An Illustration of the Incarnation from the Movie Avatar

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Although I have written negatively of the overall theme and message of Avatar, there is an interesting analogy of the Incarnation of Christ that can be taken from the film.  I heard this analogy in a podcast by William Lane Craig, and I think it may help some people understand this important Christian doctrine.

Craig was debating a Muslim recently and he wanted to help the Muslim audience understand how Jesus could be both God and man at the same time.  The doctrine of the Incarnation states that Jesus is one person who possesses two natures, one divine and one human, but Muslims sometimes struggle with this concept, thinking that if Jesus is human, he cannot also be God.

Here is where the movie Avatar comes in.  The hero of the movie, Jake Sully, is a crippled human that cannot walk.  As the movie progresses, Sully is able, through technology, to take on the nature of one of the natives of the planet Pandora, the Na’vi.

Sully’s mind unites with a Na’vi body, and for the rest of the movie he is both human and Na’vi; he possesses two natures.  Like Jesus, Sully is one person with two natures.  Sully can do things in his Na’vi nature that he cannot do in his human nature, like moving his legs and physically connecting his mind with the planet Pandora.  Likewise, Jesus is able to do things in his divine nature (e.g., raise people from the dead, still storms)  that He cannot do in his human nature.

Like any analogy, this one has its weaknesses, but I thought it was an interesting way to illustrate the Incarnation using the plot of a popular movie.  If it helps you, great!  If it doesn’t help, forget about it.

  • Old Bill

    Very interesting and thought provoking….

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  • I love this analogy Bill.

    Another thought… at the end of the movie, Jake Sully’s “spirit” (for lack of a better word) permanently implanted in the Na’vi body. In an analogous sense, this is not unlike the Christian view of what will happen to humans. At death, our spirit leaves our body and goes to heaven. However, at the resurrection, those who are Christian will be given new bodies, and their spirits will be permanently placed within these bodies.

    If Hollywood can swallow the concept portrayed in Avatar, they should have no problem with Christianity!


  • Marouene_najar

    Well we know who believes in Avatars : Hindus. Congratulations for the new Doctrine.