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'Manifest': Are Things Set in Stone? Exploring Free Will and Fate

June 20, 2023 | By

Manifest, the captivating Netflix series which began life on NBC, has returned for the second half of its highly anticipated fourth (and final) season.

It dives deeper into the intricate web of fate and free will that envelops the lives of the Stone family and their fellow passengers of Flight 828.

The airplane vanished in 2013 and returned five-and-a-half years later – with the passengers not having aged a day. And if you didn't already know that, you may want to go back and watch all the previous episodes before finishing this post.

Or, watch this and hope for the best.


SPOILERS AHEAD (and, if you haven’t watched all of Season 4, do it now)!

In this season, the themes of destiny, choice, and forgiveness intertwine, challenging the characters to confront their inner demons and make life-altering decisions.

Join us as we unravel the captivating narrative of Manifest Season 4 and explore its profound messages.

Ben's Journey: From Captain of Lifeboat to Shipwrecked Father

At the heart of Season 4 is Ben Stone's profound journey, navigating the treacherous waters of grief and redemption. After the shocking revelation of his wife's murder (by fellow passenger Angelina), Ben experiences overwhelming sorrow.

He seeks vengeance against his enemy, Angelina.

However, amidst his pain, Ben discovers the transformative power of forgiveness (more on that later). This act liberates his spirit and enables him to rise above his anger.

Through his journey, the significance of the Stone family name becomes apparent. Because of free will, your fate is never fully set in stone. The passengers had the freedom to choose to follow the Callings.

Callings: A Cross or Curse? Depends on Your Obedience

The enigmatic "callings" continue to haunt the passengers of Flight 828, testing their faith and challenging their convictions. Angelina and her followers advocate disregarding the Callings, perceiving them as a burden to be cast aside.

In contrast, Ben, sister Michaela, and their non-passenger allies like Vance and Jared embrace the Callings to safeguard the Lifeboat and ensure the well-being of those in their midst.

Throughout the series, Cal has mentioned the phrase, "It's all connected." At first glance, the Callings seem random or meaningless. But in listening, remembering, and following the Callings do the passengers find out their purpose.

The dichotomy between obedience and rebellion reflects a timeless conflict. It embodies the choice between accepting one's predetermined destiny or forging a fresh path.

This provokes contemplation about the essence of free will.


Saved by Faith or Works? Freely Following the Callings and Practicing Forgiveness

In Manifest Season 4, the debate between salvation by faith or works emerges as a central theme.

The characters grapple with the notion of freely following the Callings as a demonstration of their unwavering faith. Through accepting their Callings and engaging in selfless acts, the characters embark on a journey of personal growth and collective salvation.

Forgiveness becomes a central theme, as Carlos and Zeke encourage Michaela to forgive herself and release past regrets.

This exploration highlights the profound transformative power of forgiveness, liberating individuals from the weight of past burdens.

The Manifest(ation) of Forgiveness

In Catholicism, forgiveness is a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith, deeply rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Church teaches that forgiveness is both a virtue and a commandment. It is a means to imitate God's mercy and foster reconciliation with others.

In Manifest Season 4, the characters' journey resonates with this Catholic understanding. Many view forgiveness as an act of love that disrupts the cycle of hatred and vengeance.

Just as Catholics urge forgiveness in the same way that God forgives, the characters actively choose to release negative emotions linked to past wrongs. They prioritize the well-being of those who have harmed them.

Catholicism also emphasizes the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession, as a key practice for seeking forgiveness for one's own sins and receiving God's mercy.

Similarly, in Manifest, the characters forgive to promote healing, restore relationships, and foster peace. The process is ongoing, requiring humility, prayer, and the grace of a higher power.

Various Seeds Lead to the Flowering of Truth

Manifest Season 4 weaves together various mythologies, religious thoughts, and even scientific perspectives, to explore the truth behind the Callings.

Just as C.S. Lewis suggests that if paganism has something in common with Christianity, it is better for paganism, the show recognizes the seeds of truth found in different belief systems.

The characters interpret the Callings through different lenses, drawing upon their diverse knowledge and experiences. The presence of multiple perspectives reflects the richness of human understanding and the notion that truth can be found in various sources.

Manifest Season 4 ultimately reminds us that free will exists, and that salvation is not exclusively an individual matter. Everyone is connected. God wants to save all people, not merely a few persons.

The show blends (albeit not overt) Catholic teachings, exploration of mythologies, religious thoughts, and scientific perspectives to deepen our understanding of profound truths.

Destiny can be molded through love, forgiveness, and selflessness, regardless of our worldview.


Image: Netflix

Matthew is a left-handed cradle Catholic who enjoys reading everything Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Chesterton, and is also an avid comic-book fan. He and wife Jennifer have four children. Matthew’s favorite saints include Athanasius, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Philip Neri and John of the Cross. Discover more of his Catholic content by visiting: TheSimpleCatholic.

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