District 9 – Part 3: Interstellar Negotiations

 

COME TO NEGOTIATE FOR THE RESCUE OF HIS PEOPLE

After they  finally evacuate the ghettos, the Aliens  make overtures to leave. This would be the turning point of the film. With Christopher representing  the aliens,  and  Wikus van de Merwe the United Nations,  the two would negotiate on live TV. With the whole world watching  Wikus van de Merwe would finally  ask Christopher the million-dollar question: “why didn’t you destroy us for what we did to your people?”  

       This of course would be a reasonable question. After all, everybody was expecting retaliation. Why? Because most likely this is precisely what they would have done if the situation had been  reversed.

The envoy Christopher would then try to answer this question.

“I have been sent on behalf of my people to thank you for your hospitality.”

“Hospitality? How can you be so gracious when we have been so unkind?”

“To answer your question,” Christopher begins, “ I need to explain something which your people do not seem to understand.”

“Some of our people,” says van der Merwe, “ are complaining that you speak to us as if we were children.”

“Please be patient with me “says Christopher, “ if you weren’t children I wouldn’t need to explain.  Don’t take offence when I say this, but you are children.”

“But our civilization is thousands of years old!”  replies van der Merwe, “How can you call us children?”

“Let me try to explain,” says Christopher.

“We have been monitoring your world for many years. Many  years ago one of your scientists, Arthur C. Clarke, suggested that your society was at a major historical turning point in history. He wrote a book he called  “Childhood’s End”.  It was very prescient—he was obviously a man ahead of his time.  But he suggested that by breaking out into space, your civilization was in fact on the threshold – ready to join the interstellar community.”

“We are indeed READY.”

“Unfortunately, we disagree.”

“How can you say this?”

“Your “human race” seems incapable of understanding a fundamental tenet of creation.”

“Which is?”

“All created beings MUST condescend to the will of the Creator.”

ALL CREATED BEINGS MUST CONDESCEND TO THE WILL OF THE CREATOR.

“What do you mean, condescend to the will of the Creator? What Creator?” asks Wikus van de Merwe, “ What exactly do you mean?”

“The Creator of the Universe, of course.”

“Do you mean God?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Which God do you mean?”

“The Creator of the Universe.”

“Here on Earth we have many different Gods.”

“There can only be One God.  Just as there is only One Universe, there can only be one God. No wonder you earthlings act so strange! You do not understand the most fundamental things!”

“Who is this One God?  What is his name?”

“He hasn’t given you his name?”

“What do you mean?”

“In your history books, do you not record the name of your Creator?”

“Ah well, in our histories we have many different names… Ishtar, Marduk,  Molech,  Zeus, Jehovah, Allah, Jesus Christ…”

“Are these all different names of the same Creator?”

“No, of course not, each is a different God and has a different story.”

“How then can you tell which one is credible?”

“We have pretty well summarily dismissed all of them… as myths.”

“Is Creation then a myth?”

“Certainly not!  “Creation” as you call it, is the result of evolution.”

Evolution is the name of your God?”

“No. Evolution is the mechanism behind the origin and development of the universe.”

“Evolution is then not a person? An intelligent being?”

“No. There is no being, no “creator”. The living creatures we see are the result of random processes, the interaction of matter over billions of years. Human beings have evolved by random mutations.”

Here we  have a pause in the dialogue. Christopher  appears to be gathering his thoughts.

“If that is the case,” he continues, “ please answer this question. If there is no Creator, and all progress is to be made by “random mutation” as you say… and I assume that by “random mutation” you mean random, spontaneous increases of order…”— here Christopher can see he needs to clarify — “ What I mean by spontaneous increases of order, is that we all know that complex improvements in all mechanisms, be they organic” (he holds up his arm) “or mechanical” (he points to the ship hovering outside) require information. And information is never random, it is always orderly. Your MNU scientists have been scrambling to find out the means by which our technology is controlled. We have discovered how to control our technology genetically. Our technology is superior to yours because we have discovered how to control the mechanisms the Creator designed into the Creation. We knew there had to be an orderly reason behind the designs.  We did not expect these advances to come about by random mutation.”

Here Christopher suggests he be allowed to demonstrate. He withdraws from his vest an object which he places on the table. The object, when activated, projects a 3D holographic image of his home world. We see the sophisticated blend of natural and manufactured objects. “Here is a projection of other worlds we have discovered. The higher the level civilization, the more in harmony these civilizations are with the Creator’s designs.”

“Are you saying your advances in technology are due to your civilization’s knowledge of the Creator?”

“Yes,” explains Christopher, “But not primarily on the topic of construction. We find that you earthlings have discovered a high degree of expertise on that subject. But what we see is holding you back, is that you have not managed to heed the Creator’s warning about destruction.”

