Good vs. evil. Light vs. darkness. A struggle for control of the universe. A powerful, personal force that helps humans resist and overcome the menacing influence of the dark side.
These intriguing themes have propelled the Star Wars movie series to a position among the most popular and financially successful films in motion-picture history. Their dramatic stories strike a powerful chord with moviegoers of all ages.
Amazingly, a surprising amount of truth lies behind many of Star Wars’ powerful stories. Some of the series’ fascinating underlying themes represent not only the truth, but they have exerted—and continue to exert—a profound impact on history.
The central conflict of the series—the ascendance of a seemingly invincible evil force and the resulting struggle to overthrow that power—isn’t a mere science-fiction fantasy. The story has been around for some 2,000 years—in the pages of your Bible.
Star Wars’ Factual Foundation
Consider for a moment: What is the theme of the Star Wars movie series? It chronicles the valiant struggle of a tiny group against overwhelming odds. A massive evil empire dominates the universe, and it in turn is controlled by a few sinister figures who don’t hesitate to use their supernatural powers to ruthlessly crush any opposition to their rule. These leaders are dominated by “the dark side,” an evil force that holds them tightly in its grip.
Combating the mighty empire are a handful of men and women from all walks of life who join forces in a heroic struggle to overthrow their cunning and powerful enemy. They, too, utilize a supernatural power, “The Force,” which empowers them to continue their courageous and determined battle against evil.
In many ways their story is the story of mankind. History is a chronicle of despots and oppressors whose vain ambition has brought unspeakable suffering to others. Such evil rulers and empires have ultimately fallen, only at times to be replaced by equal if not greater evil. The carnage of World War I, for example, led directly to the even greater devastation of World War II and its resulting death camps, Stalinist purges and the world’s ongoing nightmare of potential nuclear annihilation.
But where did such evil begin in history? How and when did it originate? Why, in spite of several thousand years of struggles, have we not been ale to forge a lasting peace with our fellowman?
Why have such enormous—and enormously costly—worldwide efforts such as the League of Nations (created from the rubble of World War I) and the United Nations (formed from the devastation of World War II) failed to bring peace and security? Why do despots and oppressors rise again and again to threaten our peace and safety?
The answer, curiously enough, lies in the themes behind the Star Wars series, and it is expressly revealed within the pages of your Bible.
The Facts Behind the Fantasy
Genesis, in the Greek language, means “origin.” In the Bible the book of Genesis describes the origins of many things. It begins with the origin of the heavens and the earth, every living plant and animal, and the first man and woman. It describes the peaceful paradise Adam and Eve shared with each other and their Creator.
But something went wrong. Another being entered the idyllic picture, and the course of history was forever changed. You might say that the evil empire had begun.
Influenced by this being, Adam and Eve rejected the instruction of their Creator. They chose to take of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Under the sway of the evil being, they willingly fell sway to the dark side. Rejecting God’s revelation, they chose to follow what they perceived to be a better way—that they could, through their own efforts, experimentation and reasoning, start their own quest to find the best way for people to live.
It didn’t take long for the fruit of their fateful choice to become evident. They were expelled from the paradise God had provided. Tragedy struck among their own children. “… And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Genesis 4:8 Genesis 4:8And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
American King James Version×). Of the first brothers, one became a murderer and the other his victim. Man’s pattern of settling his differences through violence was established early in history.
Over several generations the problems grew worse. By Noah’s time “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and … every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 Genesis 6:5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
American King James Version×).
The battle the dark forces waged for the control of people’s minds looked ominous. The results of men and women giving in to their darker impulses became evident: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence … ; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (verses 11-12). Humanity had grown so degenerate and barbaric that God determined to start the human race all over again through Noah and his immediate family.
What Else is New?
In our world things haven’t changed all that much from Noah’s time. We still see a world filled with brutality, bloodshed and suffering. Hanging over our heads is the threat of annihilation from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, increasing natural disasters, environmental destruction and terrifying diseases.
The world is far removed from the paradise Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden before Satan and sin entered the picture. For much of mankind the world is a frightening, deadly, depressing place. The evening news assaults our senses with painful images of starvation, refugee camps, violence and destruction.
The apostle Paul wrote that we live not in a time of peace and plenty, but what he called “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×). And the apostle John told us that “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×). Both understood that humanity is dominated by an evil empire.
But how did evil and suffering begin? Let’s go back to the beginnings of our problems.
Why Do Evil and Suffering Exist?
Many people find it difficult to believe in God, or at least that He is interested and active in human affairs. After all, they wonder, how could a loving and merciful God allow suffering to exist?
What they don’t realize is that this is not God’s world. God gave Adam and Eve the opportunity to make a utopian world for themselves and their offspring. But they refused. They refused to follow God’s instruction. Since our first parents—and all their descendants since—persisted in rejecting God’s guidance, God has allowed mankind to form his own societies, governments and civilizations apart from Him.
God hasn’t cut Himself off from mankind. We chose to cut ourselves off from Him. Through the prophet Isaiah He tells us: “The Lord’s arm is not to short to save nor his ear too dull to hear; rather it is your iniquities that raise a barrier between you and your God; it is your sins that veil his face, so that he does not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2 Isaiah 59:1-2 1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
American King James Version×, Revised English Bible).
God has always wanted a loving relationship with humanity. He has offered us a way of life that would bring peace and prosperity, that would eliminate sorrow and suffering. When God revealed this way of life to the ancient Israelites, He pleaded with them to choose that way: “… I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 Deuteronomy 30:19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout).
