Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | January 28, 2015

A Sad Messiah Substitute

The Futile Search for an Alternate Messiah

Throughout mankind’s long history there has been dissatisfaction with one or more aspects of life and an awareness that something was not quite as it should be. Efforts to address this deficiency have taken many forms.

One of the devices used has been the creation of an imagined individual who would heroically correct the problem, a superhero, a messiah. This individual would be willing and able to address the problem and bring it to a satisfactory resolution.

In other instances, individuals might even see themselves as the messianic figure that would solve the problems and deliver the people from some particular evil; I suspect a number of recent world leaders may come to your mind.

An Objectivist Messiah

I have read all 1,168 pages of Atlas Shrugged more than once and was interested in the decision to make it into a movie. The book is in three parts so the movie tracks that order and came out as three different movies. In this instance, different is the operative word as each of the movies features an entirely different cast of characters; while that was rather jarring it was manageable.

I had discovered Ayn Rand during my participation in a management development program over 45 years ago where the massive volume was assigned as required reading. The program also included several non-fiction works by Ayn Rand which were also required reading.

I developed an appreciation for certain aspects of Ms Rand’s Objectivist philosophy and actually subscribed to her magazine while she was still alive. Ms. Rand’s defense of capitalism and her opposition to socialism and communism struck a sympathetic chord in my thinking.

At the time I first learned of Ms. Rand I was already a serious student of the Bible and a staunch evangelical Christian; I did not believe there was any contradiction in that concerning the economics of Objectivism and Christian principles. Capitalism is the only economic system which realistically factors in the fallen human condition although this is likely providential and consequential.

The Missing Element, a Solution that Works

The problem came in when the subject of solutions to the problems facing mankind were proposed; Ms. Rand’s fictional solution was a messiah figure named John Galt. As a Christian I knew there is only one Messiah and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’ve commented before on the sadness I felt as I saw Ms. Rand propose such a pathetic alternative to the real thing. Try as she might, the philosophical concept of a John Galt fails miserably to measure up to the glorious reality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, back to the Movie

I’m still trying to complete the adjustment required by the cast changes; I made the mistake of watching Part 2 just before watching Part 3 for the first time which only emphasized the different cast. Moving on past that issue, a rather predictable problem began to emerge as the movie progressed.

While I agree with Ms. Rand’s analysis of the economic ramifications of socialism I take exception to her concept of a solution. Ms. Rand falls into the same trap that ensnares the socialists and that is a failure to recognize the fundamental problem facing humanity which is spiritual death and the fallen sin nature.

The Bible explains the problem by identifying the disobedience of Adam as the cause for Adam’s and the balance of mankind’s spiritual death when Adam disobeyed a direct command of God. All mankind ever since, born of human fathers, have been born spiritually dead; spiritual life can only come on the occasion of the new birth by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

While parts 1 and 2 do an adequate job of presenting human corruption and depravity, part 3, as it presents John Galt as the messiah figure, fails to live up to expectations and falls short in delivering a convincing answer to the problems demonstrated in the first two movies. The truth of the matter is the Bible offers the only solution that will work, a solution that is clearly beyond the ability of mankind, individually or collectively, to provide.

God’s Answer to Man’s Problems

The divine answer includes not only a new birth, but a new heaven and a new earth; a solution to the problem that is clearly beyond the ability of man to arrange. What a joy and privilege to know we are living in divine reality and not Objectivist fiction.

Regardless of whether it is a natural or supernatural messiah figure created in the minds of men; the results will be the same, miserable failure to measure up to reality. It is only in the Lord Jesus Christ that complete fulfillment can be found; it is only in Christ that we find a final solution that really works.




  1. […] Source: A Sad Messiah Substitute […]


  2. The human mind is too small to ever relieve the problems on earth. Only God knew what we needed to become whole and pure again – his only Son, our Lord Jesus. What a gift, if only we will receive him!


  3. Just the other day as I was driving, a license plate holder caught my eye. “Who is John Galt”. Could this be a “sign of the times”? How interesting you should now write on this. There is only One True Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He alone is the answer!


    • Caroline,
      When I first read the book 45 or so years ago things had not deteriorated to the degree they have now. It is becoming much easier to see current events reflected in the book.


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