In my circle of news feeds, this equation has appeared more than once. The first problem with this equation is the source of the story line: myth, legend, and fiction. In my study of theology and church history, I’ve seen worse equations that have been imagined and passed off as truth as many have tried to grapple with Christology. Some old communist dictator can state “religion is the opium of the people.” Psychology can, with equal authority and arrogance, state that in humankind’s development, we at first needed a “god-superman”, therefore we created him, her, or it, as the product of our primeval mindset. And now the Hawkings and the Dawkins and many others of our time say it is time to case off this childish notion, myth, and legend. But why do we still come back to the Supermans, Ironmans, etc., the gods of our day? Entertainment makes money? Sells popcorn? No, I believe there is a deeper reason, which must be found in our make up, in our own heart and being: we are created in the image and likeness of God.
As created in God’s image and likeness, we still must wrestle as our fore-fathers did to try to answer the deep and profound question of “good and evil”. It used to be that most children imagined being the cop and not the robber, the good guy, even the superhero. But, sad to say, many of our day like being the villain, the bad guy. One has to wonder, in this quest for an answer to the age-old question of good and evil, what these would-be villains are reading and watching. But the root of the problem goes deeper than just what they’re watching and reading. The human heart itself is depraved and enjoys being evil.
This desire to be “like god”–to play the role of God–has a good and evil side to it. Here is where we must go beyond myth, legend, and fiction, and search the inspired record, the Holy Bible. Those who say “there is light within”, so we must search for the answers from within, are deceived, and are in fact propagating the lie the Devil sold to our first parents in the Garden. Are we not still waiting for someone to stand up and straighten out this mess we are in globally–the false Messiah that is to come, Antichrist? But we must consider the Words of Inspiration and understand what Satan said: that in order for us—humankind–to be wise, to be like god, or gods, we must be able to experience both good and evil; therefore, one must sin in order to be wise. By choosing to sin, Adam confirmed us in the state of this lie and disobedience: thus, the fall of mankind, and the perpetuated lie that we are all born into and live. Though we are fallen sinners, born in darkness and loving darkness, the image of God is not totally obliterated. A once-enlightened conscience still testifies to what is right and wrong. It is interesting that primitive societies legistated laws of morality, long before God gave the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel. Why is that?
Back to our equation, Superman=Jesus. What we see in Superman is someone overcoming evil with good, or, like the step-dad of Superman says, “Someone to believe in.” In our imagined superheroes, we find something good, we find someone standing up for humankind, even though it is a man from another planet. Superman stands for justice, truth, righteousness. In the end, the good guy wins, and, of course, he finds true love and gets the girl. Where did these desires come from? Some mutated genes that the animal world missed out on? We look around on our sin-sick, cursed, mess of things, and we long for something different. Therefore, we fantasize and create our own gods. The Greek, Romans and others have done the same all throughout history. But in fantasizing, are we not really showing our true heart, wanting to back in the Garden of Eden, without sin, and still in fellowship with God? Our fantasizing is telling us that we don’t need a superhero, but a Saviour! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
Pastor Tom Newton
Calvary Baptist Church
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