When I was younger, I was a HUGE Superman fan! I have always loved the character in movies and cartoons. I was the kind of kid who would tie a towel around my neck and jump around the house.
As I grew older, I still enjoyed the Superman concept. In fact, I used to enjoy that show Smallville when I was younger, which is based on Clark Kent’s journey to becoming the hero we all know. I didn’t miss a single episode! It usually had great “good vs. evil” struggles, and many Christian themes throughout.
But one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the incredible similarities between Jesus and Superman. I was thinking about this the other day, and it is pretty neat. I think that is why America has such a connection with the “big blue boy scout.” In fact, you could say the whole story of Superman is basically an interpretation of the Bible. You may even say that Superman himself is little more than a fictionalized version of Jesus Christ (as if we need to fictionalize God!). Having said that, this article will be a Jesus vs Superman comparison.
Similarities Between Jesus Christ and Superman:
Similarity #1: The Names
In the Superman mythology, his father’s name is Jor-El, and Superman’s Kryptonian name is Kal-El. The connection here is the extension of the name, “El” In Hebrew, “El” literally means “God.” This is no mistake. In fact, the creators of Superman (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) were Jewish. Although at first it was spelled “Kal-L” it was very soon changed to “El.”
So it is obvious that they are making a religious connection here to reflect his power and might. Since both Superman and his father both share the “El” in their name, it helps you to remember that Superman is the direct son of the Father (Jor-El). Jesus too is the Son of God (and God the Son). This is an impressive similarity between Jesus and Superman.
Similarity #2: The Birth & Youth
As most know, Superman was sent to Earth by his father. Their planet was facing destruction, so Jor-El sent his “only-begotten” son to Earth, not to destroy it mind you, but that it might be saved (and Kal-El will be saved from destruction). In fact, Jor El shows us that Earth has promise, and that the people can be a “good people.” Here is a direct quote that Jor-El says in the Superman movie (played by Marlon Brando):
“Even though you’ve been raised as a human being you are not one of them…They can be a great people Kal-El; they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son.”
This is interesting because Jesus Christ says of himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the light…” We see the Father’s compassion for these “Earthly” creatures. At the same time, Jesus was with us, but wasn’t from us. He was from heaven, from the father.
This resembles Christ so much. He is sent to Earth from “Heaven” to be a savior to mankind. His true “Father” isn’t of this world, and he is raised by adoptive parents, who are very religious people born under Jewish Law. Superman is the same way. His adoptive parents are portrayed as very loving and king people, and no doubt religious, God-fearing folks.
Similarity #3: They Both Had to Learn from the Father, or Do the Father’s Will
Jesus has a mission on Earth, to be the savior of Mankind. At a young age we see a story in the Bible about Jesus staying behind during a trip with his parents. When his parents noticed he wasn’t there, they freaked out. When they found Jesus, he was with various religious people. He simply responded to his parents, “I must be about my father’s business.”
Then, we see Jesus again right before his ministry. What does He do? He goes into the mountain and fasts for 40 days. He is tempted in every way, yet holds to God’s will. He then dies on a cross as the savior of humanity.
These parallels are also seen in Superman. His father has a definite mission for him: To save Earth and protect it. Superman does his father’s will, and as a result Earth is saved from all sorts of evil.
Not only that, but just as Jesus went to be alone in the mountain before beginning His official “ministry,” Superman is isolated in the “Fortress of Solitude” where he learns all about his father and his mission in life. In fact, in the movies, we see Clark Kent going to the fortess before ever becoming Superman, and he comes out as Superman after his “training”.
Similarity #4: Unnatural Power and Abilities
Jesus Christ had the ability to do above-human things on Earth. He could heal the sick, turn water to wine, walk on water, knew many future events (his death), performed various miracles, and more. Jesus could perform any miracle the Father willed for Him to do.
Superman is the same way. He has super-human abilities (strength, vision, flying, etc.). He has these because he came from a “Father” with similar nature.
