Warning: This post does have spoilers for the Disney+ series What If.
As I started watching the Disney+ series What If… I had very mixed feelings. The stories I knew but were slightly altered were just alright. It seemed like a reach of a television show. Then episode 8 happened. And all the stories were suddenly connected. And I liked it. I was glad I stuck through and actually watched all the episodes, even if it seemed a little pointless at times.
As I reflect on season 1, I cannot get out of my head how the Watcher, Uatu, has some striking resemblance to God. First, he cannot interfere. He must watch and let the people make their own decision. Free will. However, the turning point is that Uatu must interfere because a force is threatening him and his existence, thus an entire universe/multiverse.
How does the Watcher intervene? He chooses a group of people and brings them together for his purpose. He does not tell them how to win. He does not even tell them what they must do. He says, “You have been chosen for a mission that is both highly dangerous and absolutely necessary for the continuation of life as you know it… this mission requires a team… you are my last hope to save all of them (universes).” He tells them their enemy, while Dr. Strange tells them about the stones and the need to separate Ultron’s body from the stones. The Watcher sits back and watches the team come together, make a plan, and takes pride his decision to pick them.
Of course, as things progress, they do not go according to the team’s plan. But when it is all said and done, Dr. Strange said, “You foresaw every moment from the failed infinity crusher to Killmonger’s betrayal and my… (your sacrifice).”
This is the part I cannot get past. The Watcher, foresaw. He knew what was going to happen, yet the team was 100% free to make their own decisions. He knew that the crusher was going to fail, yet he let them try. He knew that Killmonger would betray the team, yet he chose him to be part of that team so the team could accomplish the goal.
I am currently writing a paper on rectifying God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. Sovereignty means that God is the complete ruler, supreme ruler, and ultimate power. Some people would argue that if God is completely in control, then man is not truly free. Of course, when I chose this topic, I did not realize it would have me researching and exploring themes I have always tried to ignore like predestination, election, and free will. However, as I watched this god-like character call a team together, give them their purpose, and then let them make the decisions and actions to accomplish the goal I saw a vivid picture of how God can be sovereign, and man can be free.
The Watcher chose the team because he foresaw the ending. They were predestined because He foresaw. He did more than just foresee though. He led them. He showed them. He let them make their own decisions. Yet, everything even the messed-up attraction, failed crusher, and betrayal of one of their own was used to accomplish the goal.
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29).”