Now, let us further explore the Christianity angle and analyze its impact on the engineers’ decision to both destroy humans and their intention to create a sophisticated creature. As Christianity’s message spread all over the world, the engineers realized that their role in engineering life on earth had been forgotten and perhaps, they thought that we would never reach a stage where we would really know the truth behind our existence (I am of course talking about our ability to decode the star maps and come looking for them!). We also see that belief in Christian god is something that Shaw, even after all what she has seen can’t let go. She even argues with David in one of the scenes, where she asserts that the fact that the engineers created us doesn’t negate the existence of god, since the question arises as to who created the engineers!
One of the fascinating facts is that the engineers could have used other ways to obliterate our race on earth. For instance, they could have dumped a load of nuclear weapons that would have resulted in mass extinction. But, they didn’t. Instead, they decided to attempt engineering a semi-biological life-form that would have served as the medium for the extinction of the human race, had it been successful. This is a very important aspect that I believe is key to understand the engineers’ mindset in planning our destruction. Again, I believe it is tied with Christianity and its message. The religion also produced an elaborate rule-set that suggested a way of life that was the one with god. Any other way was not how god intended and anyone following in that path was meant to fail. In addition, the religion also decried the belief in any other god or religious philosophy. Even today, you would find many fundamental Christians claim that religions like Hinduism and Buddhism are pagan religions and that these beliefs need to be destroyed (I am talking of course about people like Pat Robertson from The 700 Club and many other morons on TBN and crazies like the late Jerry Falwell).
In addition to promulgating the idea that there is only one god and he created the universe and life on earth, Christian faith also laid some strong rules as to how morality needed to be perceived and defined the difference between moral and amoral. I believe this was the final nail in the coffin as far as the engineers’ hope for us was concerned. The connection between religion and morality has been explored from a philosophical standpoint for many years. Of late, a few thinkers and biologists have put forward the argument that morality doesn’t necessarily have to be a product of religion. Richard Dawkins in particular talked about this in great detail in his awesome book, The God Delusion. He argues that morality is not something that resulted from a religious belief and that it has a Darwinian explanation. He goes on to explain that altruistic genes, selected by standard evolution imparts natural empathy. He also adds that the perception of morality constantly evolves in society and would eventually lead to liberalism. For more, I would suggest you read The God Delusion. He tackles not just the issue of morality, but also many other aspects of religion that have caused only more problems.
Anyway, the important thing I wanted to convey is the fact that the engineers were peeved with the propagation of Christianity and its message on morality and especially as it pertains to sexual themes. Of course not a lot of people would talk about it, but, from some conversations I have had with staunch Christians, I have come to the conclusion that some of them think that the act of sex involves only the male and female sexual organs. Oral sex of both kinds were considered unnatural and don’t even get me started on anal sex. Such acts are still considered sub-human in many cultures and religions. If you extend that further, you would see people giving religious reasons as to why homosexual relationships are an abomination. Actually, most so called “holy books” of many religions talk about the evils of homosexual relationships. Ever since the last decade, we have consistently seen that there is a large amount of evidence that suggests a biological/genetic ground for homosexuality. But, still, fundamental religious nuts resort to idiotic cleansing rituals to and I quote, “Pray the Gay away”.
It is clear to me that the engineers wanted to turn this religious interpretation of morality on its head. Although the destruction of the human race was the engineers’ primary intention, they wanted to execute their plan in a way the humans would realize the blasphemy they had committed when they created the imaginary christian god. The best way to teach them a lesson would be to do it in all ways possible that would be a complete antithesis of Christianity and its message on morality.
Before I talk about how the engineers used this message to plot our destruction, I would like to briefly discuss the multiple religious symbolism that we saw in the film. Right from the beginning, the concept of religion was consistently discussed in the film. Before Prometheus lands on LV 223, we saw David establish a neuro-visor link with Shaw, who was still on hypersleep. We saw an interesting conversation going on between Shaw and her father and in the short time David saw her dream, we saw evidence of religious discord between two faiths and how one’s belief in a god is very strong. We also saw what could presumably be her dad placing a crucifix pendant in Shaw’s hands. The pendant had a life of its own in the film. Prior to her inspection, David tried to remove the pendant to which Shaw reacted strongly. Only after he promised that he would keep it safe, did she let him remove it. During the final scene, when she rescued David, the first thing she asked him was for the pendant. Such an attachment to the pendant could also be viewed as her strong belief in her god and how she still clings on to her faith, irrespective of all what had happened. As I had mentioned earlier, Shaw also argues that the question of who created the engineers was still open. So, it is very clear that she believes in an imaginary god and is unwilling to let go of her belief even in the face of massive evidence against her line of thinking. In addition to Christian symbolism, one cannot deny the fact that ancient Egyptian philosophies had influenced the filmmakers as well.
Development of Alien creature
Finally, we have arrived at the point where it all started – the conception and engineering of the Alien creature itself. I had previously mentioned in my Mural analysis sections that it was clear that the engineers had figured out the life-cycle of the creature and how it would subdue and infect its host (The presence of facehugger on the mural). In my opinion, based on the design of the creature, the way it was intended to sexually abuse the host by orally raping the person is somehow reflective of the engineers showing a giant middle finger to our religious perception of morality! Actually, there is more evidence that would add weight to this idea. For instance, let us revisit the movie Alien for a moment. When Ripley learns the truth about the mission to retrieve the biological specimen, she confronts Ash. During the following struggle, it becomes evident that Ash is an android.
