In the movie Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the writers take great pains to exalt Superman to be a type of Christ, so that they can attack not just Superman, but God Himself. The whole battle between Batman and Superman is framed, quite overtly, as nothing less than Man vs. God. And the blasphemous statements made by the primary villain go unanswered. I wonder if it is no coincidence that they chose to release this film on Good Friday.
Superman and Jesus
Let's start by taking a closer look at Superman and Jesus.
- Superman is not real.
He is a fictional character created by DC Comics.
- Superman is not God.
He did not create the universe and everything in it.
- Superman is not human.
He is an alien from another planet.
- Superman is not sinless.
Not to give any spoilers, but the film does demonstrate, or at the very least suggest, Superman's moral imperfection.
- Superman never claimed to be God.
- Superman does not forgive sins, nor does he have, nor claim to have, the authority to do so.
- Superman does not reconcile the broken relationship between God and man.
- Superman does not give and never claimed to give eternal life to anyone.
- Jesus is real.
He was born and lived in a real place at a specific time in human history, and there is plenty of historical evidence attesting to this fact — so much so that even secular historians, unsympathetic to Christianity, are compelled to acknowledge his existence.
- Jesus is God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)
- Jesus was human.
He was born of the Virgin Mary.
(Luke 1:26-38, John 1:14, Galatians 4:4-5, Philippians 2:5-8)
- Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life.
(2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15)
- Jesus affirmed that He is God incarnate.
(Mark 14:62, John 8:58, John 10:30, John 14:7-11)
- Jesus has authority to forgive sins, and He does forgive the penitent.
(Mark 2:5-12, Acts 5:31, Ephesians 1:7)
- Jesus is the only means of reconciliation between God and man.
(John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Romans 5:11, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Colossians 1:19-22)
- Jesus promises and gives eternal life to all who believe.
(John 3:14-18, John 6:40, John 10:27-28, Romans 6:23)
The filmmakers built Superman up to be a savior so that they could tear him down. But let's face it, Superman is not the Messiah and he never claimed to be. He's just a (fictional) alien with exceptional abilities trying to do the right thing.
This is what's commonly known as a “straw man” fallacy, in which one misrepresents one's opposition (setting up a “straw man”), so that by defeating the misrepresentation, one appears to have defeated the opposition. But in reality, only the straw man was knocked down.
The filmmakers knocked down Superman and tried to make people believe they had taken down Jesus, and debunked the whole notion of God altogether. But Jesus is still standing. In fact, He is in Heaven right now, standing at the right hand of God. He lives, interceding for those who believe in Him, and He will return in power to judge the living and the dead. (Acts 7:55, Romans 8:34)
The Question About God
The second thing I want to look at is the statement, “If God is all-good, He cannot be all-powerful, and if He is all-powerful, He cannot be all-good.”
This suggests that if God is good, He doesn't have the power to correct the evils in the world, or that if He does have the power to do so, and chooses not to, He must not be good.
What too many people fail to understand is the authority that God bestowed on humankind when He created Adam. God gave Adam rulership over everything on earth (Genesis 1:26, Psalm 8:4-8). God is perfect in righteousness. The whole universe is governed by law. When God bestowed authority on mankind, that authority became legally his. What man did with that authority was his own responsibility.
Unfortunately, man chose to sin against God through disobedience. When Adam chose to obey Satan, he became Satan's slave. (Romans 6:16) As a slave of Satan, Adam lost all of his legal rights, not only to his person, but also to his domain. This gave Satan legal authority to rule over man and the earth.
People who wonder why there is evil in the world need look no further than this!
God is all-powerful. God does have the power to void Satan's conquest of Adam and his heritage, but to forcibly repossess the title to the earth from Satan — without due process of law — would violate God's own moral principles of government. God is all-good, and part of being all-good means being perfect in righteousness. It means upholding a perfect standard of law and justice.
Since Satan was now the legitimate possessor of Adam (and by descent, all of humanity) and the legal ruler of the earth, God had no moral right, under His own code of justice, to arbitrarily annul it. Therefore, a way had to be found to legally reclaim the title to earth and humanity.
The government of the earth had been given to man. It was lost by man. It could be legally recovered only by a man. But what man could recover it? Since Adam was Satan's slave and all of Adam's offspring endorse his rebellion through sin, they are likewise Satan's slaves. A slave has no legal standing and cannot enter court or lawfully participate in litigation. Thus a member of the human race had to be found upon whom Satan had no claim, one who had not endorsed Adam's rebellion, one who could qualify to bring suit to cancel Satan's legal jurisdiction over mankind and the earth.
God accomplishes this through Jesus: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5) Since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the divine nature was present in Him. Because He was sinless, Satan had no claim upon Him. Because He was born of a woman, He was an authentic human being and could therefore qualify as a bona fide member of the human race to enter the legal fight to reclaim Adam's lost estate.
Jesus was authentically human. Since He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and virgin born, Satan had no legal claim on Him by descent. In order to establish a legal basis for authority over Him, it remained for Satan to attempt to induce some moral flaw or imperfection in Jesus' character or conduct.
From the temptation in the wilderness to the Garden of Gethsemane, Satan continued his efforts to compel Jesus to rebel against His Heavenly Father and transfer His allegiance to himself, all the way to the cross. But when Jesus died without failing in His submission to His Heavenly Father in the smallest detail, His death resulted not only in defeating Satan's purpose to obtain a claim upon Him — it also canceled all of Satan's legal claims upon the earth and the whole human race. When Satan secured the death of Jesus, who was perfectly innocent, he became a murderer. Under universal jurisprudence, when a man commits murder he becomes subject to the death penalty. A person under final sentence of death has no legal rights whatsoever. Thus all of Satan's legal claims upon the earth and man are completely canceled, and the authority which Satan gained at Adam's fall was transferred into the hands of Jesus.
You might ask, “Doesn't that put us back with the same question we started with?” Actually, no. Satan has lost his authority, but he is a usurper and continues to wreak destruction on earth and against humanity (John 10:10). At the end of time God will ultimately judge Satan and destroy him once and for all (Revelation 20:10). But God never abandoned his original plan for mankind to be His designated authority on Earth. That is why, for the present time, He instructs us to exercise His rulership to overcome evil, through prayer and righteous actions, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
There is a war going on! One may legitimately criticize the Church for being weak or ineffective, but that is our failing, not God's. The reasons for that ineffectiveness are a subject for another discussion. But before you judge, you should first ask which side you're fighting on. Jesus said clearly, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” (Matthew 12:30) Secondly, it's important to recognize that the battle is primarily a spiritual one. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) A person trying to fight without being under the leadership of Christ and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit is doomed to fail.
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) There is still a war going on, and we have a choice to make. We can choose to deny God, to walk in unbelief and self-indulgence, and continue our lives as slaves to Satan, who will ultimately be destroyed. And, without repentance, those who belong to Satan will be destroyed along with him. Or, we can choose to yield our lives to Jesus as our Lord, accept the free gift of salvation, and through Him, inherit eternal life, peace, and joy.
I know my choice.