Devotional 8/24: The God of Spider-Man
Please Note: Spider-Man and other Marvel characters mentioned are property of Marvel Comics Group/Disney. No copyright infringement is intended.
Do you know that the Lord has His own character in the Marvel Comics Universe? It is more of a Baha’i representation of God in that His name or title is The One Above All. Of course, there are other, “Gods” mentioned throughout Marvel Comics, Hercules and Odin and Zeus and even Damballah. But even they all recognize ‘The One Above All’. In one issue of Thor (that I cannot give you an issue number for), Thor and a Catholic Priest deal with a monster and the priest asks him if he(Thor) is the true God. Thor says that he is NOT but that there is one above all and that the priest’s faith is not in vain. The character, The Living Tribunal has made frequent references to Him too. And then there was Captain America who regularly made professions of faith. There was even a special series in 1993 where religious belief was the central issue called, The Infinity Crusade.
Granted these allusions are few and far between but I have found Marvel Comics generally try to be respectful of everyone’s beliefs. At least that was what I found growing up reading comic books in the 1980s. Today, I do not know.
However, one character whose faith I have always admired was Spider-Man’s. They showed him praying several times, especially about his Aunt May’s health and about life in general in a very personal, very intimate way. It must work since I say that for a woman who was elderly in 1963 (when Spider-Man’s first comic appeared), she still looks good 53 years later!! In Sensational Spider-Man Vol. 2 #40, The One Above All actually appears to him in the form of a homeless vagrant. He says several things and does things that I found very similar to what the Lord’s response to Job and others who went through disappointment, questions and doubts, and challenges in Bible. Now, I am not saying this particular comic book is scripture but obviously it was inspired by scripture.
First, he let Peter just vent. A good 90% pf the book of Job is Job questioning God about his fairness and his friends trying to convince Job that Job must have done something bad. However, it turns out that Job did not do anything bad. But Job complains and so did Jeremiah and so did Peter Parker. Hear the words of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 20:18 Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?
Secondly, the One Above All reminds Peter and we need to be thankful for the mission that we have been given because we cannot see the big picture. This the Lord does for Job as well. For 4 chapters, the Lord responds to Job out of the whirlwind, not with explanations but with questions of Job’s place in the universe and he gets the message, “there is a bigger picture”.
Thirdly, Peter Parker just tells Him how concerned with his Aunt May’s health and hope that she does not die. The One Above All responds with something that we all need, “Have faith.” Isn’t that the call of our Lord? Have faith? Believe in that there is more to this world than we can see, touch, taste, feel, and hear? Aren’t we called to believe that if we put our trust in Him, He will use us? Maybe not to fight crime as a superhero but in His own way?
Often it is the hardest part of Paul’s exhortation of faith, hope, and love to believe that faith is abiding. But abide it must if we are to complete the race He has set before us.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.