What happens when you’re a time lord–a humanoid race that can, in simplest terms, manipulate time and acts–and you meet another being who claims to have existed before time even began? If you’re Doctor Who, the last of the time lords, it shakes your faith.

In the recent two part episode “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit,” (which aired on the Sci Fi channel) The Doctor and Rose, his travelling companion, come upon a space station of humans located on a small planetoid that is somehow able to resist being pulled in to a nearby black hole. The station’s crew have detected an unknown power source responsible for keeping the planetoid stable in the black hole’s orbit.

But then strange things start to happen: The Ood, a squid-faced clone race that serves the crew, tell Rose ominously that “The beast and his armies will rise from the pit and make war against God.” And crew members start hearing voices and experience demonic possession.

By the time we realize that the “beast” being talked out is the beast with a capital “B,” this episode starts to feel reminiscent of the plot of the computer game “Doom,” in which demons invade a space station full of scientists through accidentally-opened portals from hell. Like the videogame and spin-off movie, the episode touches on the inherent dangers in the never-ending quest for knowledge

The Doctor, hesitant to investigate the pit, says, “That is so human, where angels fear to tread. For once in my life, I’m going to say retreat.” In digging theologically deeper than the popular videogame, the audience sees something unusual: a doubting doctor.

Usually quite confident in his mastery of all things temporal, the Doctor is thrown for a loop when the Beast says that he has the existed and was trapped on the planetoid since before time. “What does that mean? What does ‘before time’ mean?” The Doctor asks incredulously.

“Before this universe was created,” the Beast replies.

“That’s impossible,” spits back the Doctor.

“Is that your religion?” asks the Beast.

“It’s a belief.”

The Doctor challenges the Beast by asking “which devil are you?” When The Beast starts pointing out the crew members’ darkest secrets, the Doctor retorts that a good psychologist can do that as well and points out that there are “representations of the horned beast right across the universe. It’s the same image over and over again. Maybe that’s what the devil is in the end, an idea.”

But we’re never quite sure if the Doctor believes his own rationalizations. When the Doctor finally comes upon the massive, manacled, horned beast, he admits, “I accept that you exist. I don’t have to accept what you are.” Ironically, for a character who clearly values science and reason over religion and myth, it’s his faith in his partner Rose that ends up saving the day. As regular viewers of the show know, there’s nothing shaky about that.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Denzel Washington recently appeared on Instagram Live with Brooklyn Pastor A.R. Bernard of Christian Cultural Center to talk about his relationship with God and his faith journey. Washington, who is devout Christian, shared that he had given his life to Christ three times when he was younger, Fox News reported. The Academy Award-winning actor described […]

In a recent appearance on the Canadian radio show “Q on CBC,” Katy Perry spoke candidly about her mental health issues. The American Idol judge shared that she went through a breakdown in which she considered taking her own life following her 2017 split from Orlando Bloom and poor album sales. Perry felt like she […]

The Passion of the Christ 2 screenwriter Randall Wallace shared an important update on Mel Gibson’s biblical sequel, which will focus on the events that occurred three days between the crucifixion and the Resurrection. In an interview with Polygon, Wallace said that the movie is something they are discussing. “We both consider that the Mount […]

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been an outspoken Christian football player for years. This year at a virtual conference for Christian men, the Pittsburgh player shared the personal fights he has faced, including addiction to pornography and alcohol. “It’s not always easy,” Roethlisberger said, talking to Tunch Ilkin, a former Steelers player and one of […]