Friday, August 19, 2011

Superhero Christology

[I supplied this for a guest post on my friend's Sammy A's blog]

The first half of that sentence is pretty clear.
Super-hero: muscle-bound, spandex-wearing do-gooders that either by some weird accident have super powers on this earth.
The second word just means the study of Christ. Like geology is the study of the earth and biology is the study of life, Christology is the study of who Christ is and what he has done.
Whether you believe it or not, you have some form of Christology.
Because Jesus is so great and powerful, it is natural for us to associate him with someone or something great to give us some reference.
Super heroes are easiest because they are larger than life, approachable and save lives through their sacrifices (kind of like Jesus).
The problem is Jesus isn't LIKE them at all. They may act alike but they aren't alike at all.
Let's take a look at three of the big ones and how they can't measure up to Jesus.
1. Batman 
He doesn't have any supernatural abilities. He just works really hard and has a lot of money.
This loner can get hurt and is only out to avenge the death of his parents.
Many atheists and Mormons see Jesus like this to some degree. The power is yours and everyone has ability to reach these heights. Jesus is really good guy that did some cool stuff but so can you if you work really hard.
The problem with this view is if he is so much like us that why should we listen to him?
2. Spiderman –
This normal dweeb got lucky and got bit by a radioactive spider. He's human but got lucky. Just like us but not like us. He is a created being that got a special blessing.
The Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, and Coptic Christians all believe a form of this.
The problem with this view is, if Jesus is not God in substance, can his death really be more than just him?
What if his power runs out? How do we know Jesus is anything in relationship to God?
3. Superman –
This alien from Krypton came to earth but he isn't really a human. His alien nature gave him super strength. Ignoring the kryptonite weakness for a second, dude is indestructible and can do things that humans cannot.
Jesus then is only pretending to be like us. He is fooling us with the glasses.
Christian Scientists and many in the New Age movement believe this.
The problem with this view is, how can he know us if he is different from us?
Now although these views have had different names throughout history, it is our tendency to downplay the different nature of Christ, the Divinity of Christ or the humanity of Christ.
If we hold to one, we are robbing ourselves of the fullness of Christ. If we try to overemphasize one, we have a God of our own creation.
The Bible said God BECOME flesh, emptied himself of all but love and was still God (see John 1, Colossians 1, Philippians 2 and the whole Book of Hebrews).
Leo the Great said it best: Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man.
Which do you struggle with: Believing Jesus is different enough to be respected, Being God enough to actually forgive us or being Man enough to relate to us? Why?
Feel free to extend the analogy but know that at some point the analogy will break down.