Gattaca Review

I’ve just watched Gattaca on DVD. The end sequence where the genetically impure Ethan Hawke walks onto his spaceship heading towards Titan and the genetically enhanced Jude Law crawls into the incinerator was poignant. According to human engineering standards, they should have swapped places. Hawke had a predisposition to heart disease and Law had “the heart of an ox.” And yet Law always came in second and Hawke fought to escape his lot in life.

Of course the writer believes in evolution but his message is that we cannot take over for natural selection. The movie’s subtitle is “There is no gene for the human spirit.” Andrew Niccol, the writer and director is saying that what still dominates is the will to survive. “Fittest” for him is not the one with the cleanest set of DNA, it is the one who wills to power. This is Neitzche.

On the DVD, there is an extra scene named “Coda” which should have been left in the movie. Text scrolls across a star field that talks about how evolution has delivered us to the point that we can now guide and direct our own evolution. Then it goes on to say that if we’d had this technology years ago some very important people wouldn’t never have been allowed to be born and lists their “defect.” They include Abraham Lincoln, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Ray Charles and others.I would have left off Rita Hayworth and included Beethoven. The scene ends by reminding the viewer that it is quite possible that their own birth might have been prevented likewise.

Pointed stuff. Aside from the evolutionary crap, it reminded me of a very important message. It isn’t “random chance” that produces great people with great defects, it is God. God is providential over all and nothing happens by chance. The 1689 Baptist Confession (and I believe the Westminster says it the same way) explains it like this:

Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without His providence; yet by the same providence He ordered them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. – BFC 5.2

Through the ordinary means of human decisions and actions (among other means), God causes all things to work out according to His will. So when we say, for example, that abortion must be stopped because how do we know if the person who would find a cure for AIDS wasn’t an unwanted pregnancy, we play right into the evolutionists hands. We employ their rational in defense of our noble cause. If God wanted AIDS ended, that person would have been born (and let’s pray that he or she has been born!) and they will discover that cure.

Is it in God’s will that mankind begin to tinker with his own DNA? Well, we have the capability to do so, so if we actually get around to doing it, yes, it is God’s will. Whether it is God’s will for our good or our destruction is completely another question.

Back to Gattaca. Do we follow Niccol’s line of reasoning and not tamper with our own evolution but instead take the good and the bad as natural selection would have it? Maybe, maybe not. But don’t forget Who’s in control of “natural” selection. Wouldn’t it be fitting if in the age to come, God shows us the possible futures of all of the aborted children, what they could have done, who they could have become? Wouldn’t it be a fitting judgement if He allowed us, through our own greed and selfishness, to murder in the womb men and women who could have been great peacemakers, great doctors, great musicians, great philosophers? Wouldn’t we, in the New Jerusalem, then all rise up and condemn our own sin for the wickedness it is? Wouldn’t it be fitting for us to praise God for His wisdom in bringing things to pass exactly as He did, for His greater glory?

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