Comparing Jesus Christ with… Superman
Did you know that Superman is the “superhero” version of Jesus Christ? If there’s any doubt, watch the movie Superman Returns (2006) where the parallel is laid on so thick it’s nigh impossible to miss.
You could say that Superman is a comic book type of Christ similar to the way Joseph is a biblical type of the Messiah.
In this article we’re going to compare & contrast the two, which will elucidate some amazing insights about our Mighty LORD. Superman, of course, is a fictional character whereas Christ is nonfictional – a real superhero!
Let the Parallels Begin…
- Superman came from another world, the planet Krypton.
- Christ also came from another world, the spiritual dimension called Heaven.
- Superman is Kal-El, but on Earth he’s Superman.
- Christ is El, the Word of the LORD (John 1:1-2) and the “Angel of the LORD,” but on Earth he’s Jesus Christ.
We’ll look at the Hebrew word “El” in a moment. Let’s first consider the name Jesus Christ: ‘Jesus’ is the Greek form of the Hebrew Yeshua (or Joshua), which was the name the angel Gabriel instructed Mary to give to her divine offspring, as shown in Luke 1:31 & 2:21. The name literally means “Yahweh saves” (or “Yahweh is salvation”). Yahweh (YHWH) is the name of God. So ‘Jesus’ (or Yeshua/Joshua) is the Lord’s proper name on Earth.
As for ‘Christ,’ it’s a title and not Jesus’ last name. It’s translated from the Greek word Christos (khris-TOS), which means “anointed one” and comes from the Hebrew mashach (maw-SHAKH), meaning “anointed” or “chosen one.” A good example of this word used in reference to Jesus in the Old Testament is Psalm 45:7. So Jesus Christ literally means Yeshua the Anointed One.
Now let’s get back to the comparisons:
- Superman initially appeared on Earth as a baby in a rocket and was found by his adoptive parents, Jonathan & Martha Kent (aka Pa & Ma Kent).
- Christ also manifested on Earth as a baby via Mary, who was inseminated by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38). Joseph became his adoptive father.
- Superman, Kal-El, was sent by his father, Jor-El.
- Jesus, El, is the Son of God who was sent from Father God, also El, as humanity’s savior. Remember, ‘Jesus’ means Yeshua is salvation.
El is the generic Hebrew term for “god” and is used in reference to Yahweh, the LORD. For example, El Shaddai means “God Almighty.” Other names of the LORD using ‘El’ are: El Elyon, which means the Most High God; El Olam, which means the Everlasting God; and El Roi, which means the God who sees. You can read details here.
- Superman serves humanity as their savior/deliverer, albeit only in the temporal sense, like rescuing people from a burning building or saving the Earth from a meteor.
- Christ also serves humanity as our savior/deliverer: He functioned in this capacity during his earthly life in a temporal sense through teaching/preaching, healing, exorcising demons and miraculously feeding the hungry, but he also eternally delivers us from sin & death, providing eternal life (Luke 2:6-21 & Romans 6:23).
- Superman disguises his true identity as normal, mild-manner Clark Kent, a news reporter, which enables him to live amongst the Earthlings day-to-day without them knowing his true nature.
- The Lord also disguised himself as an Earthling to walk with people day-to-day (John 1:14) but, upon entering public service at the age of 30, he began to openly reveal that he was “I Am,” that is God (John 8:58, 18:6 & Exodus 3:14). He straightforwardly said “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” and “I and the Father are ONE” (John 14:9 & John 10:30). He’s “the first and the last” (Isaiah 44:6 & Revelation 22:13).
- Clark Kent has to change into Superman before openly saving people.
- Christ didn’t have to do this; he was open about who he was and his life spoke for itself.
- Superman is always in costume when he helps people and stays aloof & secretive afterwards; even his pal Jimmy Olsen doesn’t know his true identity.
- Christ needed no costume to teach truths that would set people free, heal those with ailments, exorcise demons, raise the dead or feed the masses.
- Superman lifts heavy objects to save people, whether bridges, buildings, planes, missiles or meteors.
