X-Files Finale Reflection

Reflections on the X-Files series finale…

“I want to believe that the dead are not lost to us, and that if we listen to them, they can give us the power to save ourselves.”

So says Fox Mulder at the end of the X-Files, and Scully responds with a smile, “Then we believe the same thing.” Mulder thumbs the cross hanging from her neck and says, “Maybe there’s hope.”

I have problems with that. Christianity is not by any conservative stretch “the dead telling us we can save ourselves,” but rather the Living One telling us that it is He who saves us, not by our own merit or effort, but by His own mercy, love, and sacrifice. And our salvation is not a physical, material rescue from a 2012 alien invasion — or even from other earthly woes like poverty or war — but a redemption from our own sin and its wages. The whole point of redemption in the Christian context is that a heavenly righteousness is imputed to us by faith and not by works. Because we as imperfect humans are too fallen in our sin to save ourselves, Christ has, on the cross, executed and finished the propitiatory work of saving us, and that salvation becomes available to all solely through God’s grace.

So where does that leave the conclusion of the X-Files? Somehow a point is missed with Mulder’s vague reference to Christianity as the transcending truth which he comes to believe. What comes next? Now that it has given hope, what kind of hope is given, even without taking into account the Christian outlook? Are we still talking about “hope” in the face of an upcoming alien invasion and a pervasive government conspiracy — or is this an X-Files insight into the triumph of humanity’s sense of hope, which transcends even those otherworldly threats?

<cliche punchline>

Or is the truth… still out there? (cue X-Files theme)