Christian Mythology in The Matrix Essay

This essay has a total of 4163 words and 16 pages.


Christian Mythology in The Matrix




Through the movie we see parallel’s of Neo and Christian Mythology. Temptation from Satan
to Jesus and the temptation to Neo from the Agents, are some very profound similarities
between the two personages.

In the beginning of the movie Thomas Anderson, or Neo, is arrested. The agents try to cut
a bargain trading a new life for giving up Morpheus.

In the scene with the agents and Neo we have mythical symbolism that relates to biblical
times. As Agent Smith lectures Thomas, he flips through a record of Thomas' crimes. Smith
is like Satan, who will always be called the 'accuser'. (Revelation 12:9-12). Agent Smith
tells Thomas three distinct lies during the interrogation scene. Satan is the 'father of
lies' (John 8:44).

Lie #1: Agent Smith indicates that Thomas' illusionary Matrix life is reality – having a
job, paying taxes, helping the landlady. In contrast, Smith tells Thomas that his other
(hacker) life is "lived in computers", which is an interesting twist of words! In truth,
it is Thomas' illusionary life in the Matrix - his job, taxes, and landlady – that is
"lived in computers" that generate the Matrix simulation! The real life that Thomas will
live as Neo outside the Matrix is NOT lived "in computers".

Satan's lie is a complete reversal of truth. He lies that this tangible earthly life is
all there is, that it is substantial, and that the spiritual things are silly myth that we
should stop seeking.

Lie #2: Smith says, "One of these lives [a life of lies inside the Matrix] has a [good]
future, and one of them [a life of truth outside the Matrix] does not."

This is another direct reversal. Truth gives eternal life - a good future. Believing lies results in eternal death.
Lie #3: Agent Smith describes Morpheus as a 'dangerous man', a 'criminal' who must be
brought to 'justice'. In truth, Morpheus is a good man – so good that he is willing to lay
down his own life to allow Neo to escape the Agents in the wet-wall scene.

Satan again reverses roles, portraying himself as good and God as evil. Many people fall
for this lie. For example, many see Satan as noble liberator in the garden of Eden but
judge God as a stingy jailer – instead of seeing God as providing an idyllic environment,
while selfish man just had to have one more tree despite the abundant orchards! Man,
imitating Satan, said "I will be like God" and rebelled against his benevolent Creator – a
Creator Who in turn humbly took the form of a man to be crucified for the willful sins of
His own creation so that a way of redemption could be open to all by simply trusting the
Rescuer. To regard someone as 'evil' that dies on your behalf is the height of deception.

In biblical times Jesus had a traitor among his decipilies, Judas. The Matrix is not without this betrayer.
The betrayer character is named "Cypher", a play on the word 'cipher'. In the dictionary,
some interesting meanings of 'cipher' are 'zero' and 'one that is without value'. Cypher
demonstrates that he is indeed without value; he is a selfish murderer. Jesus said about
Judas, "it would be better for him if he had never been born." (Mark 14:20).

Cypher the traitor is not just betraying Morpheus, who has the codes to Zion, but Cypher
is betraying the entire human crew as well, which includes Neo. Cypher almost pulls Neo's
plug to kill him, which is a traitorous act directly against Neo. In this sense, Cypher
can be typed strongly as Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

From the beginning, Cypher never believes Neo is "the One". Even as the film begins,
Cypher says, "We're going to kill him, do you understand that?" Cypher also expresses his
faithless attitude when Neo is trying to jump from tower to tower in the training
simulation. As Cypher talks to Neo alone at night, he says, "Actually, I've been thinking
it [the blue pill option] ever since I got here [meaning that Cypher never did appreciate
the red pill]." Even Cypher's last words are "No. I don't believe it." To parallel, Judas
Iscariot did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. It is interesting that Judas is
never recorded as personally referring to Jesus as "Lord".

Neo drinks from a cup, then hands it to Cypher, who drinks from the same cup (we see that
Cypher was originally drinking from a jug before Neo came). At the 'last supper' before he
was captured and killed, Jesus identified Judas by saying, "He who dipped his hand in the
bowl with me is the one who will betray Me" (Matthew 26:24).

Cypher meets with Agent Smith to betray the humans, just as Judas met secretly with the
religious leaders who wanted Jesus dead. Cypher wants to be rich, just as Judas asked for
thirty pieces of silver. Cypher arranges the deal while eating a rare piece of steak. The
steak is symbolic of the carnal, fleshly nature of Cypher, and the blood in the rare steak
can foreshadow the blood that will be spilled because of his betrayal. 'Blood money', so
to speak.

Cypher wants to be an 'actor', but Cypher is already an 'actor' - a 'hypocrite' who acts
like a willing part of the Nebuchadnezzar crew, just as Judas was an 'actor' or
'hypocrite' who faked loyalty to Jesus and the disciples. Judas even pilfered money from
them as they traveled - see John 12:6!

Agent Smith acts friendly to Cypher while making the deal, but we know that Smith hates
all humans. In the same way, the Pharisees were receptive to Judas when he offered to
betray Christ, but they spurned Judas after the betrayal was complete (Matthew 26:15 and
27:4).