Similarity #5: The “Father” Talks to Them By a Voice
We see various times in the Bible that Jesus is spoken to, or of, by the Father. When Jesus is baptized, God the Father says, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
When Jesus is on the mountain & transfigures himself, we hear God again saying, This is my Son, listen to him.” We never actually see God, but his presence is definitely there. All we hear about is this loud and commanding voice from above.
In that same way, Superman is always talked to by his “Father.” When he is in the fortress, Jor-El always communicates with Superman by a loud and commanding voice coming from the Fortress itself. He always calls Superman “His Son.”
Similarity #6: Both Superman & Jesus Were “Righteous”
We are constantly reminded of Superman’s general goodness. He genuinely cares for people, and always seems to do the right thing. That is why some call him, “the big blue boy scout.” He tries to see the good in people.
He also saves everyone, including his own enemies. When people have done wrong, Superman still saves them. He is always there to help.
Jesus is similar. We see Christ doing good to those who have done wrong (such as the prostitute). He saves that one criminal hanging with him on the cross. He saves all those who, even though they did wrong, are willing to repent.
Even his own enemies, as they are beating him, Jesus replies, “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.”
Similarity #7 Both are “Glorified” or “Given Power” in Heaven
After accomplishing his Earthly mission, Jesus is resurrected to Heaven and is given authority and power by God the Fatehr. He is seated at God’s right hand. So in heaven, Jesus is given “strength, power.”
Superman is the same way. When he goes to “the heavens”, he gets “Strength.” How? Not from the Father, but from the Sun. The sun heals Superman, and gives him his strength. Heaven is often referred to as “space.” In fact, there are 3 heavens in the Bible. The sky over the Earth, outer space, and the dimension in which God dwells.
Other Connections with Superman and the Bible:
We can also see other figures in the Bible with similarities to the Superman story. You could say “Lex Luthor” is a satan-like figure, and the other creaturs Superman has to battle are like “demons.”
Moses could be said to be Superman-like too, and his story also resembles Superman. He is sent by his parents to stop from being killed. He is raised by adoptive parents. He helps “save” the Jewish peoples by bringing them out of Egypt.
This is no shock, as the Bible makes a very similar compairson between Jesus himself and Moses too. However, Superman and Jesus have the most in common, and Jesus is the “only Begotten Son” of the Father. Also, Jesus is the savior of all Mankind, and Moses is only the savior for the Israelites.
Using Superman to Help Sort Out Biblical Theology:
I also like the example of Superman because in my opinion it helps to understand the relationship between the Son and the Father. According to the Bible, Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, and “very God of very God.” The Bible teaches the concept of the trinity: That there is one triune God, eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is only one God, existing in 3 simultaneous “persons.”
Jesus is not the Father, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, Jesus is not the Holy Spirit, yet they all make up the one true God.
In this same way, Kal-El (Superman) is the Son of Jor-El (The Father), has similar nature, but is not the Father himself. They are 2 different persons. This hints to the trinity.
Jesus says things such as the Father is greater, and he “prays” to God. In the scriptures, Jesus takes a voluntarily submissive role to the Father, even though He is co-equal. Superman likewise, “prays” to Jor-El by summoning him in the Fortress of Solitude, and it is also obvious that the Father is somewhat superior to Superman himself in many ways (Jor-El seems to have much more knowledge, and power).
Conclusion: Superman is a Story of Jesus Christ and God, But Jesus’ Story is Better
Superman is a popular comic book hero, and there are millions of fans worldwide. In many ways, the comic book hero is similar to Jesus Christ. However, Jesus Christ is the real Superman. He had the capacity to do real miracles. Jesus was a real person. He loved people, and He loves you.
Have you trusted Christ as your savior? Are you “saved” from your sins on judgment day? The Bible teaches that if you place your faith in trust in Christ in repentance, God will forgive you for your sins. Trust in the real savior. Place your faith in a true Superman today–Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.