|M. Neo, the protagonist, initially goes by the name
'Thomas Anderson' in public.
|S. The name 'Thomas' reminds us of the disciple of
Jesus that history has nicknamed 'Doubting Thomas'. Similarly, Thomas/Neo often struggles
with belief first as a lost man coming to the truth, then as a saved man doubting
|M. Thomas will later be called 'Neo'. (To strengthen
the allegory, we will call the character 'Thomas' until he takes the red pill, and
afterward we will call him 'Neo'.)
|S. The name 'Neo' means 'New'. The names of 'Thomas'
and 'Neo' contrast the old and new conditions. Scripture says that when a sinful man comes
to salvation, he is a "new creature, the old things passed away" (2 Corinthians.
5:17). 'Thomas' is the old, 'Neo' is the new. When the Fed-Ex man brings the package to
Thomas/Neo's cubicle early in the film and asks, "Thomas Anderson?" Thomas
replies, "Yeah, that's me." This acceptance of the name indicates his initial
lost condition and blind immersion in it. After Neo is saved from the Matrix, Agent Smith
continues to call Neo "Mr. Anderson", to which Neo replies with conviction,
"My name is NEO," signifying his understanding of his new self. To parallel
Satan's persistence, Agent Smith calls Neo "Mr. Anderson" 11 times in the film.
In contrast, Morpheus and crew always call him "Neo", reinforcing the truth of
who he wants to be, and who he indeed becomes after salvation.
|M. When we first see Thomas, he is sleeping. It is
apparently nighttime. Thomas is wearing black.
|S. The terms 'sleep' and 'darkness' are used to
describe a lost person in scripture. "We are not of night, nor of darkness, so let us
not sleep as others do
" (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5). Until he is saved, Thomas IS
always literally asleep in his womblike pod of the machine 'power plant' in the real
world! This is a striking portrayal of how a lost person is spiritually asleep even though
he perceives himself awake in a fallen world.
|M. As Thomas sleeps, his computer is
|S. This is the first indication of Thomas' discomfort
with his life. He is searching, which is the key to finding truth. "Seek and you will
" (Matthew 7:7). Trinity later confirms this searching when she tells
Thomas, "I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night
you sit at your computer. You're looking
" Thomas lives alone, which reflects
his desire to separate from a fallen world.
|M. The media on Thomas' computer seems to portray
Morpheus as a wanted criminal worldwide, when in truth Morpheus is a good man who wants to
|S. This might be paralleled to much of the blatantly
anti-God / anti-Christian media of today.
|M. The computer screen clears and a message appears
from Trinity, who comes from outside the Matrix world. Trinity warns: "Wake up, Neo.
The Matrix has you!" And he wakes up!
|S. The 'Trinity' character may at times portray God.
God is paradoxically depicted in scripture as a Trinity a single Being, yet made up
of three Persons known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This scene parallels the Spirit of
God convicting the lost person of his dire condition. "Wake up! [Sin and the fallen
world] has you!" Or as Ephesians 5:14 puts it, "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from
the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Thomas strangely awakens as if he somehow
heard the message internally, which hints at the spiritual nature of the warning.
|Trinity does not live in the Matrix illusion; she came
from outside it. Similarly, Jesus said, "I am not of the world" (John 17:14).
Scripture states clearly that Jesus Christ was not just a mere man - He was God Himself,
come to earth as a man (Colossians 2:9, Philippians 2:5-11, John 1:1,14, etc.). Just as
Trinity's words on Thomas' manmade computer were a message written by someone from the
outside world, the scriptures also claim to be a supernaturally inspired message from God
to mankind as human writers were controlled by God's Spirit.
|Trinity initiates contact with Thomas, just as God
takes the initiative in salvation: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent
Me draws him
" (Jesus in John 6:44). God will draw, man must respond.
|M. Thomas tries to remove the warning message.
|S. The conviction of sin and eternal danger is
disturbing. It affronts our pride, and we don't want to hear it. The lost person tries to
regain 'CONTROL' of his thoughts from the disturbing impulse (Thomas hits the 'CONTROL'
key), and when that fails, he may try to 'ESCAPE' it as well (Thomas hits the 'ESCAPE'
|An interesting triple metaphor occurs here. Thomas
knocks the 'ESCAPE' key twice, the computer says 'knock' twice, and then Choi knocks twice
on Thomas' door. For every knock of the 'ESCAPE' key, Trinity answers with a written
'knock' back to Thomas, showing Gods' persistence in knocking on the heart of the lost
person. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens
the door, I will come in to him
" (Revelation. 3:20). Trinity's prediction of
the knocks on Thomas' door parallels the omniscience of God.
