The Theology Behind the Movie Constantine

For years now, I’ve been a huge, huge fan of Keanu Reeves’ works. His movies appear on my all-time favorite list and in other places. Even when you are not really meant to like certain characters, handsome, talented and passionate that he is, you would end up, naturally, take a liking to them.

Sometimes, it’s hard to decide which of his movies to watch – oops, I meant rewatch.

But, there’s one that always piques my interest: Constantine.

Much can be said about this comic book movie, but we will take the road from a theological perspective.

What’s the Movie All About?

What’s the Movie All About?

It’s understandable watching movies that can mirror our struggles and harsh life experiences. But, it becomes troubling when a movie testifies for certain religious stuff, blending in a mystery-based and fantasy perspective.

A few things become eminently clear in the first five minutes of the movie and one of them is that the moment the Mexican scavenger found a spearhead, revealed to be the Spear of Destiny, the movie hits the ground heavily, with many refusing to give exorcisms, crucifixes and path to hell a second chance.

Unlike others, this movie matters to me sincerely.

Set in a supernatural world where John Constantine was born with a blessing, or if you’d rather a curse, to see demons and angels in their true form, a mysterious suicide convinces an investigative officer to ask the help of Constantine.

Having committed an irreparable mistake (which will be discussed further in the article), John had no other choice than to seek God’s forgiveness and kindness by dealing with the mystical powers and dark forces which seem to hold a tight grip on some human beings. In simple terms, his only ticket to the path of repentance is through the exorcisms of demon-possessed individuals. That being his mission in life, he agrees to take the case of Angela, the Los Angeles police detective.

But, as the film progresses, eyes are opened and Constantine learns that his fight is not only against one demonic force but with the horrifyingly devastating forces of heaven and hell.

Time for Some Theological Talk

Time for Some Theological Talk

I’d say the reason why the movie didn’t draw many audiences to the screens across the globe is because of the terrible frisson that manifested in the reason why Constantine had to make amends with God by exorcising demons.

See, it’s not every day that you get to see half-angels and half-demons roaming the earth. For me, there’s a fascinating energy at the heart of this ability. But, when you start seeing and hearing things from the other world that you are not supposed to, a dark thought hovers in your mind, constantly reminding you that there is a way to end it.

This is exactly what John did.

He tried to escape his destiny by attempting suicide, which failed when he was revived by the paramedics. But, things didn’t stop here.

As a result of his unpardonable act, he was condemned to live an eternal suicide in hell the moment he dies.

And, that’s when my religious curiosity steps in.

Firstly, when Constantine went to hell, meaning he died– even if it was only for a few seconds and he returned back – and then when he came back, with a new life, doesn’t that mean his salvation was reset?

On a second note, even if he tried to embrace suicide, wasn’t he alive afterward? So, he had the time to believe in the new life and grace God bestowed upon him and repent.

That’s what usually happens, right?

You might have associated yourself with the forces of sin, but once you accept the truth and repent of your sins, the journey to hell is canceled. Well, at least temporarily, until you decide to join the evil forces again.

So, technically, it doesn’t share the two main principles of Christians’ belief for salvation: faith and repentance.

Maybe they put this concept aside to keep the movie going. Who knows?


So, if you are unfamiliar or just never gave this movie a chance, now is the perfect time to welcome it with open arms.