Matt Damon stars in the Adjustment Bureau
Hollywood has always fancied themselves spiritual. As we turned neared the millennium, movies began to grow more introspective. Wildly successful movies like the Matrix, carried with it deep emotional questions and other worldly longings. Now that we have turned into a new millennium, Hollywood has gone ballistic with spiritual tales and god-included ideologies.
The latest, The Adjustment Bureau, doesn’t pose the question of ‘free will’ to us, but rather bluntly tells us, “you can’t be free if you are following someone else’s plan.” Matt Damon stars as David Norris, a would-be Senator of the Great State of New York. David is a flawed and young candidate who gets so close to the prize, but then, FAIL!
Mysteriously a beautiful ballerina crosses his path and inspires him to take his loss in stride, delivering a strong speech that would guarantee him a place in the polling booths for the next elections. A plot summary is not necessary because it does little to enhance the story…ok…if you insist: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl or is forced to lose girl, boy finds girl, pledges his undying love, boy gets girl, they all live happily ever after. Too short for you?
The truth is that the story line which helps to move the characters isn’t as interesting as the topic that the writers so readily answers and moves on.
To be free, or not to be free…that is still the question.
David Norris (Matt Damon) learns that he isn’t as free in his choices as he thought he was. Somewhere, there were forces working to make the future according to the Plan. This adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story of the same name explores very little about Free Will.
Are we Free?
David stumbles across this knowledge of Fate (defined as No-Free-Will) when his Guide/Guardian Angel falls asleep and misses an opportunity to change David’s direction in life. This mistake led to David now being brought face-to-face with the question “Am I Free?” Unlike, Jim Carrey’s, Truman in “The Truman Show” David is not isolated from reality. Somehow he has lived his entire life not realizing that his choices were not his choices. This even though, in his concession speech, he explains how political marketers chose every item of clothing he wore in the hopes of manipulating the voters.
As is the case in Hollywood (and the whole America), the characters live their entire lives never going to church, never hearing a spiritual song, never understanding anything spiritual, though they may have taken a religion class or listen to “Jesus Walks”. Is our American culture spiritually shallow?
Are We Free?
The short answer…sort of. Let’s look at the movie and see how it measures up to the standard of Christianity.
The Plan
In the movie, there is a Chairman. He/She/Whomever, creates the lives we live and when we veer from the Plan, he/she/it sends helpers to help make an Adjustment to put us back on the Plan.
The Bible teaches that God has a plan for every person ever born:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
In the Adjustment Bureau we are never told about the Chairman apart from he/she/it being the top decision maker in the plan making. What I enjoy about Jeremiah 29:11 is that it tells us that God has a plan for our lives.
We don’t have to spend all this time ‘finding ourselves’. We don’t have to sit and stare at this world in confusion, wondering, what will become of us. There is a plan and we are in on it.
What I love the most about Jeremiah  29:11 is that it doesn’t just say that God has a plan, but that His character is pure: “…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” How amazing is that? If David Norris knew the character of the Plan Maker, would he have been so eager to question the Plan? If he knew the character of the Plan Maker and chose his own way, would we like the character (assuming he never returns to the plan).
The Integrity of God is in the Plan.
Personal Note
I am the father of five children of various age ranges, 18 and under. I love my children with more than just words, I love them with my time, talent and treasure. I don’t live for them, but I enjoy living with them and giving them from my life. And I have a general plan for their lives. I want them to be educated, I want them to be kind, loving, caring, forgiving, successful at whatever they do, to be lovers of God, hating wrong, and standing for what is right.
Though I have a plan for their lives (a basis for life) they still have to choose to live by that plan. I try to encourage them to live by the plan by rewarding good behaviors and discouraging negative behaviors. All I want for my kids is that they prosper, for them to live healthy and without fear, to give them hope and a bright, life-filled future.
Few people who have children would question my integrity or character for wanting these good things for my children. Why do we get so angry at God when He says, I have a plan for you?
The Short Answer
There is no real short answer. Life is as complicated as we make it or as simple, but when we have a problem with the One who says there is a Plan, then things can get pretty complicated. There are many more points of discussion regarding the Adjustment Bureau, but I wanted to focus more on the Character of the Planner. God is the Planner, His character is much like a loving father’s, He wants the best for his children which flows from Love.
There are more Scripture passages that raise interesting questions about whether or not we have free will like, Genesis 20:6 (Look it up).
The Adjustment Bureau provides us with a chance to think these things through, the Bible provides us with a chance to get the answers.
The God of the Bible wants to be found. If you seek Him, you will find Him. God wants to be found! He wants you to know the Plan!
So are we free or does fate decide our future?
Yes.
Please comment, any comment would be appreciated even if you disagree!