Is the Holy Spirit the Same as The Force in Star Wars?

So, Rebel One, the first Start Wars “inbetween-isode” is on Netflix this month, I guess its time to answer some of the questions from my geekier friends. Like, “Are The Force (Star Wars) and The Holy Spirit (Christianity) the same thing?”
In a word, “no.” But, one could certainly see where the two might get confused, particularly among those, who like me, fantasize about a future that looks very ugh like ‘a galaxy long ago and far away.”
** Caveat: I’m no Star Wars expert, merely a life-long casual fan of the franchise. So, if I miss out on a few details, please have mercy. **
Let me start by saying, that I will be thinking about the Force as expressed by Obi Wan Kenobi in Episode IV: A New Hope, rather than the way that it is expressed by Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Someone may be able to teach me the proper way to harmonize these two interpretations, but for the time being they are as different as Matthew and Luke’s descriptions of Jesus’ birth, all of which are, sadly, topics for another post.
But back to the question at hand. Is the mythical “Force” which binds all life together in a mystical harmony, discernible and even controllable by some but available to all, the same as the Holy Spirit mentioned in both John’s gospel and The Acts of the Apostles? Again, no. But they do share a lot of the same qualities. And, moreover, they have been confused before, even before western culture had any understanding of Lucas’ Force.
Details of Midi-chlorian count aside, the Force, as Lucas explains it in several spots throughout the movies is most similar to one of several ‘Pantheistic’ religions from our culture or history. The notion that God, or perhaps more appropriately divinity (abstract, not personal) pervades everything and everything participates in God is a specific characteristic of pantheism (lit. “Everything=God”).
Orthodox Christianity holds, to the contrary, that While the Holy Spirit was present in creation, brooding over the deep, it is not a part of the created order, neither is it pervasive throughout creation in the same sense that The Force is. Rather, the Holy Spirit is  a part of the triune God and, simultaneously, exactly identical with that same God (more on Trinidadian Theology later). Moreover, God bestowed the Holy Spirit on humanity both by his first act of love (breathing life into the first human) and as his own free gift to those who believe (in St. John and Acts). Thus, the Spirit is a part of humanity as a gift, not as a part of our natural make-up. The Holy Spirit resides in human kind, rather than animals, tress, etc. (more on the spirits of pets, later), because it was in God’s intention that Humans be other than the rest of the created order.
Thus, while it may seem that The Force and the Holy Spirit as similar in many ways, they are not the identical. Though they serve to connect the faithful, provide charisms and promote virtue, they are theologically distinct. This is, frankly, good for Orthodox Christianity but bad for those religious professionals that would grow up to be Jedis.
Cover image by aitoff on pixabay

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