Like countless others, my wife and I went to see the movie “The Avengers.” We enjoyed the banter between the characters and, of course, the action was amazing in digital 3D. After the movie I began to think about the main characters and why millions of us are attracted by them (the movie has already grossed over 1 billion dollars). Stan Lee, the driving force behind Marvel Comic enterprises, would be the first to tell you that these characters are fiction. But they have almost universal appeal. Why?
I’ve been thinking that these characters each represent a different facet of the human nature that John MacArthur calls “the natural man” in his commentary of 1 Corinthians.
“Without exception, man’s wisdom elevates himself and lowers God. It always, no matter how seemingly sincere and objective and scholarly, caters to man’s self–will, pride, fleshly inclinations, and independence. Those are the basic characteristics of the natural man, and they always direct and determine the natural man’s thinking, desires, and conclusions. The reason men love complex, elaborate philosophies and religions is because these appeal to human ego. They offer the challenge of understanding and doing something complex and difficult. For the same reason some men scoff at the gospel. It calls on them to do nothing—it allows them to do nothing—but accept in simple faith what God has done. The cross crushes man’s sin and crushes man’s pride. It also offers deliverance from sin and deliverance from pride.”
In our sinful pride man likes to think that somewhere in himself he has the power to overcome anything… literally to be an avenger of wrongs done to him. You can see these characteristics in the Avengers of the movie.
From my perspective:
The Hulk – demonstrates the danger & power of rage and the struggle to make that anger serve the circumstances. (Proverbs 14:29, Ephesians 4:31)
Iron Man – shows the capabilities of Wealth & Technology. Man thinks that if he is rich enough, smart enough, and inventive enough he can overcome any challenge. (Obadiah 1:3,4)
Thor – represents the spiritual strength found in good myth. He is a god fighting against his brother, an equal but opposite god of evil… shown in the character of the movie’s antagonist, Loki. (Exodus 20:3-5)
Black Widow – exhibits the determination & ferocity of the female psyche. Although, as Christians, women are to be respected as equal before God (Galatians 3:28), they are not to rely upon their personal strengths any more than men are.
Captain America – displays the leadership strength of patriotism, a characteristic to be admired… in moderation. But when devotion to a nation or dogma overshadows devotion to the one true God it is a dangerous and destructive tendency. (John 18:36, Philippians 3:20)
Hawk Eye – to me, is like Cupid on steroids. He uses very old, basic technology of the bow and arrow to achieve success using a keen eye and precision of action. But only God has the power to shoot those kinds of arrows. (Lamentations 3:12,13)
Lastly, Nick Fury – is an example of all of unbelieving mankind’s desire for tough independence with the need for assistance when overwhelmed. Without Christ we are truly at a loss against the powers of sin in this world. (1 John 2:15-17, James 4:4)
Like in the movie, we face a terrible foe who is intent on our destruction. But we are not to rely on our own strengths, abilities, or resources. We are to look to God. Fighting for His children is His responsibility and He can do it very well. (Jeremiah 9:23,24)
1 Thessalonians 4:6 says, “The Lord is the Avenger in all these things.” Do you believe that? (2 Chronicles 20:12, 15, 17; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Think about it…