I recently bought the Adventures of Indiana Jones box set with all three 80s releases. So it was fitting that I watch the first of the franchise, Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The film is about Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford, an archaeologist that seeks after rare artifacts of history. It has been brought to his attention that the Nazis are searching for ancient religious artifacts to exert global power. One artifact, in particular, grabs their attention. But not just any artifact, it’s the famed Ark of the Covenant, the tomb which the Ten Commandments are believed to be contained. As a result, Indiana Jones also searches for the same artifact in a global trek to upend Hitler’s regime from this imperative historical find.
Interestingly, Indiana Jones is somewhat of a skeptic of supernatural or religious beliefs. That’s not ironic either when you consider archaeology as a science. By Merriam-Webster’s definition, archaeology is, “The scientific study of the material remains (such as tools, pottery, jewelry, stone walls, and monuments) of past human life and activities.” This means that an archaeologist operates under the scientific method. This is evident in some of Jones’ comments at the beginning of the film upon being introduced to the proposition about locating the Ark. He casually dismisses the biblical narrative of the creation of the Commandments and their role in Old Testament history. Something to remember as Christians are that archaeology doesn’t prove the Bible, but definitely aids in the many things it describes, aside from assertions of faith. Perhaps this is Jones’ issue, matters of faith can’t be reconciled with his own worldview of soft scientism/materialism.
For many who aren’t familiar with the Ark of the Covenant, this was a gilded chest that stored the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) in addition to Aaron’s rod, and portions of manna. As the name suggests, it was a covenant, a binding relationship between two parties, God, and the Israelites, His people. It was a sign of God’s presence and fidelity with His chosen people. This Ark was the most important object to Israel. Unfortunately, somewhere during the Babylonian captivity (scholars estimate late 6th century BC), the Ark disappeared most likely by being destroyed.
This artifact of antiquity is the focal point of the film, two sets of competing groups striving to attain this artifact of God. I find that to be an interesting point in modern society. We want the things that God has to offer, but do we really seek after a genuine relationship with Him? This reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 6: 26-27 when he criticized those who followed him for the physical nourishment after they saw him feed the multitudes. Just a few verses later, he would tell them about his flesh and blood as a necessity for eternal life (53), yet these same people would abandon him (66). Here Jesus was inviting his followers to participate in the scared meal of his flesh and blood, but yet they didn’t want the spiritual communion but wanted to appease their earthly desires and appetites. Jesus demands far more than lip service or halfhearted worship, but because he is the Son of God that reflects every aspect of the fullness of God, he should be supreme in every aspect.
Overall, a good film with heavy adventure and action. Glad to see a huge cultural film cover a topic in the Bible. As I stated in a previous post, I’ll take vague allusions of the Bible vs. none any day.
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Source: Paramount Pictures