Since 2000 there have been over 50 superhero movies released in America. It used to be that superheroes were confined to the pages of comic books, devoured mostly by young boys. Now the superhero genre has hit the main stream. Comic Cons have become a popular event among young adults. Many will show up dressed as their favorite superhero. In January 2018 alone, 6.71 million comics were sold. People are enamored with superheroes.
Where does this fascination with superheroes come from? I believe that it comes from a need to believe in some power greater than ourselves that has the ability to deal positively with all of the evil and injustice in our world. As a society, we are looking for a savior. Blaise Pascal addressed this desire in the following statement. “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus” Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, states basically the same concept. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
It is fascinating that in a society that increasingly wants to deny the existence of God, we are creating new gods to take His place. Many who reject the reality of God are willing to embrace the fantasy of superheroes. There is nothing new here really. We can see the same thing in the pages of history, exhibited by the Greeks, the Romans, and the Norse. They each created their set of superheroes, many of whom are being resurrected today.
There is something within each of us that compels us to worship something. It is a part of being created in the image of God. There is a deep longing within our soul to connect to our Creator. But sin has distorted this desire and sent us off in the wrong direction. Worship of God has been replaced with a worship of nature, a worship of humanity, and a worship of false gods. Paul warned us about this in Romans 1:21-25.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
As human beings, we cannot escape the pull of the mysterious, the supernatural, the otherworldly. We have this nagging awareness that there is more to reality than we know. We explore the heavens looking for other worlds and other people. We explore the human mind looking for clues to explain the unexplainable. We create superheroes to fill the void that we know exists in our world. We hope, beyond hope, that there is someone or something out there that is more powerful, more knowledgeable, more benevolent than ourselves.
There is only one place where we can find the answer to our quest, and that is in the person of Jesus Christ. He is not the ultimate superhero, he is the only true superhero. He is God incarnate.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Superheroes can serve a good purpose in our lives. They can awaken within us the reality that we are not as self-sufficient as we believe we are. They can stir our desire to connect with a power higher than ourselves. They can open our eyes to the void within our soul. But if we stop with our superheroes, we have stopped short of the goal. The only one who can fill the void, the only one who can connect us with that power greater than ourselves is Jesus.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.