while the theology and morality of Avengers was equally bad, it wasn’t as controversial among Christians. This was because it didn’t deal as directly with God.

The directness of Good Omens allows us to be just as direct. It provides a helpful opportunity to chat with people.

False theology helps us point them to true theology – to the truth of God, Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15).

Correction

One thing Good Omens gets right is that we can’t fully understand the intricacies of God’s plan.

His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). And in our suffering and sin, we can feel that we’re caught in some cosmic game of chess between God and Satan.

But Good Omens gets it wrong.

The Bible is clear that God’s plans are for our good and he has already won (Colossians 2:15). He doesn’t cruelly sacrifice people to win bets.

God is not the distant, unreachable war general of Good Omens whose plan is hidden.

He’s fully revealed himself in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15), who destroyed sin and death fully and finally on the cross (Colossians 2:15).

And this salvation from sin and death frees us to a new mission – to call people to put their hope and trust in Jesus (Matthew 28:19).

Engaging with the way they see the world will only help us to do this better. We might even get to enjoy some good television along the way.

 
 

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