Toward a Theology of Literature: The Star Wars Saga


As I continue to trace a possibility of a theological deep structure, I noticed that the current seven theatrical Star Wars releases fall into a structure similar to the seven day creation in both its chronological and real-world order.

A quick reminder before we continue. The seven days of creation are a chiasm, meaning there is serious interplay between points marked by the same letter, with the center letter serving as the turning point. Again:
A. Day One: Creation of light, separation of light and darkness. The Spirit of God hovers over the faceless faces to whip them into order. Adam is moved into the Garden in the day one slot of Genesis 2 because Eden is a formless and void land.
B. Day Two: Separation of the waters below and above; separation of God’s domain (over the firmament) and our domain (below the firmament). The firmament can be crossed by mediators.
C. Day Three: The separation of land (Israel) and sea (Gentiles) and the creation of shrubs (Eucharistic bread).
D. Day Four: The creation of the starry hosts, sun, and moon to mark festivals and patterns. The starry host represent leaders (cf. Joseph’s dream).
C’. Day Five: The separation of sky creatures who fly before the firmament (Israel) and the sea creatures (Gentiles; chaos).
B’. Day Six: The creation of Adam and helpful animals.
A’. Day Seven: The Sabbath, where judgment is doled out.

The two orders of the Star Wars movies provide us with either the rise of Luke or the fall of Anakin Skywalker.

A. A New Hope: We are first introduced to the might of the Empire, the formless and void entity currently ruling the galaxy. Chaos is apparent as Darth Vader acts as the Hound of the Empire, chasing high powered Rebels and tracing the lost Death Star plans. A light appears (a new hope) when we meet both Luke and Leia. The Force causes Luke and Leia to come together and for Ben and Vader to duel.
B. The Empire Strikes Back: The firmament divides the waters above (the Rebellion) and the waters below (the Empire) by showing the might of the Empire in its fullest. The firmament can be crossed over by priests, and Lando crosses the firmament by playing for both the Rebellion and Empire. The movie ends on a bad note as Han Solo is captured by the Empire and the Rebels lose their secret base on Hoth just as there is no judgment on the “goodness” of the second day of creation.
C. The Return of the Jedi: The water recedes (the Empire is struck a serious blow) as the land (Rebellion) appears victorious. Seeds of hope are planted for the future, looking toward a Eucharistic victory meal.
D. The Phantom Menace: The starry hosts are introduced in the form of the Republic, the Trade Federation, the Jedi Order, and Anakin Skywalker are all introduced.
C’. The Attack of the Clones: The Republic’s army (air) is introduced as the threat of the watery Separatist Army begins to take its hold in the galaxy.
B’. The Clone Wars: Anakin is shown as the true Adam of the Republic, the face of the Jedi and the galaxy’s greatest hope toward victory in the Clone War. In the same way, Adam/Anakin meets his “bride”, Eve/Ahsoka. Ahsoka survives the Clone Wars and stands against Vader during the Galactic Civil War.
A’. The Revenge of the Sith: The Sabbath judgment falls, and the new Adam, Anakin, is judged harshly. He is sentenced to death on Mustafar and becomes Darth Vader. Judgment comes across the whole galaxy as Vader and his army destroy the Jedi Order and the Trade Federation and the Separatist Council.

On the other hand, chronological order shows us the rise of Luke Skywalker.
A. The Phantom Menace: We are introduced to a new galaxy where darkness looms in the background. The galaxy does not know it, but chaos is festering in the background: the Republic Congress and Senate are mired in bureaucracy, the Trade Federation is illegally blockading planets, and the Separatists are rising in the background. The Force moves over the chaotic galaxy.
B. The Attack of the Clones: The waters above (the Republic) and the waters below (the Confederacy of Independent Systems) begin to separate. The mediator here is actually Palpatine, who acts as head of both armies, manipulating the galaxy into finding itself in a war with no clear victors or ways out. There is no judgment in the movie as both the Confederacy and Republic need to fall to balance the galaxy.
C. The Clone Wars: The land (Republic) and the sea (Separatists) separate more fully. Jabba the Hutt and Ahsoka play major roles today as the seeds of a Eucharistic victory in the future. The Hutts stand with the Republic (though allying themselves with them in 0 ABY) and Ahsoka becomes instrumental in ending the war and fighting the Empire in the Galactic Civil War.
D. The Revenge of the Sith: The turning point. The stars darken as some are born: Darth Vader becomes the warrior of the Empire while the Republic falls; the Clone Troopers dim the light of the Jedi; and Luke and Leia are born and separated.
C’. A New Hope: The Empire (sea creatures) is separated from the growing Rebellion (sky creatures). We see both of them as multitudinous as we see the battle of TIE Pilots with Rebel pilots and Rebel guards against Stormtroopers.
B’ The Empire Strikes Back: Adam is born. Luke Skywalker reaches the pinnacle of his Jedi training, fighting the serpentine Darth Vader on Bespin. Luke does not win, but he resists the temptation of the Serpent and stays a Jedi. He meets his “bride”, Princess Leia, who will assist him in destroying the growing Empire rather than convincing him to join it.
A’.  The Return of the Jedi: A Sabbath judgment for the Rebellion and against the Empire. Luke Skywalker, the new Adam, defeats the Serpent on the second Death Star as it blew. The Rebellion begins its rest on Bespin, Endor, Coruscant, and Naboo.

Again, this probably wasn’t intentional, but if there’s a theological deep structure behind all good stories, we may be onto something here…


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