‘Pacific Rim’ and the Fear of God

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

“Dad, are you bigger than God?”

This was the question my three-and-a-half-year-old son asked before he went to bed the other night. “No way, buddy!” I exclaimed. He went on to ask if God is bigger than the ceiling fan or the house. I assured my son that God is much bigger than both of those, because he has the whole world in his hands.

Immensity fascinates humans. We stand in awe of natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and Mount Everest and manmade structures like the Hoover Dam, the Eiffel Tower, and Burj Khalifa. It was this fascination with immensity that the filmmakers of the recent summer blockbuster Pacific Rim hoped to tap into.

Who wouldn’t want to see giant aliens fighting giant robots? (Some of you may be saying to yourselves, Me. I couldn’t care less about that.) We are fascinated by the gigantic because glory belongs to things of great immensity. Glory describes greatness, achievement, and distinctness. Considering the aforementioned natural wonders, each of them holds great beauty that sets it apart from other aspects of creation. Those manmade sites celebrate human achievement as they stand high above all else.

Likewise, in Pacific Rim the robots—called Jaegers (German for “hunter”)—are structures that demand glory. Humans stand in awe of these manmade creations that promise to be their saviors. The humans are under attack by aliens from the ocean depths—called Kaiju (Japanese for “giant beast”)—and so they create their own monsters to defend themselves.

Fear and Control

The movie shows how humanity reacts to fear. Every one of us has our private phobias—the dark, spiders, death, heights, public speaking, sickness. Fear is so deeply embedded in our basic natures and has such power over us that whatever we fear tends to controls us. Our fears often seem so immense, so gigantic, they cause us to feel helpless. Pacific Rim taps into those fears by making the Kaiju bigger and scarier than any creature man has ever encountered.

The immensity of our fears makes us realize we need an even greater defender. If our fears are too great to measure, we need something or someone that can measure up to what scares us. In Pacific Rim, man matches the aliens with enormous fighting robots. While the aliens continue to advance more quickly than the machines, humanity finds a way to stay the hand of the otherworldly.

The Jaegers give hope to the world by providing a refuge that matches the immensity of the threat. This is what I hoped to teach my son through his intuitive question. God is way bigger than daddy, the celling fan, and our house. God is bigger than the Kaiju.

But we don’t just need God to be bigger than our fears. We need to redirect our fear to the only being deserving of our fear. As the book of Proverbs tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).

Until we realize that heights, darkness, public speaking, sickness, giant aliens, and death itself ultimately don’t deserve our fear, we won’t properly understand God’s rightful place. As Jesus assured us, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).

Our almighty God is more immense than anything we can fathom. His greatness is far greater than our finite minds can comprehend. No one and no thing deserves fear, for it belongs to the One who has the power to cast us into hell or receive us in heaven. Fear belongs to him and him alone.

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