Friday, September 28, 2007


Being a mere mortal, I don't have access to Sky TV and so it's taken me some time to get round to seeing season 3 of Battlestar Galactica. I waited till it came out on DVD and snapped it up in good faith. When it is at the top of it's game, it is a cracking show both in terms of science fiction and political subtext.

I wanted to look at a scene that occurs in the last episode of the season, which sees the trial of the former president - Doctor Gaius Baltar:

The exchange in the above clip reminds me very much of a passage in the New Testament:

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
John 8:3-11

In both situations, an unsavoury character is brought forward - a person who society wants to dispose of... and it is down to Lee Adama/Jesus to sort out their respective situations.

It's very easy for us to stand in judgement of people isn't it?

We like to comfort ourselves with the belief that we are decent people... and maybe on a relative scale that's true to some extent...

However our ways are not God's ways and our standards are nowhere near as high as his. If we have any illusions that we are worthier than the next man, we only need to remind ourselves:

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

Romans 3:23


"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

1 John 1:8

In both Battlestar Galactica and the Gospel story, the universal fact that everyone has sinned is used as a defence for the accused. For Baltar, that's merely an extension of the presidential pardon. For the woman in the Gospel story, it's an act of God's authority and divine grace intervening.

In BSG, there is every chance that Baltar will return to his ways if fate deals him a bad hand. For the woman in the Gospel, she was faced with a challenge. You are free... don't sin again, don't give them cause to seek your death.

And that is how Jesus left it - he left it up to her.

However, there is a difference between the clip you have seen and the Gospel. In BSG, the reason people want Baltar to die is because they need to project the guilt they feel for their sins on to someone - or so Lee claims.

In the Gospel, the reason God allowed his Son to die, was because he needed sin to die. God needed to project his righteousness on to us. Jesus death does not just remove guilt... it removes the very corruption that sin installs in us.

So while it was definitely unnecessary for Baltar to die, it was absolutely necessary for Jesus to die, or as Paul puts it:

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:6-8

and Peter also puts it like this:

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit"

1 Peter 3:18

In the fictional universe of Battlestar Galactica, if Baltar had died it would do nothing to alleviate guilt, or satisfy hurt and anger because Baltar is just a sinner like everyone else. I put it to you however that in this very real universe, Jesus Christ - made perfect in every way, willingly died for our sins... and we are saved on account of his righteousness.

I want to look at one final thing - the attitude of Jesus to the woman he let walk free... and how this is relevant to us.

That woman did not need to convince Jesus to speak on her behalf, he had already determined to do so. Now, you and I live in the 21st century, nearly 2 millennia after Christ last walked the Earth. You may feel sure you know the story... but it's not merely a story, it is the truth. And because we live after the facts, our dilemma is the same as that woman. You don't need to ask Jesus to die for you.

He already did it.

If you are willing to accept it, God is already for us and if this is:

"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."

Romans 8:31-34

So, salvation is on offer to all of you. You can walk free in God's eyes if you truly accept what he has already done for you. The price is paid. Jesus' final statement to that woman, is the same challenge he gives us once we take up his free gift of new life:

"Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

John 8:10-11

I pray that if you have not yet done so, you take the offer of God's free grace... and the strength he gives to obey his commands through the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus name



  1. Hey Nick,

    I finally have access again to Blogger. Been having some problems so was able to view but not to comment or post. However that's is now rectified (for the moment).
    I've been reading your posts and, as usual, thought-provoking.

    Check out my latest post. You've been given an award!

  2. I hope you manage to watch more of Battlestar Galactica - the exploration of religious themes continues!


The ideas and thoughts represented in this page's plain text are unless otherwise stated reserved for the author. Please feel free to copy anything that inspires you, but provide a link to the original author when doing so.
Share your links easily.