There is no Chairman and the Bureau runs itself. Those deus ex machina orders from the Chairman at the end were actually fabricated by Agent Harry Mitchell.Remember at the end, after climbing higher and higher looking for the Chairman, David and Elise finally make it to the roof of the building and find no one there. Agent Harry then comes upstairs, ostensibly with orders from the Chairman giving David and Elise a reprieve. Harry, the sympathetic rebellious "angel", rather than confirming the Chairman's non-existence or allowing anyone to alter the couple's minds, fabricates an order from the Chairman that lets them go. Compare to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.
- Alternatively, Harry is the Chairman.
- Or, when he got the orders to "meet the Chairman immediately" near the end, he just got informed He doesn't exist. (Plus his new instructions.) By a Shadow Cabinet of "angels" perhaps?
Harry Mitchell is Satan.Now, hear me out. This is based on the idea of Satan being an agent of God (in movie terms, "The Chairman).Satan, according to many old-world sources both biblical and extra-biblical, is an angel who went against God's plan and possibly gave "secret knowledge" to mortals. Similarly, Harry Mitchell goes against the Chairman's plan and allows a human to have access to the secret world of the Adjusters.This also requires remembering the idea that Satan has a clearly-defined role in the cosmological hierarchy and is not necessarily an evil being (the whole painting Satan/Lucifer/what-have-you as an evil being is a fairly modern, particularly against the scope of history, and western phenomenon).
The film is very loosely inspired by Harrison Bergeron.
The Bureau is not divine and the chairman is not GodInstead, the Bureau workers, up to and including the Chairman, are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who believe that they are helping to guide humanity toward a better and more enlightened state. Nothing about them is supernatural but their existence and meddling (possibly more direct in the past than depicted in the film) has inspired religious mythology, hence the apparent parallels.
The film is about growing up, not religionThe Bureau represents parents, and Norris is a child who is Dating What Daddy Hates. They try to stop him, but in the end they accept he is an adult now and allow him to make his own choices.