Denver-based priest Father Nathan Goebel believes that the science fiction thriller "Ex Machina" by Alex Garland is a new take on the Old Testament, since it has allusions to the garden of Eden and retells the story of Adam and Eve, but with a new twist.
"The whole movie is a new Genesis," he told the Catholic News Agency. "It's a new beginning: we're returning back to the garden. What is the temptation of the garden? You will be like gods."
The movie is set in the future and follows young computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) as he wins a trip to visit Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a mysterious and reclusive founder of a huge company that is very similar to Google. During Caleb's visit, he was introduced to an android artificial intelligence named Eva (Alicia Vikander). He was challenged to interact with her so he could determine just how human she has become.
There are several similarities found in the movie and the Old Testament, explained Goebel. First of all, the names used in the film are all Biblical. Eva is based on Eve, the first woman. Caleb shares the same name as the Israelite who had been tasked to search for the Promised Land. Nathan, on the other hand, is the same name of the prophet who warns King David that there is a plot to take over his throne after he commits adultery.
Goebel also noted the similarities of the paradise-like garden in the film to the Garden of Eden in Genesis. Plus, Caleb has been given seven days to interact with Eva, and seven is reminiscent of the seven days of creation.
But Goebel stressed that man cannot assume to be like God because "God is the only one who can create out of nothing." And the difference does not end there. Whereas God loves His creation, Nathan does not.
"He's playing with creation—trying to satisfy his need for control over the creatures he's made. He's not a hero – he's tragic. You don't like him," he said.
Nathan might talk to his creations, dance with them, and even sleep with them, but he does not have any real relationship with them.
And Goebel has a good reason why this is so: "Love can't be programmed. Love is necessarily transcendent. The fulfilment of creation is to love and be loved, and machines cannot do this."