         WHAT’S HOLDING US BACK IS NOT CONSTRUCTION BUT DESTRUCTION

“Your civilization seems out of harmony with the Creator,” says Christopher, “It seems you have not learned how to overcome to destructive forces of your own human nature.”

“Your race has managed to  overcome them?”

“It seems we have avoided your problem altogether.”

“What do you mean?”

“We have discovered tools to help us shape our environment. You have mistaken them for weapons. We have no weapons—  and we certainly wouldn’t use these tools to destroy life.”

“Your tools are not weapons?” says van der  Merwe, “how do you then wage war?”

“War? Why would we wage war? What benefit is there in destruction?”

“We have always waged war amongst ourselves. Isn’t that true of all living  creatures, throughout the Universe?”

“No. It’s not true,” says Christopher, “ Your race seems to be different from all other races we have ever encountered. Especially  in one respect.”

“And what respect is that?”

“You seem to be under some kind of a curse.”

    THE HUMAN RACE IS NOT AS IT WAS DESIGNED TO BE

             District 9, of course, is fiction. This makes my analogy a bit more difficult, so hang tight!  The problem with FACT is that there are  sometimes not the pieces needed to explain a complicated situation. And the HUMAN CONDITION is an incredibly complicated one. Philosophers and sociologists and scientists and theologians have been trying to understand it and explain it for millennia! 

     District 9 can be used as a vehicle to help explain the human situation, because it contrasts  human beings against creatures from the other side of the galaxy. It gives us a chance to compare. The comparison is, of course fictional, but it is close enough to do the job. The job is to try to isolate a human trait that has been with us so long, and is so  much a part of our history and makeup, that we can’t even see it. The only way we could ever see it is to meet people from a civilization from the other side of the galaxy. When we see their culture, we can see the flaws in our own culture.

Of course, we don’t need to meet aliens to come to this conclusion. The Bible has told us this from the very beginning. Unfortunately, we’ve gone out of our way to ignore the Bible, to marginalize it as mythology, but that’s our fault. The Bible evaluation of the human condition is still true and accurate, even  if we choose not to believe it.

    District 9 could help us to revisit the ground the Bible has been trying to get us to understand all along. Christians have  tried doing it by preaching sermons and writing religious books, but the BIG PICTURE always seems to get tangled in the details. A completely FOREIGN (should I say ALIEN) approach like District 9 could (with a bit of help) allow us to see our circumstances from far enough away to catch the point.

What does the Bible say about the humans condition? The Bible says the human race  is under a curse. The race disobeyedGod at the very beginning of history. Read it for yourself in Genesis Chapter 2.   Adam and Eve, the first humans, were told to obey the Creator.

Gen 2:16,17  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Our modern sophisticated audiences think this story is mythology. They think, “how could eating a fruit cause the fall of the human race?”  The answer is, death was not in the fruit, it was in the disobedience. They were told not to eat the fruit, and they disobeyed God.  God had warned them beforehand what would happen: “thou wilt surely die.”  The fruit isn’t what killed them. It was the disobedience. Because they disobeyed God, he put them under a curse— the curse of death, of mortality.  “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”

Looking at the situation in  District 9 terms, maybe the Creator could have said, “Don’t let that black stuff get on your skin.” (Remember, Wickus was playing with that vial of alien distillate when he accidently got sprayed. It was this stuff that gradually transformed him into a prawn.)

If only he had known! He would have kept away!

Same with Adam and Eve! If only they had known that eating the forbidden fruit would rob them of their immortality and  kill them, and cast the whole human race into 6000 years of suffering and death! If they had known, they would have kept away.

You see, when you don’t KNOW, you have to trust the Creator. When you don’t trust the Creator, you are headed for destruction!

TRUST=FAITH

The human race has been suffering from that first blunder for millennia. Why? Because we are a world full of disobedient children. We simply cannot obey the Creator. As a result, we are stuck here until we can be rescued from our circumstances.

SIGNS THAT WE ARE UNDER THE CURSE

The very fact that we are repulsed at the sight of the alien prawns is a sign that there’s something wrong with our basic human nature.  We seem to freak out at the sight of anything foreign, anything completely different, anything alien. Why is this? After all, there are many odd creatures in the world, from octopi to insects . “All Creatures great and small, the Lord God made them all.” You’d think we would  respond with some respect — instead we more often  respond with fear, and loathing, and outright hatred.

Why is this? Isn’t this a little odd?

We human beings don’t seem to have room for anything outside the sphere of our own understanding. This in itself ought to be a  cause for concern. Why? Because in a Universe as big as the one we are in, there’s bound to be lots of things we won’t understand right away… things we may never understand.

What would be the normal expected thing to do when intelligent beings run into something they don’t understand?

Ask the Creator.

