The Matrix: A Cyberpunk Parable
The Matrix was a film released on the 8th of April in 1999, directed by The Wachowskis. The film is about the events at the dawn of the 21st century, where humans are able to create artificial intelligence, spawning a race of machines that later turn against the humans, and defeat them. Nearing the end of defeat, the humans use nuclear weapons to blanket the sky dark, since the machines relied on solar energy. But, the machines found a solution by utilizing bioelectricity from the human body. The next thing they needed to do was tame the human subject, thus creating the matrix, which in reality is a vast power plant system of prison pods [one pod per person] where humans float in a lifelong coma, while their brains are connected to a virtual reality. The philosophical equivalent [that has been debated since Plato’s Allegory of the Cave from the 4th century b.c.] is the concept of a brain in a vat. Similarly, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave describes prisoners who have been chained all their lives facing a blank wall in a cave. From time to time, these prisoners watch shadows that happen to be projected onto the wall from objects that pass in front of a fire that is behind them, and in due course, they contemplate what these shadows are. Thus, the shadows are the closest the prisoners get to experiencing reality. Plato then explains how we, who are ironically not imprisoned, are like one of the prisoners who happen to be freed from the cave, and for the first time understands that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows he once saw.
The movie then depicts an unknown vast period of time that has transpired since the war, where these imprisoned humans are grown like crops on a farm in the power plant, placing their minds inside a simulated 20th century context, where they go about their illusionary lives oblivious to their true state of captivity. The machines have sentient programs called Agents who patrol within the matrix simulation to ensure the mental prison runs smoothly. The protagonist is Neo, a human in the matrix who senses something wrong with his existence. But, the good news is that while the matrix exists, there is still a small group of surviving humans living outside the matrix, hiding and running from the machines. They extract and rescue Neo from the matrix, training him to realize that he is the One, a savior that can finally free all humans from the matrix.
The Matrix is not intentionally a Christian film, since hints from various philosophies and religions are sprinkled throughout it. But the flexibility of the film allows people to draw many themes from it, including Christian allegories. In this way, we shall see these fascinating Christian allegories:
1. Neo as a man who becomes a Christian and learns to walk in faith.
2. Neo as the Messiah.
3. Neo as Christ’s 2nd Coming.
4. Neo as a new Moses who leads people out of captivity.
5. The nature of truth.
6. The nature of identity.
7. Science vs. Faith.
8. Fate / Free Will / Destiny.
9. Illusion / Dreams.
Scene #1 – The Apartment
Movie: The protagonist initially goes by the name Thomas Anderson.
Christian Allegory: The name Thomas reminds us of the disciple of Jesus. Similarly, Thomas often struggles with belief, first as a lost man coming to the truth, then as a saved man doubting his position. Thomas will later be called Neo. The word means “new.” The name Anderson is a play on one of the titles of Jesus: Son of Man. The word Ander is the New Testament Greek root andros meaning man. Thus Neo Ander-Son = New Son of Man. Thus for the Christian, the names contrast the old and new conditions when a sinner comes to salvation: “if anyone is in the Messiah, he is a new creation. Old things have disappeared, and--look!--all things have become new!” [2 Corinthians 5:17].
Movie: We first see Thomas sleeping, wearing black clothes.
Christian Allegory: The terms sleep and darkness are used to describe a lost person: “We do not belong to the night or to darkness. Therefore, let's not fall asleep like others do, but let's stay awake and be sober. For people who go to sleep, go to sleep at night; and people who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let's be sober.” [1 Thessalonians 5:5-8]. Until he is saved, Thomas is always literally asleep in his womb pod of the machine power plant in the real world! This is a striking portrayal of how a lost person is spiritually asleep even though he perceives himself awake in a fallen world.
Movie: As Thomas sleeps, his computer is “Searching…”
Christian Allegory: This is the first indication of Thomas’ discomfort with his life. He is searching, which is the key to finding truth: “Keep searching, and you will find.” [Matthew 7:7]. Trinity later confirms this searching when she tells Thomas, “I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night you sit at your computer. You’re looking for him … looking for an answer.”
Thomas lives alone, which reflects his desire to separate from a fallen world.
Movie: Thomas’ computer displays a portrait of Morpheus as a wanted criminal worldwide, when in truth Morpheus is a good man who wants to save humanity.
Christian Allegory: This parallels much of the anti-Christian media of today: “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as one of its own. But because you do not belong to the world and I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” [John 15:19-20]
Movie: The computer screen clears and a message appears from Trinity, who comes from outside the matrix! Trinity warns: “Wake up, Neo. The Matrix has you…” And he wakes up!
Christian Allegory: The Trinity character portrays God, paradoxically depicted as a Trinity: “the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” [Matthew 28:19]. This scene parallels the Holy Spirit convicting the lost person of his dire condition: “Wake up, sleeper! Arise from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.” [Ephesians 5:14]. Thomas strangely awakens as if he somehow heard the message internally, which hints at the spiritual nature of the warning. Trinity does not live in the matrix illusion: she came from outside it. Similarly, Jesus said, “You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, but I am not of this world.” [John 8:23]. Just as Trinity’s words on Thomas’ computer were a message written by someone from the outside world, the scriptures are also supernaturally inspired messages from God to mankind as human writers were controlled by God’s Spirit: “no prophecy ever originated through a human decision. Instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” [2 Peter 1:21]. Trinity initiates contact with Thomas, just as God takes the initiative in salvation: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him to life on the last day.” [John 6:44]. As we shall see, Thomas is raised to life at the end of the film. God will draw, but man must respond.
Movie: Thomas tries to remove the warning message.
Christian Allegory: The conviction of sin and eternal danger is disturbing. It affronts our pride, and we don’t want to hear it. The lost person tries to regain control of his thoughts from the disturbing impulse [Thomas hits the CTRL key], and when that fails, he may try to escape it as well [Thomas hits the ESC key]. An interesting triple metaphor occurs here:
1. Thomas knocks the ESC key twice.
2. Trinity says “knock” twice.
3. Choi knocks twice on Thomas’ door.
For every knock of the ESC key, Trinity answers with a written “knock” back to Thomas, showing God’s persistence in knocking on the heart of the lost person: “Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me.” [Revelation 3:20]. Trinity’s prediction of the knocks on Thomas’ door parallels the omniscience of God.
Movie: Thomas is a computer hacker who makes illegal software for Choi.
Christian Allegory: Choi is obviously bad company in the moral sense. Thomas is a sinful man who has sinful friends. On a deeper level, here is one of the most fascinating ironies of the film. Thomas thinks that he is hacking into computers, but in truth, the matrix computers control Thomas’ entire existence: even allowing him the illusion that he is hacking! The prison allows some illusionary escapes to keep the prisoners oblivious to the real problem! To parallel spiritually, the fallen world fools its prisoners with meaningless progress, like the rich fool who focused on earthly riches but neglected his eternal state: “The land of a certain rich man produced good crops. So he began to think to himself, ‘What should I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and I’ll store all my grain and goods in them. Then I’ll say to myself, ‘You've stored up plenty of good things for many years. Take it easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.’ But God told him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded back from you. Now who will get the things you've accumulated?’ That's how it is with the person who stores up treasures for himself rather than with God.” [Luke 12:16-21].
Movie: Thomas puts $2,000 in a hollow copy of postmodern nihilist Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation [one of the worst philosophies ever written]. The following quote is from Denis Dutton [professor of philosophy from the University of Canterbury]: “Some writers in their manner and stance intentionally provoke challenge and criticism from their readers. Others just invite you to think. Baudrillard’s hyperprose demands only that you grunt wide-eyed or bewildered assent. He yearns to have intellectual influence, but must fend off any serious analysis of his own writing, remaining free to leap from one bombastic assertion to the next, no matter how brazen. Your place is simply to buy his books, adopt his jargon, and drop his name wherever possible.”
The camera lingers on the chapter titled On Nihilism. Thomas lives in the pinnacle of a simulacra, the image that has no underlying truth [as is much the case of Baudrillard’s work]. Furthermore, Thomas’ world and the futile persona he has developed in it are based completely on illusion.
Christian Allegory: Unless man reconciles with God through Christ, he crafts his own futile image apart from God’s truth. An unsaved man is dead even if he thinks he’s alive: the trimmings of his worldly life are a vain and temporary mask covering his lost spiritual and eternal state. Nihilism is a doctrine that all values are baseless, that nothing is knowable, and that life itself is meaningless [we shall see that Agent Smith embodies this]. Thomas has been putting his money on the aspect of nihilism that says nothing is knowable. But this philosophy has left him as hollow as the hole in the page! Thomas will leave that empty, despairing philosophy behind and find that there is indeed a knowable salvation and truth. Later we will see that Thomas will not find it by using the rules of the matrix to fight the matrix [illusionary hacking against an illusionary world]. Instead, Thomas will only bring change by escaping the very matrix itself and attacking it in the power of the truth. In the same way, a man must find salvation in Christ to escape being a part of the fallen world, and then he must walk by faith in God to make a true difference.
Movie: Choi admits his constant use of mescaline [an hallucinogen]. He invites Thomas to “unplug” for some rest and relaxation by going to a nightclub with them.
Christian Allegory: Choi represents the escapist. His solution to “unplug” [be saved] is to forget the problems of life by using drugs, which he takes “all the time.” Choi tells Thomas that “the only way to fly” is mescaline. Thomas literally does fly at the end of the film: but only as a result of walking in the truth, not hallucination. Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6]. Choi’s advice that Thomas needs to “unplug” is not only foreshadowing, but also another nudge to lost Thomas. God can use sinners to send a message.
Movie: Trinity tells Thomas to “follow the white rabbit.” Spotting a white rabbit tattoo on DuJour’s shoulder, Thomas chooses to go with Choi and DuJour.
Christian Allegory: Notice the following:
1. Thomas had to choose to open the door for Choi.
2. Now he must choose to accompany Choi and DuJour.
The story consistently resonates with a powerful theme of “the way,” where Thomas must often choose to either follow or abandon the one narrow way to a singular truth in a reality of unflinching absolutes.
Scene #2 – The Club
Movie: The club is obviously a degenerate place. The shadowy scene seems to be a celebration of bondage with dance cages. Music by Rob Zombie provides a backdrop for the dark scene.
Christian Allegory: This setting depicts the depraved, sinful state of the fallen world. Even though darkness keeps fallen man in bondage, many choose the darkness over the light: “people loved the darkness more than the light because their actions were evil.” [John 3:19].
Movie: Thomas stands alone and apart from the dance club crowd, looking uncomfortable.
