C.S. Lewis

Salvation in Star Wars: What Do We Do with Grace in Galaxies Far, Far Away

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“What must I do to be saved?” remains the most important question no matter the galaxy.

For the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, the answer from Paul and Silas is “believe in the Lord Jesus.” For the Mandalorian Din Djarin the answer from the Armorer is “bathe in the Living Waters beneath the mines of Mandalore.”

While the first two season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian focused on a found family relationship between the bounty hunter Din and Grogu, aka Baby Yoda, the third season centered around the cultural dynamics of the Mandalorian people. Using familiar religious imagery and language, the season explored what it means to be redeemed and then walk in that redemption.

Lewis believed fictional stories had the abilities to “sneak past the watchful dragons” that kept truth from stirring people’s hearts.

The season opened and closed on a baptismal scene with a young child reciting the creed to show he has embraced “the Way.” In between, viewers encountered episodes entitled “The Apostate” and “The Convert.” The Mandalorians were cast in the light of a diaspora. Like the Jewish people, they were waiting for their promised leader to come and usher in a new age. If they couldn’t make it any clearer, the creators of the show had Din display a stone fragment of text that contained part of Exodus 10 transliterated into the Mandalorian language.

Mosaic parallels existed all season with the show’s three primary characters: Grogu, Din, and Bo-Katan Kryze, a member of the deposed royal family of Mandalore. One floated in a basket as a child, another was saved from the water by a princess, and the third was raised in the palace but spent years in exile unable to lead their people.

Yet, obviously, there is no Mandalorian Christ in the show. You will not find a promised Messiah dying by public execution to redeem people lost in their sins. The season ended not with a climatic resurrection but salvation through unity. So how are Christians to respond to grace in a galaxy far, far away or in any other fictional world?

Supposals and the Grand Narrative

For the Christian, you and I do not have to find a story that maps directly on to Scripture to notice biblical truths present. Every book, movie or TV show does not have to be a retelling of the Gospels for us to recognize components of the grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.

Allegories, like George Orwell’s Animal Farm or John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, use fictional stories as direct commentary on real world subjects. The Pilgrim’s Progress is meant to be a one-to-one allegory of the Christian life, with even the main character having the name “Christian.” Those can be helpful and enjoyable. If we limit ourselves to stories that only perfectly mirror Scripture or serve as direct allegories to our world, however, we will miss depictions of biblical truth in fiction stories everywhere—including one of the most famous Christian stories of all.

Some have characterized C. S. LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia as allegory, but Lewis rejected the label, instead calling the series a “supposal.” In a letter to a fifth-grade class who had written him about the Narnia series, he kindly tells them they’re wrong to assume “everything in the book ‘represents’ something in this world.” Narnia, he says, is not intended as a story to represent Jesus as a lion in another world. Rather, it’s a “supposal” of what would happen if a land like Narnia did exist, and the Son of God came down to a world of talking animals.

That clearly doesn’t mean we can’t see the parallels between Aslan’s sacrificial death on the Stone Table for Edmunds treachery and Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for our sins. But Lewis is not seeking to recreate God’s plan of salvation for us on Earth within Narnia. He’s providing us a new way of looking at it through a fictional lens, which can provide clarity for many who only see the gospel dimly at present.

Even in his day, the early to mid-20th century, Lewis recognized many people had rejected Christianity — or at least the cultural version of the faith they’d been exposed to as a child. Since then, those individuals had barriers up any time someone tried to talk about faith. Even some believers had lost a sense of wonder of their faith because it had become so commonplace in their minds. Lewis believed fictional stories had the abilities to “sneak past the watchful dragons” that kept truth from stirring people’s hearts.

Lewis was so passionate about this point because it was part of his own conversion story. He was drawn to pagan myths and felt they had weight and significance, particularly the stories of dying gods rising again. When he had a late-night talk with friends J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson, they pointed to his attraction to those stories as finding their fulfillment in Christ. Jesus wasn’t necessarily a complete rejection of them; He was the True Myth. What Lewis appreciated in part with those stories, he could experience in full with Jesus.

Christians can have similar discussions with our friends over the latest movie or TV shows. Salvation in Star Wars may look like the Mandalorians following the way and bathing in the Living Waters, but that can be seen as complementary not contradictory to the Christian way of drinking the living water offered by Jesus (John 4). These stories of redemption outside of Scripture provide ample opportunity for followers of Christ to engage with others about the truth of redemption revealed in Scripture. “This is the way” on Mandalore as it is on Earth.

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Aaron Earls

Aaron Earls is senior writer/editor of LifewayResearch.com and a freelance writer living outside Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and four kids. He earned his M.Div. in Apologetics from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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