photo © 20th Century Fox
The Greatest Showman teaches us so much as I alluded to in my previous blog about the value and worth of each person based not on what a person looks like, believes, their language, or their culture but purely on the fact that each person has been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). It reveals that because the nature of God (and when I say God, I am speaking of the God of the Bible as recognized by the Christian worldview) is good that everything He created(s) is good (by rebellion it is people who pervert and taint the good things) so each person has intrinsic worth. This truly is a worthwhile lesson that each Christian must learn about when it comes to the horrors of racism, differing worldviews, and a host of other things. This film does an excellent job at pointing to this, but there is more than can be extracted.
The main character in this film is P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), and he like most entertainers, businessmen, and frankly speaking most people finds that with each great endeavor and success he is left with a wanting for more. Doesn’t this sound all too familiar? For Barnum he finds a new desire at every success beckoning him to something greater. It’s not enough that his family is proud so he continues to strive to be successful. Once he achieves success he wants success to a higher end clientele. The trend continues until has utterly lost everything. It’s easy to watch a movie and point fingers at how crazy this is, and yet if we are honest and introspective, we find that we are the same at our nature.
People are messy and greedy creatures. No matter how satisfied we are at any particular moment, we can be assured that just around the corner that the monster of “more” is lurking with an insatiable appetite and we walk blissfully into its waiting jaws. If we are looking at successes to satisfy or fill some void that it was never created to do then we will have spent our fleeting moments on this earth pursuing pleasures that are fruitless and meaningless.
People are fragile. Our pursuits and dreams even more fragile still. This is best summed up in the film with a song that is performed by Jenny Lynd (Rebecca Ferguson & Loren Allred) entitled “Never Enough.” I’ve provided an excerpt from the lyrics below:
All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough
Written by: Justin Paul, Benj Pasek
No matter what we attain or obtain, if we do not find our identity and our satisfaction in Jesus, there will be no real relief for unending desires. The pleasures that this world offers may certainly be good gifts, but they will always be failures as gods. In fact only the God of the Bible is able to fill this great delta of emptiness that we seem to always find within ourselves. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35 ESV), and the Psalmist writes, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 ESV).
Jesus alone satisfies. He cannot be duplicated or replaced. With so many things begging us for our approval and desire there is ceaseless supply of gods that want us to make much of them, but all the gods of this world fall by the wayside and into the abyss when compared to the unending joy and satisfaction that is found only in Jesus.
The great C.S. Lewis in his magnum opus, Mere Christianity, writes, “If I find within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Lewis 2002 114).
The Christian worldview is the only one that has the ability to answer why we are constantly left wanting. Every other worldview wrestles with purpose, but none can wrangle this beast because apart from God there is no purpose in life. This leads to an interesting discovery. There is a law in logic referred to as The Law of Noncontradiction which simply states that two mutually exclusive contradictory statements cannot both be true.
In this case the law effectively points to either the God of the Bible alone is enough for us, or everything else has the potential to be enough for us. They cannot both be true. My argument is that one need only see the greed that permeates our hearts at every turn to see the evidence that not only can the world not satisfy us, but we are found with only one possible solution, Jesus must be enough. You have two options set before you, an all satisfying God who in His infinite love and mercy offers you unending joy (which must be noted is not the same thing as happiness) or an interminable array of impotent gods that will rob you of joy and hope.
Lewis, C.S. The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. HarperOne, 2002.