Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Eisegetical Interpretation of the Lost Series Finale

Eisegesis (the process of interpretation whereby we simply read our ideas into a text rather than actually seeking to interpret the author's intended meaning) is generally bad. It's especially bad when it happens with the Bible, because at that point we are wrongly interpreting God's words to suit our own agendas. In my previous post I tried to engage in exegesis (correct interpretation) of the writers' intent in the season finale of LOST. I basically concluded the writers represented a pluralistic supernaturalism in the finale, obviously antithetical to biblical Christianity. I'll now engage in some eisegesis to argue that you could interpret the finale as supportive of a Reformed Christian worldview.


In the LOST finale the hero of the show, Jack, embraces his ordained role in life and willingly offers his life as a sacrifice to save others. After he willingly offers his life, the next scene in the show switches to the flash-sideways timeline and displays a statue of Christ with His arms spread out, signifying His crucifixion. The message is clear: Jack sacrificed himself to save his friends and defeat evil, embodied in Easu/MiB/Fake Locke. Sound familiar? Similarly, Jesus laid down His life for His friends (Jn. 15:13) and in doing so defeated evil, embodied in satan (Col. 2:14-15). Not only that, but in some sense Jack was resurrected, as was Christ (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

This gospel parallel takes on a distinctly reformed flavor when you consider that Jack really does only seem to be laying his life down for his friends. In the final church scene the whole world is not represented there entering paradise, only a chosen few. Esau/MiB/Fake Locke is not there, in fact there are a number of other characters from the seasons of the show that weren't there. Despite the stained glass, the redemption Jack accomplishes does not seem to be universal. Doesn't this suggest Jack's work is less valuable, as Arminians often charge? Well, is that how you felt in watching the final church scene? Absolutely not. And why not? Why weren't we so angry that Fake Locke wasn't there? Because we know Fake Locke got what he deserved. We were amazed at the redemption for those who were there, and understood the need for justice to be carried out on Fake Locke. And it's not like the people in the church were more worthy of redemption; plenty of them had been Jack's enemies and the island's as well (think Sawyer). They didn't choose to come to the island, the island chose them. Because the island chose them and the island's purpose for Jack was to redeem those the island had chosen, they end up in paradise.

In the same way, Jesus laid down His life for the sheep (Jn. 10:11), not the goats. When we understand that all of us deserve divine wrath because of our sin (Eph. 2:1-3), we see that there is no injustice in Jesus not dying for everyone. We rather are amazed that He laid down His life for anyone. And who are those He died to save? Those that deserve it? None deserve it, rather, it is those His father had chosen, who it was His purpose in His life on earth to redeem (Jn. 6:35-45). He will raise them up on the last day.

Obviously I'm not naieve enough to think the writers intended to communicate this message. However in writing the story in this way I do think they acknowledge (sub-consciously or consciously) certain truths of reformed theology:

1. In order to be saved we need someone to die for us. We can't do it, we need someone else. The LOST characters couldn't save themselves, they needed Jack to do it for them.
2. It is not unjust of God to choose some and not others since none deserve to be chosen in the first place.
3. Jesus' sacrifice is not devalued because He only intended it to redeem some.


  1. I really enjoyed both your blogs on the LOST finale, thank you for sharing them. I agree with your interpretation of the writers' intention, but you really redeemed it for me with your own eisegetical interpretation.


  2. Thanks Zach! It's great to hear from you, and I'm glad you found my posts thought provoking. Thanks for your encouragement to write them!