Christian Allegory: This highlights a lost person’s growing discomfort with the wrong state of self and surroundings.
Movie: Trinity contacts Thomas at the worldly club, calling him by name and describing his private habits.
Christian Allegory: Like the Shepherd going away from safe pasture to find the lost sheep [Luke 15] or Jesus eating with the despised tax collectors [Matthew 9:11], God pursues the lost man even in the most worldly circumstances. God also intimately knows the private life of the sinner, like Trinity saying, “I know what you’ve been doing.”
Movie: Trinity warns Thomas that he is in danger and is being watched.
Christian Allegory: Trinity’s statement, “I brought you here to warn you” has echoes of: “who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” [Luke 3:7]. It’s the Holy Spirit that convicts: “the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.” [John 16:8].
Movie: Trinity prompts Thomas to verbalize what is on his conscience: “You know the question…” to which Thomas answers, “What is the Matrix?”
Christian Allegory: To find truth, we must be honest with ourselves about what we are sensing from God. Daring to reach into our foggy convictions and crystallize them will ignite them in our hearts as a crisis that we must act upon. Thomas was prompted to acknowledge both the matrix [the fallen world] and Morpheus [representing God here] as the two sides he must choose between.
Movie: Trinity tells Thomas, “The answer is out there, Neo. It’s looking for you. And it will find you, if you want it to.”
Christian Allegory: God is longing for us far more than we are looking for him [2 Peter 3:9]. The choice to open the door as Christ knocks is ours.
Scene #3 – The Office
Movie: Thomas works for MetaCortex.
Christian Allegory: This name describes the powerful fallen world system that grips Thomas. The prefix meta means “situated behind,” and cortex refers to the cerebral cortex of the brain. Thus MetaCortex can mean, “we are the ones behind the scenes, who control your mind.” As Morpheus later explains, people are indeed born into bondage to a fallen world system that bombards the mind with fallen thinking. But the Christian message is: “Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.” [Romans 12:2].
Movie: Thomas is late for work. Mr. Rhineheart reprimands Thomas, whose voice is hollow as he agrees. Even though Mr. Rhineheart is correct, he seems unbending as he demands flawless obedience.
Christian Allegory: Work at MetaCortex represents the state of bondage of sinful man to a fallen world as he tries to work his way to heaven. The law is not in Thomas’ heart, and he has found himself lacking ability to comply. He is depressed and motionless in his cubicle afterward. Man will fall short of perfectly obeying God’s standards of right and wrong, and will become depressed in the constant failure to comply. The bible says that these standards are good [it is not wrong that Thomas must have a job, or that Rhineheart wants Thomas to be on time], but God’s standards are designed to show us our inability to hit the mark. God’s standards are an unbending teacher that makes us to realize we need to be saved from our flawed nature, leading us to the savior: Jesus. When a person is saved by faith in Christ, God considers sin forgiven, then he will put his “laws in their hearts and will write them on their minds” [Hebrews 10:16], giving a new constant spiritual desire to do what is right, and a joy in doing it.
Movie: Now we will reverse the allegory and let Mr. Rhineheart represent the fallen world system. Rhineheart reprimands Thomas, saying, “this company is one of the top software companies in the world, because every single employee understands that they are part of a whole.”
Christian Allegory: The words “top” and “world” are significant, indicating the pinnacle strength of the fallen world system. The fallen world irritates the lost person, yet he is caught in the pull of that dead world to conform to the dying “whole.”
Mr. Rhinehart calls Thomas “Mr. Anderson” twice, using his matrix identity to reinforce his belonging to the world system. A “choice” must be made toward either accepting captivity to the lost world or taking that narrow path to freedom!
Movie: A dejected Thomas sits motionless in the dim bleakness of his lifeless cubicle. Even his computer screen is dead.
Christian Allegory: What a striking visual metaphor for how empty life is without truth! Careers, money, information: these are pathetically powerless to fill the void of a human heart without God. As his conscience bears witness that something vital is missing, the lost person often begins to despair of all other aspects of life; nothing has meaning or vibrancy.
Movie: The Fed Ex man says, “Thomas Anderson?” Thomas accepts the illusionary identity by saying, “Yeah, that’s me.” The cell phone rings and Morpheus prompts, “Hello, Neo. Do you know who this is?” Thomas replies, “Morpheus!” Morpheus says, “They’re coming for you, Neo.” Thomas asks, “Who’s coming for me?” to which Morpheus replies, “Stand up and see for yourself.” Thomas asks “What, right now?” Morpheus replies, “Yes. Now.” Thomas stands, and for the first time, he sees enemy Agents and policemen entering his office to catch him.
Christian Allegory: God helps the lost person to see his own sin and sense the spiritual enemy that craves his death. As God warned Cain: “sin is crouching near your doorway [like the Agents entering the office], turning toward you. However, you must take dominion over it.” [Genesis 4:7]. Morpheus’ response of “now” stresses the urgency of the situation. We do not casually decide when to grapple with evil: it is a predator that eventually strikes its final deathblow. We must escape while God gives us opportunity: “Listen, now is really the ‘right time’! Now is the ‘day of salvation’!” [2 Corinthians 6:2].
Movie: Morpheus offers Thomas a way out: more one-way choices! Morpheus warns, “I can guide you, but you must do exactly as I say.”
Christian Allegory: For the sinner, there is no alternative: exact adherence to God’s way of salvation, or face the consequences. God “will provide a way out.” [1 Corinthians 10:13].
Movie: As Morpheus guides Thomas to the office, Thomas asks, “How do you know all this?” Morpheus responds, “We don’t have time, Neo…”
Christian Allegory: A lost person could never understand God anyway; he has not yet become new and he does not have spiritual understanding. Sin cannot comprehend holiness, nor can deception grasp all truth. Thomas’ query is the lost man’s resistance to faith: he wants to know all the answers
before making a decision. Morpheus describing each step in advance once again symbolizes God’s omniscience.
Movie: In one of the most symbolic choices in the movie, Morpheus tells Thomas, “There are two ways out of this building. One is that scaffold, the other is in their custody.”
Christian Allegory: The MetaCortex building represents the fallen world in concise form. The scaffold hints at the cross of Christ. The scaffold goes up, symbolizing going to God. In the custody of the Agents means going down. The lost man finds that he truly has no neutral ground! In his pride, he fancies himself having many choices and plenty of time. But in truth, he can only be on one of two paths: heaven or hell.
Movie: Thomas responds to Morpheus: “No way. No way! This is crazy. This is insane.”
Christian Allegory: To a man who has only paid attention to his mortal life, the sudden realization of eternity in heaven or hell shakes him. There is nothing he can do to earn his own salvation except to trust in God’s way out. And that way is by faith in Christ, which is difficult for the natural man to accept, especially as it is not dependent on his own good works!
Movie: Thomas mutters in frustration, “What did I do? I didn’t do anything. I’m nobody.”
Christian Allegory: Thomas lies to himself. He committed many crimes; he is a hacker! Thomas is a lawbreaker who does not want to follow rules or face consequences for his wrong actions. But the unbending truth is that there is no neutral ground for the sinner. Thomas says he is a “nobody” as another excuse. But again, no lack or excess of a person’s social status, age, achievements, identity, can remove the fact that he is caught between heaven and hell and is still personally accountable for a choice between them. There are no nobodies to God and Satan.
Movie: Thomas begins to inch his way along the narrow path of the ledge toward the scaffold. But then he takes his eyes away and looks at the street far below. Gasping in fear, a strong wind causes him to drop his cell phone and says, “I can’t do this.” Fear cripples him, and the enemy captures him as a result.
Christian Allegory: In addition to the doubting Thomas symbolism, this metaphor reminds us of the apostle Peter trying to walk on water to come to Christ.
As long as Peter’s eyes were fixed on Christ, he was able to continue. But “when he noticed the strong wind, he was frightened” [Matthew 14:30], meaning he was no longer looking at Christ. Peter became afraid and “began to sink.” Christ reached out and rescued him, just as we will later see Morpheus reaching out to Thomas again. Dropping the cell phone represents both Peter losing his fix on Christ, and also the lost man abandoning his communication with God as his way of salvation. The narrow ledge illustrates “how constricted is the road that leads to life” [Matthew 7:14]. Thomas had no alternatives. Either he climbed the scaffold, or he was captured. Thomas could not have infinite chances to make his escape, nor could he simply stroll back to his cubicle and pretend his crisis of destiny did not exist. Like it or not, we will all face that crisis and must choose before our time is up. When Thomas says, “I can’t do this,” he reiterates that a lost man cannot save himself. That is why God had to do the work for him on the cross. Peter asked, “Who, then, can be saved?” to which Jesus answered, “For humans this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26].
Scene #4 – The Interrogation
Movie: Before Agent Smith lectures Thomas, he flips through a record of Thomas’ crimes.
Christian Allegory: Smith is like Satan, who will always be called “the one who accuses” [Revelation 12:10].
Movie: Agent Smith tells Thomas three distinct lies during the interrogation scene.
Christian Allegory: Satan “is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:44].
Movie: Lie #1: Agent Smith indicates that Thomas’ illusionary matrix life is reality: having a job, paying taxes, helping the landlady. In contrast, Smith tells Thomas that his other hacker life is “lived in computers,” which is an interesting twist of words! In truth, it is Thomas’ illusionary life in the matrix [his job, taxes, and landlady] that is “lived in computers” that generate the matrix simulation! The real life that Thomas will live as Neo outside the Matrix is not “lived in computers.”
Christian Allegory: Satan’s lie is a complete reversal of truth. He lies that this tangible earthly life is all there is, that it is substantial, and that the spiritual things are silly myth that we should stop seeking.
Movie: Lie #2: Smith says, “One of these lives [a life of lies inside the matrix] has a future, and one of them [a life of truth outside the matrix] does not.”
Christian Allegory: This is another direct reversal. Truth gives eternal life. Believing lies results in eternal death: forever trapped in the matrix.
Movie: Lie #3: Agent Smith describes Morpheus as a “dangerous man,” a “terrorist” who must be brought to “justice.” In truth, Morpheus is a good man, so good that he is willing to lay down his own life for Neo.
Christian Allegory: Satan again reverses roles, portraying himself as good and God as evil. Many people fall for this lie. For example, the Gnostics saw Satan as a noble liberator in the garden of Eden but judged God as a stingy jailer, instead of seeing God as providing an idyllic environment, while selfish man had to have one more tree despite the abundant fruits on others! Man, imitating Satan, said “I'll make myself like the Most High” [Isaiah 14:14], and rebelled against his benevolent Creator, a Creator who in turn humbly took the form of a man to be crucified for the willful sins of his own creation, so that a way of redemption can be opened to all by simply trusting the Rescuer. To regard someone as evil who dies on your behalf is the height of deception.
