Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Ender’s Game

If you haven’t read Ender’s Game stop reading this post. You’ve been warned. If you haven’t read about Luther’s Theology of the Cross, you’ll be fine. But you may want to read his Heidelberg Disputations to get an idea of what I am basing this off of. To sum it up, read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. There is a way the world works (Theology of Glory) and the way God works (Theology of the Cross). God’s ways often seem counter-intuitive to our ways. Who would have conquered sin, Satan, and death – by dying? Who would have ransomed a people to himself not by conquering, but by taking their place? This isn’t how the world thinks – the world is concerned with a theology of glory.

Reading Ender’s Game, now for a second time, I think that in a way the story lays out clearly the way of the world and the way of God. Throughout the story Ender is shown that the way to win the battle is to destroy his opponent in the fight. He not only wins the fight, but the battle. This culminates in his destroying the entire Bugger race. The story seems to end on that note that this theory, this idea, is true. You should always make sure your opponent is so beaten that he can never retaliate.

Then in nearly the last moment we realize that the bugger race spoke throught a hive mind, unable to speak to humans. They also did not understand why a few humans destroyed here and there mattered. So it is that the wisdom of the world, destroying your opponent so completely he cannot retaliate, is actually false. The right answer would have been (in the story mind you) to try and force a way to communicate. Ender’s final decision was not the correct one. His wisdom, the world’s wisdom, turned out to be false. It was completely and absolutely wrong and cost the lives of an entire race.

Comparative studies I find to be silly sometimes, but yes I just engaged in one. Let me know what you think, am I grasping at straws?

Also, head over to the Mythguard Institute for their class on Ender’s Game (which was what got me thinking about this). If you are interesting in Luther’s Theology of the Cross, check out Alistar McGrath’s book on the subject, Luther’s Theology of the Cross.


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