Amends: The one Buffy episode that deals with what appears to be divine intervention.

In this episode the vampire Angel is  tormented by visions of his past victims. Though is later revealed that these visions are the result of a demonic force called the  First Evil Angel consumed by guilt ultimately decides to kill himself via exposure to the sun. However his life is saved via a freak snowstorm that prevents him from coming into contact with direct sunlight.

This episode focuses on heavily on the idea of redemption as Angel struggles with guilt for his past acts. The fact that the episode is set during Christmas and deals with the subject of redemption makes the miracle at the end stand out to viewers as divine intervention. It is also important to note that the final shot of this episode is of a church and the word Pray. This episode is a drastic departure from the norm for the show as it does seem to suggest that a divine presence exists and intercedes to save Angel. Also the episode ends with an example of positive religious imagery, as the church and prayer is suggested to be linked to the miracle that saved Angel.  Usually religion is only approached through mockery or as something tied in with the forces of darkness, this is not the case in Amends.

However this episode stands as an outlier when it comes to the greater Buffy mythos. It is worth noting that in his own spinoff shows Angel it is made clear that Angel is the object to several higher beings especially the Powers That Be and Wolfram and Heart. These entities display godlike power that would make saving Angel something easily within their grasp. We see that Wolfram and heart are quite willing to oppose the First Evil when it interferes with their plans. In the seventh season of Buffy they provide an amulet that ultimately causes the First Evil to fail in its attempt to destroy humanity. Taken in context of the show there is no proof that the miracle was of divine origin rather than simply the interference of one of the powerful forces with a stake in Angel’s future actions.

Joss Whedon the show’s creator has acknowledged the episodes message can be taken in the context of a Christian miracle but points out that there are other avenues of interpretation as well. This can be seen in his quote below.

“Was it God? Well, I’m an atheist, but it’s hard to ignore the idea of a “christmas miracle” here (though the PRAY on the marquee was an unintentional coincidence). The fact is, the Christian mythos has a powerful fascination to me, and it bleeds into my storytelling. Redemption, hope, purpose, santa, these all are important to me, whether I believe in an afterlife or some universal structure or not. I certainly don’t mind a strictly Christian interpretation being placed on this episode by those who believe that — I just hope it’s not limited to ”

Overall Amends was an interesting example of divine implications present in Buffy but ultimately it offers no direct proof and is overwhelmed by the implications of the rest of the series where God is absent and humanity must make a stand against evil on its own.

Credit for help on this page goes to http://www.celebatheists.com/?title=Joss_Whedon

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