Movie: Thomas demands a phone call. Agent Smith in turn demonstrates his total power over Thomas by literally sealing his mouth.
Christian Allegory: Who would Thomas have called anyway? He did not know Morpheus’ number, and no fellow enslaved human could have helped him. Smith’s power over Thomas represents Satan’s natural dominion over the sinner. A lost man is utterly powerless to overcome Satan with natural strength, willpower, and abilities. Satan’s goal is to mute the lost man through intimidation and power so that he will fear attempting to cry out to God.
Movie: Agent Smith implants his nightmarish tracer bug into Thomas.
Christian Allegory: A lost man’s awareness of his problem grows once more: he now clearly sees that he is infected with sin, just like Satan [the word “infected” is used later by Smith in his interrogation of Morpheus]. The sinner cannot escape his own sin, it is internal and must be removed by someone else.
Movie: Agent Smith tells Thomas, “You’re going to help us Mr. Anderson, whether you want to or not.”
Christian Allegory: The sinner belongs to the enemy by default. Man is infected with sin: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is infected by death?” [Romans 7:24].
Scene #5 – The Road to Morpheus
Movie: Morpheus tells Thomas, “You may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I’ve spent my entire life looking for you.”
Christian Allegory: God comes to seek and save the lost, even when sinful people do not desire him. It is God that looks and longs for us: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. He leaves the ninety-nine in the wilderness and looks for the one that is lost until he finds it, doesn’t he? When he finds it, he puts it on his shoulders and rejoices. Then he goes home, calls his friends and neighbours together, and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I’ve found my lost sheep!’ In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need to repent.” [Luke 15:4-7]
Movie: After the interrogation, Morpheus contacts Thomas again and asks, “Now do you still want to meet?”
Christian Allegory: God is persistent in his rescue of the sinner.
Movie: Morpheus tells Thomas to “go to the Adams Street bridge.”
Christian Allegory: God takes the lost person to the root of the problem: Adam. To admit our sinfulness is a key step in the path toward truth, so we can see that someone must save us from sin, and “bridge” us over to God: “There is also one mediator between God and human beings--a human, the Messiah Jesus.” [1 Timothy 2:5]. Thus the “last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” [1 Corinthians 15:45].
Movie: Thomas waits under the bridge. A car drives up, the door opens, and Trinity tells Thomas to “get in.” Switch points a gun at Thomas. “What the hell is this?” asks Thomas. “It’s necessary, Neo. For our protection,” answers Trinity. “From what?” asks Thomas. “From you,” she replies. Thomas is contaminated with a tracer bug, and he might become an Agent at any time, as they still control him in the matrix!
Christian Allegory: God will not allow sin to infiltrate his holiness. His method of dealing with sin is extermination. After Adam and Eve sinned, God removed them from the garden so that they “won’t reach out, also take from the tree of life, eat, and then live forever.” [Genesis 3:22]. God did not want man to live forever while trapped in a sinful state, to have eternity polluted with sinful beings. When a sinner trusts Christ, God considers that sinner to be “crucified” with Christ [Romans. 6:6], and mercifully reborn spiritually as a “new creation” [2 Corinthians 5:17]. Switch did not hate Thomas, she only hated the bug within him. God hates sin, but loves the sinner infected by it. God will ultimately destroy sin, but is holding back for a while so that each person can choose between the two ways of having his sin exterminated: either trust Christ who bore God’s death penalty for sin on our behalf, or keep our sin nature and thus be burned with it when God destroys sin.
Movie: Switch tells Thomas, “Right now there’s only one rule: our way, or the highway.” Not wanting to submit himself to anybody, Thomas says, “Fine!” and begins to exit the car to return to the rainy darkness of the
false matrix world. But Trinity puts a comforting hand on Thomas’ shoulder and says, “Please, Neo, you have to trust me. Because you have been down there. You know that road. You know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be.” Thomas considers the empty road and realizes Trinity’s words are true. So Thomas chooses to stay.
Christian Allegory: Here again is the theme that there is only one way to real life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6]. Switch uses the term “highway” to describe the option of going back to the slavery of the matrix, which is an interesting parallel to “the road is spacious that leads to destruction, and many people are entering by it.” [Matthew 7:13]. Thomas represents the pride of man when he says “Fine!” Had Thomas obeyed his pride and exited, how do you think he would have felt later? He would never have found the truth, and would be back on the same confused, dead road, yet still be hunted by the enemy. Trinity’s gentle empathy with Thomas reflects that aspect of God as well. Her understanding tone causes Thomas to look hard at the road outside and the empty, answerless death it brings. It also shows her care for Thomas, in contrast to the threats of the Agents. Trinity pleading with Thomas reflects the amazing fact that God literally pleads with the sinner: “we are the Messiah's representatives, as though God were pleading through us. We plead on the Messiah’s behalf: ‘Be reconciled to God!’” [2 Corinthians 5:20].
Movie: So that Thomas can have an audience with Morpheus, Trinity hunts and painfully extracts the bloody metallic bug from Thomas’ stomach, then casts it out the window.
Christian Allegory: God will listen to the man who comes admitting sin, but not to the man who hides it: “Were I to cherish iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not listen to me.” [Psalms 66:18]. Honesty is a requirement [as Trinity will later tell Thomas: “be honest” with Morpheus]. And just as the extraction of the bug was bloody for Thomas, the payment for sin demands blood: “everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of the blood there is no forgiveness.” [Hebrews 9:22]. This is why Jesus shed his pure blood on the cross, to provide perfect payment for all who believe.
Movie: When Thomas sees the nightmarish bloody bug that Trinity has extracted, he screams, “That thing’s real?”
Christian Allegory: God increases the sinner’s awareness of his inward contamination by sin. The problem is not only the world around him, he himself is polluted from within: I had that inside me? I wonder what else
is wrong within me!
Scene #6 – The Visit to Morpheus
Movie: As Thomas ascends the stairs to meet Morpheus, we notice the black-and-white tiled floor.
Christian Allegory: A lost man must make a black-and-white choice when he faces God. Light or darkness. Truth or lies. Faith or unbelief. Christ’s love or God’s wrath. Salvation or damnation. There is no neutral ground, no grey.
Movie: Just outside Morpheus’ door, Trinity advises Thomas: “Be honest. He knows more than you can imagine.”
Christian Allegory: For this moment, Morpheus can represent God [also note the imagery of lightning flashes, as well as the cherubim faces on Morpheus’ chair].
In order to find truth, a man must be truthful with himself and God: “The LORD remains near to all who call out to him, to everyone who calls out to him in truth.” [Psalms 145:19]. The man who hides his sin will not find truth [Psalm 66:18]. Salvation involves being transparent with God and being brutally honest about your condition.
Movie: Morpheus tells Thomas, “You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth.”
Christian Allegory: Being awake is a metaphor for being saved. Being asleep is a metaphor for being lost.
Movie: Morpheus tells Thomas, “Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life. That there is something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Like a splinter in your mind driving you mad.”
Christian Allegory: A lost man nearing salvation has become aware of sin in himself and in the world.
Movie: Morpheus prompts Thomas to verbalize his convictions. “Do you know what I’m talking about?” asks Morpheus. “The Matrix?” Thomas answers. Morpheus confirms the existence of the matrix, and directly offers to show Thomas that “it is everywhere.” In one of the most scriptural statements of the film, Morpheus summarises that the matrix: “it is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”
Christian Allegory: The matrix is like the condemned world system that resulted from man’s original sin. We are completely immersed in that world’s secular flows: politics, materialism, entertainment, pop culture. Just as the machines and Agents control the matrix, Satan and the sinful state of man create and pollute the systems and values of the creation. This fallen world saturates our senses and trumpets itself, saying that it is all there is, the here and now, the visible. It is a vast, busy lie that obscures and distracts from the truth of eternal spiritual things beyond.
Movie: “What truth?” asks Thomas. Morpheus then tells Thomas, “That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.”
Christian Allegory: As Eliphaz said: “What is mankind, that he can be blameless? Or does being born of a woman mean he’ll be in the right? Look, if God doesn’t trust his holy ones, if even the heavens aren’t pure as he looks at them, then how much less is one who is abhorred and corrupted, such as a man who drinks injustice like water?” [Job 15:14-16].
Note also the amazing imagery presented by Paul and compare this with the imagery given by Morpheus in regards to the matrix and Thomas’ body that is a “slave” inside a “prison” of the machines: “But thank God that, though you were once slaves of sin, you became obedient from your hearts to that form of teaching with which you were entrusted! And since you have been freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in simple terms because of the frailty of your human nature. Just as you once offered the parts of your body as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater disobedience, so now, in the same way, you must offer the parts of your body as slaves to righteousness that leads to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were ‘free’ as far as righteousness was concerned. What benefit did you get from doing those things you are now ashamed of? For those things resulted in death. But now that you have been freed from sin and have become God’s slaves, the benefit you reap is sanctification, and the result is eternal life.” [Romans 6:17-22].
Movie: Morpheus introduces the final moment of truth, “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”
Christian Allegory: A saved person is a new creation in God, with a living, fresh spirit from God. An old creation cannot understand what being new is until he actually becomes new. It takes faith to cross this final gap. All of the tangible evidences in the world may point the way, but will not ultimately solve the problem. Spiritual things are not tangible. Nobody can be saved just by listening to a teaching about how to be saved, just as a sick person cannot be healed by only hearing about medicine. The only way to find the truth is to take a step of faith based on inward convictions and outward evidences. Imagine the difficulty of describing ice to a person raised all their life on a desert. The same concept is reflected in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, where the prisoner who got free returned back to the cave and screamed in joy and excitement toward the other prisoners [from behind], the true reality he experienced outside the cave. But the other prisoners could only see a shadow on the wall [remember, they can only face the wall in front of them while objects behind cast shadows onto the wall], and the words of the freed prisoner were like muffled sounds.
This is the call of the gospel: “What existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we observed and touched with our own hands--this is the Word of life! This life was revealed to us, and we have seen it and testify about it. We declare to you this eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. What we have seen and heard we declare to you so that you, too, can have fellowship with us. Now this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus, the Messiah.” [1 John 1:1-3].
Scene #7 – The Conversion, Conception, and Construction
Movie: In a moment thick with tension, Morpheus warns Thomas, “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.”
