I’d like to thank Oh Amanda from The Disney Blog for the idea that Jacob and Smokey are immature gods. As I put it in her comments section, that’s not just poetic, but I think it’s quite appropriate.
And I wanted to expand on that.
The Island is an Allegory for How We See God
I need to preface this section with a bit about myself. I consider myself a Christian. I was raised in a Reformed, Presbyterian church where I went to Sunday School dutifully every week. But events at my church led to my disillusionment with organized religion and a lack of faith in our supposedly holy religious leaders. My belief in Christianity is currently based more in the actual teachings of Christ – love, compassion, tolerance – and I’ve actually come to believe that other world religions are really just each ancient culture’s way of trying to understand the greater mysteries of life.
But I digress.
Jacob is our God figure in the Judeo-Christian framework. Smokey (the Man in Black) is our Satan figure in this allegory.
Jacob believes in free will, although he seems to have tipped the scales – word choice intentional, because of the cave Smokey showed Sawyer – in his favor by taking a direct hand in the lives of our castaways. He believes that people will make the right decisions… eventually. It’s worth giving them a chance.
Smokey sees nothing but destruction where people are involved. And because he doesn’t care about what actually happens to them, he tempts them to help him escape his prison by giving them the answers to the questions that have been plaguing them.
Many people of faith will scream into the wind, asking God, “WHY?” Why is this happening to me? Why would you do this? Why would you allow this to happen? He doesn’t answer.
And, some would say, that is where Satan comes in. Whispering to us, tempting us with easy answers, easy solutions that make us feel better at the time.
Is this not what is happening on the island? Jacob asks his people to have faith in him. Hurley does. Locke thought he did, although Locke was really Smokey’s pawn the whole time. But Jacob isn’t giving any answers, and even Hurley is starting to get frustrated with that. Will he lose his faith?
Smokey, on the other hand, is willing to tell anyone who will follow him everything he knows. He promised Sawyer the truth. Was it the truth? The whole truth? I doubt it.
Let’s not forget Dr. Faustus and his deal with the devil in exchange for the knowledge he craved.
So the answers are not forthcoming from Jacob. That doesn’t mean he’s bad… just short-sighted when it comes to dealing with mere mortals. He wants faith, but the castaways need more than that. That’s where Smokey comes in, offering what people want most in order to get them to aid him in… whatever diabolical plot he’s got going on.
There have always been religious overtones in LOST. I think we’re just getting it beaten over our heads in this final season that this is what it’s really been all about all along.