First coined by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the term “Superman” (Übermensch) represents the idea of a superior man who justifies the existence of the human race. This Superman would not be a product of a long evolution; rather, he would emerge when any man with superior potential completely masters himself and strikes off conventional Christian “herd morality” to create his own values, which are completely rooted in life on this earth. Nietzsche was searching for a “Caesar with Christ’s soul.” Because the Nietzschean definition of Superman is rather unspecified, some have interpreted it to be someone who is simply superior in strength and mental ability. But what really makes the Superman out of the ordinary is his unique moral code, and his representation of various qualities that we should strive for, such as strength, courage, style and refinement.
The concept of a Superman has been around for millennia, appearing first in the Western World in the Greek mythology of Prometheus, the titan who defied Zeus and the other Olympian gods by bringing fire to mortal humans, thereby empowering man with a gift meant only for deities. Prometheus defied the God(s) to help mankind evolve into something far superior.
Although Nietzsche was no fan of Christianity, the life of Jesus Christ is one of the world’s greatest known embodiments of the Promethean Superman ideal, with his superpower being that of a compassion the likes of which has rarely existed before and since. The story of Jesus Christ has transformed nearly every corner of the world, shaping and re-shaping Western civilization for the past two thousand years, and it all began when an all-powerful father sent him to Earth to save mankind by showing them the “light”. Jesus performed miracles, he “died” and was born again. Sound familiar? The story of Jesus has direct parallels to the ongoing saga of the 20th century Superman, the comic book icon created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, two high school students living in Cleveland, Ohio in 1933. There is no way these two boys could have possibly known that their Superman — which they created as a means of escaping from the wrath and unspeakable hell of The Great Depression — would become the most prolific and influential superhero of the modern era.
For the past 80 years, the stories of Superman have manifested beyond comic books, all the way to the silver screen and its numerous interpretations — the newest of which is Director Zak Snyder’s Man Of Steel. The highly anticipated film is about to give the Superman mythology a fresh coat of paint and whole lot of sizzle, with Henry Cavill taking on the lead role of Jesus Christ — I mean, Superman. So when you find yourself in the theatre with your hero-sized bag of popcorn, you might want to keep track of how many parallels you can find between the the Man of Steel and Jesus. Here’s a list of ten to start you off:
1. Divine Paternity: Jesus the son of God, and Kal-El the son of Jor-El.
2. Divine Diaspora: Superman was an alien immigrant, and like a diaspora Jew, he was forced to leave his starry home.
3. Earthly Existence: both Jesus and Superman are corporeal, Earth-bound “deliverers”.
4. Divine Signature Signs: both appear on Earth nude, heaven-sent, in a pristine natural setting.
5. Divine Naming: ‘Kal-El’ is Kryptonian for ‘Star Child’, which ties into the “Child of the Christmas Star of Bethlehem”.
6. The Mystical Age: both Jesus and Superman are exactly 30 years old when their messianic missions begin.
7. Shared Life Biographies: both Superman and Jesus had earthly family ties, both had heavenly origins, both heroes were raised incognito on Earth, both were of “royal” blood, both righted wrongs, both acted as saviours, both displayed incredible powers, and both performed miracles.
8. Divine Guidance & Training: Jesus was ministered to by angels, and Superman was guided in his Fortress of Solitude by his Father Jor-El.
9. The Truthful Preacher: Jesus and Superman preached to both the good and bad.
10. The Ascended Jesus & The Flying Superman: The triumphantly ascended Jesus left his earthly disciples “gazing up into heaven” (Acts 1:11). He was to benevolently watch over us all, assured in the knowledge that his mission as the undisputed “Savior of the world”. Sound familiar?
Zak Snyder‘s Man Of Steel premieres this coming Thursday June 13th at midnight in North America. The film was produced by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, INCEPTION), and alongside Henry Cavill is co-star Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as General Zod. To enter the mother ship be sure to visit ManOfSteel.WarnerBrothers.com. To enter the Warner Brothers Man Of Steel SWEEPSTAKES you can CLICK HERE.
The artwork of Jesus with a Superman chest crest in a telephone booth in the images below comes courtesy of artist and sculptor Jennifer Small. Entitled “We Can Be Heroes”, the 2011 work is part of the artist’s extraordinary series of digital prints and sculptures entitled I Found Jesus At A Flea Market. You can see the entire exquisite collection in full by visiting JenniferSmall.ca.
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