- Christ willingly takes burdens from us as we cast them on to the Lord (Matthew 11:28-30 & 1 Peter 5:7), but also the heaviest burden of all – sin & death (Romans 4:25 & 2 Timothy 1:10).
- Superman has super-breath, which is the ability to take-in or blow-out huge amounts of air; this enabled him to be a human vacuum as well as generate hurricane-force winds at will.
- Christ also has “super-breath,” which includes the breath of life that enables people and all living things to exist (Genesis 2:7 & John 1:3-4). He also imparted Holy Ghost anointing with his breath (John 20:22) and conquers armies of foes with a mere word (Revelation 19:21).
- Superman has heat-vision which he strategically used to defeat his foes.
- The LORD also has his own version of “heat-vision” which he uses to vanquish his enemies, whether in this temporal world (Revelation 20:7-9) or on Judgment Day (Hebrews 10:26-27,31), the latter of which you can read more about here.
- Superman’s archenemy is Lex Luthor while Christ’s enemy is Satan.
- Superman has to fight & defeat Luthor repeatedly because Luthor keeps resurfacing.
- Christ delivered people who were under the power of Satan during his earthly life (Acts 10:38), but defeated Satan once and for all through his death & resurrection (Colossians 2:15 & Hebrews 2:14).
- The body of Christ — anyone worldwide born of the “seed” of Christ (1 Peter 1:23 & Titus 3:5) — can function as Christ did on Earth. No one believer is Jesus Christ, of course, but believers worldwide make up the body of Christ on this planet and therefore represent him and continue his works (Acts 10:38).
- When Superman saves people from one tragedy or another – e.g. a crashing jet or earthquake – the people are blessed and wowed, but they remain as mortally feeble as they were beforehand.
- When Christ saves people he empowers & equips us to walk in the same power. For instance, the Lord taught that faith is the key to salvation, temporal and eternal (Mark 11:22-24); when he healed people he’d emphasize “your faith has healed you” (Matthew 9:22, Mark 5:34, 10:52, Luke 8:48 & 18:42) and he sent out his disciples to heal others and exorcise wicked spirits (Mark 16:15-18, Luke 10:17 & 24:49).
- In short, Superman couldn’t impart his power to others while Christ could, did and does.
- Superman received his power by originating from a planet with a much greater gravitational pull.
- Christ received his “powers” through (1) growing in faith, (2) the empowerment & gifts of the Holy Spirit and (3) the assistance of angels.
Let’s consider all three of these and apply them to New Covenant believers, like you and me:
- As the infant Jesus grew into a man, he also grew in wisdom & grace (favor), which would include growing in faith (Luke 2:40,52). Believers are also instructed to grow in knowledge, grace (favor) and faith (2 Peter 3:18 & 2 Corinthians 10:15). It’s through this — perhaps combined with #2 — that Christ healed the ailing, exorcised demons, miraculously fed masses, raised the dead and communicated with those from the third Heaven in a celestially transfigured state (Matthew 17:1-3).
- Christ was baptized in the Spirit when John baptized him in water at the Jordan River (Matthew 3:16-17). The baptism of the Spirit is also available to all believers who already have the Spirit living in them and are therefore “temples of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). If you haven’t already, be sure to receive this powerful gift from God and pray in the Spirit regularly to supplement your prayer in your own language, which you can read about here. It was the anointing that came through the baptism of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) that Yeshua was able to discern someone’s thoughts/intentions (Matthew 26:25, Mark 8:33 & John 13:27), know where needed resources could be found (Matthew 17:24-27), knew what a man was doing when he wasn’t physical present (John 1:48-49), knew details about soon-to-come events (Luke 22:8-13) as well as prophesy details concerning the end of the age (Matthew 24).
- The Messiah was so built-up in faith that he was able to utilize the assistance of angels in life-threatening situations. For instance, when he was arrested in Gethsemane he stated that he could have called down twelve legions of angels, but he didn’t since his arrest was according to God’s plan of salvation for humanity (Matthew 26:53). Here are four occasions where Christ escaped critical situations with the obvious assistance of angels (even though angels aren’t mentioned):
- Luke 4:28-30 where the incensed people of Nazareth attempted to throw Jesus off a cliff but he escaped by mysteriously walking “right through the crowd”
- John 7:30,44 where those who wanted to seize the Messiah couldn’t lay a hand on him “because his time had not yet come”
- John 8:59 where the offended religionists picked up stones to slay Yeshua but he miraculously hid himself and slipped by them
- And John 10:31,39 where a group tried to murder him in Solomon’s Colonnade and he “escaped their wrath.”
