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The MATRIX is a computer-generated virtual reality which is fed directly into the victim’s brain.

The victim is unaware of this. He thinks he’s living in “the real world”, when he’s actually hooked up to a sophisticated life support system run by a machine.

Fortunately, a group of freedom fighters have managed to escape. Morpheus is one of them. He is only one of many. We meet them later in the film series. There are actually thousands of people who have been freed from the MATRIX. They live in a vast subterranean city, ZION, the last enclave of free men on planet Earth.

Morpheus spends his time rescuing prisoners from the MATRIX. On board his ship,  the Nebuchadnezzar,  he and his crew plug into the MATRIX and enter into the virtual reality world that billions of people share electronically. He personally initiates contact with individuals who, like NEO,are seekers. A seeker is a human victim of the Matrix who nevertheless suspects something. For some reason he or she is not completely satisfied with the digital “world” being fed into his/her cerebral cortex.  Somehow seekers manage by introspection or contemplation to wonder about purpose—why am I here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of reality? What is reality?

These questions, once asked, will not go away. They are like “a splinter in your mind”. A seeker is a human being who wonders whether the reality they can see and hear and taste and smell and feel is all there is. A seeker suspects something. Cat Steven’s line, “it’s hard to be calm when you’ve found something going on,” is profoundly appropriate.

Morpheus and his team have a way of detecting seekers and they go out after them, one at a time. They don’t try to wake up non-seekers (not only would they FREAK OUT, but they would make such a fuss the MATRIX would catch on right away.) When they make contact, they rely on the natural curiosity of seekers. Eventually they lead them to accept the offer that allows them to be detached from the MATRIX.

For instance, Morpheus tells Neo, “You are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.”

When Neo takes the red pill, he’s told “The pill you took is part of a trace program. It’s designed to disrupt your input/output carrier signal so we can pinpoint your location.”  What this means is that although Morpheus has made digital contact with Neo in the virtual reality world of the Matrix, they don’t know yet which pod contains Neo’s actual physical body. The pill disconnects Neo from the central computer and he essentially “wakes up” from his simulated reality, and takes a torturous ride into the real world. Like Cypher says  “buckle your seat belt, Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye.”  And when it does, Neo’s body is disconnected and flushed into the sewers.

Morpheus surreptitious rescue program is a one-on-one, one-at-time struggle. But Morpheus is actually after something even bigger. Morpheus wants to take down the Matrix.  He knows he can’t do it by himself, but the Oracle has told him that he will find THE ONE.

THE ONE is the man out there who will have the power to overcome the power of the Matrix.

Let’s talk about this for a moment. When we talk about “power” we’re not just talking about physical power. Every SF plot since the beginning of the genre has always relied on physical power to destroy the bad guy, or the bad guys. The MATRIX has set the SF world on it’s ear. What they’ve managed to show is that physical power alone cannot necessarily triumph over will-power.

Let me explain.

Most of the action in the MATRIX is not in the “real” world, it’s in the digital world of virtual reality.

Neo does not actually physically win his fist-fight/gun-fight battle with the Agents.  Most of the  battle scenes in the Matrix are not “real”. The fight in the subterranean tunnels against the Sentinels are “real”, but the gunfight in the lobby and the helicopter crash against the side of the building isn’t “real”. These are computer-generated images (including sight, sound, smell, taste and pain) fed into the brains of the participants. When Neo is fighting Agent Smith, Neo is lying on a couch in the Nebuchadnezzar.  The action is a digitally-induced artificial reality.

These “digital encounters” are really a contest between the central computer which generates the overall communal “reality”, and the “unplugged” resistance fighters like Morpheus. It’s the force of Morpheus’ will against the WILL of the central computer. The central computer wills Neo to die, and Neo resists by willing the central computer to fail. It’s all a contest of wills. In fact, to simplify the situation, it’s not absurd to say that Neo is “THE ONE” whose will it is to “break the will” of the Matrix. In the last scene of the first film Neo even wills himself to fly, which is definitely not part of the program!

Pretty heavy stuff!

But even heavier is the issue the MATRIX raises. What if you were GOD and you created an entire Universe?  Would you call this universe a “virtual reality”?  Probably not. You’d probably say, “This Universe and everything in it, that’s the real reality!”

You see, there’s got to be a basis for distinguishing between the real and the virtual, when the virtual becomes so real you can’t tell it apart from the real!

In the case of the MATRIX, the audience is supposed to assume that the machine world (with the underground tunnels and the Sentinels and the city of Zion) is the real world. Morpheus says so himself when he says to Neo, “Welcome to the desert of the real.” The real world is the original planet that’s been decimated by the war between human beings and machines. We have to take this as a given. This in turn allows us to differentiate between actual reality and the concept of a manufactured “virtual reality”.

So assuming that we can claim the original planet as being the real reality,  what’s wrong with starting with the premise that “reality” is the Universe as God created it? Could you consider that possibility for a moment?

If God created the universe, do you suppose he ran into the same problem Agent Smith raised in his talk with Morpheus? (Remember Morpheus bound and drugged and Agent Smith trying to pry out of him the access codes to the Zion mainframe?)  It’s interesting how that Agent Smith explains that when the Matrix was first created it was created to be a perfect world.

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this: the peak of your civilization.

The “perfect human world was a failure”. That’s odd. If GOD supposedly created the Universe why did he create it imperfect?  Is it because “no one would accept the program?” Is this possible? Or is there a better explanation? If we go directly to the Bible, we can read for ourselves in GENESIS how that every time God added a layer to his creation he pronounced the result as “good…good…good…good…and very good.” [1] The Bible records that the creation was perfect in the very beginning.

So now let’s do a little mental tug-of-war. If the Creator of reality created it PERFECT, would you be able to honestly say that it’s still perfect? What about the wars? The suffering? The starvation? The fear? The uncertainty? What about the sick and the dying and the homeless and the fatherless?  How is this  a perfect world?

To make the parallel or the analogy between the MATRIX and the BIBLE on this one point, I’ll have to remind you that Neo’s reality  was no longer “perfect”  because of the will of AI. The will of the Machine Intelligence was to turn human beings into slaves.

The reason why Neo was THE ONE is because he had a stronger will than AI. Morpheus’s hope was that Neo’s “gift” would break the power of the Matrix at the root.

Well, what destroyed God’s “perfect” creation was Satan’s will.

Isaiah records Satan’s rebellion against God: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” [Isaiah 14:13,14]

The Bible tells us that God’s perfect creation was skewered and marred by a Being bent on controlling everything, including making slaves of human beings.

In the MATRIX, THE ONE is who can wrest control of reality away from the will of the Machine.

In the Bible, THE ONE is who can wrest control away from Satan and RESTORE the creation to it’s original perfect condition.  There is no power on earth can do this, because it is not a PHYSICAL BATTLE. You cannot destroy Satan with a nuclear bomb. In fact, you can’t restore a marred creation by destructive force… you can only restore it by creative force.

When Neo flew he demonstrated creative force. He willed himself to break free of the artificial reality of the MATRIX.

The same is true of the broken creation…and the broken lives of the people in that broken Creation. The ONE who will restore the creation will have to be the Creator himself. The only person in human history who claimed to be the Creator (and proved it) is the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

He is THE ONE.




[1] GENESIS 1:12, 1:18,  1:21, 1:25, 1:31