Faith & Fandom
Destiny 2: Overcoming the Darkness
The Destiny series has begrudgingly become a fan favorite of gamers. Many were initially disappointed in some of the lackluster aspects of the original, but felt a bit of redemption with each DLC. The much more satisfactory outing of the sequel helped solidify it as a franchise. True, it still has its faults and frustrations, but those who love the game are consistently loyal and grind away hard in the shadow of the Traveler.
The guardians of Destiny are warriors that are infused and maintained by the light of this other worldly magnanimous being called "The Traveler,” a being that has fought for life and gives his guardians light. This grants the guardians strength, abilities, and the power to fight darkness, and even overcome death. This makes for fun and convenient gameplay. After playing any amount of time through either game, you'd recognize that if it wasn't for the light you receive from the traveler, you would be in a lot of trouble.
You are sent out to fight against the forces of darkness all across the galaxy, and your light is what gives you the abilities to hold your own. When you are up against giant war gorillas, huge combat robots, or completely overwhelmed in a room full of explosive moon zombies, you are likely going to explode or die violently on many occasions. Your light is not only what brings you back but allows you to overcome.
When Jesus is referenced as the light in the early parts of John, we see this powerful verse: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). One of the interesting things about this verse is the multiple ways the end of the verse has been translated. The phrase "has not overcome it" has been translated into a handful of different statements. "Can never extinguish it.” "Did not comprehend it.” "Darkness has never put it out.” "Darkness has not mastered it.” "Darkness did not overtake it.” "Darkness did not perceive it.” "Darkness apprehended it not.”
All of these are subtle nuances to the translations, but they all tell the same story. When the darkness goes up against the light, the darkness doesn’t win. That not only goes for the guardians of Destiny, but for the believers who carry the same light that Jesus Christ brought into the world.
Through the majority of the Destiny series, there are a small army of guardians all fighting together to push back the tide of darkness across the universe. Then comes Ghaul. Dominus Ghaul, a cabal leader and commander of the Red Legion, comes to take the traveler and claim the power of the light as his own. He says, "I command Legions. Conquered worlds. Waged war across the galaxy to prove my worth. I alone am worthy of the Traveler's Light." When you are talking about a
heist of a moon sized sentient being of limitless power, it doesn't sound super practical, but Ghaul pulls it off and makes it look rather effortless. He separates the guardians from the Traveler and the light. This leaves them powerless and vulnerable, effectively causing them to walk in darkness. This means they cannot teleport, use their overwhelming strength and skills, and the biggest factor is that they cannot overcome death. Ghaul not only defeats the guardians, but he strips them of their strength and identity. "Welcome to a world without Light," says Ghaul. They don't know how to function without the light because they have built their entire life, identity, and purpose around it.
Christians equally have a dependency on the light, or at least we should. If we are calling ourselves Christians but not walking in the light, we are just putting on a show and not living in truth or power. Jesus makes this statement in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” I love this statement. It serves as an instruction and also a promise. He is instructing us that IF we follow Him, we can't walk in darkness, because if we are in darkness, we aren't following where He leads. He also makes the promise that IF we are following Him, we will have not only light, but the light of life.
While playing one level without the light was fun, they knew we wouldn't be down for that, so your guardian becomes the only one in the universe to regain their light, placing the fate of the world and the light in your hands. In reality, this carries a lot of truth. The fate of light and, in part, the world is in your hands. That is why it is so important to cling to the light.
When the traveler is taken, a shard of the traveler is found on some remote part of the world, and you venture through danger and peril in order to regain your light. I'm super grateful it's easier to find access to the light for us as believers. Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Psalm 119:130, "The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."
