As the cinema attendant stamped my car parking ticket she declared that Inception was the best film she had ever seen. It was pretty good. In fact the idea is genius: Putting yourself in dreams to get information from people, or, as the title intimates, to place an idea deep in someone’s subconscious.
An “architect” imagines a dream world that runs inside a sleeping subjects head. The sleeper dreams they are in the world but others can enter the dream too. BTW if you don’t want to know any more about the film stop reading now. Two extra factors take this idea to a higher level of weirdness. The first is that time goes slower in the dream due to your mind running faster, so five minutes of sleep time is about an hour of dream time. The second concept is that you can have dreams within dreams within dreams. How do you wake up? If you are one level down then just a firm jolt in the level above will do but at the deeper levels the sedation is such that you need to die in the dream to wake up in the level above. Do this a lot and you start to wonder what is a dream and what is reality.
The idea a bit matrixy but the time thing and the levels makes it better. There are some striking similarities between the ideas in inception and the Christian life which impacted me as I watched. Of course my life now is real. It is not a dream. But it is in a sense a sub level of a more foundational reality. I am a citizen of heaven. That’s where I belong. I am seated with Christ in heavenly places. My life now needs to be lived out with a knowledge of the eternal reality. There are great moments in the film when dreamers realise they are dreaming – that their current experience isn’t the sum total of reality. Well, that’s the Christians experience. Suddenly I realise that I don’t live for this world or this reality. I live for an eternal reality. I need to know why I’m here, what my purpose is on this earth.
One day I will die and wake up with Jesus in paradise. Martyrs must have the same feeling that Leonardo and his wife had when they died to get out of the deep dream levels. As they were tied to the stake or put their head on the block they must have been thinking “I am here as a witness to the truth, this is not the end, I will wake up in paradise, mission completed”. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and it’s there that my “real” life will be lived out. My life here is a vapour in comparison. Again I need to stress that I’m not saying life here and now is a dream, or isn’t real. It is and will have eternal consequences, but even in the film what happens in the dream has a massive effect in the real world above. The reason for going into someones dream in the film is to bring secrets back into the real world. The dream ends but the effects of what took place in the dream have massive ongoing impact. For the Christian, the point of being this side of the grave is to see people come to know Jesus. Every time someone puts their faith Jesus as their Lord and Saviour their eternal destiny is secured.
Most of the time I think I carry on my life as if heaven is the dream. I slip into moments of heavenly perspective but live my life, much of the time, from an earthly perspective. Let’s make it more concrete. In an mp3 I am currently listening to Bill Johnson has just talked about some amazing miracles;
- Muscles appearing and growing.
- A 3 year old boy Chris was healed of club feet. (They have it on video apparently. He looks into the camera and says “I can run!”). As he shared the testimony another woman’s son was healed of club feet too.
- He talks about tumours falling off people.
- A 40 year old woman born deaf is knocked down by the power of God and gets up able to hear.
- An inner ear destroyed by a nail 37 years ago gets recreated and the man can hear again in an instant.
- A woman in a Lutheran church with cancer in her lower body who didn’t believe in miracles was healed the day before her treatment was due.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of isn’t it? Or is it heavens reality breaking in to our dream now?
Satan works in the realm of lies. Unreality. How much of our current experience of the world is a lie? Unreal. Is God the architect of our thinking and perceiving or is God? Of course there is a real material world. We are real too. It’s not all an illusion but we can exist in the real physical world while at the same time living in a dream world in our mind. The closest thing I can think of is sleep walking. We are in a dream but operating in the material world too.
For example, thinking that God does not exist is unreality. If I think God doesn’t exist I am living an illusion. My view of the world at a very basic level does not conform to reality. I will look at those who do think God exists and think they are the ones dreaming. In the film Leonardo has a gyroscope that he spins. He knows how it feels and how it behaves in the real world so he can tell if he is in a dream or not. In a dream it spins forever. In the real world it eventually rocks and falls. We all need to work out if this world, our current experience, is the ultimate reality. How can you tell? What is your gyroscope? What is truth?
One day I will die in this world and wake up in another. I will find myself eternally to be where I really am, in heavenly places with Christ. I don’t want to be thinking then “if only I’d known.” Do I live on earth and poke my head up into heaven occasionally or do I live in heaven and reach down to earth? I am here on a mission. To bring God’s kingdom in. To build the church. To preach the gospel. To wake people up to the fact that this is not the ultimate reality. This world, like a dream, will pass away and we will all wake up one day and stand before the judgment seat of God.
I left the film with a deep conviction and determination to “live the dream”. In a dream, when you release you are dreaming, everything changes. You are free to do things you would never do, try things you would never dare to try knowing that there is another greater reality than this. In my dreams people get well from cancer and paralysis and MS. The deaf hear and the blind see. It’s a dream that really will come true.