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Stranger Things season three returns to Hawkins, Ind., which is once again the center of evil, otherworldly activity. The Mind Flayer has escaped the Upside Down and set up shop in an abandoned warehouse, where it is gathering human hosts and devouring them. Unless our teen heroes can muster a miracle, Hawkins will be consumed. All of this takes place against a specific 1980s setting—much of the action is set at a new mall anchored by The Gap, Sam Goody, and JC Penney—yet there is a much older reference point that Stranger Things mirrors: the New Testament’s view of the world as a contested battleground where Sin roams.
In her work on Romans, Fleming Rutledge insists that Sin and Death be capitalized in recognition that the New Testament presents them as “independent cosmic Powers.” Sin and Death are Powers who are “untiring, malevolent, and extremely clever” in their war against God’s creation. What is the glowing mass of evil that produces the Mind Flayer if not untiring, malevolent, and extremely clever—at war, for some unknown reason, with Hawkins, Ind.?
Mind - Flayer - Power - Agent - Beings
The Mind Flayer is a relentless Power, an intentional agent that consumes human beings made in the image of God. During one harrowing sequence set at a hospital, the kids manage to defeat two humans who have been turned into unwilling hosts by the Mind Flayer. Their wounded bodies dissolve into a pile of red, pulsating flesh that slithers across the hospital linoleum in search of another Hawkins resident to steal, kill, and destroy. In Stranger Things, the Mind Flayer is a Power akin to Sin and Death. The series invites us into a view of the world that is more enchanted than empirical; more cosmic than cloistered; more spiritually contested than neutral and banal....
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