Thoughts on “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

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.

Follow me on Twitter @Menny_Thoughts

Source: Paramount Pictures


  1. I like your view of Indiana Jones – particularly his worldview/beliefs.

    Jones’ dismissal of the entire Genesis narrative reflects an attitude I run into often. I’m a Christian, so I think chucking the whole thing is a mistake.

    But I sympathize with folks whose encounters with Christians and Christianity encouraged the assumption that Christians are intellectual and cultural Luddites, with a superstitious reverence for a book written for an English king a few centuries back.

    Folks whose Christianity apparently relies on unswerving devotion to a particular rewrite of the King James Bible and rejection of what we’ve learned since about 1800 – – – are probably sincere. I’m quite sure they do not represent all Christians, and certainly not Christianity. They can, however, be very enthusiastic; and leave what I see as a regrettable impression. I say that a lot.

    Another of my hobby horses is encouraging what I think is a reasonable attitude toward God’s universe, our human nature, and God. I think God didn’t make a mistake by giving us brains and curiosity. How we use them is up to us – which gets me into free will, and that’s another topic.

    We’re learning that we’ve *been* learning for a very long time: very slowly for the most part, with occasional eras of rapid development.

    We’re in one of those ‘fast forward’ times now, and have been for several centuries. I like living at a time when much of what I learned in my youth about our understanding of God’s universe – has been replaced by new and more accurate understanding. Many folks, apparently, experiencing the same thing don’t like it.

    An individual’s emotional response to any facet of reality may not be easily changed. On the other hand, I think most of us can review and revise our intellectual or ‘practical’ understanding so that we’re dealing with reality – the same reality everyone else lives in.

    Expecting everyone to share my enthusiasm for humanity’s increased knowledge and understanding isn’t reasonable. I like to think that most can consider that maybe trusting God is a good idea, and that learning more about God’s work doesn’t offend the Almighty.

    We will, if we’re doing it right, learn something about God by studying what God’s making.

    That’s not a new idea:

    “…God, the Creator and Ruler of all things, is also the Author of the Scriptures – and that therefore nothing can be proved either by physical science or archaeology which can really contradict the Scriptures. … Even if the difficulty is after all not cleared up and the discrepancy seems to remain, the contest must not be abandoned; truth cannot contradict truth…”
    (“Providentissimus Deus,” Pope Leo XIII (November 18, 1893))

    “Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air…. They all answer you, ‘Here we are, look; we’re beautiful.’…
    “…So in this way they arrived at a knowledge of the god who made things, through the things which he made.”
    (Sermon 241, St. Augustine of Hippo (ca. 411)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Learning about God by what God has made was a central aspect of inquiry during the high Miiddle Ages.

      If I remember correctly, the monks/priests during that time didn’t rely much on “Bible alone” approach to inquiry, but actually sought to understand the handiwork of God’s creation. Geometry was their fascination since God was the ultimate geometer of the heavens. I like how scientists operate under that belie.

      Their questions created more questions with an even number of objections too but ultimately those had answers and fostered a healthy curiosity about God. That’s the heart of Scholastics such as Aquinas. I do believe that God wants us to be curious about creation. Not simply just to be curious, but to understand the intricacies of the grand design in our finite nature. Sadly, I see many who interpret the Bible from the phenomenological perspective totally miss the point about having a reasonable attitude towards the universe and God.

      I love the first quote you provided!



    • Hello, I completely love how a skeptic is eventually showed proof of divine power. It’s like: what are you going to do now with it? A very good film about an artifact that has made countless people wonder about the Bible, its credibility, and archaeology.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s