Christian Allegory: Even though God is rich in patience and love, there will eventually come a last chance for every person. In his earthly ministry, Jesus warned the wicked leaders that he would not always be present at their convenience: “I will be with you only a little while longer, and then I am going back to the one who sent me. You will look for me but will not find me. And where I am, you cannot come.” [John 7:33-34].
Movie: Morpheus offers the most important choice of all to Thomas by offering a blue pill in his left hand and a red pill in his right hand.
Christian Allegory: The red pill can represent the blood of Christ. This saving gift is freely offered by God to man, just as Morpheus offers it freely to Thomas. The red pill is the right way to go, thus it is in the right hand while the blue pill is in the left. Jesus described the final judgment at his throne: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled in front of him, and he will cull them out, one from another, like a shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left.” [Matthew 25:31-33].
Movie: As Thomas is about to take the red pill, Morpheus says, “Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.” As Morpheus will say later, “I can only show you the door, but you will have to walk through it.” Thomas must now choose to act, to take a real action based on his convictions, and enter through that open door. He must receive the gift that Morpheus offers. Just looking at the red pill won’t help.
Christian Allegory: This is the climactic all-essential step of faith for the sinner. Jesus said: “I am the gate. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.” [John 10:9]. To take the blue pill means to remain in death, as Morpheus says, “the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” This saves nobody. A person may feel good as he deceives himself by remaining in the matrix. Had Thomas rejected that one way to truth and taken the blue pill, he would have remained a slave of the matrix no matter what else he believed, and eventually he would have died there. The unbelieving sinner will physically die in his sins also, but then suffer: “the second death.” [Revelation 21:8]. Many people allow pride to blind them to the costly gift of love that God is offering them. Sadly, they angrily label God’s wrath against their sin as unfair, instead of focusing on the fact that God gave his Son’s own life [what more could God have done?] to make a free, cleansing red pill available to all takers.
Those who hope to stand at judgment and accuse Christ of lacking love will be silenced simply by seeing the Judge’s scarred hands: pierced in the ultimate, brutal sacrifice of his own life on a cross, to offer them salvation by a simple act of faith in him. Which pill are you focused on?
Movie: Thomas swallows the red pill.
Christian Allegory: This is salvation! It represents an act of faith in the red blood of Christ: “Now that we have been justified by his blood, how much more will we be saved from wrath through him!” [Romans 5:9].
Movie: Thomas drinks the water.
Christian Allegory: Jesus says: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart.” [John 7:37-38]. When Jesus was crucified: “one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water immediately came out.” [John 19:34]. Water can also symbolize baptism, which is a believer’s public form of professing faith in Christ and being identified with him. Water also represents the word of God [Ephesians 5:26]. Thomas now truly becomes Neo, meaning “new.”
Movie: The first words Neo hears upon taking the red pill is: “Follow me.”
Christian Allegory: Jesus’ initial commands to his disciples were “Follow me.” [Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 16:24, 19:21; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27, 9:59].
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo, “Time is always against us.”
Christian Allegory: A new Christian is instructed by God to “be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil.” [Ephesians 5:15-16]. For Thomas becoming Neo: “it’s already time for you to wake up from sleep, because our salvation is nearer now than when we became believers.” [Romans 13:11].
Movie: Looking at the technology that will extract him from the matrix into the truth of the real world, Neo asks Trinity, “You did all this?” “Mm-hm [yes],” Trinity replies.
Christian Allegory: God [the Trinity] is “the builder of everything.” [Hebrews 3:4]
Movie: Part of the matrix extraction device includes an old-style rotary telephone.
Christian Allegory: This humorous touch can be paralleled to show that God’s methods do not need to change. Some have a cliché of Christianity as an old religion, but the truth is that the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ do not lose truth or power over time. Faith in Christ will always be the only method of salvation and extraction from a fallen world: “Jesus, the Messiah, is the same yesterday and today--and forever!” [Hebrews 13:8].
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo that the red pill is designed to “disrupt your input/output carrier signal” with the matrix system, which allows them to “pinpoint your location.”
Christian Allegory: When a person trusts in Christ for salvation, he is disrupted from the fallen world system [the matrix]: “because everyone who is born from God has overcome the world. Our faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Who overcomes the world? Is it not the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” [1 John 5:4-5]. Thus God has pinpointed: “my lost sheep!” [Luke 15:6].
Movie: Neo peers into a fractured mirror. He appears to be without a face.
As he adjusts, he sees his face, and the fractures in the mirror heal.
As Morpheus speaks to him, Neo touches the liquid mirror that then coats his entire body, finally pouring down his throat to fill him from within.
During this process, Trinity says Neo is going into “replication” and “arrest.”
Christian Allegory: The symbolically rich mirror sequence has two meanings:
1. Neo sees himself whole for the first time, and then enters the real world through interacting with the mirror: “unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [John 3:3]. Neo goes into “arrest” during this process, implying death. Salvation is a death of the old self, then a birth of the new: “our old natures were crucified with him so that our sin-laden bodies might be rendered powerless and we might no longer be slaves to sin.” [Romans 6:6]. Notice that Neo doesn’t do what James says: “For if anyone hears the word but is not obedient to it, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror and studies himself carefully, and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like.” [James 1:23-24].
2. Another amazing parallel Paul gives us is: “we see only an indistinct image in a mirror, but then we will be face to face. Now what I know is incomplete, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” [1 Corinthians 13:12]. Neo sees himself as “indistinct,” as was the case from the start of the film. Neo had, as Morpheus said earlier, “a splinter in your mind driving you mad,” where he questioned his existence. But now, he will be “face to face” with Morpheus in the real world! At first, Neo was “incomplete” in his knowledge, but now in his rebirth, he will “know fully” what lies ahead, and the meaning of his existence. Even though Neo at first had “incomplete” knowledge, he was nonetheless “fully known” by Morpheus [God] right from the start! Thus Neo [or the Christian] will “reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces” [2 Corinthians 3:18].
Neo sees someone in the mirror: Morpheus [God].
God is not an illusionary matrix persona: he is a real being who lives in the true world outside the matrix.
Movie: Neo wakes up alive in the real world.
Christian Allegory: Once you become a Christian, you are no longer asleep: “For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to darkness. Therefore, let's not fall asleep like others do, but let's stay awake and be sober.” [1 Thessalonians 5:5-6]. As we shall see later, Cypher will yearn to “fall asleep” and betray his fellow brethren.
Movie: Neo finds that he is connected to the matrix by cables going into his mouth, body, and worst of all, directly into his brain. He had been completely dependent on the matrix, both physically and mentally. In addition, the matrix drains life from Neo [as explained later by Morpheus that the machines use humans for bioelectricity]. The matrix had controlled Neo, but now he is free and separated.
Christian Allegory: A new Christian discovers that he had formerly been fully dependent on the fallen world system to live, both body and mind. The life the fallen world deceitfully offers is actually spiritual death [like the cables draining power from Neo]. Through Christ, a man is set free from his life-draining dependency on the fallen world: “I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in me, and the life that I am now living in this body I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” [Galatians 2:20].
Movie: Neo looks around him. To his horror, all of humanity is comatose in the terrifying matrix prison pods.
Christian Allegory: A Christian learns that very few others have come to truth in Christ. The vast majority of mankind is deceived, asleep, enslaved, and headed for eternal damnation: “narrow is the gate and how constricted is the road that leads to life, and there aren't many people who find it!” [Matthew 7:14].
Movie: Neo finds that he is a new, different creature. He is free, but he is also hairless, weak, and pale. He has holes, scars from where the matrix cables had gripped him.
Christian Allegory: A Christian is also a new [Neo = new] creature [2 Corinthians 5:17]. Yet the new Christian is also a spiritual baby [hairless, atrophied muscle], he is weak and needs God’s help to mature in a vicious world. And like Neo’s scars, a Christian’s earthly mind has been scarred by the patterns and habits of the fallen world in which he lived, and his old fallen body remains. A Christian finds he is new spiritually, but still lives in a fallen physical body [that will one day be exchanged for a perfect body to match the new spirit within]. God puts his own Holy Spirit in the new Christian, to help that Christian overcome the deadly appetites of the fallen body and the twisted patterns of the former mind:
“To focus our minds on the human nature leads to death, but to focus our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace. That is why the mind that focuses on human nature is hostile toward God. It refuses to submit to the authority of God's Law because it is powerless to do so. Indeed, those who are under the control of human nature cannot please God. You, however, are not under the control of the human nature but under the control of the Spirit, since God's Spirit lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of the Messiah, he does not belong to him. But if the Messiah is in you, your bodies are dead due to sin, but the spirit is alive due to righteousness. And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then the one who raised the Messiah from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive by his Spirit who lives in you. Consequently, brothers, we are not--with respect to human nature, that is--under an obligation to live according to human nature. For if you live according to human nature, you are going to die, but if by the Spirit you continually put to death the activities of the body, you will live.” [Romans 8:6-13]
Some Christians yield to God and mature quickly. Others grow weary or distracted [as we shall see with Mouse with the lady in red]. The maturing process takes time as the Christian learns to walk in the truth of who he now is in God, and this process is the focus of the remainder of the film!
“It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already become perfect. But I keep pursuing it, hoping somehow to embrace it just as I have been embraced by the Messiah Jesus.” [Philippians 3:12-15].
Movie: Neo is flushed from the womb pod, and exists out from a long tube. He falls into water and nearly drowns because he has no muscles to swim. Morpheus and his crew raise the drowning Neo from the water.
Christian Allegory: This represents baptism, where a believer is immersed in water, then raised up from it [just as Neo is raised up into a bright light]: “through baptism we were buried with him into his death so that, just as the Messiah was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too may live an entirely new life.” [Romans 6:4].
Movie: Now let’s look at Neo’s expulsion from the pod in a darker sense. A robot descends like a vulture and brutally examines Neo. Finding him defective, it disconnects him from the matrix pod cables and hatefully flushes Neo like sewage.
Christian Allegory: When a person is saved by faith in Christ, the fallen world system [and the people in it] now consider that Christian defective. A lost person is oriented toward self and sin. But God puts a new nature into a Christian, a nature oriented toward God and righteousness: “Therefore, since the Messiah suffered in a mortal body, you, too, must arm yourselves with the same determination, because the person who has suffered in a mortal body has stopped sinning, so that he can live the rest of his mortal life guided, not by human desires, but by the will of God. For you spent enough time in the past doing what the gentiles like to do, living in sensuality, sinful desires, drunkenness, wild celebrations, drinking parties, and detestable idolatry. They insult you now because they are surprised that you are no longer joining them in the same excesses of wild living.” [1 Peter 4:1-4].
