The Glory of the Corruptible God
Gibson’s latest movie is intensely brutal. It is also beautifully filmed. The epic journey is set in the jungles of the Yucatan where Jaguar Paw and his family live quietly in their village hunting tapir and dancing around the camp fire while the elders tell stories. But all of that changes as the highly advanced Mayans from the pyramid city invade the jungle capturing their fellow natives for sacrifice and slavery.
As I watched this film my mind began to wander through the pages of Scripture as I saw man’s coldness and depravity lived out in technicolored wonder. False worship and a craving for power and dominance motivate the pyramid city warriors to hunt and kill humans. They wield their maquahuitls (clubs) at women and men alike as they beat the villagers into submission before tying them up. Spears impale escapees and knives cut the throats of anyone who resists including perceived turncoats and obstinate members of their own tribe.
“The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth. They have venom like the venom of a serpent…” Psalm 58:3-4
Apocalypto vividly portrays man’s wickedness and the sinful lust for blood detailed in the book of Romans’ wisdom – “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside… their feet are swift to shed blood…” Romans 3:10-12; 15
In the midst of their trial as captured prisoners the Mayan captives still pray to their gods for protection, mercy, vengeance, and deliverance. It reminded me of the criesand prayers after Katrina devastated our region where I witnessed praise being offered to Mary and a galley of dead saints. Even at the peak of suffering an unregenerate heart still attempts to find peace and comfort in false gods and promises.
“… Even though they knew God, the did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened … they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” Romans 1:21-23
No one in this film advances. Everyone stays as they were and, in the end, we are left knowing that the cycle of violence and misery will continue. The faces may change. The ethnicity may diverge. The technology might even advance. But man stays the same. The Mayans may watch heads roll down the altars of their sacrificial paganism, but our culture approves of mothers having their baby’s body parts ripped out of their womb in the name of personal freedom.
Man’s heart will remain corrupt until the coming of our Lord. May He come quickly!