This latest Bond movie ties together all of Daniel Craig’s Bond movies. In a way, it looks back and looks ahead. The world is changing. The need and relevance of old school spies is in question in the light of new technology. What if computers can spy and drones can assassinate—is there any need then for a man to do the job? These are the questions of the future that we all face. Just because technology can do something for us, does that mean it should? Just because something is cheaper or more efficient, does that make it better? What does man have that technology can’t reproduce? When does surveillance stop being protective and begin being invasive? These questions, this looking to the future—it’s important, but it’s in its looking to the past where Spectre is perhaps most intriguing.
Before she died, M gave Bond a cryptic message which led him on a path of discovery, a search for another enemy. Only, this wasn’t just any enemy, it was the enemy. He’s not a new enemy, even though it’s the first Bond has heard of him. To the contrary, he’s been around from the start. He was Bond’s first enemy, and he’s been behind every villain Bond has faced. In his own words, “It’s always been me, James, the author of all your pain.”
Why? Why was Blofeld so intent on hurting Bond? Jealousy. When James’ parents died, Blofeld’s dad took James in and raised him like a son…and Blofeld was jealous of the love his dad gave to James. So jealous, he murdered his own father. So jealous, he spent a lifetime orchestrating schemes to hurt James in every possible way. (Bond had not known this, because Blofeld had presumably died in a mountaineering accident decades before.)
I don’t know if that sounds far-fetched to you, or if possibly you’ve known someone who felt that kind of jealousy—the kind that consumes your life and motivates you to revenge. I do think that one of the only relationships powerful enough to create that kind of pain and hurt is the one with our father. When someone feels that someone else has usurped the love due them from a father, it’s a devastating thing. Whether or not you’ve seen this kind of hate on earth, believe it or not, it is something you have experienced…in the spiritual realm.
Let me explain. God created angels…and as their creator, he was, in a sense, their father. Lucifer got jealous, though. Perhaps he was jealous of Jesus, God’s own son…who was Himself fully God and as such far greater than the angels. At any rate, he was jealous and didn’t want to be secondary to God, he wanted to be equal to God. He was thrown out of Heaven for his rebellion.
Like Blofeld, Satan has dedicated his life ever since to hurting Jesus/God (whether it’s because of “daddy issues” or jealousy/competition with Jesus or just plain pride and anger that he didn’t get his way). He tried killing Jesus, but that didn’t work out well…Jesus rose from the dead (as Bond appears to do every time Blofeld thinks he’s manage to kill him.). Since he can’t kill Jesus, or hurt God physically in any way, he does what’s probably even worse—as Blofeld did, he goes after what Jesus/God loves most—mankind…and he does so through others, so that we are ignorant that he is there pulling all the strings. We miss the fact that “It’s always been Satan, the author of all our pain.”
The Bible says it this way: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Behind all our earthly struggles there are dark forces, a dark organization (like Spectre, if you will) pulling the strings, orchestrating events and people to come against us and to hurt us. Those dark forces, that wicked organization…it’s all run by our Blofeld, the enemy of our Lord, Satan, and he’s coming at us in order to get to Him.
So what are we to do? How do you fight against such an enemy? Fortunately, we have instructions in the Bible about how to wage a spiritual battle. (You can see Ephesians 6, for starters.) And we have someone better than James Bond fighting for us…Jesus commands his angels concerning us. AND, we have these glorious promises, that “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world;” and “nothing can separate us…from the love of God;” and this amazing truth that our battle is already won and Christ has the victory so that now, “death has no sting.”
I could go on, but I want to return to what we might gain from Spectre on this topic and there is one more kind of twisted little beautiful nugget. I say that because there is a beautiful truth, but it’s Blofeld who brings it up…so, coming from him, it’s a little twisted. In a weird sort of justification for the horrible pain he has caused, he points out that, “[It’s] a crucial fact that a terrible event can lead to something wonderful.” Later, as he’s joyously recounting the suffering he’s brought about (showing Bond his hand behind it all), and how that suffering has brought James to his newest love, he coos, “The things that bring people together… Out of horror…beauty.”
It’s twisted when Blofeld uses this as an excuse, a justification for his horrific behavior… but it’s also very true and beautiful when seen from a healthier perspective. The Bible says that God is able to work all things, even bad, awful, horrible things to good purposes. (We see this truth all throughout scriptures and in many ways, but perhaps most famously in Romans 8:28.) He doesn’t cause those things…we know that our enemy does. BUT, God can use them, just as Blofeld said, to bring beauty, something wonderful, to accomplish good things, like bringing people together. This is perhaps my favorite quality of God’s, that he can take anything the enemy intends for harm and use it for good, for the saving of many people (Genesis 50:20). That He is a God of “instead”… He brings beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning…. (see Isaiah 61). He’s not like Blomfeld, He doesn’t use that as an excuse to wreak havoc on our lives. Instead, He is the reason Blomfeld can say what he says…while our enemy is wreaking havoc on our lives, trying to do us harm, God is there, turning every curse into a blessing, every negative into something “instead”…into something positive.
Our challenge, really, is to look for it. Madeleine challenged Bond with a choice. He said he was an assassin because he never had a choice. She disagreed. “There is always a choice.” At the end of the movie, she gave him that choice. Bond had to choose…an assassin’s life or love with Madeleine. In a sense, it was a choice about perspective. Was he going to only see the enemy in life and all the pain he’d caused, or was Bond going to celebrate the “insteads” that had come from that pain? We have the same choice to make. We can focus on our enemy and all he’s done to hurt us…and it’s been a lot. Or, we can focus on the “insteads” that God has and will bring out of all that pain. We can choose pain and bitterness or love and grace. Both are there, it’s true, but which will we choose to embrace? I’ll give you a little hint…in the end, love wins. So choose love.
Questions for Discussion:
- Why did Blofeld hate Bond so much?
- Have you ever felt that someone else was a threat to the love you wanted to have from someone else? How did you respond?
- Who do you see as the enemy—your circumstances? Other people? God? … Or are you aware that there is someone behind all the pain in your life, pulling the strings, trying to hurt you?
- How might your responses to pain in your life be different if you knew you had a spiritual enemy behind it all?
- How might your responses to pain in your life be different if you knew (and trusted) that God was able to turn anything, even really bad things, into something good eventually?
- Are you more likely to choose pain or love?