Man of Steel: Jonathan Kent

An interviewer once asked Liam Gallagher what his religious beliefs were. He didn’t exactly answer the question, but his answer contained a very interesting point. He said, “I don’t really like the Church, after how they treated me mum and all after her divorce, but when it comes to writing songs, there ain’t nothing else like it.”
I didn’t see anything in there about what he actually thought about God or enlightenment or the meaning of life or anything like that. He talked about the Church, I assume the Roman Catholic Church, as people who get divorces often have problems there, and then he talked about the language of religion. I think he was recognizing that there is nothing more intense than the descriptions and issues of religion.

For example, saying, I have looked everywhere between heaven and hell for my keys!” is about the most powerful description of a broad area there is. There is no bad more terrible than hell. There is no bliss more exquisite than eternity in heaven. There is no power greater than God. There is no foe more dastardly than Satan. To say that a woman has the beauty of an angel is the most powerful compliment that can be given.

Everyone is going to die one day, and everyone wants to know what is going to happen when they do. Birth, death, rebirth, good and evil, and absolute judgment are the most powerful issues we face when confronted with the facts of the human condition.

Hold all this in your mind for a moment. We are going to switch to a short discussion of one of the most profound themes in religion, and then talk about how Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel deals with it in light of the extreme power of the statements of religious expression. We are going to talk about the Problem of Evil and how Man of Steel says that it should be dealt with.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence come evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?


The above quote from an ancient Greek philosopher is a powerful challenge to God’s existence in the minds of many. It’s basically saying that an all-good, all-powerful God would not put us in a world where bad things happen. He would get us out if he could, but we are here, so he is either not good, or he is not all-powerful, and if he is not those things, then he isn’t God, so God cannot exist.

This is a powerful challenge to the existence of God, but there are a few very solid responses to this challenge that have come down to us through the ages. They are extremely complex, but ultimately they revolve around the ideas of freedom and necessity. Concerning the latter, it is usually said that God can rescue us, and to subject us to the suffering we experience causes God infinite grief, but that there is something necessary about what is happening to us here that we need to go through in order to be able to live perfect lives after our lives of suffering in this world are over. One of the things that we learn is just how glorious perfection and beauty and divinity are, precisely because we have lived lives without those things here on earth.

This little world that we live in, and our little lives here in this world, are our only opportunity to be separated from divine perfection and have it exposed to us as something that we only get to see sometimes, and only see from far away. Because our lives here on earth are our only opportunity to see what divinity is not, it must therefore be exposed to us in the most effective way possible, at just the right time, and for absolutely maximum effect, so that our experience of suffering can be absolutely complete and never need to take place again.

This is some heavy stuff to think about. The presence of evil, and our introduction to divinity within this environment of evil, really is the deepest and most profound subject in spiritual philosophy. But if the above hurts your head, Jonathan Kent makes it easy.

In Man of Steel, Jonathan’s primary place is to both inform Clark (Kal-El – Superman) of what little he knew of Clark’s identity, but more importantly, to tell him of the importance of keeping his power a secret.

There’s more at stake here than just our lives, Clark, or the lives of those around us. When the world finds out what you can do, it’s going to change everything. Our beliefs, our notions of what it means to be human…everything.

Jonathan Kent, Man of Steel 29:25

Jonathan recognized the sheer intensity of Superman’s power and the effect of his origin and person on the world at large at the point at which it would become known. Superman’s strength, speed, durability, and many other dimensions of personal interaction with the world are effectively infinite. Man of Steel shows Superman getting stronger as he becomes more familiar with his power as the film progresses. Ultimately, this level of power of infinite scope takes on the character of religion, as expressed in the figure of the Messiah of Abrahamic tradition.

On that day King Messiah will arouse, emerging from the garden of Eden, from the place called Bird’s Nest, and he will arouse in the land of Galilee. On the day that he emerges there, the whole world will tremble – all inhabitants of the world hiding in caves and crevices, afraid they will not survive.

Zohar, Pritzker Edition, Volume 4, Page 30

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:27

A great many symbols and patterns have developed around Superman through his storied history. Even his name, Kal-El, is of Hebrew origin. In Man of Steel, Superman very clearly expresses the concept of the Messiah that has come to us through the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition. The New Testament that Christians consider scripture is a part of this Jewish tradition. The character was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jews, in fact.

In the tradition, the Messiah is a holy king who will rule the earth in the name of God, and in a number of strains of the tradition, including the New Testament, this king will be God’s representative to such a degree that he will in every way represent God’s power, nature, and role with respect to the universe. Again, we have from religion a concept of such intensity not found anywhere else in art, literature, or any form of human thought or expression.

Given the magnitude of this concept, the idea of a perfect society, salvation from all evil, even from the ailments of the human soul, the question comes to mind in short order: when is this person going to show up? The New Testament and certain Jewish cultures, of which the Chabad organization is an example, claim that he already has, in order to teach and display divine character, but these groups claim that the Messiah will be back in order to create the ultimate paradise on earth. Whether the Messiah has made a stop here yet or not is an area of intense debate, but there is no doubt that there remains the perennial hope for the actual expression of this absolute paradise.

The thing is, once the Messiah comes, and once this paradise is established, that’s it. There simply isn’t any more effective way to express divine glory and perfect goodness. And with that, our opportunity to learn what a lack of divinity is will be gone. The last chapter will be in effect, and it will be all roses.

