Saturday, January 26, 2013


As a student at a Christian college, I am required to take a certain number of Bible  and theology classes. One of the professors I had last semester brought up Calvinism and Arminianism  a few times. For those who aren't familiar with it, Calvinists believe that God has ordained salvation for some people, and those people respond. Arminianists believe that we chose God. Or, in a gross simplification.
Certain verses of Scripture support the idea that God wants everyone to be saved. If we believe that God is all-powerful, why doesn't he do so? There must be something he wants even more. 
Arminianist answer: free will
Calvinist answer: his glory
Now, if you read all that, you might be wondering why it's on my scifi blog instead of my general blog, it's because I have a much more interesting way of explaining all this.
The Doctor and River had a timey-wimey relationship. From her point of view, she met him in Berlin, when she attempted to kill him per the orders of the Silence. But at the end of the episode, she chooses to save him with her remaining regenerations. The Doctor doesn't have quite as simple a beginning. The first time he meets River is the last time she sees him--in a different body, just to make it even more confusing for us. For the longest time, he doesn't even know who she is. But once he does, it turns out he's had a connection to her all along.
But what really struck me about Let's Kill Hitler is the Doctor's behavior towards River. At this point, she's a psychopath, emotionally unstable and physically dangerous. But he doesn't treat her like a threat. He treats her like the River he knows, the River he's met before--the woman he trusts with his life. Not that he ignores her immediate behavior. When the Tesselecta captures Melody for killing the Doctor, he insists

Don't you touch her, do not harm her in any way!
 And later in the same conversation,  when the Tesselecta labels her "the woman who killed the Doctor," he points out
And I'm the Doctor, so what's it to you?
A commenter on the Speculative Faith article "The Doctor's Doctrines"posted the following
I doubt it was Moffat’s intent, but you know how Scripture goes on about how our sins are against God, first and foremost?  David’s Psalm after he lost his infant son because of his adultery and murder over Bathsheeba was that he had sinned against God alone.  As weird as that may seem, if we really believe that, this is what that looks like.The Doctor’s objection to the Tessellactor is this: “Her sin is against me, not you.  Therefore, since I have decided to be merciful, who are you to say otherwise?”  And I’m thinking of how Satan is the Accuser of the Brethren, how he’s always telling us (and telling God) how we’re scum and worthless and sinful and all the horrible things we’ve done, and what does God say?  “Their sin is against Me, not you.  I’ve forgiven it, who are you to say otherwise?”
Okay, I'm taking the long way around here, but that's to be expected with my OTP. Back to predestination vs free will. River chooses to love the Doctor, to reject her programming and join his side, but one reason she chooses is because he already has chosen to love her.  The analogy breaks down from the Doctor's side, but one reason we have such trouble with predestination and free will is that we're stuck in time. Looking from the outside, even if it's scifi, can provide an example where they exist in harmony.

No comments:

Post a Comment