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The Pandorica Opens (with a Big Bang)

The Pandorica Opens (5:12) and ‘The Big Bang’ (5:13) conclude Series Five of Doctor Who.

The Pandorica (a Big Black Box) is, according to River Song, ‘A box; a cage; a prison. It was built to contain the most feared thing in all the universe.’ According to the Doctor it is, ‘a fairy tale, a legend. It can’t be real.’

But it is real, Doctor, and you’re right; it is built to contain, ‘A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies; the most feared being in all the cosmos…that nothing could stop, or hold, or reason with, that would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.’

Now, as much as I enjoyed revisiting these two exciting episodes, time and space conspire against mentioning more than a few facts.

First, we discover that the Pandorica itself (like the Roman Legion to which Rory’s consciousness has become attached via a Nestene Duplicate) owes its origins to Amy’s childhood fascination for both the ‘Legend of Pandora’s Box’ and the ‘Hot’ Romans who invaded Britain. It’s worth noting that in the Greek legend, after all the evils in the world were released as Pandora chose to open the box, one last, winged creature flew free; the Spirit of Hope, named Elpis. Though evil had come into the world, so too had hope.

We learn that the Pandorica has been constructed for the Doctor by an alliance of his enemies; the Daleks, Sontarans, Terileptil, Slitheen, Chelonians, Nestene, Drahvin, Sycorax, Haemo-goth, Zygon, Atraxi, and Draconians; who have all now arrived at Stonehenge to imprison him and prevent him from destroying the Universe with the explosion of his Tardis. Later, he will be freed of course; freed to save the universe, not to destroy it. The Tardis does explode (with River Song inside) but isn’t it under the control of the mysterious ‘Silence’ who are themselves set on killing the Doctor?

In fact, the Doctor, uses his prison, to save all of space and time by piloting the Pandorica into the explosion of the Tardis.

As River Song explains to Amy, ‘The TARDIS is still burning. It’s exploding at every point in history. If you threw the Pandorica into the explosion, right into the heart of the fire… Then let there be light. The light from the Pandorica would explode everywhere at once, just like he said; a restoration field, powered by an exploding TARDIS, happening at every moment in history. Oh, that’s brilliant. It might even work!’

Scripture contains several instances of men whose times of imprisonment became the means of deliverance not just for themselves but for others, even the ones who imprisoned them.

  • In Genesis, Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel) is thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers. Choosing not to kill him they sell him to passing Ishmaelite traders who take him to Egypt. There, as a slave, Joseph eventually rises to prominence in Pharaoh’s court and, in a time of famine, he saves even his brothers. Later, he would say, ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’ Genesis 50:20.
  • In Paul’s New Testament letter to the Philippians, written while he was in prison in Rome, he said, ‘Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.…. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.’ Philippians 1:12-14.
  • And Christ himself, nailed to the cross, ridiculed by the crowd for his apparent powerlessness, was in the process of accomplishing his greatest miracle; the opening of the way to peace with God for sinful humanity.

When sin came into the world, hope followed after, and this is a principal that still holds true in the life of everyone who has believed in Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

Even our worst experiences, illnesses, the very circumstances that seem to imprison us, may become, in Jesus’ hands, the means of our deliverance, and perhaps not ours alone.

‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.’            Romans 8:28 NLT

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