Saturday, February 8, 2014

Grace (2009), The Horror of God's Love and Cute Babies

Grace, in the film of the same title, is a zombie baby. Grace gets her nourishment from the blood of the non-that-innocent victims that Grace's mother kills. The word grace is a float-y theological concept that seeks to describe an individual's transcendental experience with life (What does a zombie baby have to do with theology? Read on.) Grace is the sublime beauty of the moment that is happening. It is a moment transfused with divinity and personal metaphysical connection. Grace is a kind of personal fidelity with existence. Grace is also an action. An otherworldly mercy that shines a favorable light upon the individual. Grace the overwhelming psychedelic perspective we take on an event which encodes it with meaning beyond itself.

The first time the word Grace is mentioned in the film Madeline (Jordan Ladd) is giving birth to her infant that, supposedly died, moments before during a car crash. Madeline has opted for a water birth. The most natural way to give birth to zombies. In the mists of her birth screaming, Boom!, water is misted with blood that is reminiscent of a squid escaping an attacker. The midwife pronounces the child dead, but Madeline cradles the child in her arms. Suddenly, Bang!, the baby is alive and suckling. Madeline says:
It is grace. She is grace. (Grace, 2009)
Grace is not a normal baby. Grace is a flesh eating baby. Where is the theological concept of grace hiding in this tragedy? In the mother's love. A love so embarrassing that Madeline can love her infant even if the creature is a cannibal. Madeline here plays a god-like role where she has an inner capacity to expend grace towards her child. Grace enough to even feed the child, her own blood. What is interesting here is depth of Madeline's love. Having miscarried two previous children, she is deeply invested in the idea of being a mother. Even during the opening sex scene the viewer is almost given the impression through Madeline's facial expression that she is already living deeply in the fantasy of being a mother.

Grace's love fits the description of the horrific description of God's all-embracing love. The Christian god, whom will love even the most grievance sins as long as they seek forgiveness. There is a sense in which Madeline's love is more open than God's love because her love is not conditional. Grace loves and asks nothing from her infant. Not even goodness. Madeline's love is a love beyond good and evil.

Let's saw into God's love and its limitations by beginning with the problem of evil. Theodicy is the subset of theology that seeks to answer the question about why God allows evil. Theodicy is when theologians theorize about why God would allow things like the Holocaust, and American slavery to happen. There's a key to understanding theodicy in the word holocaust which means “burnt offering.” What is the benefit of thinking about the holocaust in the terms of divine sacrifice? On the one hand, obfuscates god's accountability as an all loving deity. And on the other, it allows theologians to insert the hand of God in to radical evil. As if the holocaust was some kind of moral science project.

I don't have a word for what I'm about to describe. But let me attempt a definition in the form of a question. What is the theology around seeking to answer why God would allow himself to be evil? For example, lets take the case of the story where God demands that Abraham murder his son. Some Christian's pursue insidious arguments that seek to justify God's actions, create a protective bubble that blocks us from critical thinking, and radically distance God from his actions. Is not the greater sin to euphemistically recode attempted murder to sacrifice? Let’s take a look at what happened.
Let us follow Kierkegaard's path and take a look at the story from Isaac's perspective. One day his father, who he trusts more than anyone, takes him out to a hill. Ties him to a pile of sticks, and raises a knife over his head. Where is grace to be found here? Is God's showing love when he is terrorizing children? Is grace a concept that can be applied to testing a father's faith through attempted murder?

Madeline's sense of grace and love for her child is deeper than God's love for creation because unlike Abraham killing her child is not something that crossed her mind. For instance, while God seeks the need to test his creation, Madeline fully loves evil center in her creation that is far beyond what God has shown capable of. While God constantly seeks to change his creation into something which is more fitting for grace, Madeline demonstrates a sublime grace that shows a radical sense of love for her child. Where God seeks obliteration of the human race, Madeline shows a genuine love for all that humanity is; a horror only a mother could love.
References
Grace (2009) IMDb,. (2014). Grace (2009). Retrieved 12 August 2014, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1220213/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu


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