Theological debate continues to rage over the new film “The Shack,” with critics taking issue with God being portrayed as a woman, among other disputed themes and elements.
Some, though, like country music star Tim McGraw — who stars in the movie — don’t appear too concerned with the decision to have actress Octavia Spencer portray the Almighty.
In fact, when the Knoxville News Sentinel asked McGraw earlier this month how he would “answer someone who questions how God is portrayed … in this film,” he responded by saying that humans simply don’t know what God looks like — and added in a quip about Spencer.
“I would answer it, ‘We don’t know.’ I don’t know. I know if I told you what God looked like and felt like then I’d be telling you a story. I just think we don’t know,” he said. “God manifests himself, herself or itself in a way that we need it, in a way that we can grab a hold of and a way that we can put our arms around.”
Then, McGraw proceeded with laughter, “When I die and I’m lucky enough or fortunate enough and brave enough throughout my life to get into Heaven and I see Octavia Spencer sitting there then all is good.”
McGraw plays Willie, the best friend of main character Mack — a man who is unable to overcome pain and grief after his daughter is kidnapped and killed. That’s when God (aka Spencer) emerges along with Jesus and the holy spirit to help guide him toward forgiveness.
The News Sentinel also asked McGraw about his own faith journey and whether he’s ever asked God why he has forsaken him, to which the country singer had an intriguing response.
“Most of the time I ask, ‘Why have I forsaken God?’ I look at myself and ask that question when probably the better question is to say, ‘Where are you God, and I’ll let you in,'” he said. “Instead of thinking that you’ve abandoned God, push yourself in the other direction like, ‘God, how can I get closer?'”
As Faithwire previously reported, the debate over “The Shack” continues, though audiences have been quite favorable of the film, which is based on a wildly popular book by the same name. Still, critics have questioned some of the theological elements embedded in the movie, wondering whether those elements cross into questionable territory.
“The book is not based on biblical teachings,” Ben Matherly, a United Methodist minister, posted on Facebook. And Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, also took aim at the move, according to the Times Free Press.
“In the shack, ‘Mack’ meets the divine Trinity as ‘Papa,’ an African-American woman; Jesus, a Jewish carpenter; and ‘Sarayu,’ an Asian woman who is revealed to be the Holy Spirit. The book is mainly a series of dialogues between Mack, Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu,” Mohler recently wrote. “Those conversations reveal God to be very different than the God of the Bible. ‘Papa’ is absolutely non-judgmental, and seems most determined to affirm that all humanity is already redeemed.”
Others, though, say that the book and film are fiction and that both deal with important and relatable themes of forgiveness and love. Read more about the controversy here.
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