if you could solve all the world’s problems? What if you could end famine, war and disease, etc…? Would you be willing to take out the people who you deem as bad or evil? Some heavy questions, I know. However, this is exactly what Light Yagami sets out to do in the anime series called Death Note.
Unlike Death Parade, Death Note takes on a much darker look at one man’s humanity as he tries to play God. Light Yagami appears to be your average high schooler who excels at almost everything academically and comes from a loving family; his life is just beginning! So why get into an “activity” such as murder. I mean one of the commandments is “thou shall not murder”, though Light feels this is justified. His justification stems from him wanting to purge the world of all criminals and offenders of justice. However, is playing God really going to bring about justice by murdering those who have committed crimes (regardless of the severity)?
The vehicle that allows Light to kill his victims is a notebook (i.e. Death Note). Rules are pretty simple at first; write a person’s name in the notebook and as long as you know what they look like; within 40 seconds, they are dead due to a heart attack (unless you specify a date/time and cause of death). It doesn’t take Light long to abuse this power as he commits one murder after another via the notebook. While his intentions are admirable at first, it doesn’t take long before Light seeks to get rid of anyone standing in the way of his grand plan.
This should give you a bit of context to see where this is going. If you try to play God, you’re going to have to answer for that, perhaps not in this life, but in the life to come! After all, justice is the Lord’s (Ecclesiastes 3:17) and He will deal with those both righteous and wicked. Though playing or exalting one’s self as God is nothing new. In the book of Daniel, we have King Nebuchadnezzar who’s name translates to “Babylonian God”. Nebuchadnezzar exiled the jews and had a complete takeover of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had to come to terms with his own sovereignty. God gave the king a series of dreams that could only be interpreted by the prophet Daniel. Through Daniel’s interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar learned to humble himself and submit to the one true God (Daniel 1-4).
Sadly though, not all those who exalt themselves as God or have a messiah complex come to that place. We see this in various other religions and their self-proclaimed “god’s”. We have Mormonism (Joseph Smith), The Unification Church (Sun Myung Moon), Jonestown (Jim Jones), etc… All thought and led many believe that they were God. This all ended in their death and most having felt led astray and cheated of what was promised to them by their leader.
Playing God may seem appealing to many, but at what cost? We know that there is only one true God who is omnipotent and who has everything in control. It can be easy to lose sight of this with the trials and tribulations of this world. We long for a perfect world just as Light does in the beginning. However, we live in a fallen world and as humans we make the choices to better it or to further advance in its deterioration. This world will not be perfect until Jesus returns to wipe clear all and return to this world to its original state (Revelation 21:1-4).
In the unlikely chance you happen to come across a death notebook, perhaps remember this post and think twice before deciding to play God. We can all do our part to advance the work of God’s Kingdom without having to take on the role of the Almighty One.