Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jor-El, Kal-El, and why God sent His Son (Or Superman is not Jesus)

There has been a lot written over the years about parallels between Superman (Kal-El) and Christ. With the new Superman movie, these are making a comeback. It is not my intention here to list all the parallels, but to discuss one.

God sent His only Son to earth, and so too did Jor-El.

Superman's origin, like most early superheroes has developed and picked up details and revisions over the years. The story of Kryptonian scientist Jor-El placing his son in a rocket to escape his planet's destruction came about gradually. The earlier stories I read gave the impression this was an act of desperation on Jor-El's part. His planet was about to explode, but if his son was sent off planet he might survive somewhere. Over the years this became a deliberate act of Jor-El, and an Earth landing was his goal. And so grew the parallel. But beyond someone sending their only Son to earth to serve the people the parallel breaks down.

I have not seen the new movie yet. (I'll probably wait until it is on DVD, and rent it.) But there is a quote from the movie I saw in the newspaper. (Sorry, I can't find it on the internet.) The quote stuck out. Jor-El says,
"For this reason above all--their capacity for good--I have sent them you, my only son."

This is exactly the opposite reason God sent His Son to us. He sent Jesus to fulfill the Law, die to pay the penalty for His people's sin, and rise from the dead to defeat death. He did this because we can not. It is not our capacity for good, but our capacity for evil that is the issue here. We are all sinful. God did not choose to save us because we're just so lovable.

And yet He does love us. He sent His Son to save His people because He loves us.

When I look at it closely, Jor-El sent his son to earth for a combination of selfish reasons and love for his son. God sent His Son for selfless reasons and love of the unlovable.

Jor-El sending his son to earth is then more an example of deism, than a true parallel of Christ.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Rogers Meredith said...

Good stuff. It is impossible to picture the heroic without, in some manner,picturing Christ.

9:30 AM  

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