When standing outside the hotel after Neo has seen the Oracle, Cypher knows the Agents are
tracking the cell phone nearby, so Cypher gives Neo a big, nervous smile - a false gesture
of affection. Jesus said to Judas, "Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" (Luke
22:48).

While Cypher walks around the hovercraft killing Switch and Apoc, we notice Cypher's red
jersey has a big hole over the heart, just as Judas had no heart for people (John 12:6),
and not even a heart for Christ. Judas Iscariot was a 'heartless' man.

Cypher dies as a result of his traitorous work, just as Judas committed suicide after betraying Christ.

No mythological comparison with Jesus could be complete without a resurrection of the
dead. Just as Jesus dies on the cross and is resurrected, we have Neo dying and
resurrecting.

Neo dies as Agent Smith shoots him. If we consider that the man created the Artificial
Intelligence, then man effectively killed Neo, just as our sins demanded Christ's death.
(Even though Satan unwittingly played a role in God's redemption plan by possessing Judas
and also stirring up the crowds to crucify Jesus, it was truly God who chose to 'crush'
his own Son for our sins on the cross; see Isaiah 53:10)

Neo resurrects from the dead, just as Christ did. (Neo was dead and figure some way to
equate it to 3 days. Perhaps 72 seconds = 72 hours = 3 days?)

The Oracle had said that Neo was maybe waiting on his "next life" as a form of hinted
prophecy. The Word of God also predicted the resurrection of the Messiah, which Christ
fulfilled.

'Trinity' arguably is the one that brought Neo back from death by her love. In parallel,
God the Father, who is love (John 4:8a) raised Christ from the dead (Galatians 1:1).

In a different aspect, a woman (Trinity) was the first one present at Neo's resurrection,
just as it was a woman who first saw Christ raised (Mary Magdalene in John 20:14 and 18).

At room 303, Agent Smith shoots Neo and kills him. When Neo is flat-lined, Trinity tells
Neo she loves him. She kisses him, causing him to revive and fight to a victory.

The love of ‘Trinity’ (which can represent the divine Trinity here) kept new-man ('Neo')
going even through the shadow of death itself. "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
[many other things]…shall separate us from the love of God in Christ…" (Romans 8:38,39).
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are
with me…" (Psalm 23:3)

Despite deadly danger, Trinity demonstrated calm faith in the truth – that although Neo
was dead, she reasoned in the truth that he could not stay dead because it had been
prophesied that Neo was the one who would save mankind.

If we now allegorize Trinity as a mere person, this scene parallels a person's salvation
by faith in Christ and His resurrection. "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is
Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved."
(Romans 10:9). This is faith in the word of God (oracle) as well. Like Trinity in the
film, Abraham in the Old Testament was required to have the same faith in a similar
situation. God promised Abraham that:

1) his son Isaac that would be the father of a great nation, and then 2) told Abraham to
kill Isaac. Hebrews chapter 11 shows that Abraham 'put one and two together', reasoning
that 1) in order for Isaac to be the father of a nation meant that 2) God would have to
raise sacrificed Isaac from the dead. So, he acted in faith by obeying God's orders - but
God stopped the sacrifice of Isaac, although God would not stop the sacrifice of His Son
Jesus that Abraham's prophetic act foreshadowed. God was having Abraham provide a living
demonstration of faith in the resurrection - a picture of what a man must have to become a
Christian (see Romans 10:9 above).

Trinity says, "Neo, I'm not afraid any more. The Oracle told me..." Faith in the true word of God banishes fear.
A summary of this sequence: When Neo revives, Trinity commands Neo, "Now get up!" Neo
obeys and rises. The Agents fire at Neo, and Neo says, "No!" stopping the bullets in
midair by relying on the truth. Neo destroys Agent Smith, and the other Agents flee.

This sequence is a literal portrayal of the verse "Submit therefore to God ['Trinity'],
resist the devil [Neo saying 'No' and fighting Agent Smith] and he will flee from you [the
remaining Agents flee]." (James 4:8)

The writers of the film used many religious influences. The Oracle is obviously a pagan,
non-Christian figure. Some factors: 1) She has the title of 'Oracle'. Although this term
is used in the Bible as well, the far more abundant scriptural term is 'prophet', whereas
'oracle' reminds us of the pagan Oracle of Delphi and the oracles of mythology. 2) She is
female, as were the Delphic and mythological oracles. 3) She has attendant 'priestesses'.
4) The clothing of the priestesses. 5) The gathering of 'potentials', with many strong
allusions to eastern religions. 6) The Oracle studies the body and reads palms - note
that the penalty for pagan fortune-telling and witchcraft was death in the old testament
of the Bible. 7) She smokes - possibly an allusion to the intoxicating fumes used by the
Delphic oracle.

Despite the Oracle character definitely not being based on Christianity but on the pagan
oracles of history and myth, some of the aspects of the scenes with the Oracle can still
be adapted to fit a Christian allegory.

Thus ignoring the pagan trappings, we will let the Oracle symbolize the "Word of God" -
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