The Theology of Wonder Woman
On June 2, 2017, the movie Wonder Woman hit theaters worldwide. The movie was an astounding success, raking in over $300 million worldwide. The film was an action-packed, humorous, fun-filled thrill-ride that was a huge hit with fans of both the comic book and non-fans of the comic book alike. If you're into action films, then I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this film will not disappoint. But while watching Wonder Woman, something became painfully obvious: there was a deep spiritual undertone to the film that is sure to resonate with students of the Bible. Wonder Woman is not a Christian-based character. Let's get that clear from the start. Actually, Wonder Woman's origins are rooted in Greek mythology. She is, in essence, a Greek goddess sent by Zeus, the king of the gods in Greek mythology, to destroy Ares, who is Zeus' murderous, war-hungry, rage-filled nephew. Ares is affectionately known in Greek m ythology as the god of war. It was Ares who, according to the story-line, tempted mankind with evil and caused Man to spiral into a world of debauchery, murder, and chaos. Ares successfully pulled on the hidden proclivities and sinful potential within mankind and brought these things to light, making man bask in immorality against Zeus' wishes. For a person who understands biblical theology, Ares strikes a shocking resemblance to another malignant, devious, murderous, rage-filled character: Satan. The story-line behind Ares and his war with Zeus shares many similarities with the biblical account of the cosmic war between God and Satan, but make no mistake about it: Wonder Woman is no Jesus the Christ and Zeus is no God Jehovah. Not by a long shot. The basic premise of the Woman Woman movie (the idea that only through brotherly love can human beings conquer the inherent evil buried inside of them) is humanism at its core, which is a doctrine that is totally antithetical of the Bible's teaching. (Warning: Spoiler alert for those who haven't seen the movie) Wonder Woman had grown up with the belief that Ares was directly and solely responsible for the evils committed by mankind. She believed that if Ares was eradicated, his evil spell would ultimately be vanquished for good and all of mankind would return to the loving, respectful, peaceful creatures they were created to be. Wonder Woman's mission then became to cut the head off of the snake (kill Ares) so that she could vanquish evil from men's hearts, and subsequently, the world. Sounds simple enough. In fact, this sounds all too similar to what many people hear on Sunday mornings. Some churches place more emphasis on Satan and his demons than they do individual accountability. They make it seem as if no one is directly responsible for their own actions - that anytime someone commits murder, steals, rapes, robs, lies, and commits any other evils it is only because Satan possessed them and "made" them do it. Sometimes, ministers act as if all they have to do is rebuke Satan and his demons out of a person and they will automatically change their behavior and perspective. Of course, this type of thinking has led to a great divide between the church at large and the secular world. It has painted Christians as spooks on a modern day Salem witch-hunt. What some Christians call demons secular psychologists call mental disorders. For some people, it's either-or. For me, however, there is a connection between the two. It's not all Satan and it's not all psychological. They both share equal responsibility in the behavior department. Satan may try to convince us to do wrong, but we have to choose to give in to his suggestions. It is for this reason that people end up in hell - they made the choice to both listen to and obey Satan over God in their lives. This world is in shambles due to the ignorance of man and the subtleties of Satan. It's not enough to rebuke Satan; we must teach people how to live according to God's ordinances and precepts that are found in His Word. As Wonder Woman discovered after defeating the evil warlord Ares, evil is just as deeply imbedded in the hearts of men as it is the black heart of Ares. In essence, this reflects a theological perspective that is more in-step with the Bible than any other, which is this: mankind, being that he is a free-will agent, carries the same potential as Satan to be exalted with pride and war against God. In essence, Satan isn't the big problem; we are. We authorize Satan to operate in our lives and in this world. We invite demons in while kicking God out. We prefer sin over righteousness. This reminds me of the passage of Scripture in the book of Revelation that talks about Satan being bound for one-thousand years after Christ returns to earth and lays waist to the antichrist and his army. Some people have question why God won't simply destroy Satan rather than bind him and then loose him again. The reality is it's not Satan that God is trying to eradicate - He could have gotten rid of him way before now. What God is trying to fix is the sin-nature that's embedded within us. Satan has a way of revealing what's already there. This is why you'll find in Scripture Satan being allowed to "test" men of God: Jesus (Matthew chapter 4), Job, Peter (Luke 22:31), etc. God is not the author of evil and confusion (James 1:13-15) nor is He the "boss" of Satan. In case you don't know, Satan and his demons are under a sentence of death. The power they've been given to operate in the earth was never given to them by God; it was given to them by man (by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden more specifically)...and men continue to give Satan power over earthly affairs. God, on the other-hand, is sitting in heaven begging us (mankind) to authorize Him to move in our earthly affairs; hence, the reason Jesus told us in Matthew chapter 6 to pray "thy Kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" when teaching us to pray (The Lord's Prayer). We must quit inviting the kingdom of darkness and start inviting the Kingdom of God into our lives. And as far as wondering why God has yet to destroy Satan - and all other evil doers for that matter (murderers, drug dealers, etc.) - we can only leave it up to His good judgment. I'll tell you this, though: If God were to come back today and judge many of the people we think need to be judged for evildoing, I bet you and I would be on the list as well. We'll have much that we'll have to answer to God for. So, with that being said, I'm not in any rush to see fire and brimstone fall on the evildoers. Everyone has their time. Everyone will eventually get there. I just want to take the lesson that Wonder Woman learned the hard way and realize the importance of keeping my heart clean - Ares or no Ares. When it all comes down to it, I'll have to stand before God on my own. And He won't ask me about Satan; He's going to focus on my decisions and actions.