Because of this, evil must be given its day. The terrible things that have to happen so that we will understand and appreciate goodness must also be able take place. Just as we will see the ultimate good when the Messiah comes, we must, through the course of human history and over the courses of our lives, see all the evil that can be thrown at us. All of this taken together means that the Messiah can only come, that evil can only be vanquished, at precisely the right time.

Seeing Superman and Jonathan Kent as characters representing religious principles, if we see Superman as the Messiah or the reign of divinity, we can see Jonathan Kent as a person who recognizes that the coming of the Messiah can only come at the perfect moment, or as the principle that we must be prepared to go through everything we have to and allow divinity to express itself when the ultimate answer to evil is ready to be revealed.

We see this most clearly when Jonathan tells Superman not to save his life, because he should not reveal himself before the best moment to do so has arrived.

An interesting point made by Man of Steel, present in the Bible and religious literature, is the absolute scarring agony that Clark feels having to sit back and watch suffering and death, having the power to stop it, but being required to watch, accepting that the time of his public appearance had not yet arrived.

Again, Man of Steel is innovative as a cinematic feature film in its depictions of Superman, but the theme of divine agony has been present in religion for thousands of years, as the description of the New Testament Messiah shows.

And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 2:44

Further, Jonathan shows us a willingness to do everything possible, even to the expense of his own life, knowing that the most powerful person on the planet is standing right next to him, and desperately wants to deliver him from his tribulation, understanding that the current time is not only not the best time for omnipotence to reveal itself, but also understanding that this is his only opportunity to show what he can do in the present, disastrous moment.

Jonathan’s death takes place before the midpoint of the film, but his presence is felt throughout, and he makes posthumous appearances in following installments. Ultimately, his hope that the proper moment would come does indeed come to pass. Likewise, our hopes that we will finally see the goodness that divinity expresses will also come to pass. We see it from time to time in our lives on earth, but we can trust that the Messiah will come, as God does know how to ultimately make an entrance.

“Okay, you have our attention.” – General Stanwick

These are things to keep in mind when you suffer terrible calamity, and God does not show up with the love, peace, and harmony that you think you need. The story that you are living is a big one. Your life is absolutely essential to that story, and at the center of it in many ways. But the history of humanity is the greatest story ever told, and God is reserving the the ultimate solution to the problem of evil for the moment where its display will have maximum effect.

Like Jonathan, now is your time to shine, and to give yourself, and to display your heroism. Rather than feel anger toward God for not doing anything even though he has ultimate power, live your life with the understanding that divine ultimate power will appear when this ultimate power will have maximum effect. God stands by you in agony at your pain, and from this you can know that there is absolutely zero chance that you will not be delivered, and in a way beyond your wildest dreams.


  1. LMFAO!!! Did you even watch the movie at all?! Oh and nice antisemitism there with your mention of Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster as “two Jews”.

    By the way. I’m a Satanist. I just wanted to leave you with these kind words before I go to hell.

  2. You will NOT censor me! Here’s the rest of my conment. 🙂
    And enough with the Superman=Christ parallels, that’s just beating a dead horse blogger. We. GET IT!! It couldn’t be more obvious! And because it’s obvious it’s meaningless!
    And Jonathan not wanting Clark to save him wasn’t to protect Clark.
    Kal-El as rightly said and a lot of people in the Snyderverse as a god. In fact if you read DC comics, or idk play Injustice, its kinda there in the subtitle, “Gods Among Us”. In the DC comics, and even on a meta level (which I’ll go into in a sec) Supers are seen as literal gods.
    On the more meta level, while I won’t go so far as to say Comics are the “New Religion” I will say a strong case could be made that they are something of our new Greek Myths, yes stories of great epic battles and mighty heroes and evil villains etc. I love talking about that, but this blog post is reaching so far…. Christianity ruins everything, but it’s absolutely HILARIOUS to read a Christian’s take on anything in media or trying to inject Christian morals or stories over an existing story, like wow. Can’t you JUST enjoy the story as is? As presented?!
    Oh and one more thing, why quote from the Zohar? That’s kinda weird don’t you think, quoting from the foundational text of Jewish Kabbalah or by another name Jewish Mysticism. I mean let’s be honest here. Christians only see Jewish people and Israel as a prop and setpiece for the end of the World!
    That’s what you want at the end of the day, for all us sinners to burn forever in the “Lake of Fire”.
    You’re all over the place blogger. It’s quite amusing if it wasn’t so hackneyed and reaching for straws.

    1. You know, I approve all of your comments, and can edit them to my desire. I wonder what I should do to this one?

      Since your infernal master controls the media and suppresses the truth, including muffling my online presence. I can’t say I give half of a flip whether your comments are posted properly to this site. I’ll be sure to make you say something really funny when I get some time.

      You know, EVERYONE is a sinner, Christian, Jew, anyone. Sin is a synonym for failure. Religious people should stop using the word “sin” actually. They should just replace it with “failure,” at least when talking to non-religious people. Nobody is perfect. Everyone fails from time to time. So the whole “all you sinners, unlike me” thing is BS.

      And the lake of fire is from a visionary apocalyptic dream sequence. It’s not literal. I’m not saying terrible fates aren’t possible. I did mention “hell” when rewriting your comment. For me, life on earth is hell. I also wrote a blog post a while back describing the Samsara of reincarnation as hell.

      You see a verse of the New Testament and assume everything about my perspective, then tell me I can’t include it next to the Zohar, but both are Jewish literature, then call me an antisemite for praising two Jews. What am I supposed to do with that?

      You need to figure out a lot more than you have. My advice, stop working for the devil, FFS. Open your eyes, so you can stop working against the truth.

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