Superpowers

If you could choose a superpower and your choices were Invisibility or Flying, which would it be?  It seems like an inane question similar to: if you could be a flavor of ice cream, which flavor would you be? Wait!  It’s not so simple.  This question exposes something interesting about all of us.  It plunges us into the depths of our souls.

Personally, I need the details so lets refine the question a bit.  When you fly, you and anything you carry/wear, can travel at up to 1,000 mph without any ill effects including issues like friction and intense cold and perhaps even oxygen (and anything else the physics majors amongst us think of as they read this.)  When you turn invisible, everything you are wearing/touching also turns invisible (so no empty clothes walking around the room.)  A poll of men and women on this question produced interesting results.  The majority of men chose Flying.  The majority of women chose Invisibility.  Why?  And were the men lying?  Probably.

Flying is a “good” power and Invisibility is an “evil” one.

If I fly, I can be where I need to be much faster.  The speed selected here is more than the fastest commercial jet will attain yet not so fast as to make me nearly invisible and unfortunately, slower than a speeding bullet. “The Flash” is still faster than me (and so is “Superman.”)  Still, it’s a handy skill.  I can be in Anchorage on the phone and say “I will meet you in downtown Seattle in 90 minutes.” or I could become a policeman and set records for response times.  It is true that I could be the fastest crook on earth, but everyone would know and I could be shot.  Plus it could get annoying, “Hey, Brian, be a pal and get me to my lunch meeting would ya?  I’m late.”

Invisibility is similar, it has good and bad sides to it, but men instantly see the ramifications. One good friend of mine didn’t hesitate to point out that a man could both rob a bank and inhabit girl’s locker rooms with a degree of impunity.  “You cannot prove I was there, your honor.”  Women, on the other hand, see it a way to stay safe (they can disappear when the bad guy approaches) and to listen in on the conversations of others (and rob banks.)  Thus men find it more politic to choose flying or else have to explain to their female friends, “Honestly, I would never violate your privacy!”

Banks would eventually figure out how to defeat both powers but this is not the point.  The point is that the force we need to defeat, the evil superpower which we all have, is a sinful human nature.  Everything we touch will either corrupt us or we will corrupt it.  It’s somewhat like the “Midas touch” of legend.  Both of the special powers mentioned above and nearly anything else you can imagine, can be used for both good and evil.  Our tendency would be to use them for both noble and selfish purposes and to try to do more good than evil (as we judge it) to justify the selfish stuff.  Read the history of mankind and it is apparent we continue to struggle like this with everything we create and everything created for us.

It is interesting to me that we have raised such deep issues: human depravity, atonement, creation (why did God put the limits that He did on human capabilities?), heaven (what will there be limits there?), justification, etc.  It is the complexity of life, the subtle issues of humanity, and the glaring need we have for a solution to the evil side of mankind that are exposed by this question.

I think all questions lead to the same dilemma.  We are flawed creatures and what are we going to do about it? Not much.

Romans 3 “There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.” (NASB)

The answer is to become holy so that everything we possess will then be used for unselfish good.  But we cannot make ourselves holy (though it has been tried by a brave few.)  This is the ultimate superpower, the foundation upon which sits all the powers:  holiness.  How do we become holy?

Jesus answered that question constantly,

Luke 1826 They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (NASB)

In other words, making us holy despite ourselves is the impossible thing that God will do.  It is the ultimate goal or else any utopia created for us will be fouled by our nature.  We can’t help ourselves.  Who will save us?

In fact, it has been done.

Romans 8For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (NASB)

Give that some thought.

2 thoughts on “Superpowers

  1. Awesome post! Oh, and flying is obviously vastly superior! You can get away from bad guys just as easily by rocketing away at 10000 miles an hour straight in the air! I feel like I could by evil with the power to fly because I would show off constantly! 😀 it would be hard to keep that in check. Yes, truly, without God, there would be many more tyrants!

  2. If I were invisible I would worry that I would forget that I was invisible, and get hit by a truck that has no idea I’m there!!! I ALWAYS dream that I’m flying (or more to the point, most of the time I dream that I’m Superman or Clark Kent!!) but my major fear there is that I will have a LONG way to fall if my powers fail. Reading all the comics that I do, I am actually glad in a lot of ways that Jesus has the power, and that decisions get referred to Him. I mean, I think of Gandalf and the One ring. He would want to use it for good, you bet he would, but it would corrupt him by it’s very nature, as any power that we receive will more often than not do to us. Great post brother!! 🙂

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