Can You Spot These Biblical Parallels in Your Favorite Cartoons?
By Jessie McGriff, Contributing Writer
Have you ever thought about the similarities between the Bible and some of today’s popular animated movies? If you really dig deeply, there’s quite a lot to discover! I think it’s wonderful when movies can reflect the Word of God, and we can see Bible stories guiding these plotlines. However, just because we can see some biblical storylines in these movies does not mean they are safe for everyone to watch. Please check movieguide.org for family-friendly reviews!
Here are some of the parallels I’ve noticed while watching these movies.
Eve and SNOW WHITE
The very first feature length animation SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES is like the very first account of humans in history. Both stories depict a young woman who took a bite of forbidden fruit after someone deceived them.
God placed Eve in the Garden of Eden, which was more beautiful than anyone could ever imagine. She had all the berries and nuts she could want, rivers to swim, and animals to be her friends. She didn’t even have to work for food. All she had to do was reach up into the trees and grab something to eat. She was happy, until one day she looked up at the tree in the center of the garden and noticed its luscious fruit. It looked too good to pass up, and the devil disguised as a snake told her if she ate it, she would be like God.
She believed him.
Eve took a bite of the fruit and then shared it with her husband. She died a spiritual death that day. Instead of wanting to talk with God, she hid from Him. She was afraid because she had eaten the fruit that He had told her not to.
How different Eve’s story would have been if she had been content with everything she was given!
Snow White’s story started out very different to Eve’s.
Instead of growing up in paradise, the 14-year-old girl was raised by her cruel stepmother, the queen. The queen forced Snow White to dress in rags because the queen was jealous of the child’s beauty.
When the queen tried to have Snow White killed, Snow White ran away and came upon a cottage where seven dwarves lived. These dwarves became her family. One day when they left for work, they warned her about talking to strangers. Unfortunately, she didn’t heed their warning.
When an old woman approached the cottage window, Snow White began to speak to her. Unbeknownst to Snow White, the woman was actually the evil queen in disguise.
The animals tried to warn Snow White that this was not a lonely old hag, but she shooed them away and scolded them for frightening the poor old woman.
The hag offered Snow White an apple, promising the girl that if she makes a wish before she takes a bite, the wish will come true. Alas, it was all a deception, and Snow White nearly dies.
Unlike Eve’s story, Snow White’s story ends on a positive note. The prince comes to take her away to live in his castle. Even though they have very different endings, the concept is still the same: Don’t spend your time longing for what you don’t have. Instead be thankful for what you do.
Jonah and Pinocchio
The comparison between Pinocchio and Jonah is probably the most obvious, as both stories involve a man getting swallowed by a whale, but the similarities don’t stop there.
In the story of Jonah, he refuses to listen to God’s calling for him to go to Nineveh and preach.
Instead, he decides to take a cruise in the other direction. As a result of his disobedience, God causes a storm. After days of the ship being tossed upon the waves, Jonah finally admits he angered God, and the crew members tossed him overboard.
As soon as he is thrown into the sea, a whale swallows him. Jonah spends three nights praying, and he finds redemption in the belly of the whale. After the third day, the whale spits him out on dry land, and he can now fulfill his destiny.
Geppetto in the story of PINOCCHIO represents God because just as he makes Pinocchio entirely unique, so God creates a masterpiece in us. The day after Pinocchio comes to life, Geppetto sends him off to school, but Pinocchio, like Jonah decides to chase after what is easier and more fun.
He runs away from his father and his conscience to first pursue a career in the theater before heading off Pleasure Island. Once he realizes that his actions have negative consequences, he returns home only to discover that his father has been swallowed by a whale while looking for him.
Pinocchio journeys to bottom of the sea to search for his father. Once Pinocchio is also swallowed by the same whale, he finds a way to make him sneeze. Then in a sacrificial act, Pinocchio saves his father from the angry whale. His love for his father turns him into a real boy. As a real boy, he decides to be good and do what he’s supposed to do.
Pinocchio and Jonah both find redemption by sacrificing themselves for the good of other people.
Jesus and King Triton
Because of sin, we rebel against God just as THE LITTLE MERMAID’s Ariel rebelled against her father. She only wanted to do live life on her own terms and refused to submit to her father, King Triton. Sound familiar?
The villain, Ursula, represents the devil. Part of her diabolical plan is to steal one of the king’s daughters so she can ultimately steal his power. Ursula manipulates Ariel to sign a contract with and manipulates the deal against the mermaid. Once Ursula has Ariel within her grasp, King Triton comes to rescue his beloved child. He tries to remove the contract, but something more powerful happens.
This reminds me of when Jesus said, “I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.” When Triton realizes, he cannot make what happened disappear, he takes Ariel’s place and becomes a worm.
Triton sacrifices himself for his daughter. His action is symbolic of Jesus dying for us on the cross so that we can be free. At the end when evil is defeated, Triton turns back into himself again just like Jesus rises from the dead.
Moses and Simba
I was listening to the song “Spirit” from the new LION KING, and I immediately thought of Moses, and how the song could be about part of his journey. It could be talking about Moses and the burning bush and his return to Egypt.
As I was immersed in the lyrics, I realized how the number is very fitting for Simba’s return to the pride lands because there are so many parallels that can be drawn between Moses and Simba.
Moses is not born into royalty, but he is adopted and raised as a prince. He could have been a powerful man in Egypt until one day when he discovers that he’s really a Hebrew, he kills an Egyptian task master who’s hurting one of his own people.
After he realizes that he just killed someone, fear forces him to flee and attempt to hide from his past. Moses wanders through the dessert and finds a wife and family of his own. He has no idea that God had other plans.
Years later, Moses stumbles upon a burning bush, and God talks to him through the fire. He tells Moses to go back to Egypt and free His people from the oppression of slavery, but Moses argues with God. Finally, Moses decides he can’t let fear take over his life and instead returns to his homeland. Moses challenges the ruling authority and delivers his people out of bondage. He becomes their new leader.
Simba is a prince and is destined to be the next ruler until his father dies. The villain, Scar, tricks Simba into believing the young lion cub is responsible for the his father, Mufasa’s, death. Scar exiles Simba, who runs away to the jungle to escape his past. He finds a new family in the warthog Pumbaa and meerkat Timon.
He finds contentment with is new friends and home and thinks he could stay there forever, but he knows in his heart that it can’t be permanent.
Years later, Simba’s father, Mufasa, appears to him in the clouds and tells him to go back to Pride Rock to reclaim his rightful place as king. Simba doubts his leadership and argues with his father, but eventually he decides to be brave and returns home. Simba challenges his Uncle Scar and saves his herd from starvation and from his uncle’s oppression. He becomes their new leader. Both Moses and Simba had to be brave despite being afraid.
What parallels have you noticed? Let us know!