Believers can also walk in this kind of faith/power, but it takes drawing near to God, growing in knowledge and grace (2 Peter 3:18), which means we’ll have to turn away from the distractions of the world and eliminate worthless time-wasters from our lives like excessive TV/movie-watching and so forth (please notice I said “excessive”), which you can read about here.
- Superman had x-ray vision and could see through walls and so on.
- Christ, as just noted, could discern people’s thoughts to some degree by the Spirit (Matthew 26:25, Mark 8:33 & John 13:27), as well as know what a man was doing when he wasn’t physical present (John 1:48-49) and knew details about soon-to-come events in his life & others (Matthew 16:21, 26:34 & Mark 8:31).
- Superman could pass through solid objects by vibrating his molecules at super-speed.
- Christ could also pass through solid objects after obtaining his glorified body upon being resurrected from the dead (John 20:26). More than that, he could teleport at will (Luke 24:31,36-37), which is superior to Superman’s super-speed since it eliminates the need to physically travel from point A to point B.
- The awesome news is that believers are co-heirs in Christ (Romans 8:17) and will receive the same type of glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-54), which means we’ll have these same incredible abilities in the eternal age of the New Heavens and New Earth. Since these bodies will be imperishable we’ll be invulnerable like Superman. And, since they’ll be partly-spiritual, we’ll be able to “fly” by floating in the air or riding the wind; for proof, Christ was able to walk on water by faith while in his mortal body (Matthew 14:22-33), how much more will we be able to do this with glorified bodies?
This zeroes in on one of the most important differences between Superman and Christ…
- The people Superman saves can never be like Superman – they’re doomed to live as fragile mortals and ultimately succumb to old age & eternal death.
- Christ, by contrast, saves his people from death by dying in their place and giving them eternal life (John 3:16) – ultimately providing them with the very same kind of immortal, glorified body he has!
I can’t help but ask: Is Jesus Christ your superhero, your savior from sin and eternal death? If not, salvation is available to you simply through repentance and faith (Acts 20:21) in response to the awesome message of Christ (John 3:16,36). Just call on the name of the LORD (Romans 10:9-10) and you’ll receive spiritually rebirth by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3,6 & Titus 3:5). From there, you’ll grow spiritually by adding these seven qualities.
Superman is Not a Counterfeit of Christ, but Rather a Type of Christ
I once heard a zealous young minister go on a rant about how Superman is a counterfeit of Jesus Christ, but this simply isn’t true. He’s actually a superhero type of Christ. You see, to be a counterfeit of Christ the individual would have to be a real person, like Sun Myung Moon, and obviously Superman isn’t a real person. Rather, he’s a decidedly fictional comic book character that has gone on to appear in TV shows and cinema.
In theology a ‘type’ is a special kind of symbol that represents a greater truth. For instance, Egypt and the bondage that the Hebrews suffered there are types of (1) the world and (2) slavery to sin.
As far as Christ-typology goes, Joseph was a type of Christ in that Joseph (1) was the beloved son of his father, Jacob, (2) was sent by his father to his brothers (3) was hated and rejected by them and sold for pieces of silver, (4) was severely tempted and overcame, (5) was “killed” and “came back to life” as far as his father was concerned, (6) graciously forgave his offenders when they repented, (7) subsequently provided them a new home that was a paradise compared to where they had been living, at least as far as sustenance goes.
Types are not perfect symbols of what they represent and therefore not every detail in Joseph’s life corresponds to the Messiah. Similarly, Superman is an obvious comic book type of Christ, but not everything in his lore matches that of Yeshua.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting parallel and I hope you were blessed by these comparisons & contrasts. No doubt you have a greater revelation of our Mighty LORD.
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