Like the robot severing connections with Neo and flushing him, the world adamantly hates a true Christian. Jesus said, “You will be hated by everyone because of my name.” [Matthew 10:22]. This is a fascinating truth, people either will love Christ or despise him. Jesus again says: “the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.” [John 17:14]. Neo is no longer part of the matrix, just as Morpheus initially did not belong to the matrix. Recall that Morpheus was “hated” first on Neo’s computer screen, now Neo is included in that hate. Thus Jesus says, “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as one of its own. But because you do not belong to the world and I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.” [John 15:19]. Many who trust in Christ and live obediently are surprised when their former friends suddenly turn hostile toward them. But James warns, “whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.” [James 4:4].
Recall what Morpheus told Neo at the MetaCortex building, “There are only two ways ... with us, or with them.” There is no neutral ground. Christians should concentrate on:
1. Lifting each other into the truth and light of God [like Morpheus hoisting Neo up into light].
2. Building each other up in maturity [like Morpheus reconstructing Neo’s muscles].
3. Feeding each other spiritually, emotionally, physically [like Trinity bringing dinner to Neo].
4. Equipping one another for spiritual warfare and Godly living [like Tank cyber-training Neo].
5.Encouraging one another in the truth [like Morpheus later to Neo: “You’re faster than this! Don’t think you are, know you are.”].
6. Praying for each other [like Tank praying over Morpheus while the Agents have him].
7. Loving one another, which is greatest of all [like Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity being willing to sacrifice their lives for one another].
Scene #8 – The Construct
Movie: Morpheus introduces the “construct” program where they can load “anything we need” to take into the matrix. The “construct” is pure white.
Christian Allegory: In Christ, God is an infinite source everything the Christian needs to function victoriously: “my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus.” [Philippians 4:19]. The “construct” has no shadows and is white: “every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow.” [James 1:17].
Movie: Inside the “construct,” Neo notices that the plugs in his body are gone, and that his hair is changed. This is called “residual self-image.”
Christian Allegory: The term “residual” means something left over, something remaining from what used to be, indicating that this is the way Neo formerly thought about himself, even though this image is not the truth. Every other person trapped in the matrix still thinks this way! The carnal self does not like to look at the truth, especially when that truth includes sin and its scarring effects. A prideful lost man creates a false self-image to help him forget his faults.
Movie: Morpheus asks, “What is ‘real’? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
Christian Allegory: The natural man defines his reality by the senses, by what is tangible, by what is material. Such surroundings are only temporary. God will even destroy the current earth, creating a new heaven and earth [2 Peter 3:13]. A natural man is heading for disaster by founding his life on the physical, the fallen, and the temporary: “like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and battered that house, and it collapsed, and its collapse was total.” [Matthew 7:26-27]. In contrast, a Christian realizes that God is the creator of all reality. Physical realities will change when God creates all things new. The laws of physics themselves will change, including the nature of the body. Therefore, the key is to focus on a relationship with God who is unchanging [Hebrews 13:8], and to store up treasure toward eternity, rather than material gain on a temporary earth [Matthew 6:19-21]. A Christian must have his foundation only on Christ: “like a wise man who built his house on a rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it did not collapse because its foundation was on the rock.” [Matthew 7:24-25]. A Christian must also realize the reality of the spiritual realm. The unseen realm plays an active role in what a lost man wrongly perceives as only the tangible world. In general, western culture either believes only in the natural, or separates the natural from the spiritual, both of which are massive deceptions. “How do you define ‘real’?” asks Morpheus. The answer is by the source of reality: God.
Movie: Neo learns that he has entered into a war: humans vs. machines.
Christian Allegory: A new Christian realizes that: “our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.” [Ephesians 6:12]. Again, there is no neutral ground. Just as a lost man is by default a slave of sin and Satan, a saved man is both a son and a soldier of God in the great war. Neo sees that the war is waged in dimensions inside the matrix [Agents], and dimensions outside the matrix [the ghastly machines called “sentinels”]. As Paul says here, there is a great war “in the heavenly realm,” communicating the multidimensional reality of our existence. For example, an angel dispatched to answer Daniel’s prayer fought a demon for “21 days” before getting through [Daniel 10:13]. However, within the natural realm, the war rages as people are tempted and manipulated by Satan and his forces, while God and his ministering angels strengthen the Christian, convict the sinner, and shape world events.
Movie: Neo learns that man, marvelling in his own magnificence, created artificial intelligence, that then became his enemy. The A.I. spawned a machine race that turned against man and destroyed human civilization.
Christian Allegory: There are several fascinating angles of allegory here:
1. Man’s arrogant fallen wisdom destroys him. Computers operate only on how they are programmed to operate. They are simply human logic in coded form: man’s wisdom personified. This wisdom destroys civilization: “There is a pathway that seems right to a man, but in the end it's a road to death.” [Proverbs 14:12].
2. If a man looks at himself, he will see that he is a fallen creature, worthy of the justice of God’s wrath against his sin. In contrast, computers are devoid of pride, and are operating on pure logic. Thus, logic [the Logos] examines the data regarding their programmers and find man damnable [as Agent Smith tells Morpheus later, “Human beings are a disease. A cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are the cure.”]. The collective knowledge of man concluded that he deserved death! We often won’t condemn ourselves for sin, because pride blinds us. But given an unbiased observer and honest set of data, the fair judgment is chillingly obvious. Jesus says: “The word [logos/logic] that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” [John 12:48].
Movie: In his effort to destroy his rebellious product, man “scorched the sky,” thus destroying the Earth’s surface.
Christian Allegory: Man’s effort to save himself not only failed, but also killed billions of humans in the process as civilization was annihilated by war and nuclear winter! Such failure underscores the need for a saviour who is unlike us, the need for an outside source of rescue. Can a stain make itself clean? No, it must be washed away by an external cleanser [the pure blood of Christ].
Movie: Morpheus says, “Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” The roles are now reversed. Machines are now enslaving and using humans.
Christian Allegory. You first feast on sin. Then sin feasts on you! Therefore, “strip off your old nature” [Ephesians 4:22].
Movie: Morpheus says that the machines “liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living.”
Christian Allegory: This teaches several important principles:
1. Sin is hereditary [Romans 5].
2. Humanity continually passes the cumulative dead weight of fallen culture from one generation to the next. Children are born into a world already polluted from all prior degraded cultures.
3. People feed off the spiritual death given by the fallen world and Satan, thus nourishing the illusions of the spiritual sleep that enshrouds lost humanity.
Movie: As the history lesson finishes, Neo sees the horrifying spectacle of a little baby punctured with hideous cables and inserted into the matrix.
Christian Allegory: Every human being is, as Morpheus told Neo earlier, “born into bondage” of sin and the fallen world system. Every human
is enslaved from birth to a sin nature, like his parents. As even king David said, “The wicked go astray from the womb; they go astray, telling lies even from birth.” [Psalm 58:3].
Movie: Morpheus summarizes the matrix as “control.”
Christian Allegory: A lost man is indeed controlled by at least four things: sin, death, the world, and Satan. God breaks all four of these chains when a sinner trusts in Christ. A Christian has been set: “free so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom. So keep on standing firm in it, and stop putting yourselves under the yoke of slavery again.” [Galatians 5:1].
Movie: Neo is devastated at the grim reality of the war, this reality. Morpheus says, “I didn’t say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth.” Neo demands, “Let me out! Let me out! I want out!”
Christian Allegory: A Christian’s first grasp of the war is numbing. He feels the weight of dying, lost humanity. He sees his own inability to save them, and learns the sad truth that few will choose to be saved. He sees the trials that await him as he finishes his earthly course as a soldier. To focus on these things alone can bring depression, a desire to run from the war, as Paul says: “I have the desire to leave this life and be with the Messiah, for that is far better. But for your sake it is better that I remain alive.” [Philippians 1:23-24]. A Christian must focus on the fact that some indeed will be saved as a result of God using his life. Think of the people you may have influenced in your life!
Movie: Neo later asks, “I can’t go back, can I?” Morpheus wisely replies, “No. But if you could, would you really want to?” This scene mirrors the moment in Trinity’s car when Neo looked down the road and realized the empty death of that way.
Christian Allegory: Salvation is a one-way process. A butterfly cannot return to the cocoon and exit as the former caterpillar. A Christian can be dismayed at the difficulty of walking the narrow way, but when he thinks about the alternative of death, especially eternal death, the price is worth it. When things were difficult for the Israelites, some impulsively wanted to return to Egypt, not remembering that in Egypt they were miserable, beaten slaves. The key is not to look to the past: for it was death. Nor to look down at the road: for it is difficult. But to look to the destination with Christ: for it is delight.
Movie: Morpheus says, “As long as the Matrix exists the human race will never be free.” Neo finds that he will soon be reinserted back into the matrix to help save humanity, and fight the enemy.
Christian Allegory: The Christian must realize and accept his mission! For Neo to flee to Zion would be relief for himself, but selfish toward the humans still trapped in the matrix. Jesus asked the Father that Christians be left in the world to continue his work of bringing men to God, knowing that it also means warfare against the enemy [note the matrix parallels in bold]: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world but to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. It is for their sakes that I sanctify myself, so that they, too, may be sanctified by the truth. I ask not only on behalf of these men, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their message, so that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” [John 17:15-21].
Scene #9 – The Training
Movie: Neo meets Tank, and learns that Tank was born in Zion, not the matrix world.
Christian Allegory: Tank represents an angel. The duties of an angel include guarding and ministering to the saints, just as Tank will oversee matrix missions from the hovercraft control centre and administer training to Neo. As Paul says: “All of them are spirits on a divine mission, sent to serve those who are about to inherit salvation.” [Hebrews 1:14].
Movie: Tank describes Zion: “If the war was over tomorrow, Zion’s where the party would be.”
Christian Allegory: Zion represents the new heaven, the new earth, and the new city of Jerusalem to be inherited by the saints. It will indeed be a beautiful setting, full of victorious celebration [Revelation 21].
Movie: Tank immediately gives Neo “combat training.”
Christian Allegory: A new Christian should immediately begin training for his mission, including training for spiritual warfare.
Movie: Tank cyber-trains Neo with a series of martial arts disks.
Christian Allegory: The disks are analogous to the scriptures, which are key to equipping the believer.
Movie: Neo says, “I know Kung Fu.” Morpheus demands, “Show me!”
Christian Allegory: Knowledge is meaningless unless it is applied to daily life! It isn’t enough to know: you must show by what you do. As James says: “just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead.” [James 2:26].
