FRANKENSTEIN AND THE IMAGE OF GOD

It sounds like the beginning to a bad joke. What do you get when Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley take a Swedish holiday? Apparently, you get a literary masterpiece. A competition between the three Romantic authors sparked the creation of the well-known classic, Frankenstein. Mary Shelley, the winner of this auspicious competition was just eighteen years old when the gothic horror was penned.

If you have seen any sort of adaptation of Frankenstein, then you would be familiar with the character of the monster. A ghoulish, tall, miss-matched figure whose indecipherable groans grow louder as he pursues those who he will murder in cold blood. A conglomeration of body parts animated by electricity who should have never existed. The monster is in constant pursuit of his creator and wishes to cause him ill at any cost.

Most adaptations horribly miss the mark. The monster, rather than a witless shell of a murderer, is rather a smart and considered albeit tortured creature. Contrary to popular belief, the creature’s name is not even Frankenstein, for that name is rather that of his creators. The creature rather hails himself as Adam for he is the first of his kind, a new creation.

The life of this creation is undeniably poor. Counterintuitively, he has been neglected by his maker. Victor Frankenstein after slaving for months and years to make his creature is so disgusted by its very appearance that he flees before his creature wakes. The creation is not taught the way of things by his creator and is instead forced to fend for himself in the wilderness. Coming across a village, he desperately presses himself up against windows and doors to learn language thirsting for knowledge. He learns about humanity by proxy, hearing the sweet words of great works of literature read aloud.

He is despised and rejected by all who see him. He has a face that not even his mother could love. The creature knows what he needs to get to be fulfilled. Frankenstein pays him no heed until he starts to harm those which his creator loved. The creature asks for an equal, a woman made in his image, a companion who will not fear him and will too be despised by all who see her. Frankenstein considers this request- he even builds a wife for the creature and yet he is unable to bring another like his creature into the world.

Frankenstein loses all that he loves in the world and the creature still bears nothing that he had ever loved. They pursue each other to the Arctic where Frankenstein dies in the arms of his creature.

You do not need to be an expert to know that this is creation botched on a monumental scale. The creator-creature relationship is distorted beyond all imagination.

What lessons can the misdeeds of Victor Frankenstein teach us about the creator-creature relationship?

Frankenstein leaves his creature hapless and alone. Frankenstein does not teach his creature how the world works, nor does he help him to find a place in it. The creature is left to believe that he is an abomination, a being worthy only of disdain. One must wonder, if Frankenstein had have shown the creature any sort of heed, how differently the story may have turned out.

Frankenstein places himself on the cutting edge of science. He learns from the top natural scholars of the time and he spends months crafting his creature. Yet, when his creature is born, it is so offensive to his sight that he runs. Even with the most sophisticated science and technology and the most informed ‘designer body’ choices, within Frankenstein, man is still unable to create something of beauty. How many a time has humanity created something which was meant to be beautiful but becomes immediately warped at its’ birth? It appears that humanity is unable to create something that can hold the beauty placed in it- it seems to trickle out and replaced by the nature of man.

We too, although we think on it rarely are, just as the creature, a creation. Unlike Frankenstein’s monster, we are not creations of uncertain origin and purpose. The story of our creation, rather than one of fear and hatred, is one of love and purpose. While it can be said that the creature was created in the image of Frankenstein, humanity was rather crafted in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The image of humanity, of selfishness, hatred and vengeance cannot lead to good. The Bible witnesses again and again that God is perfect and holy. He is absolute good and above all, his actions reflect a desire to enter a relationship with his creation. God walks and talks with his creation; he teaches and invests in them. He tells his people what is right and wrong and even when they do wrong, he does not abandon them.

God is not afraid of his creatures who he created with a well-thought out design and a purpose. Humanity was not intended as an experiment to ogle at and discard. Time and time again throughout the Bible, God proves that he is committed to his creation. God also promises that if sought, he will be found! There is no need for desperate acts to get God’s attention, he is always paying attention and knows what we need and want before we say a word.

It is easy to feel abandoned, like nobody cares and like we have been left alone to fend for ourselves like Frankenstein’s monster. However, we were created by a God who cares and walks with us! He wants to be an intimate part of our lives and work within and through us. There is not a moment that God is not available to us. How much more remarkable is the nature of God when considered against the nature of earthly creations!

Take time to talk to the creator God today. He is waiting to talk to you.

By Kira-leigh Josey

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