The Doctor was back this past weekend and he brought coffee. He also brought with him his oldest enemies: the Daleks.
“Into the Dalek” was an interesting examination of what it means to be good or evil. The Doctor’s attempts to answer that question for himself brought him face-to-eye with a Dalek struggling with its own morality.
“Into the Dalek” wasn’t one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who, but it definitely kept me thinking long after the credits had rolled. Here are some thoughts I had while watching “Into the Dalek.”
A Good Man
One of the standout lines from the new season’s trailer appeared in “Into the Dalek.” Sitting with Clara in the TARDIS, the Doctor asks her if he is a good man. This can be a troubling question for all of us as we strive to better ourselves each day. For those of us who follow Jesus, though, the question “am I a good person” has a simple answer: no. Jesus himself said that no one is good but the father and, since I’m not the father, I must not be that good. Even though we’re not good, we can still be covered by grace, which is better than being good. I may not be good but God’s grace enables me to be transformed from the inside out. I may not be good but God’s grace empowers me to partner with God’s good work in this world. So while I know that I’m not good, I can trust in a grace that’s greater than my feeble attempts at goodness.
Much to the Doctor’s disappointment the Dalek saw overwhelming hatred when it looked into the Doctor’s thoughts. The Doctor wanted to show the Dalek beauty and life but it only saw darkness and death. Unfortunately we’re not far off from the Doctor. We may not have a personal, rage-fueled vendetta against an entire race, but we do have a lot of darkness and death. Sin is the cause of the darkness in death in the world and within our lives. Again, because of grace, that darkness and death can be turned into beauty and life.
“You asked me if you were a good man and the answer is ‘I don’t know.’ But I think you try to be and I think that’s probably the point.”
Clara’s statement at the end of the episode has a nice ring to it. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to be good, we’re still sinful people full of darkness and death. Isaiah 64 says that our righteous deeds are like filthy rags, even our best attempts fall severely short of God’s goodness. Thankfully, though, we don’t have to trust in our own attempts at goodness. God offers to pour out his goodness and love upon us through his grace shown on the cross. The point isn’t trying to be good but trusting in the one who is eternally good.
This wasn’t a great episode of Doctor Who but it was great at making me think. It helped me reexamine my own sinful nature but made me even more grateful that I have been given a new life through the grace of Jesus Christ. I don’t think that’s what Moffat and company were going for but I’ll take it.
What did you think about “Into the Dalek?”