It amazes me how so many people can read the Bible and come away from it with such differing opinions of who Jesus is. Or, in some cases, what He is and what He Does. As I was reading Superheroes Can’t Save You: Epic Examples of Historic Heresies, (B&H Academic, 2018) I kept thinking that in addition to the heresies that Todd Miles presents, he is also contributing a lot to a study of Christology.
I ask to write about a lot of books based on an intriguing title. Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m disappointed, but this book is as intriguing as its title. Based on a childhood fascination with the Superheroes of the Marvel and DC universes, Miles sets out to compare the superheroes of the comic book world to the Jesus of the Bible. After all in the comics, superheroes save people, and in the Bible, Jesus saves. What he discovers is that in these battles, it’s a sweep. Jesus: Won; Superheroes: zero.
As we look at several different superheroes, Miles talks a lot about Jesus, and points out a few similarities, but also a lot of differences, and these differences are what point to the heresies that the church has endured over the year. Outside of Seminary, I don’t remember hearing a lot about things like ‘Docetism’, ‘Modalism’, ‘Apollinarianism’ or ‘Eutychianism’. Come to think of it, I don’t remember studying Apollinarianism or Eutychianism at all, even in Seminary.
But all these heresies, and a few others, are things the church has wrestled with over the years, as people tried to understand Jesus: fully human, fully divine; or as the church tried to understand the concept of the trinity. So Miles brings in the superheroes, and although they are pretty impressive in their own right, they pale when compared to Jesus. Superman hides behind the identity of Clark Kent, and Batman lives as Bruce Wayne, but they are not both at the same time. Jesus wasn’t God in disguise, and he was a lot more than just a remarkable human being. Using Superman, Batman, Ant-Man, Thor, Green Lantern, the Hulk and Spider Man, as reference points, Miles points out the reality of Jesus as compared to the fantasies of our childhood superheroes.
A received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of their blogger program.