This week’s “origins” episode of Lost (“Across the Sea” – 5/11/2010) discloses the history of the main good and evil forces on the island. It turns out the Jacob (the good figure) and the Man-in-Black (the evil figure) are twin brothers. We learn about how Jacob comes to be the guardian of the island’s secret light, which represents some mystical life source, and how his brother is transformed into the terrifying, powerful smoke monster who menaces the inhabitants of the island. The story traces through pivotal points in the brothers’ childhood. As adolescents, they begin asking their enigmatic mother (who is not their real mother, but they don’t know that) questions about the reason they are on the island and where they came from.
Such questions have been asked by men throughout history and in all cultures. They are basic questions whose answers are essential to making sense, and therefore meaning, of life, and that help us to answer other questions. Thus, they function as fundamental worldview questions. Our worldview is the lens through which we view the world that helps us see the world more clearly by bringing a sense of coherence to our experience. All worldviews provide some answer to these questions of purpose and origins. A naturalist worldview would say that we originated from lesser species by the process of evolution and that our purpose is to survive, reproduce, and enjoy our short lives to the fullest. A biblical worldview would counter that we were created by an intelligent designer who made our nature in His image and that our purpose is honor our Creator by spreading His image across the earth and working to unlock nature’s bounty for human welfare. Thus, questions of origins and purpose go hand and hand: where we came from determines why we are here.
The show does a remarkable job raising and provoking thought about such ultimate questions, but does not attempt to answer them decisively. The moral ambiguity that exists on the show now, I believe, will not be clarified by the end because the producers of the show are skeptical of whether they are answerable. In the same Wired interview I referenced in part 10 of this series, Cuse, a producer, professes agnosticism that “these heady questions are ultimately unanswerable…the great mysteries in life fundamentally can’t be addressed.” One has to wonder whether Cuse knows that he is answering decisively here a fundamental philosophical question about the “knowability” of the universe – can we know ultimate reality and our reason for being with confidence? He claims with a high degree of certitude that we cannot. Is he skeptical then about his own skepticism?
Of course, without God’s Word – the Bible – in which God has revealed who He is and who are, we would be in the darkness and left to our own vain speculations to answer these questions. But because God has spoken we can look to His word for answers to our questions and trust in these answers to live our lives by. We do not have grope in the darkness searching for light about ultimate things for God had illumined these answers for us.