No Redemption in Fox’s Terra Nova

Posted by in News & Culture

I’ve been watching the new show on Fox, Terra Nova. The two-hour season premier began in a dystopian future in Chicago around A.D. 2149. People need oxygen masks to breathe outside. Families are limited to four. The moon and stars are no longer visible. Really, it’s not much different from my picture of Chicago today. Some years prior scientists discovered time travel linking back to around 85 million B.C. In an effort to give a fresh start to humanity, a colony is started. One family of five manages to go back, themselves hoping for a fresh start.

Together they face challenges, from the scarcity affecting colony life, a renegade group of colonists known as “Sixers” (they came on the sixth wave of pilgrims), and various elements of the environment from strange diseases to, my favorite, dinosaurs.

The show is pretty engaging, with plenty of excitement in each episode. Hannah and I have been watching it since the show started, partly because of the premise and partly to maintain a sense of “Mom and Dad” time now that we have a wonderful baby girl who can disrupt our plans (usually during meals or sleep time).

We like to guess what some of the major plot points are going to be. We’ve figured out that the oldest daughter of the aforementioned family of five is going to figure out some complex mathematical symbols written out on rocks by some waterfalls, presumably by the commander’s long-missing son, at some point in the series.

But we also like to think about this show from a biblical standpoint.

Though the story goes against the traditional Christian view of the Genesis creation account, there are plenty of themes present in the TV series that relate to Biblical realities. One of the most obvious is that of man-made redemption. After mankind has ruined the planet, he finds his own salvation, a chance at redemption, by going back in time to make a fresh start.

The Bible is pretty clear that we are incapable of saving ourselves. And that is quite apparent from the colony in Terra Nova. Shortly after the sixth wave of pilgrims came through, we are told, they plot to overthrow the current colony leadership. When the plot was discovered, they left, taking over a mine and establishing it as their new colony. Man cannot live at harmony with nature, as dinosaurs mercilessly kill and eat a few people most every episode. People work hard to till the land and make it produce food. There is deception and disloyalty. Apart from pollution, it seems quite apparent that humanity has changed little in its quest for a new start.

The show doesn’t touch on God. I understand and expect that from secular television. The focus is more on human relationships and survival. Yet the underlying theme of redemption is what holds the whole story concept together. And that redemption cannot be found in a new time or a new way of living. Though the story will undoubtedly try to hold out hope for humanity, the truth is, we are broken and fallen, and so is the world we live in. To divorce that truth from the knowledge of God will only result in disillusionment and delusion.

The show is definitely fun to watch, and I can’t wait for the next episode to air. But we have to remember what should be apparent from the many conflicts and challenges these characters face: the solution to our problems is not within ourselves. The solution is from without. Only Jesus Christ can offer—and promise—true redemption for humanity.