God, Superman & Comic Book Theology
Nearly twenty-five years ago, DC Comics published one of the highest selling comic books in it's history: Superman #75, entitled "The Death Of Superman." The idea that DC would kill off such an iconic character was unfathomable, and a little hokey. It also didn't last.
I used to collect comic books back then, and I got swept up in the hype. It was kind of a forgone conclusion that Superman wasn't really dead. No one believed it.
And, of course, DC brought Superman back--three months later through a convoluted storyline that made absolutely no sense at all to me at the time.
The whole thing was a gimmick to be sure, but it definitely made Superman more accessible. Despite his powers, he wasn't indestructible, after all.
I got to thinking about all of this today because of a conversation Merideth and I were having this morning about the way that most people view God. I think most of us view God in much the same way we imagine our fictional heroes: Bigger, better, more powerful versions of us.
We want our heroes to be accessible, to be like us. We want this, because it gives us hope that perhaps one day, even ordinary people like us might be able to accomplish something great, do something heroic--maybe even save the world.
So many of us affix these desires on to our visions of God. In our desire to understand God and to make meaning of the world around us, we begin to speak, think, and imagine things about God that bring God down to our level. And sometimes we start believing that God thinks, acts and speaks just like we think, act and speak.
In Romans 11:34 the Apostle Paul asks a question that we all need to be asking as we contemplate the Divine. "Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" In other words, what Paul is saying here is "When it comes to God, you don't know nothin'."
When we are tempted to think we speak for God... when we are tempted to think that we know what God is up to... When we are tempted to believe that we have a corner on the market of understanding God... more than likely we are simply turning God into a super-powered version of us.
God is beyond our comprehension. The moment we begin to speak of God, we have already limited our understanding of God. To even try to affix one kind of definition or image to God is an exercise in futility.
And yet, this limitless God, this vast, unknowable God loves us so much that God never stops seeking to redeem us, reconcile us to Godself, and restore us to the fullest expressions of ourselves.
May you seek today to draw closer to the indescribable One who loves you more deeply than you can imagine. May you learn to speak about and relate to this God with humility, awe, wonder and joy. And may the grace and peace of Jesus Christ (God's most complete revelation of Godself to us) be with you now and always. Amen.