11/18/09

The Implications of a Zombie Apocalypse in a Christian Universe

Not so long ago, the new video game, Left 4 Dead 2 was released at a game store near you. In the trailer for this game, the narrator says "Last time I saw my gramma, she asked me was I still a prayin' man. I told her 'Yes, ma'am.' 'Well,' she says, 'pray harder. 'Cause it ain't workin'.'" In the face of Zombie Apocalypse, it may seem all hope is lost, God has abandoned you and there's nothing for you but to fight or die. But is there room in the Christian worldview for such a possibility? If the whole world's population were purged by a zombie virus, is it possible God could allow it? Or even cause it? Let's take a look...

There are basically two kinds of theoretical zombies and one kind of real zombie.

Wait, what?? Real zombie?? That's right. According to HowStuffWorks.com, the origin of zombies comes from an old Haitian voodoo practice of creating a poisonous powder that creates the illusion of death. An illusion so great that the victim is pronounced dead and buried. Later, the zombie-maker comes and digs up the "body," waking him up with a hallucinogenic substance. The belief in zombieism is so strong in Haiti that when they wake up they believe themselves to be zombie slaves of the one who "raised them from the dead."

That may be the origin of our present understanding of zombies, but since the discovery of this practice there have arisen a couple of different ways to hypothetically make them. One of them is the way that original superstition taught that Haitian zombieism worked: supernaturally raising dead bodies from the grave. The other way is through a disease that mimics the symptoms of being a zombie: numbness to pain, delusional intellect, violent cannibalism and a healthy appetite for brains.

Bringing it all together is the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse where a boat load of zombies are risen and feast on the flesh of every living human while those who survive a feeding become zombies themselves. Now, the choice of the word "apocalypse" is an interesting one, because it was originally used in conjunction with end-times prophecy from the Bible. It's from the greek word Apokálypsis which literally means "lifting of the veil" or "revelation." It came to mean "end of the world" when it was associated with the book of Revelation which reveals the prophecy of how it's all gonna go down. But if we've already been told how it's all gonna go down, is it at all possible that zombies could have anything to do with it?

Raising the dead from their graves is nothing new in the Bible, of course. Jesus himself was able to do it for himself and Lazarus. A couple prophets were given the power in the Old Testament. But the results of these miracles never ended in half-dead cannibals terrorizing the population and pledging servitude to whoever raised them. It looks like Christian grave rising happens fully and perfectly. In a Christian universe you're either supernaturally alive or supernaturally dead, not half-way in-between.

But what if we developed a zombie disease? This seems to hold a bit more credence in the context of a Christian worldview. Revelation 6:8 says: "I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." What's interesting in this verse is the "plague" part. Now, obviously, generally this is thought about as standard diseases such as a drastic flu or a new sort of Black Death. But there's no reason we can't speculate on a zombie disease.

It's possible, however unlikely, that they'll find a weakness. And exploit it. Wait, no... that's Star Wars.

It's possible, however unlikely, that as part of his End Times plans, God could develop a strain of zombie disease in order to get rid of the unworthy people left behind on old Earth as part of the ride of the Pale Horseman. The Black Horseman, who came just before him, brought famine, which means everyone's hungry now. If a disease comes along and makes everyone delirious, there's no reason they won't start munching on people. And if the same disease makes them super-strong and numb to pain, well, we just may be looking at an official Christian Zombie Apocalypse.

This is all, of course, extremely speculative, but as I said before, a Zombie Apocalypse is something in which you don't want to be caught with your pants down. I personally keep a machete right next to my bed when I sleep. Be safe! And, remember, Christians: if the Rapture comes before the Tribulation, then you have nothing to worry about.