Like when Eve was in the garden of Eden and the serpent said, “Aw, go ahead honey, eat the fruit. It won’t do you any harm.” Eve should have checked with the Creator first before she ate. Instead she listened to the snake who told her, “Eating that fruit will make you as smart as God. Didn’t God say, “in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil?” (Genesis 3:5)

The serpent was a liar. What God actually said was, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16)

She disobeyed God, and brought a curse on the whole human race. And we’ve all been suffering from that curse ever since. We’ve all been cursed with a sin nature. The sin nature makes us naturally contrary.  We just can’t trust the Creator. We can’t put our faith in God, we can only put faith in ourselves. We’ve always got to do it our own way, never his way. And doing it our way brings us into conflict with him, and with each other.

We just can’t bring ourselves to trust God. And of course this is why we are always fighting. We fight to get things for ourselves, because we can’t trust the Creator.

So here we have these alien prawns telling us something about ourselves that’s been written in the Bible for thousands of years:  We need to learn to trust God, and trust each other.

“Don’t you know.” Christopher says, “ that the Universe is big enough  for all of us? Don’t you know that the biggest problem we face is not room enough  to live, or food enough to eat, or energy enough to burn? The biggest problem is NOT LIMITED RESOURCES. The Universe is full of resources. If anything, it’s TOO BIG, there are too many resources!  Our  biggest problem is loneliness.”

“We sought your fellowship,” Christopher continues, “ So  we came to visit you, but on the way here  we were shipwrecked. Now that we have rescued our people and are headed home, we want to invite you to come to see us. But we are very sorry that you are still so blind.  You seem to misunderstand completely.”

“Don’t you know the CREATOR has given us the Universe and everything in it to enjoy? We do not have  fight over resources. He has said, “Ask, and it shall be give, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and t shall be opened unto you.”   He has infinite resources at his disposal. After all, He created the Universe from nothing. Certainly He can take care of  all living creatures FOREVER.”

“Haven’t you even  heard of the Creator?” continues Christopher, “We have studied your history and discovered His name in your oldest documents. Have you not read these documents?  Do you not recognize his earthy name of Jehovah? Jesus? Are you not aware of him? Do you not possess eternal life? It is his gift. Without it we would not be able to travel the universe.”

“You earthlings are a curious race of people. You seem to live under a delusion, a CURSE of some kind. You fight amongst each other to steal and possess each other’s things. You kill one another. How can you do this?”

“We are here to tell you that you MUST settle your quarrel with your Creator. Only then will you be ready to join us.”

“Come and join us when you’ve made peace with the Creator…. when you’re  ready to live amongst us.”

       “COME AND JOIN US “

This  alien encounter and dialogue might provide the framework for audiences everywhere to understand our root problem as humans beings. We are all under the curse of sin. Because of our self-will and selfishness and pride, we can’t get along with each other, let alone strangers. Especially ugly strangers.

District 9 is fiction. But it allows me to make an analogy to try to explain something that can’t be explained any other way. It allows me to show you how that the Bible not only tells the truth about our problem, it also tells us the truth about a solution. The truth is that we are under the curse of sin.

If the sequel was able to broach this subject in a realistic way, audiences everywhere would finally be confronted with the ultimate human problem. The ultimate human problem isn’t lack of resources,poverty, crime, disease, or even death. These are only symptoms.

The ultimate human problem is a lack of repentance.

HAVEN’T EVEN HEARD OF IT

Most people haven’t even ever heard the word repentance. The word is used throughout the Bible. The Bible actually teaches that the whole purpose of this present Age (the age of Human History) is to bring all people to repentance:

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Repentance means to turn. God wants us to turn from our independent stubborn will, from our sinful ways, from our rebellion against God, to Him. He wants us to admit that we are incorrigible sinners, that we’ve all gone our own way, to the point that we really think we can find a way to live forever  without God. Look around you. The whole society acts as if God doesn’t exist. We are so arrogant! We think we can lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps! God wants us to repent— to turn from our own ways and accept his remedy.

Remedy for what? Remedy for the fact that we are all under the curse. All human beings are the offspring of Adam and Eve, and we are all under their curse. It’s because of this curse that  we need to be saved from our sin.

     District 9 (and 10!) could confront audiences with this forgotten curse.  By showing us what an encounter with an alien civilization might look like, we could be confronted in this unique way, through fiction, with what God has been trying to tell us all along:  you ALL need to be saved from the curse of sin before you can expect to be part of the universal community.

Of course,  the encounter with aliens is fiction. But the principles are fact. The audience is well able to benefit from the principle of repentance, even if the situation is purely fictional.

How so? Because it is well known that audiences experience vicariously what the characters in  films portray.  When the film projects fear, or loathing, or romance, or elation, so does the audience. If we can feel the horrors of war through films, or the fear of being victims of some crime, we can certainly feel the regret that leads to repentance. And by this analogy, you, dear reader, need to understand that God wants you to regret your sins. He wants you to admit your contribution. Haven’t you ever lied? Or stolen? Or cheated someone? Cheated on your taxes? On your expense report? Cheated on your spouse? What about evil thoughts? What about evil words? Evil deeds?

