The Poetics of Illumination

Reading Michael Madsen’s Into Eternity

in Religion and the Arts
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Michael Madsen’s documentary about the disposal of nuclear waste in Finland uses a symbolic language whose meaning can be amplified by St. Augustine’s theology, and in particular by his theories of reading. Because nuclear waste remains dangerous for 100,000 years, the problem of its disposal forces us to think about the inevitable end of our own civilization. The necessity to place warnings on the waste burial sites demands that we find ways to speak to people in the future with whom we may have no cultural continuity. It makes ancient theories of eternity newly relevant, and potentially awakens our sense of the sacred in a world that has been stripped of sacredness during the scientific era that gave rise to nuclear power in the first place.



  • Figure 1

    Into Eternity, Opening sequence: Entrance to Onkalo tunnel

    View in gallery
  • Figure 2

    Into Eternity, Diagram of Onkalo facility, showing depth to which the tunnel had reached at time of filming

    View in gallery
  • Figure 3

    Into Eternity, Director Michael Madsen in the tunnel

    View in gallery
  • Figure 4

    Into Eternity, Interior of Onkalo facility

    View in gallery
  • Figure 5

    Into Eternity, Warning message aimed at distant future discoverers of Onkalo

    View in gallery
  • Figure 6

    Into Eternity, Electrically powered city at night

    View in gallery
  • Figure 7

    Into Eternity, Carl Reinhold Brakenhielm, Professor of Theology, National Council for Nuclear Waste, Sweden

    View in gallery


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 5 5 5
Full Text Views 4 4 4
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0