The “tree of life” teaches us how to live

When Terrence MalikOf Tree of life It premiered in Cannes in 2011The film was called for a Christian sensibility, as if it were about an hour of religious preaching. “People repeatedly criticize me for the information of my own admiration; they said, this movie is hypocritical, boring and most of all – Christian.” I wrote in Peter Bradshaw Parents A few months later it also predictedTree of life It can be seen as the greatest Christian work of the decade. “

Bradshaw was right, not just the reason Tree of life There is a great Christian artwork. Rather, it is because the film approaches its subject in nuanced and often self-critical ways. There is no shortage of great Christian artefacts in history, but most of them call into question our values. Theological writers such as Fyodor Dostoevsky and Sनren Kierkegaard often present atheistic views, for example, Renaissance painters, including Peter Brugel the Elder and Caravaggio, established crystallographic scenes to confuse our concept of biblical timelines.

Tree of life Questioning the Christian point of view also hinders the spirit of our time. The film follows architect Jack O’Brien (Shane Penn) Currently, on the anniversary of his brother’s death, when he remembers his upbringing in the Texas suburbs in the 19 19’s. In flashback, Jack Is portrayed as a teenage boy (played by Hunter McCracken), Raised by his stubborn and religious Mr. O’Brien with his two brothers (Brad Pitt) And Mrs. O’Brien (Jessica Chestine). Moving seamlessly between the story sequence and the abstract shots of nature and the flickering universes, the film’s unconventional structure expresses Jack’s controversial feelings as he recalls both his tragic childhood and his brother’s death.

The big problem for Jack, though, is the tension between nature and grace. At the beginning of Tree of lifeMrs. O’Brien tells Jack and his brothers that there are two ways in life: the path of nature; And the way of grace. And that they must choose one or the other. But how can Jack follow the latter path and believe in God when he was a child, traumatized by cruel fathers, and when he lost his loved one in an unintentional way?

This conflict is rooted in Jack’s lack of basic understanding. Children are expected to accept everything without question. This is especially true for children like Jack, who grew up in a dictatorial family. When Mr. O’Brien has a violent outburst at the dinner table, for example, agrees that Jack and his brothers must accept the treatment. They are children, and he is an adult. It’s just the way things are.

Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien also hope that Jack and his brothers will sink into blind faith in God – despite suffering and terror. But how can God be understood without understanding creation? Tree of life The book of Acts opens with this quote: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? … The morning star sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (: 38: –7) This is God’s response when Job wonders why he behaves improperly despite his faith.

But old Jack rejects that notion. He wants to understand, and he is not satisfied until he is. He begins his process by imagining the beginning: the establishment of the Big Bang and the Milky Way and the formation of the solar system. So, he starts building life on earth. First the fish, then the plants, then the dinosaurs. And then Jack himself.

Perhaps it has remarkable scientific accuracy in reconstructing Jack’s origins. In Jack’s philosophy, he does not believe that the creation of the earth was based solely on God’s command. Instead, he imagines the formation of molecules and the magnificent rotation of the universe. He does not deny science, but embraces it. Perhaps in order to gradually walk the path of grace, one must first understand why things are their way. Mrs. O’Brien was right when she said that there are two ways of life, the way of nature and the way of grace, but before choosing one or the other you have to take both together.

Jack’s knowledge of the world does not deprive him of a Christian perspective. In fact, it helps him to embrace it for the first time in his life. It makes sense, when reading the biblical reference to the title, “in the middle of the garden [God] The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil “(Genesis 2 :)). Ultimately it is knowledge that ensnares us, knowledge that sets us free, and knowledge that makes us human. Helps to understand.

In the final sequence Tree of life, Jack is walking on a real bullpen representing heaven. There he sees his family and loved ones, including his dying brother. Mrs. O’Brien looks at the sky and whispers, “I’ll give it to you.” I will give you my son. ” Jack has a vision of heaven at the end – the last Christian symbol – because he tried to understand creation. At the sandbar, he greeted his father warmly. He is also able to say goodbye to his brother. His inner turmoil was finally resolved.

But Tree of life There is no end. The last shot, which acts almost like a whip, reprises the twinkling, mysterious light of the universe as if to say: You have found the way to grace. Just don’t forget how you found it.

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