For Thanos So Loved the World

It’s likely that many of those reading this article right now have watched the blockbuster movie Avengers: Infinity War. Anyone who has watched the movie may know its appeal and how dramatic and unconventional the ending turned out to be. These different elements intrigued me as well, but what caught my attention was the resemblance and similarities the movie had with God’s story in the Bible. One example of this is in Thanos’ act of sacrificing his daughter, Gamora, which paralleled God the Father sacrificing His son Jesus Christ on the cross. While there are other similarities between the movie and the stories of the Bible, especially those regarding Jesus Christ, this article will focus on the example mentioned above. This is because, upon closer inspection, one will start to see a large difference between Thanos’ actions to what Jesus Christ did.

Let us first take a look at Thanos’ motivation in sacrificing Gamora. In order for Thanos to receive one of the powerful Infinity Stones (a necessary item for his plans), he needed to sacrifice someone he truly loved, and being the mad, genocidal Titan that he was, nobody would have guessed that he had a place in his heart for love, and even his adopted daughter Gamora mocked him for his ‘inability’ to love. But in an ironic twist of events, Thanos did love someone, and not just anyone, but his own daughter who mocked him moments earlier. I was shocked to see that Thanos killed Gamora in order to obtain the stone. Why was this so important for Thanos? In the movie, Thanos’ motive in acquiring the Infinity Stones was to save the universe from apparent extinction. Back on his own planet, he faced the problem of overpopulation, which led to the conclusion that half of the planet’s people had to die. Nobody paid any attention to his idea, and so his planet did eventually die off. To prevent this from happening again to the entire universe, he thought that it was best to gather the stones and use their power to wipe half of all life from the universe.

This view is similar to the philosophy of utilitarianism, a worldview which states that any action is right as long as it promotes the wellbeing and happiness for a greater number of people. And by the end of the movie, he apparently succeeded in achieving this. Thanos’ sacrifice of Gamora led to the ‘salvation’ of half the universe (at the expense of the other half as well). However, he had no ground foundation on who to save or not. It was all arbitrary slaughter. The weakness of the utilitarian view has to do with justice. For utilitarians, all that matters is the net gain of happiness (Austin, 2015). Although, Thanos did save half of the universe for the greater good, his choice was fundamentally flawed as it required him to commit immoral actions.

Let us now contrast this with the Christian story of redemption. God’s sacrificial act led to our salvation as He saved us from our own sin. He redeemed us so that we may have a relationship with the Father again. Thanos’ actions however, did not bring any direct benefit to anyone. Those people Thanos randomly picked did nothing to Thanos to ‘deserve’ their deaths, yet we, whom Christ saved, deserved nothing but annihilation for our disobedience against God. One acted out of selfless love, the other out of pure ambition. Should we not be grateful that God’s act of sacrificing His Only Son was not in vain or acted out of randomness? Should this fact not bring us to glorify Him?

For Thanos so loved the world, that he sacrificed his daughter, Gamora, out of a foolish ambition of trying to save the universe by killing half of its people, people who did not deserve it. We, as Christians, have a Father who was willing to sacrifice His Own Son, to save us. We did not deserve to be saved, yet He chose to save His elected people. We deserve judgement, yet He chose to replace us on the cross. He did not sacrifice us in order to save the others. On the other hand, Thanos saved based on his random will. He also does not know who dies or who does not. Thanos assumes that people will be happy with his decision to sacrifice half of the population and they should be thankful and glorify him for killing their family. Per contra to what the Bible said in Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” God saves us out of His own glory and loves us that it should lead us back to glorifying Him. We need to bear in mind that we and everyone else deserves to die in eternity. He is the almighty and a just God. We do not deserve salvation, but through grace we are chosen to be saved by God. Unlike Thanos, who ask for the people to glorify him because he has saved half of the population, but killing half of it as well. We have a God that chose us based on His wisdom and has predestined us way before we even existed. He will not randomly change His decision to save us as He has decided on His actions even from eternity. In John 3:16 (ESV) we know that “ For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” This was a loving act. How glad should we be to have a loving God who sacrificed His Son so that we may live forever? (JK)

 

References

Austin, M.W. (2015). What’s Wrong With Utilitarianism. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/ethics-everyone/201506/whats-wrong-utilitarianism (accessed on 26 June 2018).

 

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