Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)
Cinema, Film, Movie, Imago Dei, Phenomenal Acts, Special Revelation
Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Nelson, Durrell, "Special Revelation in Cinema: The Imago Dei and Divine Transcendence in Contemporary Film" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2507.
Cinema can motivate soul restoration, alter political views, and confirm or contradict personal religious beliefs. The intention of this dissertation is to show that it is plausible for the transcendent power of special revelation from God to be communicated through the medium of cinema in concert with the imago Dei in humankind. The relationship between a viewer and cinematic characters potentially becomes a visceral experience creating empathy in the viewer with the characters in the story. This relational interaction has the potential of instigating a transcendent experience as both viewer and the protagonist in a film share qualities of the imago Dei. That the cinematic experience triggers dramatic emotions in viewers is undeniable. This study proposes that narrative storytelling in cinema has the potential of functioning like the personal proclamation of the gospel and serving as a conduit by which a person may experience divine transcendence through the work of and an encounter with the Holy Spirit.