Richard is the Church – Lost Season 6, “Ab Aeterno”
I just got caught up on this week’s episode of Lost, “Ab Aeterno”. Holy cow! Here goes the PoG breakdown…
Richard has been an amazingly interesting character for a long time. As I said last week I think we were introduced to Richard in season 2, and realized that he doesn’t age in season 3, so his story has been a long time coming. And what a story!
Short version – Richard had a life and a budding family in the 1860s on the Canary Islands. His wife died from tuberculosis just as Richard was getting medicine for her from a doctor. While doing so, Richard accidentally killed the doctor, was sentenced to death, and then sold into slavery on the Black Rock (a ship that was brought to the Island by Jacob). Richard first encounters the Man in Black, who convinces him that Jacob is the devil, that the Island is hell, and that he can get his wife back by killing Jacob. Richard sets off to do so, but is stopped by Jacob. After convincing Richard that he is not dead, Jacob and Richard have the following exchange, which is the center of this episode, and also hugely important in terms of answering questions.
Okay, so the way it looks like things are shaping up is: Jacob = God, Man in Black = Satan, aaaaaannnnddd… Richard is the Church. Seriously, if someone put a gun to your head and demanded an awesome definition of what the Church is all about, could you do any better than Jacob did in the above scene?
God wants to move humanity towards greater understanding of His will, but like Jacob said, it’s meaningless if He has to hold our hand the whole way. What good is love if it is forced? What good is faith that is based on indisputable, undeniable evidence? What good is knowing right from wrong if that knowledge always comes from the outside, and we are unable to apply it in our daily lives? God doesn’t want to constantly intervene in our lives, so he created the Church.
According to Acts 2, the earliest Church was all about community, daily scripture study, and service. All these things add up to a greater and greater knowledge of God, His ways, and His will. Exactly what Jacob wants Richard to do for him on the Island.
It looks like Lost’s creators are really amping up the symbolism, imagery, and even allegory as the show gears up for its conclusion in a few weeks. I love it. Stories that are modern, fresh, and relatable, yet also convey important truths or bring a story to life in a new way are always so awesome to me.
What did you think about this week’s episode? How do you read the Jacob/Man in Black situation? How do you view the mission of the Church?
…Oh, and what do you think was the point of the Black Rock’s captain being Magnus Hanso? As in, the Hanso Foundation that funded the Dharma Initiative that built the Swan station that had the button that didn’t get pushed that caused Oceanic 815 to crash on the Island…