This article is Part 3 in a series of articles about the Biblical link between nakedness, blood, and monsters. It attempts to explain the fascination we have with haunted houses and, particularly in this case, co-ed nude haunted houses. This article is about the theology of monsters and horror.
[To read Part 2 about the theology of blood, click here.]
The Theology of Monsters and Horror
People become Biblical monsters when they try to transcend their creaturehood and transform into something they aren’t meant to be. They attempt this by violating God’s law in an attempt to become God. (Gen. 3:5) Nebuchadnezzar is a prime Biblical example of this. He became like a monster because he presumed that his glory was gotten by the might of his own hand (Dan. 4:30); he violated the first commandment by rejecting God’s authority and sought, instead, to set himself up as a god. Only after he submitted to God’s authority and realized “that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” [v.32] was he restored to sanity and his glory regained.
This is the basis for understanding the source of monsters in horror movies.
Horror movies often depict creatures that used to be people or animals as having transformed into something much more horrific. In some movies this transformation begins with slight ethical debauchery and progresses into full-fledged monsterhood (such as in The Fly or Hollow Man). In others someone discovers a magic potion that instantaneously transfigures them, physically and ethically, into a horrifying monster (such as Jekyll & Hyde). Finally, there are alien-type movies where hostile creatures from the deep-darkness of space travel to earth with the intent of destroying us (Independence Day, Signs).
The themes of these movies reflect Biblical truths.
In the first case, unbelievers continually break God’s law and remain under its curse. They slip downward into the darkness of their sin. As they continue to reject God’s authority, he gives them over progressively to their desires. (Rom. 1:18-32) Like Nebuchadnezzar, they eventually become like monsters. (Dan. 4:33)
In the second case, men seek instantaneous infusions of power or knowledge apart from the legitimate Biblical means of steady, progressive, here-a-little there-a-little obedience to God’s law (Isa. 28:10). They try to manipulate God or his universe to pierce the divine veil and gain access to facts and power over creation that only the Creator himself possesses. This is the sin of divination, fortune telling, sorcery, psychics who consult with the dead, and necromancers who try to raise the dead. (Deut. 18:10-14)
For their quest for unlawful gains and violation of the God’s commandments he curses them. This is because these occultic occupations “represent efforts to have the future on other than God’s terms, to have a future apart from and in defiance of God.”6 Saul attempted to circumvent God’s law-word by going to the witch of En-dor. He was hoping he could conjure the recently-deceased Samuel from the other side where he (wishfully) would now be “in touch with and informed concerning a world of brute factuality outside of God which could offer Saul a God-free, law-free future.”7 Instead, he only found God’s judgment unto death. (1 Sam. 28:19, 1 Sam. 31:2-5)
In the third case, entire civilizations that abandon God and his law deserve to be brought under judgment. Israel was brought under the ultimate judgment in AD 70 for rejecting God’s covenant (to put it lightly). Modern man, who has built up a humanistic civilization around himself by undermining and departing from its Christian roots, knows in his heart that culture-wide judgment is deserved — and probably looming on the horizon.
End of Part 3 of 4…
6. R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Nutley, New Jersey: Craig Press, 1973), p. 35.