Psalms 11:5 – The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Odysseus. Robin Hood. Superman. Batman. Wolverine. Thor. Hulk. Bruce Lee. Lara Croft. Master Chief. Cloud. Ethan Hunt. James Bond. Luke Skywalker. Aang. It’s an incomplete list.
They are all heroes. They are all saviors. Some are gods, some are men. They are all immensely popular. They are all violent.
There is a strange fascination with the violent hero. I’ve felt the pull myself. Why are we attracted to violent heroes? I think the devil wants us to have heroes like this. Whether ancient mythology, or the present Hollywood, digital, or superhero mythology, they all take the true definition of a hero or savior and warp it. The physical violence that they display is the outworking of an inner hatred. Their violence is powered by a desire to destroy and not to heal.
Our great Adversary, Satan, attacked God in heaven and was cast out. In the end, Jesus will come as a conquering king and destroy him. God does use violence, but what is the difference?
Satan has always hated his Enemy and sought to destroy him to conquer the universe. God has never stopped loving his enemy, but will destroy him to bring peace to the Universe.
Satan sacrificed his place in heaven to exalt himself at any cost. Christ sacrificed his place in heaven to humble himself at any cost.
Satan’s hatred led him to kill his enemy. On the contrary, it is Christ’s love for His enemy, and the rest of the created beings, that will lead him to kill His enemy.
When we are used and abused in this life, Christ asks us to pray for our enemies, that by displaying His character we might win them. However, if they hold on to the character of our Adversary, we know that we have a just King who will make all right when He executes His judgment.
Romans 12:17-21 – Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As our Savior did.
Good post. I have been mulling over this topic for some time, and have even incorporated elements into a sermon or two. In these last days, as the Adversary seeks to deceive the nations, we are being influenced via all forms of media that it is not only necessary but honorable to use force to protect ourselves, our assets, and our loved ones. But this is antithetical to the Spirit of Christ, the “lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.” Jesus, our Savior and our Example in all things, achieved victory by dying, by sacrificing Himself for others. This sort of victory is contrary to everything the world promotes.
I believe the contrast between Christ and Satan is even more striking than you depict, however. Although Satan is destroyed by God in the end, I understand it to be less like a forceful, violent act, and more like an unveiling of God’s true character of love and holiness, in whose unshielded presence Satan and unrepentant sinners cannot survive. “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29) “Who shall dwell with the devouring fire?…He that walketh uprightly…” (Isaiah 33:14-15).
I just discovered your blog through a Facebook link, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your insights. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the feedback. I actually want to revisit this topic and split it into two parts. I feel there is more to say about popular violence, and that there is more to be said about how God and the devil are different when force is used.
I look forward to more comments from you, hopefully.
I find heroes who don’t live up to the usual quota very interesting. They will do anything to rid the world of injustice, by any costs, ends or means necessary. Red Hood, Punisher, both popular examples of this type of character, the hero who doesn’t hold anything back. They utilize fear and terrorism to stop anyone who is so much as a typical burglar. The extreme methods, with their realistic views on being a hero to people, make them just badass. And naturally, everyone wants to be that guy who’s not afraid to kill to save the world. I wouldn’t call them anti heroes, rather should call them evil heroes, who do anything to get what they want, whether fear, guns, swords, superpowers, terrorism or just plain willpower to use as a weapon against evildoers.
It seems that ultimately their character would prevent them from being a real hero.