|M. Thomas is a computer hacker who peddles software to
Choi. (Technical Note: The film credits list this character's name as 'Choi', and not
|S. Hacking is illegal. Choi and his cronies are
obviously 'bad company' in the moral sense. Thomas is a sinful man - a lawbreaker - who
has sinful friends.
|On a deeper level, here is one of the most fascinating
ironies of the film. Thomas thinks that he is hacking into computers, but in truth, the
Matrix computers control Thomas' entire existence - even allowing him the illusion that he
is hacking, if that will pacify him! The prison allows some illusionary
escapes to keep the prisoners oblivious to the real problem!
|To parallel spiritually, the fallen world fools it's
prisoners with meaningless progress, like the 'rich fool' in Luke 12:20 who focused on
earthly riches but neglected his eternal state. An equally deadly deception occurs when
lost people believe they are saving themselves by doing good works, making political
changes, etc., 'hacking' away at the evils in the world and themselves. However, God
declares the nature of our problem is spiritual and that only He can remedy it for us
|In another angle, Thomas' vain attempts to hack the
system as a lost person both contrast and foreshadow his victorious 'hack' of the Matrix
once he is 'Neo/New'.
|M. Thomas puts $2000 in a hollow copy of postmodernist
Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation. The camera lingers on the chapter
titled On Nihilism. Thomas lives in the pinnacle of a 'simulacra', the image that
has no underlying truth. Thomas' world and the futile persona he has developed in it are
based completely on illusion; the fallen real world is vastly different.
|S. Man, created in the image of God and placed in a
perfect world, severed himself from his Creator by rebellion. And unless he reconciles
with God through Christ, a man crafts his own futile image apart from truth, for God is
Truth. An unsaved man is dead even as he thinks he lives; the trimmings of his worldly
life are a vain and temporary mask covering his lost spiritual and eternal state. We focus
on the tangible and glory in our civilizations, yet God regards our fallen state to be as
bleak as the postwar cities in The Matrix.
|The dictionary defines 'nihilism' as: 1) A doctrine
that all values are baseless, that nothing is knowable or can be communicated, and that
life itself is meaningless. 2) The belief that destruction of existing political or social
institutions is necessary for future improvement.
|Perhaps Thomas has been 'putting his money' on the
aspect of nihilism that says nothing is knowable. But this philosophy has left him as
hollow as the hole in the chapter. Thomas will leave that empty, despairing philosophy
behind and find that there is indeed a knowable salvation and truth.
|As to future improvement, Thomas will not find it by
using the rules of the Matrix to fight the Matrix - illusionary 'hacking' against an
illusionary world. Instead, Thomas will only bring change by escaping the very Matrix
itself and attacking it in the power of the truth. In the same way, a man must find
salvation in Christ to escape being a part of the fallen world, and then he must walk by
faith in God to make a true difference.
|M. Choi, the 'worldly wiseman', admits his constant use
of mescaline. He and his sultry companion DuJour invite Thomas to 'unplug' for some rest
and relaxation by going to a dance club with them.
|S. Choi represents the escapist. His solution to
'unplug' (be saved) is to forget the problems of life by using drugs, which he takes 'all
the time'. Choi tells Thomas that 'the only way to fly' is mescaline. Thomas/Neo literally
does fly at the end of the film but only as a result of walking in the truth, not
hallucination or illusion. We might contrast Choi's false 'only way' statement with that
of Jesus in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth
" Choi's life of
seeking pleasure will not bring salvation. "I said to myself, 'Come now, I will test
you with pleasure. Enjoy yourself.' And behold, it too was futility." (Ecclesiastes
2:1). Lastly, Choi's advice that Thomas needs to 'unplug' is not only foreshadowing, but
also another nudge to lost Thomas. God can even use sinners to send a message
|M. Trinity tells Thomas to "follow the white
rabbit". Spotting a white rabbit tattoo on DuJour's shoulder, Thomas chooses to go
with Choi and DuJour.
|S. More than just an Alice in Wonderland nod,
this is another of the heavyweight moments where Thomas/Neo must make a choice that will
irrevocably determine his destiny. First, Thomas had to choose to open the door for Choi
(opening doors, windows, etc. is also a prominent theme). Now he must choose to accompany
Choi and DuJour. (On internet discussion threads, 'tracer' observantly pointed out that
'choix' and 'duJour' are French for 'choice of the day'.) The story consistently resonates
with a powerful theme of 'one way', where Thomas must often choose to either follow or
abandon the one narrow Way to a singular Truth in a reality of unflinching absolutes.