The remaining crew finally subdue him and interrogate him. The interrogation scene goes like this:
Ripley: Ash, can you hear me? Ash?
Ash: [speaking in an electronic, distorted voice] Yes, I can hear you.
Ripley: What was your special order?
Ash: You read it. I thought it was clear.
Ripley: What was it?
Ash: Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.
Parker: The damn company. What about our lives, you son of a bitch?
Ash: I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.
Ripley: How do we kill it Ash? There’s gotta be a way of killing it. How? How do we do it?
Ash: You can’t.
Parker: That’s bullshit.
Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
Parker: Look, I am… I’ve heard enough of this, and I’m asking you to pull the plug.
Ash: [Ripley goes to disconnect Ash, who interrupts] Last word.
Ash: I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.
I think it’s no accident that there was a dialogue like this in Alien. I am positive that this message was used as a major theme in developing the main plot of Prometheus. If we work that backwards, it is clear what the engineers’ intentions were. They wanted to engineer a creature that was unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. In addition, it was also designed to be structurally perfect that can survive just anywhere in the cosmos, thanks to its silicon base later in its life-cycle. I am sure most of you would agree with me that such a creature is absolutely invincible, thanks to not only its physical strength, but also due to its lack of empathy of any kind. It knows only one thing – Kill anything that moves. All it is interested in is propagating its race, infect as many hosts as possible. It really doesn’t care if the host is a man or a woman or a child. The engineers’ intent in creating a creature with such a lack of empathy just shows how pissed off they were with us. In fact, they even went further. They used Christian symbolism in the mural and cast the Alien creature as their version of “son of god”! Its like them telling us, “You believe in this religion and think that your son of god died on the cross for the sake of you? Well, let us define him differently. Our version of son of god will orally rape you, lay his seed inside your body and result in rebirth by breaking out of your chest. That is the only way for your salvation!” Remember, in the second part of my mural analysis I mentioned that I was deliberately avoiding talking about the posture of the Alien on the mural and that I would do that later? Well, I think now is the time. Observe the Alien again in the following picture. The way the creature is standing, with its hands stretched out is very much similar to Jesus on the cross.
Now, take a look at Jesus on the cross. I don’t think it is mere coincidence. It is deliberate on part of the filmmakers to connect the creature and the Christian faith and its message.
Not only the mural, if you observed the engineer’s spaceship when it’s leaving, from the front, one side of the ship looks like a slightly stretched out hand that looks very similar to a famous picture of Jesus’s hands. It is likely that I am seeing things, nevertheless, I wanted to mention it. Look at the following couple of pictures.
So, my conclusion is that the engineers wanted to teach us a lesson and hence, designed the creature as an antithesis to Christianity and its message and wanted to use it as a medium for our destruction. But, something unexpected happened. They had developed the schematics of the organism of course, but they were unable to create the Alien. From the madness on LV 223, it is clear that the reverse engineered black goo was extremely potent. A mutated worm killed Milburn and we all saw what happened to a mutated Fifield. The engineers were able to get some of their plans right, like as I talked about earlier, shedding of organic cells and replacing it with silicon. But, it is also likely that they underestimated the potency of the black goo. That’s why the entire colony of engineers was almost destroyed by the breakout. Based on the hologram that David saw inside the bridge, one could glean the fact that the surviving engineers had enough with their “failure” in creating the creature that they decided to leave LV 223 and dump the entire cargo on earth.
Now, coming back to the Alien itself, how come they were unable to bring their plan to fruition. It is my view that they had overlooked one essential aspect in creating the creature – the act of sex. The creature they had designed was meant to abuse you sexually in every way possible, yet, they didn’t know that the creature had to be “born” first from the act of sexual reproduction. This is the reason why they were unable to create the creature as they had planned. When the infected Holloway had sex with Shaw, it resulted in the birth of the giant facehugger, which ultimately resulted in the birth of Deacon or proto-alien. This whole thing makes the Alien partly human and it is absolutely fascinating that the engineers’ doomsday machine for humans needed humans for its creation! Imagine what might have happened, if David hadn’t spiked Holloway’s drink with the black goo? That’s why I find David integral to the movie. But, I must confess, it isn’t that surprising at all. In Alien, Ash was a very important character and androids have always had a notorious reputation in the entire Alien franchise. This is one of the reasons why I would like to talk about the role of David and androids a couple of posts later. There is also another aspect to the act of reproduction that I would like to discuss in my next part, where I talk about how Prometheus Part II would look like.
I think I have finally been able to convince you of my thoughts on why the engineers conceived the alien. They were pissed off with us for creating a christian god and propagating Christianity and its message on morality. They conceived the creature as an antithesis to this belief and wanted to use it to destroy us. But, during the course of developing the creature, they overlooked the fact that the creature had to be born first. The potent reverse engineered black goo they used to conceive the creature turned on them and almost destroyed their colony on LV 223. Prometheus’s visit to LV 223 in 2093, reawakened this process and thanks to David’s intervention, resulted in the birth of Deacon or proto-alien.