The stone is gone. The earthquake has ceased. Guards have fainted at the sight. Into the dawn the Son strides forth to spread the news — and to share His Resurrection.
Jesus does not keep His Resurrection to Himself.
And based on almost all fantasy, science fiction, space operas, and blockbuster superhero adventure films, humans also love to share the concept, regardless of whether they know it.
Which of course first leads to the question: did The Avengers steal from The Iron Giant?
(Spoilers ahoy.) In Brad Bird’s 1999 animated film, a huge metal outer-space invader robot ultimately refuses to follow his own created-nature as a weapon. “No Atomo,” he firmly says, referencing the evil villain of his child friend’s comic books. Then, fetching an old sign piece from a junkyard, the Iron Giant sticks its letter “S” on his chest. “Superman.” At the film’s climax, an accidentally launched nuclear missile is streaking toward the boy’s village. Now knowing his destiny, the Iron Giant launches himself into the sky, both arms thrust forward. Into the missile and its explosion he goes, after contentedly intoning, Superman.
Next in The Avengers, another launched nuclear missile is streaking toward New York City. Now knowing his destiny, Tony Stark launches himself into the sky — in this case snatching the missile — then to save the city, throws it and himself into a space portal. Iron Man.
Ah, a late arrival to the comparison! In The Dark Knight Rises, a nuclear bomb is about to destroy Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has the only nearby aerial craft, (supposedly) only able to be flown manually. He jumps in, tows the bomb across the city and over the ocean, and (presumably) sacrifices himself in yet another massive nuclear explosion. Batman.
An idea steal? Oh yes, but not from The Iron Giant 1. Rather the idea traces back:
Batman <— Iron Man <— The Iron Giant <— Superman <— Jesus Christ: God-Man.
Just as those fun fictitious heroes seem to “share in” His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, so they attain an imitation “resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:9-10). Do I mean these superheroes’ creators mean them to reflect Christ 2? No. But such heroes do reflect His people.
And, per the very meaning of the word Christian, His people reflect Him.
Yet one of these is not like the other.
- Jesus came back from death, His first Resurrection, all at once, in the past.
- Creation’s resurrection will also come all at once, in the future.
- Our resurrection is the only one split into two or even three: past/present/future.
I wonder why He chose to split our resurrection two or even three ways? Perhaps like this:
1. Spiritual resurrection.
2. Resurrection realization (or sanctification).
God’s spiritually resurrected people live out the results of resurrection, growing to be like Him (Phil. 3:8-11). For them, these fruits of resurrection-realization are in the present.
3. Physical resurrection.
God’s spiritually resurrected people, after they live out resurrection’s results, must die and go to the present-day Heaven (Phil. 1:23). Yet physical resurrection is in the future.
Even in the current Heaven they await this, “that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed” (2 Cor. 5:4) — not unclothed, a disembodied spirit, but further clothed, made more physical and solid and pure than before, a body like Christ’s (Romans 6:5; Phil. 3:21). But now we groan as we await the new bodies He will give (2 Cor. 5:2; cf. Romans 8).
Physical bodies like Christ’s. What does that mean?5 Will we have all His powers? Surely not, such as His abilities to “apparate” and ascend. But some people do think that yes, after the resurrection we’ll have powers such as omniscience.
For example, in the final Left Behind series prequel, The Rapture, human “resurrection” comes at the Rapture, and then everyone flies away to heaven. Once there, you are floating in an ethereal void, and suddenly have telepathic-like understanding of all the mysteries of God’s eternal plan (including mysteries such as His Trinitarian nature?), and have no time or spatial limits. Really, does that sound like a resurrected body to you? Does the Bible say our bodies will be “spread out” like a spirit’s, knowing all things? Not once. Never.
Really, those concepts are not only beyond Scripture, but contradictory to 1) God’s unique omni-everything nature, 2) Christ’s right to have a still-“upgraded” resurrection body with unique powers, 3) plain good sense of logic and fun. Would you prefer knowing everything all at once (if that were possible)? Or spend eternity asking, talking, learning, adventuring?
Of course, it helps to know that resurrected people will dwell in a resurrected creation. …
- Which was, coincidentally enough, based on a book called The Iron Man. ↩
- My sarcastic/serious Twitter hashtag for this is #yayitsachristianstory. ↩
- Not just “sickness” but death; not “mostly dead” but “all dead.” ↩
- If you’re not sure you’re among His people, but want to love Christ more than other things, spiritual resurrection must come in your future. We definitely want to hear from you. ↩
- More is in 1 Cor. 15. ↩