The psalmist repeatedly makes it clear to us that to regain, strengthen, or brighten the light, we draw closer to God's word. I know that for me, when I've been distant from God and I get into the His word again, it's like fresh air. I can breathe again, like everything is clearer than it was before. While it may seem tedious and boring to some, it's way better than wandering into the wilderness being attacked by alien mutant dogs. Ghaul wanted the light. He wanted what the guardians had. He wanted that power, connection, and life. He went to all the trouble to try and capture it, steal it, and force it into his life. He employed methods of darkness to live in the power of the light, and as we already pointed out in John 1:5, darkness can't fully grasp the light. He wanted the effects of it without embracing the truth of it. He wanted the power of the light while residing in the darkness.
That is the same attitude of so many people in our society. They want the effects of the light without the truth of it. That's why so many parents send kids to Christian camps, schools, and student ministries, even though they don't believe it. They see light present even when they don't understand it. The same is with adults that will partner with Christians for community service, social events, or small groups. They see light, want what they see in others, but don't fully embrace it. It's not likely they are going to kidnap someone to try and force the light out of them, but it really is hard to understand the reality of light when you are bound in darkness. It's like a gradual process of the darkness being broken away so that you can truly see.
Ghaul had no patience for the gradual process or for stepping away from the darkness. Check this scripture in John 3:19, where the author writes, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." Ghaul didn't want to be a guardian. He didn't want to fight for justice. He just wanted power. So many believers come to God because they want a sense of security, or peace, or purpose, but we don't actually want to walk in light. We still like the darkness and want to walk in it. We want the benefits of God without the obedience or responsibility. It didn't work for Ghaul, and it won't work for us. Psalm 82:5 says, "But these oppressors know nothing;they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core." Ghaul fought and screamed, puffing his chest. He made all the noise because he wanted something yet was blind to the reality of it. This is what we are when we try to have that light or even a small semblance of light without knowing God.
Ghaul allowed his obsession to come between the one creature in existence that actually cared about him.
The Consul: This fixation is over! You have already been chosen, not by some inert machine, but by me! I chose you, the day I found you! Remember who you are, what you are! You are Cabal! Cabal wait for nothing! You will take the Light! Do what you swore, and give me the vengeance you promised! [Ghaul looks down at the Speaker's broken mask] The Consul: Look at me, student. Look at me! [The Consul crushes the Speaker's mask with his foot; enraged, Ghaul reaches out and grasps his mentor with one hand, strangling him.] Ghaul: I will do what I swore, old friend. I am Ghaul, and I will take the Light. [The Consul chokes out his last breath. Ghaul drops the Consul's corpse to the floor, and once again looks out to the Traveler...]
While you may not choke out your mentor, you need to be aware that the darkness in our lives affects the people in our lives. How we treat others can be one of the quickest paths into darkness, or into light.
"Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them." - 1 John 2:9-11
Ghaul was so obsessed with the notion that he deserved the light, and when he finally realized he wasn't going to be chosen he decided to force the light. He sacrificed The Consul, someone that truly wanted the best for him. He wrecked lives, and only grew in more darkness in his actions. He was vindictive towards the Traveler and the guardians, and the darkness increased in him. As the verse stated, "they do not know where they are going." Our darkness causes us to be distant and bitter towards God and to treat our brothers and sisters in ways they don't deserve. We can't see the truth or find any valid direction for our life as long as we still choose to walk in darkness.
We have to be willing to let go of whatever darkness we are clinging to so that we can move towards the light. It's that conflict and struggle that rips away at us.
After all Ghaul went through to capture, enslave, and manipulate the light, it's what destroyed him. The light was so strong that it shone through all his darkness, and it obliterated him. Do we want the light to empower us, or cause us to hide? Do we want to find joy in it, or do we want to keep living lives that make us ashamed to be near it? Don't expect to have light in your life if you are choosing darkness. Walking outside of the light for the guardians stripped them of resurrection, power, and sweet, sweet double jumps. Walking outside of the light for a believer means you are stripped of joy, peace, purpose, fruit, and all the other things that walking in light produces. If you realize that you are heading down a path to darkness, stop and steadily move back into the light.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light." - Ephesians 5:8-13