Perhaps you’ve seen commercials for the movie Legion, which appears to be two very different movies, depending on whether you’ve seen it advertised in the theater or on your television. On television, the premise appears to be that a host of demons has possessed townspeople, who must now be fended off by the inevitable rag-tag band of reluctant comrades. In theater advertisements, however, as well as the film’s official website, its real premise is revealed: God has “lost his faith in mankind,” and is out to get us with a legion of angels.
It’s Jonathan Edwards’s blasphemy for the modern age, only instead of an all-powerful, bloodthirsty, wrathful God we have a distant potentate who is every bit as bloodthirsty and wrathful as in Edwards’s fantasy, but who apparently doesn’t have the schedule flexibility or the frequent-flyer miles to get here himself to do us in. Hence come the angels, led by Gabriel decked out in what appears to be Kevlar.
Man’s only hope is an unborn illegitimate baby in the not so subtly named town of Paradise Falls. The bastard fetus is a fully and only human Jesus, a modern savior for a secular world beset by intolerance in the form of the Almighty Himself.
Thankfully, along comes the disobedient angel Michael to interpose himself between the baby and dutiful Gabriel and the rest of the heavenly and demonic hosts. The trailer indicates there are also some automatic weapons. It’s The Seventh Sign meets Aliens meets City of Angels. There’s also a dash of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which I think would have made an excellent movie, starring Bela Lugosi as the devil or God or both.
What’s interesting is how the television advertisements totally elide the God stuff. I’m assuming this is because Sony’s execs have rightly reasoned that the average American doesn’t cotton so well to obvious heresies. We like our heresies soft-pedaled sideways, and we like them to make us feel good. Jesus wants me to have a new car, say, or God is eager to enjoy the incense of nasty reprobates roasting in hell. That sort of thing. Don’t tell us that God is out to get a little baby, and that he’ll use armies of demons and angels to do it. Throwing babies in hell because they weren’t part of the Elect is one thing, but going after them in the womb with knives and swords is something the cowardly Herod would resort to.
So this is the thing, the thing that matters more than all the rest: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is the same God “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Any theology — out of Hollywood or your neighborhood church — which denies this essential truth deserves repudiation. God loves the creation fashioned in his image. Unfortunately, there are a good many people with a variety of motives for wanting you to forget that. So don’t forget it, okay?