Theology of Superheroes

Christian Education Series

JESUS vs SUPERMAN


Mighty God, you proved your power over sin by becoming human, proclaiming the truth about your redemptive Love, willingly dying on the cross, and conquering death in your resurrection. As we explore stories of truth, justice, and power, may your Spirit lead us to a deeper understanding of the greatest story ever told, that of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
— John 3:16


Superman’s story goes something like this…

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From above, a mighty father in the heavens sends his only son to save the earth. When he comes down to earth, he is raised by two earthly parents. When Superman comes of age, he travels to the arctic “wilderness” to commune with his father’s spirit. Upon leaving this solitude, Superman, at age 30, embarks on his public mission, fighting for truth and justice...using powers to do what others cannot. His mission leads to his death. But, Superman is “resurrected” and comes back to life after being killed. Then, “Superman Returns,” coming back to earth to save its people.

Sound like a familiar story?

The similarities between Jesus and Superman are striking, yet when explored should not come as a surprise. These connections are intentional. Movie producers and directors know that the world is longing for a savior...even if they are resistant to admitting it. People can reject organized religion, they can stop going to church, but the truth is we need to believe that we will be delivered from the suffering of this world.

In a scene from Superman Returns, Lois Lane tells Superman that the world doesn’t need a “savior,” and neither does she. She denies the purpose of Superman. Superman understands that the world doesn’t know what the world needs. He takes her up into the sky and explains to her that although she cannot hear all of the people crying out for help, he does. Every day he hears the cries of the people for a “savior.” It is human nature to believe that we don’t need help. One could argue that this unwillingness to understand our limitations only produces more suffering...suffering in which we end up crying out for someone to save us.

We need a “savior.” Jesus is our Savior, yet the world often looks to false “saviors” in times of need. Does a comparison between Jesus and Superman help us more deeply connect to Christ or does it serve to satisfy our need for a "savior" without requiring the gift of faith and the work of discipleship? Does thinking of Jesus as a superhero lessen his identity as our Savior? Does comparing his divine power to superpowers diminish our understanding of his divinity? I think it is a fascinating discussion and look forward to engaging with what others think about these questions in the Comment Section below.


Additional Resources:

  • Do The Gods Wear Capes?: Spirituality, Fantasy and Superheroes by Ben Sanders: CLICK HERE
  • The Bible Explained - Jesus and Superman: CLICK HERE
  • Superman's Second Coming: CLICK HERE
  • Jesus Vs Superman Comparison: CLICK HERE
  • Superman Isn’t Jesus, He’s Your Dad: CLICK HERE
  • Superman: Jesus figure or ‘anti-Christ’?: CLICK HERE

Check out one of the other sessions in the Theology of Superheroes Series by clicking on the buttons below.


What are your thoughts about Jesus as a superhero? How about your feelings about Superman as a "savior"? Please contribute in the Comment Section below!