Book Plunge: Superheroes Can’t Save You

What do I think of Todd Miles’s book published by B&H Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m not someone who reads comic books, but I do like superheroes. When Smallville was on the air, I devoured everything I could on that series and I regret that I never got a copy of the comic strips for after the show went off, but alas, I didn’t have the money. Many of you might know I had every episode title memorized in order when it was on.

Fortunately, I also married a wife who likes superhero movies so we can sit down and watch Thor or Iron Man together as well. It is rare I meet a guy who doesn’t like superheroes. For many of us men also, we like to be the protector and imagine being those heroes for the ones we love.

Many times, we can also see these superheroes as Christ figures. To some extent, there’s some truth to this. There are many ways in which Superman is very similar to Jesus. However, there are many ways that they are different.

Those differences could lead to heresy even.

Superheroes leading to heresy? Holy Christology Batman! Yes, indeed. Superheroes can illustrate for us great Christological errors in history.

In this, Todd Miles covers 7. Superman is a docetism of sorts that is so much divine that we do not see him as really human. The humanity is just a facade. We can see Jesus the same way.

Batman is quite the opposite. Of all the superheroes, Batman is a regular guy. He just has a lot of knowledge and a lot of gadgets. In this, many people can say Jesus is just a regular guy. He was just really a man of great wisdom.

Hank Pym has made a comeback in the movies as Ant-Man, but he can also be Goliath and the Yellow Jacket. Three different ways one guy can be. Sounds like modalism? Indeed, it does.

Thor is the son of a great god, but he is just a god in himself. Is there any group out there that teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, but he is simply a god? That would be the Arian teaching and the Watchtower Bible has Jesus described as “a god” in John 1:1.

Green Lantern has an awesome ring that gives him great powers with the use of his will. In the same way, some groups teach that Jesus was adopted and given the Holy Spirit that allowed Him to do miracles. This adoptionism is for Miles, the Green Lantern heresy.

Hulk is a Christological heresy too? Yep. The great Bruce Banner is a brilliant thinker and scientist, but when he turns into the Hulk, he loses all of it and just wants to smash everything. Hulk doesn’t really have a human mind then. If you recognize Apollinarianism, move to the head of the class.

Finally, Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider and becomes Spider-Man. His DNA is actually fused with spider DNA. At this point, he becomes a mixture of a spider and a human. Yes. We are talking about Euytchianism.

This is a really fun read through church history and at times, the footnotes at the bottom of the page can be just as funny. This book is also designed for small groups, so get a church group together and watch a superhero movie and then read a chapter of the book about that hero and discuss it. It would be great to see more like this. About the only major problem I have is the Superman chapter never mentioned the Smallville series. I don’t understand how a great oversight like that can take place still…..

Theology is a deep field, but it can also be fun. If you like superheroes, you can learn Christology. Give this one a try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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