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The Book of Eli - Theological Statements and Conclusions

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A Cinematic Review

Presented to  

Dr. Shiffer

Criswell College 




In Partial Fulfillment of 

The Requirements of THS550





Zachary Reynolds 

Theology Intensive: Eschatology

April 15, 2018


In this post-apocalyptic action film, one man, Eli, finds himself fighting to fulfill his mission which requires him to go West through the violent, desolate wasteland which now exists in America.  Throughout the film, we learn that Eli has a special book, the only one of its kind, a Bible, and that there are evil men, such as Carnegie who would do anything to be in control of the power that the Bible holds.  Throughout the film, we see Eli is a man that is capable of carrying himself; but also seems to have some sort of protection over himself, uncommon to other men.  As we learn that his mission is to share the Word of God with the rest of the world; we also see that although he faithfully follows God, he often times doesn’t follow the words he is so willing to protect.

 It is not until God uses Solaris, to open Eli’s eyes and remind him of the purpose of why he was carrying the book.  Eli is reminded that he is called to carry the book because of the power it had in his own life and it shows when he says at the end of the movie, after Carnegie had the book, that “I got so caught up in keeping it safe that I forgot to live by what I learned from it …. to do more for others than you do for yourself.”  In the conclusion of the movie, we see that Eli has memorized the book, and that he himself is actually blind, which we know from a close up on his eyes and because the Bible that Carnegie stole was actually written in Braille. It presumes Carnegie’s death as his empire crumbled because he was unable to read the Bible, while Eli fulfilled God’s call by actually sharing the Bible with the world.

Theological Statements and Conclusions

This movie is chalked full of theological statements, but in this paper, we are just going to address the most pressing ones. I think that greatest conclusion, theologically speaking, is that Christians are called to practice what they preach, which is something that Eli is reminded of. In the beginning of the movie, we see him pass by as a couple were jumped and killed, because he was focused on “his mission”.  However, we see that Solaris, which her name conveniently means to enlighten, shows him that it is more important to live by what he learns from the book than to protect the book itself.  He sacrifices the book to save Solaris, which in turn actually allows him to fulfill his mission of sharing the Word.

Another theological statement made throughout the film, is that God continues to protect and provide for us when we follow his calling in our lives even when we may fall off the path along the way.  We mainly see God’s provision in Eli that he is able to survive and to defeat his enemies, even though he is blind, because God gives him a sight that is far greater than any eye could conceive.  We also see that twice in Carnegie’s village, Eli is supposedly shot in the back, where the Bible was in his backpack, and yet somehow the bullet magically ricocheted off of him.  It’s a beautiful picture of the Word of God protecting Eli as he walked in faith, both physically and spiritually.  We see that even after Eli is shot by Carnegie, he is able to continue walking and carrying out the mission God had for him up until he was able to share the whole Scriptures with Lombardi, which then we see Solara visiting Eli’s grave. God continued to give him the strength to fulfill the mission that God had for him.

The last major theological conversation piece is that Christians have to remember that making disciples is critical to the carrying on of our faith.  Throughout the film, Eli seems to have a special connection with Solaris, consistently teaching her about the faith and what he believes.  She continues to willingly sacrifice her life to follow Eli and his mission.  In a beautiful picture of discipleship, Eli’s final words are a prayer for God to protect and guide Solaris as we see Solaris carry on in Eli’s steps after he dies.  She returns home, carrying with her a message for her own people to hear. This is even an appropriate strategy to discipleship, in discipling them and then sending them home to impact their own community and culture.



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