Discovering this terrifying future, the governments of present-day earth come together to enact a worldwide draft, sending people to the future to help defeat the aliens. But, despite humanity’s best efforts, they are just as close to extinction a year later. Because of this, many people begin to lose hope—wondering what the point of anything is if the world is just going to end catastrophically in the near future. Many lose the will to do anything, others begin looting businesses so that they can take what they want while they are still alive.
However, there are those who still cling to hope and insist that the future isn’t set in stone. When Dan is drafted and sent into the future, he tries to save every person he can, despite veteran soldiers telling him that it doesn’t matter because they are just going to die anyway. However, Dan insists that they do matter. When he gets the chance to help a scientist who is working on a way to kill all the aliens, Dan begins to believe that maybe his life has meaning after all.
At its core, The Tomorrow War is a story that constantly goes back to questioning where one’s hope comes from. It asks the viewer to consider whether hope should be abandoned or if it should be clung to at all costs—placing hope in science and technology, ourselves, and humanity. But despite humanity’s best efforts, it remains clear that all of these solutions are inherently flawed. The hope that they offer is a constantly changing one that fails again and again, leaving the viewer to wonder if any of their solutions could solve humanity’s problems in the long run. Dan and many other characters in The Tomorrow War believe that as long as they are able to work hard enough and achieve great things, then there is hope for tomorrow. But God tells us that nothing that we achieve is ever enough to gain ultimate hope. Ephesians 4:14 says that without God, what we believe in one moment will change the next, leaving us lost at sea without any truth to guide us home.
The World’s Hope
Throughout the movie, the audience can see what Ephesians foretells as characters shift their attention from one source of hope to the next. Each time, they become more hopeless and are left wanting something greater, and the audience can’t help but resonate with them. It is so easy to place our hope in self and the things in the world that appear strong and stable. But everything in the world will fail. And frustratingly, when hope is placed in the aspects of life that can change, then we are left hopeless when that change inevitably comes.
This downward spiral illustrates that when we put our hope in something, we are giving that thing power to control the direction of our lives. For Dan, placing trust in himself and his aspirations resulted in his life becoming about his own ambitions, leaving no room for others. No matter how much we may insist that we ‘never wanted this to happen,’ the truth is that our worldviews dictate the actions that lead to the direction that our lives go.
In the film, the characters who see the future as hopeless believe this because they see that there is nothing that they can do to change the future. They think that they are the ones who give life meaning, an idea that ultimately comes from a worldview that insists that there is no ultimate source of truth or meaning. This causes the characters to wrestle with a hopeless future—and many realize that it doesn’t matter what they do. In the end, if the meaning of life comes from our own efforts, and all our efforts point to a perilous or bleak future, then a meaningful life can’t be created. All is hopeless.
Other characters, including Dan, hold out hope for the future—believing that as long as people are alive and can do something to change the future, then there is still hope. When science offers a way to kill the aliens, Dan and others trust in it to ensure a future for humanity. For these characters, their hope in the future revolves around the human ability to overcome hardship through science or other human means. But it is easy to see that this is a hope that will vanish the second that these efforts fail—and if history has taught us anything, it is that they inevitably will.
As Christians, we are meant to place our hope in Christ alone ( 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Thessalonians 1:3). Jesus Christ never changes—his sacrifice on the cross never changes ( Hebrews 13:8). His love for us never changes ( Isaiah 54:10, 1 Chronicles 16:34). God has already told us what the end of the world will look like—for those who trust in Christ it is not a hopeless future or one that depends on science to save us all. It is one in which Jesus comes back to rule and reign in a time of justice and peace ( Revelation 20-21). God has shown that no matter what the future holds, he has already made the end good for all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior ( John 3:16). Though it is true that God has given us the ability to think and search for solutions to the difficulties that are present in our world, we are gravely mistaken if we place ultimate hope in these abilities. And, though it can be easy to let our hope stray towards creation instead of the Creator, we must always cling to the truth that our ultimate hope is in Christ.
True hope doesn’t come from any solution, idea, or future that we can provide. True hope is only found in Christ Jesus and his resurrection. Since this hope is not found in humanity or our accolades, then there is always a future, even when we have no control over it ( 1 Peter 1:3-4, Philippians 1:6).
It doesn’t matter what war we fight and whether it is yesterday’s, today’s, or tomorrow’s war— Christ was, and is, and is to come. And that is all the hope we will ever need ( Revelation 4:8).
By Rebecca Sachaj
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