This week in the podcast, we look at the world of Harry Potter. These stories hold a special place for a lot of us because we grew up with them. So what can a boy with a lightning bolt scar, a magical school and an evil wizard teach us about theology?
Harry Potter has two major themes that are reflected in the Bible. The first theme is that of the Chosen One, the idea that all things in this history have been leading to a specific person who can perform a specific task, defeat a certain enemy or save a certain group. This idea is something that is eluded from the beginning1 and then finally confirmed in The Order of the Phoenix, when Sybill Trelawney’s prophecy is revealed. “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…”2. We see the same thing in the Bible with Jesus being the Chosen One. From the statement in Genesis3 to the prophecies of Isaiah 4, the Old Testament points to Jesus. Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements of the prophecies to become the One chosen by God to bring salvation.
The second Harry Potter theme that we see in the Bible is the idea of a hidden world within a world. Throughout Harry Potter, we are constantly reminded that the Wizarding World is hidden from sight from muggles5. With rare exception the only people who see this world are those that are a part of it. The same is true with the spiritual world that surrounds us. The Bible doesn’t reveal a lot about it but it is mentioned enough times to give us a glimpse of it. “‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”6. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”7. While the parallels aren’t exact; they do present a picture of the spiritual world that exists around us that is invisible to most.
We hope that this brief overview of Harry Potter inspires you to look into the prophecies about Jesus more and to contimplate the realities of the spiritual world around us. Harry Potter is a story that we look forward to returning to often. We’d love to hear from you about stories that have helped you understand faith more, stories you’d like for us to cover or any questions or comments that this discussion brought up.
- From the very beginning of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry is referred to as special in both narration and by the characters. ↩
- Rowling, J. K., and Mary GrandPré. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2004. pg. 741. Print. ↩
- Gen 3:15 ↩
- Isaiah 53:5-12 ↩
- http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/International_Statute_of_Wizarding_Secrecy ↩
- 2 Kings 6:16-17 ↩
- Eph 6:12 ↩