Little Spiritual or Cinematic Value Offered in "Constantine"
- Thursday, February 17, 2005
The rest of “Constantine,” however, is just plain deluded. For starters, there is no spiritual law that angels and demons cannot cross over to the physical world. This can and does happen – and the film even contradicts itself on this very point, by showing a demonic possession. Humans, however, cannot cross back and forth to Heaven or Hell. This point is illustrated in the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16. The rich man, who is suffering in Hell, asks for Lazarus, a poor beggar who is now in Heaven, to give him a drop of water. Abraham says to the rich man, “Between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” In other words, once you’re dead, you’re dead – no changing seats.
Another major problem is the film’s teaching that those who commit suicide are relegated to Hell. This is not a side note in “Constantine,” but a major premise, because this is the only way that characters can go back and forth between the natural and the spiritual realms. That they do so by drowning in a bathtub might even be construed as an “anti” baptism. You go under, you die, you go to Hell – instead of being reborn. However, the teaching about suicide as the unforgivable sin is not Protestant, Roman Catholic or Orthodox teaching. It is not Biblical at all, although many believe that it is (and as such, it has perhaps saved many from attempting it, although definitely for the wrong reason).
The film also offers the message that truth can only be discerned from Satan, who is the only one to appear to keep his word. Constantine must find the Satanic Bible, which has additional chapters of Corinthians (a blasphemy in itself). This “teaching” reveals what is about to happen with the birth of Satan’s son, a sort of Anti-Christ that must be born through the womb of a medium – a twisted version of the birth narrative. Lucifer also spouts off at the end of the film, as if he has something to teach us, determines when Constantine will die (so he, not God, has the power of life and death) and then performs a healing. All this is sheer blasphemy of the highest level.
Gabriel, supposed to be one of God’s highest and most-honored messengers, is, in this film, a physically, morally and spiritually ambiguous character who dispenses convoluted messages about salvation. On the one hand, this androgynous, Jean-Paul Gaultier-wearing creep tells Constantine that he cannot win his way into Heaven and must repent. On the other hand, he/she insists that the way to earn God’s favor is to confront evil. We do not curry God’s favor by confronting evil, however. We receive God’s grace by bowing before Him in humility, and through the Cross, find the courage to confront evil. Gabriel is also “demoted” to human status, which is not only theologically impossible and illogical (because angels and humans are separate, distinct entities), but also implies that being human is some kind of punishment from God.
During his exorcisms, Constantine never mentions the name of Jesus – which is the only power we have over the Enemy. In fact, Jesus is never mentioned at all in the film. He is only referred to in two scenes, when “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” is recited – but in Latin. So the film completely bypasses the power of Jesus Christ, who is the one means that Constantine might have of actually doing real good. The film also makes a near denial of the crucifixion by stating that Jesus died from the soldier’s spear – not his wounds on the cross. This denies the apostle John’s teaching that the separation of blood and serum, which flowed out of Jesus after he was lanced, proved that he was already dead.
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