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A fiend had snatched from me every hope of future happiness; no creature had ever been so miserable as I was; so frightful an event is single in the history of man. But why should I dwell upon the incidents that followed this last overwhelming event? Mine has been a tale of horrors; I have reached their acme, and what I must now relate can but be tedious to you. Know that, one by one, my friends were snatched away; I was left desolate.

Frankenstein is not a book about an aloof monster slowly creeping about, freaking out people with his funny green skin, lack of intelligence, and incredible strength. It is a book about the tragedy of sin. It is a book about how you cannot run from your sin. Sin is devastating, destructive, and results in death.

The Allure of the Monster

Young chemist Frankenstein ignores his happy upbringing, his father’s counsel, the counsel of a respected elder, and his future when he gives himself over to creating the monster. Like that piece of candy sitting on the counter all day, he cannot runaway from the allure of the power of performing his own creation. Just like many of those times when we yield to a temptation, he instantly despises it all, runs away, and hopes the monster, his sin incarnate, just disappears. It does not.

“Alas! My father,” said I, “how little do you know me. Human beings, their feelings and passions, would indeed be degraded if such a wretch as I felt pride. Justine, poor unhappy Justine, was as innocent as I, and she suffered the same charge; she died for it; and I am the cause of this–I murdered her. William, Justine, and Henry–they all died by my hands.”

The Monster’s Path of Devastation

While reading this book, I kept hoping for better, hoping for things to turn around, and for him to defeat this monster and move on to a better life with his sweet, innocent, and beautiful betrothed.

They are dead, and but one feeling in such a solitude can persuade me to preserve my life. If I were engaged in any high undertaking or design, fraught with extensive utility to my fellow creatures, then could I live to fulfil it. But such is not my destiny; I must pursue and destroy the being to whom I gave existence; then my lot on earth will be fulfilled and I may die.”

But there is no happy story here. There is no victory. You ache for Frankenstein but you realize what a fool he was and that it’s all his fault. He is not innocent. This is such a convicting book. Sin is ugly and destructive and yet I run or yield to it all the time.

The Monster is Pursuing Us

I also love how Shelley paints the picture of sin pursuing and chasing us. Listen to the monster speak about his thirst for destruction and then read God’s warning to Cain:

For while I [the monster] destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were forever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned.

The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7 ESV)

Can this Monster be Defeated?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a powerful book. It is about the tragedy of sin. It is about the sting of death. It is truly a book about a living nightmare and hell on earth. But she gives no solution. Frankenstein’s monster is never defeated and easily prevails. Is this reality? Only apart from Christ. Jesus died a horrific and gruesome death to satisfy the result of sin and bring victory. Christ became as ugly and repulsive as the monster, as our sin.

Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on him [Frankenstein’s monster] while unfinished; he was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.

He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5 ESV)

Just as in the book, Frankenstein, the monster is no funny monster or comic relief, sin is no joke. It’s not as simple as saying “We all make mistakes.” It would be the death of us. But praise God, Jesus stepped in and gave the monster one sweeping death blow for all time. The monster is still in us, fighting and persuading us, but he can only wound those in Christ. His power of death has been taken away. Someday soon, his death will be final and forever.

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