At the end of the last season of Lost, the viewer is (finally!) given a glimpse of the island’s foundational mythology. On a beach we see the island’s two deities — Jacob and “Smokey” (for want of a better name) — watching a ship bring new souls to their world. The relationship between Jacob and Smokey seems cordial at first but we soon see that beneath their surface bonhomie, conflict burns: Smokey tells Jacob that one day he will find a “loophole” which will allow him to kill Jacob. Cue Lost intro scroll.
The scene reminds me a lot of the one in the book of Job where “the satan” conferences with Yahweh about the state of the world. Satan (let’s give him a proper name even though the Hebrew text doesn’t) is clearly subordinate to Yahweh and in some sense in his employ. If we follow some scholars who see a Persian milieu in the narrative of Job then in Satan we have one of the king’s roving eyes, a royal spy tasked with the job of looking for rebellion in the empire. There seems to be some friction in the relationship with Yahweh and Satan in this story, but Satan’s subordination is beyond doubt.
Similarly, Smokey (in his smokey form) seems to do Jacob’s bidding in a way reminiscent of Job’s Satan and also, as one commenter at Kulturblog put it, of a genie. We see that Smokey “tests” the souls on the island and destroys the unworthy. That he is not happy with this life is clear from the conversation on the beach, and his rebellion against it is the main focus of the current and final season. In this he mirrors the fall of Lucifer, from divinely appointed “satan” to wicked devil and enemy of God. His task now is to kill Jacob/Yahweh, something at least partially accomplished. He claims to want to leave the island but if the parallel holds true, this will mean not only leaving Jacob’s hated employ but also usurping his power.
As for Jacob, the writers of Lost have made him remarkably Yahweh-like. At times he seems beneficent but also demands absolute loyalty and, from the perspective of the humans at least, he takes an indifferent view of human life. Many people have suffered and died to maintain his vision for the island (whatever that is). Richard’s loss of faith in the last episode was exactly like of that a believer ultimately crushed underneath God’s capriciousness.
There are other parallels: Jacob’s death has Jesus-like sacrificial undertones and his search for the “candidates” reminds me — and here we enter Mormon territory — of God’s desire for the apotheosis of humans, with Jack the reluctant hero finally groping his way towards exaltation. We can only guess how this might end but I think there’s a chance it might lead us into an anti-religious, humanistic utopia — both Smokey and Jacob die and the humans take control of the island, finally putting to an end the petty squabbles of the old gods.