We are ALL guilty of many sins. These condemn us to death. “For the wages (the payment for) sin is death.”

     The Afrikaners are guilty of prejudice. Of mistreating their alien guests. Of unkindness. Of not caring. Of bigotry. We can see this at the end of the film.

When they are confronted by the aliens, they realize how they fall short of what the Creator would have expected of them. This in fact is a reminder for all those reading these words, who would insist that they have not sinned in the ways I’ve described. To these folk I say,  the Bible says, “For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.(Romans 3:23) This means that sin is not just doing BAD, but is  also not doing GOOD. Where were the Afrikaners calling for better treatment for the folk in District 9? Where was kindness that should have be shown these unfortunate castaways?

The unkindness and the lack of kindness are simply sin.

The ultimate human problem is a lack of repentance.

The good news is that genuine  repentance can bring immediate relief from the problem.

IMMEDIATE RELIEF FROM THE PROBLEM.

Once people genuinely repent,  God can bring them  out from under this curse. He has provided a way.The Bible teaches a way out, but you’ve got to listen, believe, and act. The Bible tells us where sin came from: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans5:12)  It tells us the penalty for sin: The wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23)

The only remedy for sin is what is called substitutionary atonement. This means that someone could take the punishment for someone else. I could, for instance, pay a debt that you owe by paying for it out of my own pocket.  If you were in jail guilty of a crime, and were about to be executed, I could, if circumstances permitted, offer to stand in your place. You hear about things like this happening when a person is kidnapped. A son may be kidnapped, and the kidnappers hold him for ransom, and the father or mother or brother or sister or a friend  offer to be held in their place.  But this would be extraordinary. The Bible even says this in Romans 5:7:  “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.”  That is, if you were being held for execution because you were wrongly indicted for murder, I might as your friend offer myself as a substitute. Especially If I knew you were innocent. I would be less likely to do this if I knew you were guilty. Why would I offer my life as a sacrifice for you, if you really did the crime for which you are charged and being brought to execution?  The Bible says that this is what has happened in our case as sinners. Romans 5:8 says, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This means that although we were doomed to die , and deserved to die,  because we were sinners, Christ volunteered to die in our place.

HE NEGOTIATED FOR THE RESCUE OF HIS PEOPLE

In effect, CHRIST, by dying for the human race, has become the negotiator for our release. He has come down from the Father to offer himself as our substitute. He paid our ransom, not with silver or gold, but with his own life, with his blood.  Peter 1:18,19: “  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

When we admit we are guilt of sin, and deserve to die, but regret our sinfulness, genuinely taking responsibility for our sinful past, and when we look to Jesus to save us from our sin, his sacrifice on the cross of Calvary is counted as payment for our sins. Our sin debt is forgiven, our slate is washed clean, and we are admitted into God’s family as children of God. John 1:12,13 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  

The Bible tells us  that God sent his son Jesus Christ  to  save us from the curse of sin:For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience  many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Christ) shall many be made righteous.” (Romans  5:19)

When it says “made righteous” it means “you can have all your sin forgiven, you can be freed from the curse of sin.”

How?  You need to trust the Creator, who sent his son Jesus Christ to die in your place. Christ took the penalty of sin on himself. He died for you. If you will believe this and receive Christ as your savior, God will save you. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Romans 10:9 -11

You, dear reader, who have been drawn to this essay by your own seeking heart, can have relief from the curse which rests on you and  the whole human race. Oddly enough, District 9 simply gives us a way to picture the curse that is on the human race. District 9 is fiction. There may be no other alien race out there that will ever visit us and accuse us of being in conflict with the Creator.

You may never open a Bible. You may never read a tract. You may never meet a Christian who will share with you this message. And you certainly will never be visited personally by an alien armada to tell you “We are here to tell you that you MUST settle your quarrel with your Creator. Then you will be ready to join us.”

But truth is truth. Whether passed on as fact, or fiction, the truth remains: you are a sinner in need of forgiveness and salvation.  Do you repent? Do you want turn from your sinful ways and ask Christ to save you?

Then pray this prayer, or something like it:  Dear Creator God, I realize now that I am a sinner. I have sinned many times in my life. And I was born under the curse of Adam. I realize now there’s nothing I can do to pay my sin debt But I know the debt has to be paid… I realize now that unless something changes I will have to pay the debt myself. But I don’t want to die. I realize now that Christ died in my place, as my substitute. I therefore ask Christ to save me from my sin. Lord Jesus, come into my life, pay my sin debt, and show me how to live as a Son of the most high God.

Welcome into the family of God, and into the fellowship of the redeemed in all Creation.

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