The Adjustment Bureau

Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us?  Those are the two options posed by the thriller, The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon as a man who glimpses the future that Fate has planned for him and realizes that he wants something else.

My wife and I saw the film last night (at a bargain price of $10 including popcorn and soda!)  I’m a sucker for mind-bending movies and TV shows like Inception, Lost, and Fringe that deal with alternative realities and parallel universes, but where those shows play with post-Einsteinian physics, the Adjustment Bureau seemed to rehash the notion of Fate in Ancient Greek mythology.

(Spoiler alert!) The Adjustment Bureau turns out to be a group of men dressed in hats (read angels) that act and react to cause “the plan” (read fate) of the “the chairman” (read God) to stay on track.

I think some people will see a veiled reference to a Christian cosmology in the film, but it’s a far cry from the Christian worldview revealed in the Bible.

For instance, in the Bible, the providence of God is toward the ultimate purpose of bringing all things under Christ, rather than following a blueprint that maps out all the details of a plan.  And any adjustments needed have more to do with the mysterious intersection of free will, spiritual warfare, and God’s Sovereignty rather than a one-dimensional fate or destiny.  And the God revealed in Scripture is not a removed, dispassionate engineer working behind the curtain to manipulate his plan, but an involved, passionate, and loving King who “works all things together for the good of those who are loved and called according to His purposes.”

If our choice is only between free will and fate, then the options of stoicism or rebellion are obvious, as the Greeks understood and as the Adjustment Bureau presents.  But thankfully there is a better option in relationship with a loving God who adjusts to degree of becoming human to die and be raised for our rebellion, so that we might not only know his loving ways, but also become partners with Him in the unfolding of his will on earth.  Now that’s a story worth telling.


About chris breuninger

I love life, my family, and Jesus. I enjoy live music, rigorous exercise, thoughtful movies, and strong coffee. I study scripture, wine, and people. I get frustrated with narrow minds, Christian stereotypes, and gardening. My vocation is pastor, but I’m hesitant to admit that, and I’m happy when people are surprised by that.
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4 Responses to The Adjustment Bureau

  1. Andrew Mark says:

    If you get a chance check out Source Code. Great mind-bender. Deals will paradox, parallel universes and fate. You don’t get Matt Damon’s pretty face, but Jake Gyllenhaal carries this movie and carries it well.

  2. Douglas Richardson says:

    What I enjoyed about Matt Damon’s character was his refusal to “settle” in life. He was willing to take risk (go through those many mysterious doors) in order to bring about his vision (being with the person he loved). In life there seems to be those who risk (embrace uncertainty/mystery) and those who avoid risk at all cost (focused on certainty and maintaining control). Yesterday, I met a wonderful young man, 38 years old, who had been an active extreme athlete. His normal diet was taking risks for many years. Now, his body will not allow those same type of activities AND there was a magnificent light in his eyes as he spoke about his experience of life. I hope others can see that light in my eyes.

  3. Patrick says:

    Movies are a great vehicle for the gospel, even if the movie’s themes serve as a foil over/against the real thing. I find great comfort that God is bringing all things under Christ.

  4. Felicia says:

    You like Fringe too! I knew I liked you. 😉

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