Babylon 5 on Creation

One of my favorite tv shows ever is Babylon 5.  It was a phenomenal science fiction series in the late 90’s which was in many ways a pioneer for television shows.  Its graphics were all CGI and no models, pretty much every episode had unique music (which was played in Berlin and conducted in California via the internet – in the 90’s, people!), it had multi-year story arcs, and was not afraid to explore topics like philosophy and religion openly without blind criticism.  That’s a lot of firsts (or near-firsts) for a television show, and it’s a minor miracle that the show made it through all five years that it was planned to.

Although its creator was and is an atheist, he understands that religion and faith is an integral part of virtually every culture, and so he included that factor in both character development and story-writing.  This has made for a number of beautiful soliloquies by various characters that are worth paying attention to.  Here is one on the topic of creation.

The universe began with a word.  But which came first: the word, or the thought behind the word?  You can’t create language without thought, and you can’t conceive a thought without language, so which created the other, and thus created the universe?

As a Christian, this strikes me as a remarkably insightful line of thinking and questioning.  Now, the writer of Babylon 5 does have something of a Christian background, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some of this theology in the back of his mind when he wrote this.  Whateverso, let’s take a look at this.

The universe began with a word.

God said, “Let there be light.”  And there was light. – Genesis 1:3

But which came first: the word or the thought behind the word?

In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  All things were made through him, and without him was not made anything that has been made. – John 1:1-3

What starts out as a classic “chicken or the egg” paradox here finds its answer in the doctrine of the Trinity.  God the Father is often referred to by the great theologians as the Source (or fountainhead) of Divinity.  He is, one might say, the original thought behind creation.  God the Son is often referred to as the Word of God.  Together these answer the question from Babylon 5 of which came first – both the Thought and the Word are co-eternal in one divine being!  And, the Christian would add, the Thought and the Word are co-eternal with a third person: the Power of God.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. – Psalm 104:30

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. – Genesis 1:2b

So thanks to Joe Straczynski for writing Babylon 5 and asking such great questions and writing such brilliant spiritual reflections!  His quest for the truth of the universe here, manifested in the characters he has written, point beautifully to the truth I believe that has been revealed in the Church through Sacred Scripture!


About Fr. Brench

I'm an Anglican Priest and a sci-fi geek. Therefore, I write about liturgy & spiritual formation, theology & biblical studies, and Doctor Who. But I keep those blogs separate so I don't confuse too many people!
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