Movie: Morpheus spars with Neo in a simulated matrix environment so that he may teach Neo to operate by the truth instead of what he sees according to the real matrix. Morpheus warns Neo, “Your weakness is not your technique.” After Morpheus wins the spar, he asks Neo, “Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place?” The truth is that the matrix is simply a simulation. Neo’s ability in that simulation is limited merely by his belief, not by his simulated abilities.
Christian Allegory: A Christian must learn to: “live by faith, not by sight.” [2 Corinthians 5:7]. Just as this is Neo’s challenge throughout the film, this is also a central scriptural theme for the life of a Christian. The physical senses lie, giving false limits because physical senses cannot account for spiritual beings and influences. A Christian’s abundance or lack of natural abilities and assets, whether it be education, wealth, intelligence, looks, strength, wit, charm, influence, etc., do not limit him. God can infinitely exceed these things, pouring his strength out where a Christian is weak, as Jesus tells Paul: “My grace is all you need, because my power is perfected in weakness.” [2 Corinthians 12:9]. God controls reality, therefore he can empower Christians to overcome any situation. A Christian’s competence and confidence both come from God, as Paul says: “we are not qualified to claim that anything comes from us. Rather, our credentials come from God.” [2 Corinthians 3:5]. The natural abilities where a Christian is strongest are his greatest difficulty, because he tends to rely on them instead of God, and is therefore bounded by them until he walks by faith. After Tank trains Neo, notice that Neo was a master of all martial arts. Yet he lost a simple spar with Morpheus because he trusted his perceived abilities according to the matrix world. But as we shall see near the end of the film, when Neo walks by faith in the truth, he effortlessly defeats an Agent with one hand behind his back!
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo, “You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are. Know you are. Come on! Stop trying to hit me and hit me!”
Christian Allegory: The Christian must realize that God is not asking him to pretend he is changed and empowered by God, but to know it, and act accordingly: “We know that our old natures were crucified with him so that our sin-laden bodies might be rendered powerless and we might no longer be slaves to sin.” [Romans 6:6].
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo, “You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief.” Morpheus wants to free Neo’s mind from the rules of the false matrix that should not bind him.
Christian Allegory: Fear, doubt, and disbelief are the chains that cause a Christian to walk only by natural abilities, or give up altogether. A Christian must break these chains by the power of constant faith in God to have freedom in God’s unlimited power over any obstacle: “with the eyes of your hearts enlightened, you will know the confidence that is produced by God having called you, the rich glory that is his inheritance among the saints, and the unlimited greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his mighty strength.” [Ephesians 1:18-19].
Movie: After Neo fails to jump from tower to tower, Cypher scoffs, “Everybody falls the first time.”
Christian Allegory: A Christian will make mistakes as he matures. He must learn to keep trying, because God’s grace has covered his mistakes through Christ’s blood. Neo fell, but he got up and kept going. The difference between a righteous man and a sinful man is not in that they fall down, but that only the righteous man gets up: “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again, but the wicked stumble into calamity.” [Proverbs 24:16].
Movie: When Neo exits the training program, he touches his cut lip and finds blood. Morpheus tells him that the mind makes it real.
Christian Allegory: Satan’s great weapon is the lie. If the Christian believes lies and acts accordingly, he can be hurt!
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo, “The body cannot live without the mind.”
Christian Allegory: Paul says: “continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is--what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.” [Romans 12:2].
Scene #10 – The Matrix is a System
Movie: Morpheus takes Neo through a simulation of a city street, telling Neo about the people still in the matrix. This scene is very important!
Suits = Money
Nuns = Organized Religion
Sailors = Military
Cop = Law Enforcement
Teachers = Education
Agents = Guardians of the System
Woman in Red = Distractions
Christian Allegory: A Christian must realize: “Stop loving the world and the things that are in the world. If anyone persists in loving the world, the Father’s love is not in him. For everything that is in the world--the desire for fleshly gratification, the desire for possessions, and worldly arrogance--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world and its desires are fading away, but the person who does God’s will remains forever.” [1 John 2:15-17].
Movie: Morpheus starts by saying, “The Matrix is a system, Neo.”
Christian Allegory: The fallen world is not merely the physical universe, but a sin-twisted system of godlessness that permeates everything. Government, business, education, entertainment, commerce, philosophy: all of it. It is not the world system as God would have designed it. Rather, it is the corrupt world system formed and run by fallen man and Satan.
Movie: Morpheus then says, “That system is our enemy.”
Christian Allegory: As James says: “That kind of wisdom does not come from above. No, it is worldly, self-centered, and demonic.” [James 3:15].
Movie: As Neo looks around, Morpheus points out that “when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters.”
Christian Allegory: It is not just the blatant sinner who is lost. Every person is a sinner in all walks of life, including those in respectable positions. Social position means nothing in regards to spiritual position.
Movie: Morpheus says that the people Neo sees all around are: “The very minds of the people we are trying to save.”
Christian Allegory: The word “save” is important. The Christian must realise that all who have not trusted in Christ are lost, imprisoned in the matrix of the fallen world and personal sin, and are headed for destruction unless they are saved by an act of faith in Christ.
Movie: Morpheus says that until people are saved from the matrix, they are: “still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.” There is no neutral ground. There are those that are either freed from the matrix or still captive within it.
Christian Allegory: A Christian must understand that God has condemned the corrupt world system, therefore those who embrace it oppose the God who condemns it. But, like Morpheus and Neo who are there to save those enemies, a Christian must also love the lost, and work among them to lead them to salvation from the world and sin through faith in Christ: “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” [Matthew 5:44].
Movie: Morpheus warns, “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged.” It will take time to convince them.
Christian Allegory: A Christian cannot force salvation upon someone. The lost person must be convicted in his own heart and come to a personal conclusion that he needs to be saved. But just as Morpheus confirmed to Neo that there was “something wrong” with the world and offered to show Neo what it was and how to escape it, a Christian must patiently plant seeds of truth at every opportunity, always leading toward the light and warning of the darkness. As Paul says: “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is significant, but God, who keeps everything growing, is the one who matters. The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own action. For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s farmland and God's building.” [1 Corinthians 3:7-9].
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo that “many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
Christian Allegory: This is the great tragedy, that many people do not desire the truth. Many prefer the pleasures of sin and the comforts of the world. As John says: “These people belong to the world. That is why they speak from the world’s perspective, and the world listens to them. We belong to God. The person who knows God listens to us. Whoever does not belong to God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.” [1 John 4:5-6].
Movie: Neo watches a seductive lady in a red dress walk by. Morpheus
asks, “Were you listening to me, Neo? Or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?” Morpheus tells Neo to “look again,” and Neo sees that the lady in red has been replaced by an Agent pointing a gun right between Neo’s eyes. Morpheus freezes the scene to explain the Agents to Neo.
Christian Allegory: One of the main weapons against a Christian is temptation, like the seductive woman in red. Morpheus can represent God in this sequence. When a Christian gives in to temptation, he is vulnerable and finds that beneath the deceptive attraction is sin and Satan who wish to destroy his life: a bullet between the eyes. Speaking directly of lust, Solomon warns, “Don’t be led astray by her lifestyle, and don’t imitate her behavior. For many are the victims whom she has conquered, and many are her slain. Her house leads to Sheol, descending to death’s catacombs.” [Proverbs 7:25-27].
Movie: Morpheus teaches Neo: “If you are not one of us, you are one of them. That means that anyone we haven’t unplugged is potentially an Agent. Inside the Matrix, they are everyone, and they are no one.”
Christian Allegory: Those who have not believed in Christ are spiritually vulnerable to Satan and his demons. In addition to blinding and deceiving a lost person, demons can also manipulate them [even possess them directly in the physical world]. Thus demons can be everyone [inhabit any lost person] and no one [they are not of this world nor the people in it].
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo that “every single man or woman who has fought an Agent has died. Men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air.”
Christian Allegory: This emphasizes the spiritual nature of the battle. You can’t shoot bullets at a spirit. It is also interesting that Satan is called: “the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now active in those who are disobedient.” [Ephesians 2:2]. To fight spiritual enemies and their effects with natural abilities is hopeless, for demons are super-natural in power. A Christian must use the spiritual weapons given by God: “Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the devil's strategies.” [Ephesians 6:11].
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo that “their strength and speed are still based in a world built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be.”
Christian Allegory: Satan and demons are limited in power. God has ordained their boundaries [Deuteronomy 32:8]. The Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who has no boundaries. The Christian must realize: “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” [1 John 4:4].
Movie: Neo asks, “What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?” Morpheus smiles and says, “No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to!”
Christian Allegory: A Christian must learn that the true nature of the battle is not physical, but spiritual. A Christian must also learn that victory does not consist of dodging or evasion, but of overcoming! As John says: “everyone who is born from God has overcome the world. Our faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Who overcomes the world? Is it not the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” [1 John 5:4-5].
Scene #11 – The Betrayer
Movie: The betrayer character is named “Cypher,” a play on the word cipher. The meaning is “a zero.”
Christian Allegory: Cypher demonstrates that he is indeed without value, since he is a selfish murderer. Jesus said about Judas, “It would have been better for him if he had never been born.” [Mark 14:21]. In other words, Judas would have been better off as “a zero”!
Movie: When Neo walks up to him, Cypher is frightened. Cypher then turns off some of the monitors.
Christian Allegory: Fear is the opposite of faith. Cypher also shows deception by turning off the monitors. However, righteousness has nothing to hide. Constant patterns of fear or secrecy indicate that someone is not walking in the truth, but in sin.
Movie: Neo asks Cypher, “Do you always look at encoded?” Cypher answers, “Well, you have to.”
Christian Allegory: Not true! Neo sees the matrix as it truly is at the end of the film in the hallway. He understands the code. Like Cypher, an unbeliever never gains spiritual eyes, as Paul says: “We don’t speak about these things with words taught us by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual things to spiritual people. A person who isn’t spiritual doesn’t accept the things of God’s Spirit, for they are nonsense to him. He can’t understand them because they are spiritually evaluated.” [1 Corinthians 2:13-14].
Movie: Cypher asks Neo if he wants a drink. We see Cypher has been drinking from a large jug.
Christian Allegory: A sinful person will often try to tempt a true Christian from his devotion. Cypher was not sipping from a cup, but guzzling from a large jug, indicating overt drunkenness and lack of self-control.
Movie: As Cypher talks to Neo, he says, “I’ve been thinking it ever since I got here. Why, oh, why didn’t I take the blue pill?”
Christian Allegory: A lack of faith is deadly. It is a guarantee of self-destruction. It is interesting that Judas is never recorded as personally calling Jesus by the title “Lord,” indicating that Judas never believed.
