Were we made to be ruled?
In our last post, we looked at Loki’s challenging assertion in The Avengers film: the idea that we were born to kneel, that we crave subjugation, and that we scramble madly for identity. We were made to bow before our God and Maker, yet we shackle ourselves to lesser “gods” – created people and things. We race around “freely” putting our identity in things that ultimately rule us. It’s obvious that in many ways, Loki is absolutely right. However, there IS one worldview that offers perfect relationship held in tension, that offers both freedom and servitude. The creator and God we obey humbly and bow before utters this unique command:
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” - Galatians 5:1
Loki is wrong: we were made to be free. “Do not submit again to slavery”, the true God says. The power-hungry, adopted Asgardian son in the Avengers movie offers a subjugation without freedom, a cruel rule of oppression and tyranny. He is no benevolent dictator. Conversely, the God of the Bible proclaims that we receive true freedom through Jesus, that our subjugation to lesser things is broken forever, as we give our lives to a life-giving God.
This seems dichotomous, right? We’re “free” only by becoming God’s “bondservants”? It runs counter to our notion of freedom which– if we stop and think about it– often seems nebulous and undefined. What is freedom, anyway? Simply to do whatever we want? What if our own “wants” are corrupted? What if you and I are flawed creatures that even deceive ourselves, slaves to bad programming and predispositions? How can we truly transcend and experience REAL freedom?
Consider: if we were created and crafted to have a most glorious function, and things exist that inhibit that function (including our own hearts and minds) then true freedom would be objective release from the shackles that restrict, both our external direction and our internal desires truly freed to be as intended. In other words, we’re freed from all the other things that enslave in this life – including our own passions – by becoming a servant to the one who truly knows us better than we know ourselves.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” – 1 Peter 2:16
Loki is wrong: freedom is not a “disease” to which servitude is the “cure”. Rather, placing our lives under the truly all-knowing, all-powerful rule of our Maker brings us freedom to know ourselves and the empowerment to live freely.
In the end, we WILL kneel… but not to a Loki.
Loki is wrong, because he knows the outcome but believes he’s the answer. When the term god is used to describe Loki and Thor, Captain America has an earnest reply: “Ma’am, there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” Steve Rogers knows full well that this tyrant is not someone he or anyone should bow to. As a man growing up 70 years ago and likely raised in a Christian home, he was probably taught the message of the gospel, in which God’s good news to all men culminates with those bended knees being loved, exalted as siblings and co-heirs with Jesus. Freedom in Christ is rooted in the reality that God doesn’t treat his bondservants as slaves… he treats us as his own children.
“So you are no longer a slave, but a son… an heir through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” - Galatians 4:6-8
As the Hulk so aptly puts it (in the crowning moment of the film) Loki is indeed a “puny god” (by nature, NOT god at all) and only offers the rule of a tyrant… whereas the God of the bible offers adoption, family, inheritance, and eternity. Would you not kneel for the savior who sacrificed for you? In the Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth kneels to honor even the little hobbits, and they willingly submit themselves to the rule of Aragorn. It’s not that we weren’t created to kneel, we should just bend our knee to the one who deserves it.
“God has highly exalted him and… at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” - Philippians 2:8-11
Before you scoff and spit at Loki in all of his vainglorious folly, however, there is one more important thing (perhaps the most essential thing) you should realize about this man, his mind, and methods, so we’ll look at that in the next post.