The ending of David Fincher’s “Seven” has never left me. The grizzled detective Somerset has seen terrible things, and his narration brings the story to a close.
“Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.”
“I agree with the second part.” It is a hopeless resignation to keep on fighting, but for no reason and for nothing of value. No love, no beauty, no hope. He is not the only writer to walk down this road. Read the work of Palahniuk or Vonnegut. The naturalists of our day say the same things. In one breath there is the teaching that we are only matter and energy, and there is nothing beyond flesh and blood. In the next there is a cry for “rights” and “mercy.” Neither of these ideas are found in the animal kingdom that they claim as lineage. A leopard does not have mercy when grabbing a baby warthog and having her fill from its flesh, all while mother and father whine in grief.
There are even Christ-followers I know who subscribe to this notion. That it is all vanity. That everything is terrible, but we have to be faithful. I used to think this. Like C.S. Lewis, I thought that until the end of all things, evil would reign. It is this pessimistic romanticism that says to keep on swinging even though there is no hope of winning.
But I have come to learn that there is more than war and pain and sadness. I have come to learn that there is beauty in the world. There is love and sacrifice and hope. Not all the stories are tragedies. Sometimes the addict puts down the needle. Sometimes the baby in the foster system finds a loving home and grows up into an emotionally present person. Sometimes the marriage survives the infidelity, and forgiveness rains down to wash away the grime of yesterday.
I know that there is darkness. I know that sin has stained every part of our world. But I still see God’s hand underneath the stain. The beauty of Eden is still there. I live in a city of poverty and violence, and still there is hope.
“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” Or as the book says, “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him…namely Jesus.”