Faith & Fandom
Superman : The Son Who Came To Save
A doomed world, a son sent from above by his father, the son living among men even though he is far above the rest of mankind, serving man until he dies saving them, and then resurrecting later. At this point in the conversation you could be talking about Superman or Jesus. The recent discord over the Biblical Themes in “Man Of Steel” just goes to show that most of America, while being familiar with Superman, obviously never paid attention to the mythos. The parallels between Superman and Jesus aren’t unintentional and at different times throughout history have played a big part of Superman’s character.
While the similarities are easy, there are also plenty of differences; -Superman may be “like a god” as his father Jor-El states, but he is still as broken and sinful as we are. *Jesus states in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” In Colossians 1:15 we see, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” -Superman was sent by his father to this world, but it was for the sake of saving his son, not the world. His world Krypton was condemned at the start and getting his son out of there was his only choice of saving him. *Jesus, in opposite, was sent to our world because it was condemned. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:17, and in doing so God knew that He would be sacrificing His Son, not saving Him.
-Superman’s name and image is built on the idea of his amazing strength (faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound...etc.) They don’t call him the “Man of Steel” for nothing. *Jesus, although He contained literally all power and strength (For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:16-17) , He was the absolute model of meekness (He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. – Isaiah 53:7).
I’ve never been the biggest fan of the big blue boy-scout. I think I’ve always liked him best in conjunction with Batman, but I remember him “dying.” I was 11 years old when Superman died in issue #75, in 1992. Superman gave his life to defeat the abominable juggernaut that is Doomsday. I remember going to a gas station on the corner of Hwy 301 and Broad St. in St. Pauls, NC. I walked into the gas station that was then called “The Pantry” and I remember staring at this Superman comic book that was wrapped in plastic and black with the logo on the front. People talked about it for years. I even have a funeral arm band from Superman’s funeral. I don’t remember where I got that thing, but it’s in my comic collection. I remember thinking this was a big deal. As I’ve learned though, no one, and I mean no one stays dead in comic books. Later, Superman came back, furthering the comparisons between him and Jesus.
Just a couple years after this, I remember hearing about Jesus for the first time. Now I grew up in the south, so of course I had heard of Jesus, but this was when I HEARD about Jesus. I went to a lock-in (there was a cute girl going, so I went), and
that night a man named Mike Kinlaw told me about Jesus. About how we were all sinners (Romans 3:23), that our sin separated us from God and brought death into the world (Romans 6:23), and that Jesus came to save me (Romans 5:8, 6:23, John 3:16). That He died for me and rose again. When I heard this I remember picturing Superman dying in Lois Lanes arms, and that image of Superman’s torn cape flapping in the wind, but then my heart focused and I saw more than just a story to this. These words hit me like truth, like they were truer than any words I had ever heard before in my life.
The idea that Jesus came to save me, not from a behemoth villain, but from the sin in the world and in my very own heart. That He died for me, not slugging it out, getting punched through buildings and destroying half of a city, but that He willingly laid down and died to take my punishment. That He didn’t remain dead. That He lives. That this wasn’t just a marketing scheme from a comic book company, where they have to bring back their main man because they can’t stay afloat without him. He conquered death because God raised Him, and in Him I have that same hope. There will always be comparisons between Superman and Jesus, but I know where my heart and faith reside. Superman may as well be a kid running around with his underwear on the outside of his pants and a towel in the back of his shirt.