Sunday, May 06, 2007

Theology and Mis-Theology in Spiderman 3

I must confess, I am a Spiderman fan. I saw Spiderman 3 last night with the family.

I like Spiderman because he is so human, he has money problems, love problems, ego problems and also, sin problems.

Spiderman 3 proved to be more theological than the last two episodes, for me anyway. Here we get the problem of revenge, hatred and its resolution - forgiveness.

Being infected by a venom from outer space, Spidey turned into a violent revenge ravaged man - he turned into a nasty and not nice than usual self - he was there to enjoy the fun, of getting even. And he loved being that way. Giving in to the self is addictive, intoxicating. Gal 5:19. I like the line Peter Parker said to Eddie Brock, "what do you want, forgiveness? Get religion".

There are a couple of things though that are mis-theologies in Spiderman 3. For those who have no Christian connection, but are submerged into pop culture, the theology in Spiderman would probably be the only exposure one could have.

There were a few things which some what bothered me. Firstly, Eddie went to church after being humiliated by Parker, he prayed to the crucifix of Jesus and asked Parker to be killed? Is this a swipe at Roman Catholicism which normally uses crucifixes or to Christians in general i.e. is it ligitimate to pray to Jesus for others to die? I probably prayed that way but that is wrong.

Secondly and the most disturbing to me now is Parker's exhultation of "your choice", so much Pelagian innuendo came through at the ending, and I felt it was in line with the American notion of free will/ your choice. cf.
When it comes to attaining a connection with God, our free will is incapacitated.

In the end, the exaltation of our free will is still part of that sinful flesh.

Any thoughts?


J. K. Jones said...

I am also a Spiderman fan. I have about 1,000 Spiderman comic books in the attic at home, although I have not been a regular reader of them since early high school. Some of them are worth something.

I liked the comic books because they stressed responsibility. The oft-repeated line was, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Morality was stressed, but I can find no trace of the good news of the gospel of the Christ.

It fits in very well with our culture. We are all about morality (law), even if our philosophies and “theologies” give us no basis for it. For example, just try being “intolerant” of another religion.

We are never about gospel because it requires us to be humble about our righteousness. We are proud of ourselves even if our righteousness is as filthy rags.

I hope to be able to see Spiderman 3 this weekend, and I am glad to hear a positive review.

L P Cruz said...

The message of forgiveness is there, but there is also plenty of Finneyite ideology on free will, but good entertaining movie overall

J. K. Jones said...

I finally was able to see Spiderman 3 tonight. Great movie. Even Stan Lee’s somewhat strange cameo appearance was fun to see for an old fan like me.

Yes, there’s the “it’s your choice” element. This will probably was intended and will be understood in a Pelagian / Finneyitte way. Just don’t forget that we do choose.

Our free will (really free agency) is not violated. God just gives us new hearts and desires. We choose because we were chosen, but we still choose. We love because He loved us first, but we still love.

I can see much of myself in the Spiderman character. I struggle with anger / hatred / vengeance often. I can, because of God’s grace, choose to do better. I can, because of God’s grace, know that, even if I don’t do better, I am still loved by Him. I can forgive others because He has forgiven me.

Sola Gratia!

L P Cruz said...


It is really hard to forgive someone out of our own choosing to forgive. As Christians we realize we are rebels and need forgiveness too so in relation to God who has forgiven us for Christ's sake we are enjoined by Scripture to forgive too.

Same with me as with Parker, I find that I will only find peace when I have gotten even with the one who has hurt me. Such possibility is delicious to taste of our old man.

What did you make out of that prayer to the crucifix?

J. K. Jones said...

I am still trying to decide if it was a swipe at Christians, as if all of us would hate. I tend to think at this point that it was not. The villain did not even know how to address his prayer. He did not pray as a Christian would, even in the basics of salutation and address.

The prayer to Christ for Parker’s death just shows how evil the villain was.