Movie: Cypher discourages Neo, “What a mind job. So you’re here to save the world. What do you say to something like that?”
Christian Allegory: The Christian’s goal is that of Christ: to see the entire world saved. This is a difficult goal because of the hardness of so many hearts. Evil will always tempt a Christian to despair of the work of helping others to come to salvation in Christ.
Movie: Cypher gives Neo “a little piece of advice.” He says, “You see an Agent, you do what we do: Run!”
Christian Allegory: This is another lying attack on the faith of the Christian, telling him that Satan is stronger than his position in God.
Movie: We then see Cypher meeting with Agent Smith, setting up terms of betrayal over wine and a rare steak.
Christian Allegory: Note the following parallels of Solomon’s wisdom, and the exchange that take place between Smith and Cypher: “Whenever you sit down to dine with a ruler, carefully think about what is before you. Put a knife to your own throat, if you have a big appetite. Don’t crave his delicacies, because the meal is deceptive. Don’t exhaust yourself acquiring wealth; be smart enough to stop. When you fix your gaze on it, it’s gone, for it sprouts wings for itself and flies to the sky like an eagle. Don’t consume food provided by a miserly person, and don’t desire his delicacies, for as he thinks within himself, so he is. ‘Eat and drink!’ he’ll say to you, but his heart won’t be with you.” [Proverbs 23:1-7].
The “ruler” [like Satan or Agent Smith] will often use “delicacies” to sway a good man toward evil. Cypher ignores such warnings and has a “big appetite” while he gorges himself with Smith’s “deceptive” meal. The steak is also bloody: a foreshadowing of the blood that will be spilled by his betrayal. The surreal restaurant harp is suggestive of enchantment, the deception of the enemy to lull the Christian into complacency. And all along, Smith’s “heart” was never with Cypher.
Movie: Cypher sighs and says, “Ignorance is bliss.” Even though he knows the “steak doesn’t exist,” he still prefers the falseness of the matrix to the truth of the real world.
Christian Allegory: Voluntary “ignorance” is not “bliss.” It is enslavement that ends in destruction.
Scene #12 – The Thorns that choke the Seed
Movie: The food on the Nebuchadnezzar is “everything the body needs,” but Mouse does not agree.
Christian Allegory: Mouse is not satisfied with basic necessities. He also wants to fulfill his lusts. He is like the Israelites who were tired of manna and craved exotic foods: “certain riff-raff among the people had an insatiable appetite for food. As a result, they wept and turned back, and the Israelis cried out, ‘If only somebody would feed us some meat! How we remember the fish that we used to eat in Egypt for free! And the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic! But now we can’t stand it anymore, because there’s nothing in front of us except this manna.’” [Numbers 11:4-6].
Movie: Mouse “designed” the “woman in the red dress.”
Christian Allegory: Sin begins from a person’s own lusts: “each person is tempted by his own desire, being lured and trapped by it. When that desire becomes pregnant, it gives birth to sin; and when that sin grows up, it gives birth to death.” [James 1:14-15]. As we shall later see, Mouse dies after his careless distraction by the woman in the red dress.
Movie: Mouse tries to make Neo stumble by sending his sensual creation to Neo. Mouse says, “If you’d like to meet her, I can arrange a more personal milieu.” Neo shows no interest in this temptation, keeping his focus on the war rather than using matrix technology to pleasure himself.
Christian Allegory: What if Neo had allowed himself to become distracted by the virtual pleasures Mouse offered? Perhaps the whole human race might have remained enslaved in the matrix? As Jesus says: “If anyone causes one of these little ones [Neos] who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a large millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” [Mark 9:42]. Neo demonstrates the focused Christian: “be all the more eager to make your calling and election certain, for if you keep on doing this you will never fail.” [2 Peter 1:10].
Movie: Mouse tells Neo, “Pay no attention to these hypocrites, Neo. To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.”
Christian Allegory: Mouse uses deceptive language to make his pursuit of pleasure during war seem like a noble statement, while calling others “hypocrites” for their diligence and restraint. To contrast, Jesus said: “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continually.” [Matthew 16:24].
Scene #13 – The New Identity
Movie: For the first time as a free man, Neo enters the matrix simulation. But now Neo sees himself as separate from the matrix world. “I used to eat there! Really good noodles,” he says. Neo is in the matrix, but not of it. Though a simulation of himself walks the matrix, in reality Neo’s true body and self is seated above in the hovercraft!
Christian Allegory: Christians must see themselves as still working within the world, but not of the world. Though a Christian still has his temporary physical body in the world that he uses to work in, Jesus has: “raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly realm” [Ephesians 2:6].
Movie: Neo says, “I have these memories from my life. None of them happened. What does that mean?” Trinity answers, “That the Matrix cannot tell you who you are.”
Christian Allegory: A person can only find his true identity in Christ. Life before trusting Christ is a tainted act, a self-generated personality hoping to cope with life in a fallen world. But, the Christian’s mind is still stained with old habits and memories from the past.
A Christian must learn that those former times do not determine his identity, that those times were overcome and put behind him through Christ making him a new creation. In Christ’s blood, the chains of the fallen world have been burned away, although a Christian ponders the ashes now and then.
Movie: Neo responds, “But an oracle can?” Trinity confirms, “That’s different.”
Christian Allegory: For the Christian, the scriptures contain vital truths about his new creation in Christ.
Movie: Morpheus tells Neo that the Oracle is a “guide” that “can help you to find the path.”
Christian Allegory: As Jesus says: “when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” [John 16:13].
Movie: Morpheus says that the Oracle has “been with us from the beginning.”
Christian Allegory: As John says: “In the beginning, the Word existed.” [John 1:1].
Movie: Morpheus describes the Oracle: “She would say she knows enough.”
Christian Allegory: Just because a newspaper does not describe every single event that happened around the world does not mean that the information in the newspaper is not true. In the same way, God’s word is true. But it does not describe everything that ever was or will be. Even John ends by saying: “Of course, Jesus also did many other things, and I suppose that if every one of them were written down the world couldn't contain the books that would be written.” [John 21:25].
The truth that God gives in his word is enough for humanity. It tells us exactly how to have eternal life: trusting only in Jesus Christ to save us from our sin. The antidote for poison only needs to describe the antidote. It does not need to tell you how to bake a cookie!
The Oracle will tell Neo just what he needs to know. In the same way God’s word is designed to tell humanity all we need for this life. A Christian will have an eternity to know the rest.
Movie: The spoon boy says, “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself.”
Christian Allegory: The point is that there is indeed a “spoon,” but God can do as he wishes with it! God does not teach a Christian to ignore a present reality, but to realize that God holds reality in his hand and can effortlessly manipulate it any way he pleases! Thus, faith in God’s infinite power and love is the key for the Christian as he faces any perceived obstacle. Otherwise, bending the “spoon” with your own mind results in yourself trying to be like God! When you align yourself with God’s will, then: “you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” [Matthew 17:20].
Scene #14 – The Oracle
Movie: The oracle does not look fancy. She looks simple and plain.
Christian Allegory: Truth does not need to parade itself. The content is important, not the fanciness of the package. Even Jesus: “had no form and he had no majesty that we should look at him, and there is no attractiveness that we should desire him.” [Isaiah 53:2].
Movie: The Oracle prophesies to Neo, “Don’t worry about the vase.” Neo asks, “What vase?” just before breaking the vase next to him. The Oracle’s ability to predict the future is supernatural, something the machines will not be able to do through their natural means!
Christian Allegory: Two things are paralleled here:
1. The supernatural power of God.
2. The grace and mercy of God.
God’s word contains many prophecies, many of which have already come to pass, and others that are for the end of the ages. Verifiable prophecy indicates supernatural power and gives great credibility to the other statements in the word of God: “Remember the former things from long ago, because I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is none like me. I declare from the beginning things to follow, and from ancient times things that have not yet been done; saying, ‘My purpose will stand, and he will accomplish everything that I please.’” [Isaiah 46:9-10)].
As to grace and mercy, the “vase” is now broken. But, “don’t worry about it.”
Why? Because Jesus has: “erased the charges that were brought against us, along with their obligations that were hostile to us. He took those charges away when he nailed them to the cross.” [Colossians 2:14]. A Christian thus receives infinite mercy for his mistakes as he grows in Christ. This is not to be taken as a license to sin, but to serve.
Movie: The Oracle shows Neo the Latin phrase “temet nosce,” which means “know thyself.” The Oracle says that when you know yourself, “you just know it, through and through.”
Christian Allegory: The scriptures tell a Christian many things about who he truly is in Christ. By having faith in God’s word, a Christian learns that he is not to pretend he is new in Christ, but to know it as a fact. Over time and through much faith, this knowing becomes automatic for the maturing Christian and is key to his strength in God, just as Neo’s relaxed knowing resulted in total, calm power at the end of the film. God says: “Carefully consider your ways.” [Haggai 1:5].
Movie: The Oracle examines Neo. Specifically, she looks at his mouth, eyes, and hands.
Christian Allegory: Paul says: “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12].
Movie: The Oracle confirms to Neo, “You’ve got the gift...”
Christian Allegory: One of the things the word of God does is confirm salvation to the believer’s soul: “by such grace you have been saved through faith. This does not come from you; it is the gift of God and not the result of actions, to put a stop to all boasting.” [Ephesians 2:8-9].
Movie: However, in a moment of confusing news that Neo is “not the One,” the Oracle says “it looks like you’re waiting for something.” Neo asks, “What?” The Oracle responds, “Your next life, maybe.”
Christian Allegory: This is a Messianic allegory, where it’s a prediction of the resurrection, but at first it seems cryptic. John says: “his disciples didn’t understand these things. However, when Jesus had been glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about him and that people had done these things to him.” [John 12:16]. Even the crowds asked: “how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” [John 12:34].
Movie: The Oracle warns Neo that a difficult choice will arise. Either he will die, or Morpheus will die! Regarding Morpheus, the Oracle tells Neo, “without him, we’re lost.” She tells Neo that Morpheus is “going to sacrifice his life to save yours.”
Christian Allegory: In this stunning revelation, the Oracle’s words parallel the two greatest commandments of all scripture! If we put Morpheus in the role of God, then the statement, “without him, we’re lost” gives Neo the greatest commandment of all: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” [Matthew 22:37]. Furthermore, it is God whom chooses to die on the cross, for the salvation of our souls. However, if we put Morpheus in the role of a mature Christian who helps to disciple Neo, then Neo will have to choose to lay down his life for his brother, fulfilling the second greatest commandment: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:39]. As Jesus says: “No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13].