At the same time, God lamented that people would most likely make a different choice: “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
American King James Version×).
God well understood that the natural human inclination isn’t to choose a relationship with Him that would lead to life, but to choose our own way that leads to death (Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×; 16:25).
The prophet Isaiah continues with a description of where our natural way of thinking and acting leads: “Your hands are stained with blood and your fingers with crime; your lips speak lies and your tongues utter injustice … all rely on empty words, they tell lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth wickedness … Their works breed wickedness and their hands are full of acts of violence.”
“They rush headlong into crime in furious haste to shed innocent blood; their schemes are harmful and leave a trail of havoc and ruin. They are strangers to the path of peace, no justice guides their steps; all the ways they choose are crooked; no one who walks in them feels safe” (Isaiah 59:3-8 Isaiah 59:3-8 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perverseness.
4 None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eats of their eggs dies, and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper.
6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whoever goes therein shall not know peace.
American King James Version×, REB ).
Adam and Eve felt the heartbreak caused by their fateful choice when their firstborn son, Cain, murdered their second son, Abel. Mankind set out on a tortured path that within a few generations led to God’s decision to destroy almost all human life in a great flood. We have followed that way ever since.
Ruler of an Evil Empire
The Bible has more to tell us about the being who influenced the first human beings to set off on a path that has brought us to untold misery.
Appearing in the form of a serpent, this being, referred to in the Scriptures as Satan the devil (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×), deceived the first humans. He lied to Adam and Eve and convinced them that God was the real liar, that He was withholding something good from them (Genesis 3:1-5 Genesis 3:1-5 1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. 4 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die: 5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
American King James Version×).
Satan has lied to mankind ever since. Jesus Christ identified him as the originator of lying and “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×). His lies to Adam and Eve cost them their lives. His lies have been responsible for the losing of billions of lives since then.
How great is his corrupting influence? God’s Word tells us the devil “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×). His influence is so pervasive that “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×). He has blinded the world to the truth of God. His deception is so widespread and so prevalent that earth’s inhabitants have no idea they are deceived.
The Bible chillingly warns us that Satan is the true “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×). He is the world’s real ruler, the despot who exercises control over the world around us.
Make no mistake: The evil empire of the Star Wars movies isn’t a fantasy. It’s real. And we live in it.
Not only that, but it’s going to get worse—much worse.
Where is this World Headed?
The apostle Paul describes what happens when people reject God and His way of life:
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32 Romans 1:28-32 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
American King James Version×).
We see the inevitable results all around us written in a chronicle of suffering.
Jesus Christ warned us that, shortly before He returns, the world will reap the bitter harvest mankind has sown over the centuries. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×).
What will be the nature of these terrifying times? “… You will hear of wars and rumors of wars … Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (verses 6-8).
People’s attitudes will play a major role is setting the stage for this time of unparalleled tumult and trouble. “Remember, the final age of this world is to be a time of turmoil! People will love nothing but self and money; they will be boastful, arrogant and abusive; disobedient to parents, devoid of gratitude, piety, and natural affection; they will be implacable in their hatreds, scandalmongers, uncontrolled and violent, hostile to all goodness, perfidious, foolhardy, swollen with self-importance. They will love their pleasures more than their God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4 2 Timothy 3:1-4 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
American King James Version×, REB).
Victory Over an Evil Empire
But all hope is not lost. Eventually the empire of the god of this age will fall, just like every other empire, kingdom and government that mankind has tried since the dawn of time.
The fall of this empire, however, will be different. Armies, weapons and tactics can’t dislodge it. Actually, it is much too powerful to be conquered by human effort. This great evil force can be overthrown only by an even greater force: the returning Jesus Christ.
Notice the Bible’s description of His triumphant return to overthrow Satan’s rule: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns … He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”
“And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations … And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: king of kings and lord of lords” ( Revelation 19:11-16 Revelation 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
American King James Version×).
At His return, Jesus will establish the eternal Kingdom of God on earth: “… There were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ ” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×).
Satan the devil, the source of so much evil and suffering, will see his empire shattered. He will be bound “so that he should deceive the nations no more” (Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×). God will destroy the sinister figures and forces that have aided Satan in his rule over the world (Revelation 19:19-21 Revelation 19:19-21 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
American King James Version×).
A Hero’s Reward
As for the handful of heroes who over the centuries have taken up a valiant struggle against those forces of darkness, prophecy reveals a reward greater than anything imagined by any movie screenwriter, director or producer.
What is that reward? “When that time comes, your own people will be spared—all those whose names are found written in the Book [of Life]. Of those who are sleeping in the Land of the Dust, many will awaken [in the resurrection]. Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the heavens, and those who have instructed many in righteousness, [will shine] as bright as stars for all eternity” (Daniel 12:1-3 Daniel 12:1-3 1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
American King James Version×, New Jerusalem Bible).
Paul describes the awesome resurrection to eternal life: “The sun has a splendour of its own, the moon another splendour, and the stars yet another; and one star differs from another in brightness. So it is with the resurrection of the dead: what is sown as a perishable thing is raised imperishable … It is raised in glory …, sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body . . .”
“Listen! I will unfold a mystery: we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet-call. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise imperishable, and we shall be changed … [When] our mortality has been clothed with immortality, then the saying of scripture will come true: ‘Death is swallowed up; victory is won!’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:41-44 1 Corinthians 15:41-44 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
American King James Version×, 51-54, REB).
An incomprehensible future awaits the victors in the real star wars—shining as bright as stars for all eternity! GN