Toy Story Theology
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” –Romans 11:36 (NASB)
Toy Story 4 opens this weekend. The trailer for this movie reveals a new character named Forky. This new character raises some interesting questions for the Toy Story universe. This fictional world that the Toy Story franchise has created is complete with a very real theology.
In case you didn’t notice this from my Twilight Zone post, I often have a hard time switching off my theological worldview detector- even when I’m just watching TV with the kids. Couple this with my son’s recent obsession with Toy Story and… that’s how this blog happens.
The whole premise of Toy Story is, frankly, theological. Specifically, Toy Story’s premise is teleological. Teleology is the area of theology/philosophy that focuses on the idea of “purpose.” It’s a way of looking at things and asking “What is this for?”.
This is the question at the heart of the Toy Story franchise. In the first movie, Buzz Lightyear believes himself to be a spaceman and a soldier. His purpose is clear- he’s a defender of the universe. The problem is, however, that Buzz is wrong about who/what he actually is. This misunderstanding about what he is has caused him to get his purpose completely wrong. Woody has a correct worldview. Woody understands that he is a toy and he clearly understands the purpose of a toy… to make the toy’s child happy. Buzz suffers an existential crisis midway through the movie as he comes to grips with his ultimate and true purpose. By the end, he finds true happiness and fulfillment.
In the second and third movie, this teleological framework continues to be the focus. Various characters begin to question their purpose as they answer questions like “What does it mean to be a toy to an aging child?” and so on.
In this new movie, the new character of Forky continues this same question. Originally intended to be a “spork”, this character must discover what exactly it means to be a toy. In the trailer he asks this very same question, “Why am I alive?”.
The answer of purpose is not just a key question for the toys in Toy Story. It’s a key question that every real human in our world must answer. If you’re wondering what your purpose is, I’ve written about that here. This is also covered extensively in the first in-depth module of our intensive (and free) Basic Training course.
You were created to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. This is your purpose.
Like the characters in the fictional world of Toy Story, fulfilling your purpose is what will bring you the greatest joy. Just like these characters experience the most joy when they’re being played with, so to do you experience the most joy when you are walking in obedience and service to Our Lord.
It’s no coincidence that doing charitable works, spending time with family, reading, learning, hiking, traveling, worshiping in Church, etc. bring us the most joy. These were the things we were made for. We were made to grow in relationship with God and to reflect Him to others. And we were made to love those who bear His image.
Those things that are destructive (selfishness, pride, lust, greed, etc.) are not destructive because they are forbidden. They are forbidden because they are destructive. They are destructive because they are the opposite of what we were made for.
Actively seek to glorify God throughout your every moment. This can only be done if you have been saved and born-again by the work of Jesus Christ. If you have not done so already, or if you are unsure of how- then please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.