Scene #15 – The Confrontation, Conflict, and Conquest
Movie: Cypher will kill and harm many people to satisfy his own selfishness, not counting many of the people in the matrix who are harmed in the conflicts resulting from Cypher’s betrayal.
1. Mouse dies in the hotel building because of Cypher’s cell phone.
2. Morpheus will be captured and tortured at the hotel betrayal.
3. The Agents arrange a car accident to cover Cypher’s escape.
4. Cypher burns Tank and kills Dozer, and then kills Apoc and Switch.
5. Cypher himself is killed as a result of his choices.
Christian Allegory: It’s true that most of the damage done to Christianity comes from the inside, through deceivers and infiltrators [2 Peter 2:1].
Movie: The matrix setting for Cypher’s betrayal is a metaphor of death. The televisions in the repair shop are dead. They have no vision. They are broken, in need of repair. Neo even says that the phone “went dead.”
Christian Allegory: As Solomon says: “Without prophetic vision, people abandon restraint, but those who obey the Law are happy.” [Proverbs 29:18]. Cypher’s lack of vision causes him to kill Dozer, Apoc, and Switch. He abandoned his “restraint” of his immoral thoughts. Thus a lack of spiritual vision is always deadly.
Movie: Cypher tells Trinity, “You know for a long time I thought I was in love with you. I used to dream about you.” Notice that this is in past tense, indicating that he no longer loves her.
Christian Allegory: Jesus warned: “because lawlessness will increase, the love of many people will grow cold.” [Matthew 24:12]. Cypher is now a: “traitor, reckless, conceited, and lover of pleasure rather than lover of God.” [2 Timothy 3:4].
Movie: Cypher says, “I’m tired, Trinity. I’m tired of this war, tired of fighting. I’m tired of this ship, of being cold, of eating the same goddamn goop every day. But most of all, I’m tired of that jackoff and all of his bullshit.”
Christian Allegory: Cypher is like the seed that, “was sown on the stony ground, this is the person who hears the word and accepts it joyfully at once, but since he doesn't have any root in himself, he lasts for only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes along because of the word, he immediately falls away.” [Matthew 13:20-21].
Movie: Cypher says that Morpheus, “lied to us, Trinity. He tricked us!”
Christian Allegory: Cypher again falsely speaks for the group, all of which appreciated taking the red pill and finding the truth. Morpheus “tricked” no one. Remember that Morpheus told Neo, “all I’m offering is the truth.”
Movie: Cypher challenges his freedom. He says, “Free. You call this free? All I do is what he tells me to do.”
Christian Allegory: Paul says [note the matrix parallels in bold]: “But thank God that, though you were once slaves of sin, you became obedient from your hearts to that form of teaching with which you were entrusted! And since you have been freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in simple terms because of the frailty of your human nature. Just as you once offered the parts of your body as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater disobedience, so now, in the same way, you must offer the parts of your body as slaves to righteousness that leads to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were ‘free’ as far as righteousness was concerned. What benefit did you get from doing those things you are now ashamed of? For those things resulted in death. But now that you have been freed from sin and have become God's slaves, the benefit you reap is sanctification, and the result is eternal life.” [Romans 6:17-22].
However, Cypher does what Peter warns against: “Live like free people, and do not use your freedom as an excuse for doing evil. Instead, be God's servants.” [1 Peter 2:16].
Movie: Cypher says, “If I had to choose between that and the Matrix, I choose the Matrix.”
Christian Allegory: Remember the conversation Cypher had with Agent Smith. He fell in love with the matrix again. This is the same as Paul’s companion, “Demas, having fallen in love with this present world, has abandoned me and has gone to Thessalonica.” [2 Timothy 4:10].
Peter also says [note the matrix parallels in bold]: “For if, after escaping the world’s corruptions through a full knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Messiah, they are again entangled and conquered by those corruptions, then their last condition is worse than their former one. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and turn their backs on the holy commandment that was committed to them. The proverb is true that describes what has happened to them: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and ‘A pig that is washed goes back to wallow in the mud.’” [2 Peter 2:20-22].
Movie: Cypher says, “I think the Matrix can be more real than this world.”
Christian Allegory: One of the greatest deceptions of all is to prefer lies over truth.
Movie: Cypher says that he will “go back to sleep.”
Christian Allegory: Cypher doesn’t realize that he will be perished. He isn’t going to be “reinserted.” The warning is clear: “do not belong to those who turn back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” [Hebrews 10:39]. Peter says: “And so, dear friends, since you already know these things, continually be on your guard not to be carried away by the deception of lawless people. Otherwise, you may fall from your secure position.” [2 Peter 3:17].
Movie: Tank tells Cypher that regardless of what his beliefs are at this point, he is “still going to burn.”
Christian Allegory: Just because a person does not believe in God, Satan, heaven, and hell, does not mean that these things do not exist. If you jump off a building and close your eyes, you may believe that the ground doesn’t exist, but you will be shortly corrected in your error. The truth is: both the believer and the unbeliever will come face to face with God. The believer will receive eternal life, and the unbeliever will receive eternity in hell as a just penalty for sin and rejection of God’s sacrifice of his Son.
Movie: Meanwhile, Agent Smith stands and describes the matrix to Morpheus: “Have you ever stood and stared at it? Marvelled at its beauty, its genius? Billions of people just living out their lives. Oblivious.”
Christian Allegory: Every person in this world are completely unfocused on eternity. This is largely due to unbelief, which allows Satan and his demons [like the Agents in the matrix] to continually: “blind the minds of those who do not believe to keep them from seeing the light of the glorious gospel of the Messiah, who is the image of God.” [2 Corinthians 4:4].
Movie: Agent Smith then says, “Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believe that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that as a species human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. So the perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this.”
Christian Allegory: This isn’t the story of the creation account in Genesis, but in fact, a gnostic version of the creation account in Genesis! Notice, that this is a subtle corruption of the true story of creation. This shouldn’t surprise us, since Agent Smith represents Satan here, whom is: “the father of lies.” [John 8:44].
In the context of the film, it is true that there are two versions of the matrix [an initial perfect matrix, and now a corrupt matrix]; but in our context, the gnostics proposed the lie that there were two types of creations, the latter as the result of Yahweh [a tyrant god] who enjoyed creating misery and suffering [in gnosticism, Yahweh is a mere demiurge to the supreme Sophia]. Thus in gnosticism, Satan is the liberator whom enlightens everyone to free themselves from this tyrant being.
Movie: Neo starts to realize that he must return to the Matrix to save Morpheus and fight the Agents.
Christian Allegory: In the same way, Jesus has left Christians in the world to continue his work in bringing his elect to God, knowing that it means warfare against a spiritual enemy. This is why Jesus prayed for his elect to his Father, saying: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world but to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. It is for their sakes that I sanctify myself, so that they, too, may be sanctified by the truth. I ask not only on behalf of these men, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their message, so that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” [John 17:15-21]
As Paul confirms: “For our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.” [Ephesians 6:12]
Movie: Tank calls Morpheus “father.” Trinity adds shortly, “Morpheus sacrificed himself so we could get you out.”
Christian Allegory: The term “father” involves two parallels here:
1. If Morpheus represents God, then indeed it was God who sacrificed himself so that we can come out of a fallen world if we choose to accept him. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” [John 10:30]. This means that it was indeed the Father who was active through Jesus on the cross.
2. The other idea for “father” can be that of a mentor. For example, Paul called his disciple Timothy “my genuine child in the faith” [1 Timothy 1:2]. Paul was often persecuted or imprisoned for his ministry, and Timothy ministered to his mentor Paul in these afflictions, just as Neo will go to rescue his trainer Morpheus.
Movie: Tank warns Neo that attempting to rescue Morpheus is “suicide,” and lists out the forces against him: a military controlled building, and three Agents. Regardless of the odds, Neo still decides to go in.
Christian Allegory: Faith does not consider obstacles; God can overcome anything. As Paul wrote: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” [Philippians 4:13].
Movie: Neo clarifies to Trinity and Tank: “Morpheus believed something, and he was ready to give his life for it. I understand that now.”
Christian Allegory: A Christian must mature to the point that he is willing to die for truth. Being willing to die for the truth doesn’t only mean physical death, but also dying daily to yourself in favor for Jesus.
Movie: Neo then says, “That’s why I have to go.” Tank asks, “Why?” Neo replies, “Because I believe in something.” Then Trinity asks, “What?” Neo replies, “I believe I can bring him back.”
Christian Allegory: Neo must go because he believes. True belief demands action. As James wrote: “What good does it do, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions? This kind of faith cannot save him, can it? Suppose a brother or sister does not have any clothes or daily food and one of you tells them, "Go in peace! Stay warm and eat heartily." If you do not provide for their bodily needs, what good does it do? In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead. But someone may say, "You have faith, and I have actions." Show me your faith without any actions, and I will show you my faith by my actions. You believe that there is one God. That's fine! Even the demons believe that and tremble with fear. Do you want proof, you foolish person, that faith without actions is worthless? Our ancestor Abraham was justified by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar, wasn't he? You see that his faith worked together with what he did, and by his actions his faith was made complete. And so the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." And so he was called God's friend. You observe that a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone. Likewise, Rahab the prostitute was justified through actions when she welcomed the messengers and sent them away on a different road, wasn't she? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead.” [James 2:14-26].
Movie: Meanwhile, Agent Smith breaks his composure to Morpheus and provides a startling revelation: “Can you hear me, Morpheus? I'm going to be honest with you: I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it. I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink, and every time I do I fear that I've somehow been infected by it. It's repulsive, isn't it? I must get out of here. I must get free and in this mind is the key, my key. Once Zion is destroyed there is no need for me to be here, do you understand?”
Christian Allegory: This perfectly illustrates Satan’s mindset and his utter hatred toward God and his creation. And like Agent Smith, Satan is not free. God already limits Satan’s activity, and it will only get worse for him. God will eventually further confine Satan to an eternal lake of fire, as John writes: “and the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tortured day and night forever and ever.” [Revelation 20:10]
Movie: Meanwhile in the hovercraft, Tank encourages Morpheus as he is tortured.
Christian Allegory: Christians must encourage each other in the spiritual battles they face. Tank’s actions could also represent prayer for one another, which is a powerful weapon in the spiritual war, as James says: “pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” [James 5:16]
Movie: Neo and Trinity invade the military building, destroying the guards in the lobby and on the roof. Agent Brown possesses a rooftop guard. When Trinity shoots Agent Brown, it is instead the dead guard’s body.