I was amazed to see the parallels to Christ, and the message of the gospel, in “Man of Steel” the latest version of the Superman story. Although it was a lengthy movie I did in fact watch the whole thing and am glad I did. For those that don’t know the story let me give you a little bit of back story. See if you catch the Spirit within.
The movie opens with Superman’s mother in labor even while Krypton, his home planet, begins to fall apart. You see Krypton’s core is dying and there are political forces at work determined to save it. Even though they aren’t on earth politics, greed and difference of opinion still rule the day so there’s is a disagreement on how to proceed. We are introduced to Superman’s father Jor-el and Zod the military leader who are at odds with one another over who has the best game-plan to save the planet which sets up the plot-line of the conflict between good and evil.
Jor-el decides to ship his son to earth in order to save him but not before taking Krypton’s core and downloading it into the baby superman. Effectively the baby now has the DNA of thousands of Kryptonians within him. Zod wants to turn Earth into the new Krypton but what better way to save them than for them to be actually “In” Superman? Hint: for me this was an illustration of all that are “In Christ.”
As Zod and his villainous companions are banished to do time for treason, Jor-el sends his son to earth where he lands in Kansas to be raised by an all American farming couple who do their best to raise him and keep his secret. The young superman attempts to conceal his identity, but inevitably he can’t help but be who he really is which is the savior of the world. Even as a young man he rescues his classmates when the school-bus plummets into a river. As the burden of his true identity grows slowly but surely people start to discover how different he really is.
I’m sure I will leave out significant pieces of the story but let me just tell you a few things that stuck out to me. His true identity can’t be hidden forever because as you know; who and what we really are will always show itself. It was the same for Superman in that he was driven to find out who his real parents were and why he was even on Earth to begin with. By the time he meets his true father he is really meeting what is described as the Father’s consciousness, whom I interpreted as the Spirit who tells him who he really is. So the Father sent the Son to earth to be the savior, and even though Superman didn’t fully understand who he was, the Spirit of his Father filled in the blank spots. One added tidbit here being that when he became fully aware, and embraced his true identity, he made the comment he had lived on earth for 33 yrs. This of course is believed to be the age of Jesus Christ when he was crucified; coincidence? I don’t think so.
The message of the gospel: God becoming a man, living a sinless life and dying and rising again for the salvation of man, is woven throughout the history of mankind. In fact if you look at most superheroes you will find they are a mixture of human and superhuman and that’s what makes them savior figures. Some would want to say this occurs because the Gospel message is really only a myth or old wives tale. Can I suggest to you maybe it’s the other way around. What if the message of God becoming man in order to save mankind is the truth and all these other tales are just new versions of the same theme?
C.S. Lewis said,
- All the myths of mankind’s primitive religions were expressions of a deep yearning — the deepest yearning — in mankind’s consciousness, namely that the mysterious transcendent God would come into intimate contact with mankind, and do so in such a way that He would repair the damages made by mankind’s sinfulness, and would grant to mankind a safety that would last forever.
- Christianity, rather than being one myth alongside many others, is thus the fulfillment of all previous mythological religions. It is a myth, like the others, but this time a myth that is also a fact.
So it seems to me Superman may just be a more recent story-line with the universal theme of the salvation of man at its core. Just as the myths of old, prior to Christ’s coming, were glimmers of the truth and the pagans response to the light they had. Superman and the like have become the new “gods” of our day. I in no way am saying they should be what we look to in order to know the truth about God himself, but what I am saying is if you have been born again you now have eyes to see the Kingdom no matter where it pops up. In the end what makes for a good story is love that goes the distance even at the risk of giving up ones own life.
When all is said and done I truly enjoyed the retelling of the Superman story in “Man of Steel” and recommend it. See if you can catch the Gospel sprinkled throughout.