The idea of zombies originated in the Caribbean. The zombie legend, many scholars think, expressed the horror of the brutal slavery that existed there. The slave was totally controlled by masters with no hope of ever being free. This was symbolized by the soulless, hopeless existence of the zombie. Some think this might give a clue to the question of why zombies have become so popular in our country recently. In an article in the Washington Post a couple of years ago Christopher Moreman, a Cal State East Bay philosophy professor, wrote, “the popularity of the zombie stems from our similarity to that pitiable creature deprived of its soul, forced to labor for the benefit of unknown masters.” Modern life demands so much and can seem to disconnect people from the physical world around us, from family, from friends, even from the product and meaning of our own labor. It can cause one to feel trapped in a soul-killing existence.
I suspect that at least touches on a fear that many have. They are busy, keeping up with demands, frenetically pursuing success or pleasures, but feeling kind of dead inside. They have strong desires, but the fulfillment of the desires never seems to satisfy, never is enough. So they keep lurching through life because they must, but inside they know something is wrong. They fear that though they would never admit it, they are all too zombie-like.
That is exactly what Ephesians 2 depicts. “You were dead in your trespasses and sins” (verse 1). “All of us lived also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (verse 3).
Jesus came to set us free from all that. Irenaeus said that the “glory of God is man fully alive.” Ephesians 2:5 says because of his great love for us God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ should make us truly alive—alive to God, alive to people, alive to the world around us. We no longer need to fear becoming zombies ever again. Two things should be characteristic of a person set free by Jesus Christ, love and joy. Nothing could be less like a zombie. If we are not experiencing that, whatever we have, it is not the good news of Jesus. Now if I could just figure out what the deal with werewolves is…