Superhumans and the real endgame

I’ve never seen Game of Thrones nor any superhero movie except Ironman years ago. Judging by the Twitter traffic this past weekend, that might seem to disqualify me from having anything meaningful to say about anything. But sometimes the perspective of an outsider is helpful in putting the perspective of the insider…in perspective.

The proliferation of superhero films of late and the fascination with fantasy makes one wonder what need or needs they fill in the human psyche. Psychologists and sociologists surely have multiple theories about that. I’m neither one of those so my speculations are particularly speculative, but I’d like to offer one anyway.

Perhaps we have an innate yearning to escape the mundane because we were created for more than this finite, limited, less-than-fantastic earthly existence. Maybe we were actually made for MARVELous deeds and supernatural powers and right now we’re merely subsisting on this very ordinary plane like Clark Kent before he became Superman. But someday we’ll enter as a mere human a box that passes for that proverbial telephone booth, and come out of it as superhuman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

You think I’m joking, don’t you?

The fact is that the event Christians celebrated last week on Easter Sunday…the resurrection of Jesus Christ…is someday going to be repeated en masse. A trumpet will sound and our dead bodies will be raised to new life, never to die again. And just as Jesus’s resurrected body was unbound by earth’s physical laws such that he could appear and disappear at will, unhindered by walls or locked doors, so too will ours have supernatural abilities. At least, for those of us who belong to him…who have received his gift of salvation by faith. The others? Well…let’s see what God says about that.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul gives a lengthy description in chapter 15 of what our own resurrected bodies will be like. He says they will be imperishable, immortal, glorious, and powerful. Not exactly our current experience, huh? These earthly bodies of ours are decaying and will die; are sometimes unpleasant to look at, touch, or smell; and are bound by natural laws that hold us down and limit our reach. But the new bodies that God will create for us at the resurrection will be as superior to our current ones as Captain America is to his frail alter ego Steve Rogers.

Sounds like fantasy, I know. But this is what God has revealed to us through his Word. In the Gospels we read that though Jesus after his resurrection was recognizable to his disciples, his body had new, supernatural powers. He twice suddenly appeared to them as they were gathered in a room without needing to have the locked door opened for him; he vanished in an instant after breaking bread at table with two of them; and when his ministry was completed, he returned to his Father in dramatic fashion by ascending into the clouds as they watched in awe.

Now read what God says is in store for us as believers.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. – Philippians 3:20-21

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. – 1 John 3:2

As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. – 1 Corinthians 15:48-49

God has promised that someday we will have supernatural bodies with super powers like Christ’s. Provided, however, that we are “of heaven.” It seems that this promise is only for those who have aligned themselves with Jesus, “the man of heaven,” by putting their faith and trust in him. Those who have refused to surrender their lives to him will someday have new bodies that are immortal but neither glorious nor powerful, and will have no choice then but to surrender to an eternity void of all the marvelous experiences and capabilities that could have been theirs if they had just believed and had their sins removed. They will be the evil villains conquered by the Justice League or the Avengers…vanquished but not destroyed…doomed to darkness, depression, despair and defeat for all eternity.

If you’re a fan of superhero movies but have not yet aligned yourself with the greatest Superhero of all time, Jesus Christ, your destiny is as the defeated villains. But if by faith you have become a follower of his, someday you will follow him in victory as a member of the ultimate league of superheroes…the Armies of Heaven.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses – Revelation 19:11-14