Theologians give the natural world a label: It’s called “general revelation.” Those animals, mountains, oceans and trees shout to everyone on the planet: God exists, and He is glorious. It’s not enough to save you (that comes only through special revelation – Scripture), but general revelation is enough for every person on Earth to be in awe of the Creator.
Are you still awake? Good. Because Netflix now is streaming Planet Earth 2, which is one of the best nature documentaries you’ll ever see and one that may leave your jaw dropping at the incredible world God made. In other words, Planet Earth 2 is general revelation on display … in high definition.
Like its predecessor Planet Earth (2006), Planet Earth 2 (2016) was filmed by BBC Nature and gives you up-close views of obscure and well-known animals doing things you didn’t know were possible. It is narrated by David Attenborough, whose distinguished British accent alone makes it worth a watch.
My 9-year-old son and I are in the middle of a Planet Earth 2 binge, and we have enjoyed every minute: Draco lizards flying through the forest air, grizzly bears tip-toeing across avalanche-prone snow, and sword-billed humming birds – who have a beak longer than their body – hunting for nectar.
There also are plenty of prey-vs.-predator scenes, so you’ve been warned. Racer snakes chase iguana babies in a deadly game that must be seen to be believed, and lions attempt to corner and eat a giraffe – with the latter doing a little Houdini trick to escape.
Of course, Planet Earth 2 includes a “millions of years” framework, but that can be fixed with a parent-child discussion. (Although, to its credit, the series includes a reference to animals being “blessed,” too.) Even the prey-predator scenes can spark a Bible discussion. After all, Scripture implies (Isaiah 65:25) that animals won’t eat each other in the future kingdom.
Planet Earth 2 isn’t faith-based – far from it – but it nevertheless showcases God’s masterful creative skills (Psalm 8:3-4, Psalm 19:1-6).
Thankfully, Planet Earth 2 isn’t the only BBC Nature documentary on Netflix. In fact, there are at least 12 of them, led by popular series Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, and The Blue Planet.
That’s good news, because it’s becoming difficult to find family-friendly content on Netflix, which spoiled my previous favorite show – The Crown – with sexuality and excessive language in season 2. (Although you can filter out the bad stuff with VidAngel.)
Also streaming this month:
Lincoln (PG-13, Feb. 21) – Directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, this 2012 film spotlights Abraham Lincoln’s push to pass the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. It makes some historical blunders and includes a bit too much language, but is a fun watch for history lovers. (Its use of the f-word and its inclusion of Lincoln saying s—t is likely inaccurate.) Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language.
Akeelah and the Bee (PG, Feb. 1) — An 11-year-old girl from a rough part of Los Angeles has success in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Writer/director Doug Atchison said his goal for the 2005 film was to show an African-American girl defying stereotypes and overcoming challenges. Rated PG for some language.
Logan Lucky (PG-13, Feb. 16) – A down-on-his-luck father and a few friends decide to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Logan Lucky (2016) is one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen, but it’s not without its problems. It contains about 26 coarse words and a character who dresses slightly provocatively. Still, it contains no sex jokes – a rare feat in a Hollywood comedy. Rated PG-13 for language and some crude comments.
— by MichaelFoust
Foust is the husband of an amazing wife, Julie, and the father of four small children.