The Gospel of Stan Lee

ATCHING “Thor: Ragnarok,” a Marvel movie about the superhero character inspired by Greek mythology (for the uninitiated), my son Isaiah’s response to a scene made me think about Christianity. Stan Lee makes a cameo in every Marvel movie as he is the creative brain behind the galactic enterprise. In this particular Thor film, Lee is a barber who cuts off Thor’s hair in a rather biblical kind of Samson meets Delilah moment.

When Thor mentioned his forced trim by “the barber,” my son responded that he (Stan Lee) is far more than just the barber. His point was that if it weren’t for Stan Lee there would be no Marvel character named Thor. There would be no Marvel universe for that matter.

This reminds me of a passage from C.S. Lewis to which I regularly refer in gospel presentations. Lewis used William Shakespeare and Hamlet to make a similar point. Hamlet might assume Shakespeare didn’t exist because of a lack of physical evidence for the author in the created world Hamlet inhabits. But on the other hand, Hamlet’s entire world owes its existence to Shakespeare. In one sense there would be no evidence for the Victorian author. In another sense, everything would be evidence for the creative genius behind the literary classic.

Lewis said that if Hamlet would ever know Shakespeare it would be through no effort of his own. Shakespeare would have to condescend to the point of writing himself into the world created. The same is true for Thor. He could never know Stan Lee unless Lee entered the plot. The same is true for us and God. If we would know God, he must humble himself and come down. And that is the message at the very heart of Christianity. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.