‘Star Wars’ book written by SBTS professor Timothy Paul Jones to be re-released this week
With the highly anticipated film Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening in theaters Friday, Waterbrook Multnomah is set this week to re-release Timothy Paul Jones’ book Finding God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
As the new movie is the seventh in the Star Wars saga, Jones’ book explores a Christian experience of the previously released six films. The book, originally published in 2003, will feature a redesigned layout and a new cover.
Jones, C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Family Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the book begins by exploring the awe Star Wars inspires and ends pointing to the gospel as the “consummate fulfillment” of that awe.
“At the heart of George Lucas’ space opera is a world that is full of wonders,” he said in an interview. “In a world that is glutted with glitz, gorged with superficial pleasures, and yet starving for authentic awe, sagas of this sort stimulate the imagination anew. These stories seize the space in every human soul that still longs to see exceptional beauty and power even in the most improbable places.”
Finding God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away is the result of Jones’ own Star Wars fandom, which began when he saw the first film as a 5-year-old. “What captured my imagination at that drive-in theater in southern Missouri was the sheer vastness of the universe that the movie portrayed,” he said. “To this day, I vividly recall the awe I felt when I saw that Star Destroyer and Rebel Blockade Runner roll across the screen in the opening scene.”
The book offers an extensive treatment of how believers should think through the religious implications of Star Wars from a Christian worldview. Jones suggests Christians should interpret all films through the lens of the Bible’s storyline — Creation, Fall, Redemption, and New Creation — and that Star Wars is ripe for theological reflection. Although the spirituality in Star Wars is heavily influenced by Eastern mysticism, many of its redemptive themes are borrowed from Christianity.
“Eastern religious ideas are woven throughout Star Wars,” he said. “That provides us with a good opportunity to help our children to see the contrast between the personal God of Scripture and the false gods of pantheism and do-it-yourself spirituality. At the same time, some of the most powerful aspects of the Star Wars storyline are more Judeo-Christian than Eastern: good triumphs through Luke Skywalker's willingness to sacrifice his own life to redeem his father, and Darth Vader turns from darkness and experiences reconciliation.”
The book is available for purchase for $13.99 at Amazon.