Hulk: The Destruction Inside
“Hulk ________!!!!!” Give yourself a Gamma flavored cookie if you filled in the blank with “SMASH!” Hulk is one of the most recognizable and easily relatable characters in the history of heroics. Hulk came crashing into the world in 1962 thanks to the comic legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The concept of “The Incredible Hulk” is simple; inside this mild mannered introverted scientist (Bruce Banner) is a raging unstoppable monster that is unleashed as his emotions overflow. Even though he is such a destructive force, he is still is a favored hero of all ages (seriously who doesn’t love Hulk gloves?).
I think Hulk embodies the concept of sin in humanity better than any other fictional character. You have a person who has this destructive force inside him that erupts (sometimes by choice, others by circumstances and lack of self control) and brings destruction on every other area of his life. This causes him separation from so much. He is separated from love (Long term love; Betty Ross. His wife on planet Skaar.), from being accepted into community with other heroes, Sakaar, Caiera. His son scientists, and the human race at large. This separation was so extensive that his friends/colleagues actually put him in a rocket ship and sent him into space to live on another planet
because he was just too destructive. This is like sin in our lives. Everything beautiful, good, and right in our lives is in the path of destruction because of the sin that dwells in our hearts. This sin even brings destruction between us and our creator. Banner has fought for countless years, to try to control or rid himself of the Hulk, but has never successfully separated himself from it for any substantial amount of time. It’s that constant war raging in him that so echoes the war raging in all of us.
"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2
I’m thankful God doesn’t evict us from the planet, but I know in my own life, my sin has put walls between me and God, my wife, my friends, and the man I want to be.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7:15-24
There are times I truly feel empathy for the Hulk (not in the 90’s though when Hulk was super smart, had self control, was attractive and had great hair; no one has empathy for that Hulk), there comes this point when you’ve tried to improve in your life, to make better choices, to overcome your own issues, when it just feels like you can’t do it anymore. Like there is absolutely nothing you can do. I can’t count how many times I’ve strived for purity, faithfulness, and integrity, only to end up doing the exact opposite. Even though I have an amazing wife, great leaders, people who are fantastic to walk along with, I still fall so short.
Hulk has the smartest scientists, greatest wizards, gods, and mutants in his speed dial, yet no one has been able to help him anymore than he could help himself. You can understand his frustration. That bitter hopelessness that lingers over him. That’s our position, we have this destructive beast inside all of us (Romans 3:23), and it does bring pure death and destruction to our lives (Romans 6:23), and while, like Hulk, we can do absolutely nothing on our own., Where Professor X, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Reed Richards, and all the rest of Hulk’s acquaintances fail him, we have Jesus Christ.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:4-10
So when the destructive force inside you does damage, you don’t need to walk off slowly sulking down a highway hitchhiking, spend hours in a lab, move to a third world country, leap and bound across a dessert, or let your friends hijack you into a spaceship. Just simply realize you can’t do it on your own. But there is a savior who can calm our savage beast.