Updated: Dec 23, 2022
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Why are you here, what is your purpose? To ask and understand these questions requires words.
The movie Arrival (2016) explores these questions. Arrival is an American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer. Based on the 1998 short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, it stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. The movie is actually about humanity, with the aliens as a background vehicle for a message about communication and the most powerful of weapons: words. When 12 extraterrestrial “ships” arrive at various locations on earth; the US military recruits Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist and language professor, to communicate with the aliens. Helping her is Ian Donnelly, a theoretical physicist
Uninterested in learning the aliens’ language, the military wants to determine one thing and fast: What is the aliens’ purpose on earth?
Ian and Louise enter the ship and meet the aliens who are separated from them by a translucent barrier. (The aliens are two enormous creatures, resembling giant squid with seven tentacle-like arms—thus their name, heptapods.) When Louise attempts conversation, one of the heptapods emits a black smoke-like substance that forms a circular symbol, called a logogram, on the barrier. Heptapod sentences are written as logograms, circular inkblots similar to Rorschach splotches, suggesting that their sentences have no beginning or ending and are not bound to any pattern or order. Each of the 12 sets of heptapods around the world seeks to give their language to the humans in their region of the planet, a “gift” to humans to be used in the future. But the people of the world misunderstand and begin fighting amongst themselves.
The heptapods’ language changes Louise’s worldview and her ability to perceive the details of her life and allows her to see the future. In a flash-forward to the future, Louise learns that she will one day have a daughter who will die of a rare disease. Still Louise embraces the joy that will come from her daughter’s existence and chooses to give her life.
In learning the purpose of the heptapods being on earth Louise learns something about her purpose as well.
Things we learn from this story: Language is the cornerstone of civilization, words have power. The bible is referred to as the living word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) In this scripture God has spoken and is speaking through Paul. God’s words come to us in human words.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Our words can be cause for blessing or a source of pain and suffering.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Just as Louise’s worldview is transformed by the heptapods’ language, God’s Word should transform our minds (Romans 12:2), allowing us to trust the one who truly knows t