Who Is More Christian: Superman or Green Lantern?

They found Krypton!

Well, the astrophysicist working with DC Comics has found a spot in the universe that fits the general parameters for Krypton’s location. It would be hard to prove, seeing as how Krypton blew up decades ago. You could go there and check it out if you want, though. It’s only 27.1 light years away.*

I read a lot of comic books when I was a kid. Superman, Batman, Archie, Richie Rich, Little Lotta, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, Supergirl. If it was in a comic book in the 60s and 70s, I probably read it at one time or another.

Superman was fine, of course. After all , he’s the Man of Steel! He has all those great powers, flying and x-ray vision and super strength and more. And Batman is the Caped Crusader, a master detective who invents great gadgets to help him catch criminal masterminds, a driven crime fighter who trained his body relentlessly so that he is up to any physical challenge. I liked reading their adventures, especially when they joined forces, but I can’t say I had any enduring desire to be one of them.

My Kind of Superhero

My favorite superhero of them all was Green Lantern. Not Superman, not Batman, but Green Lantern. You see, he had something neither of those other heroes had.

Green Lantern was a regular guy.

Superman came from another planet. No matter how hard I tried, I could never be a person who came from another planet.

Batman had brains, a great physique and a vast family fortune at his disposal. Even if I were as smart and as strong as he (and I’m not), that family fortune thing was never going to happen to me.

Hal Jordan, on the other hand, was a regular guy when one of the interplanetary members of the Green Lantern Corps crash-landed on earth and with his dying breath passed on to Hal the secret of being a celestial crime fighter, peace keeper and superhero: the light of the Green Lantern itself. Hal took up the mantle, taking the Green Lantern oath that appeared in every comic:

In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!

I could never be from Superman’s planet, I could never muster all the personal and family resources Batman had, but I could always hope someone would come from far away and give me super powers of my own.

Does that sound so unlikely? I don’t think so.

The Light From Above

One of the big things I like about Green Lantern is his oath and it’s focus on light, and the unreserved assurance that no evil can escape that light. It’s almost biblical.

How can a superhero comic book be like the Bible? Our heavenly Father is the Father of heavenly lights (James 1:17), and there is nothing his light cannot shine on:

Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
“Who sees us? Who will know?”
(Isaiah 29:15.)

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
(Psalm 139:11-12.)

Here’s how all this plays out in real life: Jesus came to us from a place much further removed than the Green Lantern Corps’ home planet (Ephesians 4:9-10); he came in order to makes us like him (1 John 3:2), to seat us with himself in the heavenly realms(Ephesians 2:6); and all this comes to us as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), free of any charge to us at all. (Isaiah 55:1-2.)

Gift means gift, and free means free. And it’s no comic book story.

But it is super.

***

*1.59307345 × 1014 miles. That’s really far.

***

I wrote this post for ThinkChristian, where it originally appeared in 2013.

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4 Responses to Who Is More Christian: Superman or Green Lantern?

  1. Personally, I’ve always preferred Batman, but you make a compelling argument. 😉

  2. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    This is great, Tim. GL’s oath does sound biblical. And the theme of bringing light into the darkness is a perfect one to contemplate as we draw closer to Advent.

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