Monday, October 8, 2012

The Fall to Faith (A v X: Uncanny 18 & Round 12)

The last time we discussed Avengers Vs. X-Men, I left off with something (vague) happening. Cyclops became more powerful then ever before. No man stood a chance. But, I didn't describe what actually went down.

What happened was, Scott became the Dark Phoenix. He took full control of the Phoenix Force after the other members who carried its power had become eliminated. He became seemingly unstoppable. This wouldn't have been an issue if Scott had remained the man he begun as. But, through this power-trip, Scott became worse than any enemy. There's one point in Uncanny X-Men 18 where Magneto tries to convince Scott to stop traveling down the dark row that he is on. It's not worth killing the world to start a new one.

Magneto: "This has gone too far. I wanted to--"

Cyclops: "Your thoughts and efforts were appreciated Magneto. We can finish it from here."

Magneto: "This is an empty heaven. You cannot build utopia with fire."

Cyclops: "You're wrong. We're saving mutants. We're building a better world. I'm doing whatever it takes."

Magneto: "Scott, you're sounding like me--"

Cyclops: "Shut up. You keep saying that. Everyone keeps saying that. I'm nothing like you. I'm winning."

It's too late to save Scott from who he has become. It seems as if the only real difference between the evil genius of Magneto and who Cyclops is now is that Cyclops actually has a chance at defeating all those who stand against him.

But, that's not all.

He kills Prof. X.

And, he really breaks the last straw Scott by turning on his current love, Emma Frost, to steal the rest of the Phoenix power away from her.

He's not the only one devastated about what has transpired. Colossus and Magik are also ashamed of what they have done.

Colossus: "We can never escape from what we've done. We brought a heaven to earth. And then we brought Hell along too. We dripped souls into the mouths of demons. I tried to create... but only made abominations. Thank God the avengers turned us against each other."

Magik: "The Phoenix is infinite. We are not. Our flaws were magnified. Our flaws blotted out the sun. We are flawed. We are poor vessels for infinity."

Colossus: "All the while when I was fighting. I was begging them to run. But all I was thinking was how beautiful their spilled brains would be. Thinking if I killed enough I could paint the whole moon with their blood... I've hurt so many people. I've hurt everyone I've loved. I've hurt everybody. Everything I touch becomes ashes. Sister, I don't deserve to live. I am a monster I am doomed."

This is who we are. Man is a "moral monster." We become selfish and conceited just like Scott and Colossus. We cannot control our thoughts (which is the same as not being able to control our bodies). The good that we wish to do, we cannot do. And, we continue to do evil although we do not wish to. To err is to be human.

If, somehow, we as humans became infinite like God, we wouldn't be able to control our actions. We are too sinful. Our sin would also become magnified. This is why we must be transformed by the Gospel and made complete before we reach Heaven.

But, while we remain here, on earth, we try to bring heaven down to us. We worship idols and appraise demons. We give in to the temptations of glorifying the things that God has created instead of glorifying God himself. We see all of the things that we should be grateful to him for, but if we lose perspective we begin worshiping these things in themselves. Instead of creation pointing towards Heaven, it becomes our Hell... separating us from God.

Perhaps the biggest fallacy that the Phoenix five (Cyclops, Emma, Colossus, Magik, and Namor) have continually made was to solely believe in themselves instead of in He who made them. They didn't think, "Well, God has a plan." They were to concentrated on making their own.

Being sinful creatures as they and we are, they had no right to "play God." This is a mistake that almost destroyed the world. There was no hope left. No one could stand against them. None of us can stand against sin (and live, our wage is death).

This is why the world needs Hope.

Before the final battle against Cyclops commences, Tony Stark has a confession to make.

He says: "I've been working for weeks now with the best minds on the planet, human and mutant alike, trying to figure out how to save the day, and we have officially exhausted the known limits of science.... For me, that's a first...... I believe I've found it [the answer]. It's a radical new idea. A rather breathtaking discovery if I do say so myself. I call it... 'Faith.'"

The faith that Stark's talking about isn't the typical Christian faith. But, it points in the right direction.

Everything that he knows to be true. All science, math, statistics, facts, numbers, etc. point to the fact that the "good guys" can't win this time. This battle, this final battle, is just too big for good to overcome.

Stark realizes that humanity's only chance is to trust completely on something new. There is no way for man to save himself here. The heroes must rely on the unknown source and strength of Hope summers along with the help of the Scarlet Witch. They must put their faith in someone else. Only she is strong enough to confront the horror that they face: the Phoenix.

This is what she was born for.

At the end of the day, Hope and Wanda (Scarlet Witch) work together to take down Cyclops. Then, something amazing happens. Hope is given the "gift" of the phoenix. But, instead of having it feed off of her corruption and destroy the world, Hope is able to use the Phoenix to fix all of the calamities that the others had caused.

This is why we needed Jesus Christ, God incarnate, to save us. Just like Hope, he is the only one pure and able to really get things done. He is the only one to be morally sound enough to be able to wield the full power of God while not abusing it. Only he is able to stand where we continuously fall.

Like Tony, we need to be able to believe in someone else for our souls' survival. We need to believe in Jesus Christ.

Everything that we touch turns to ashes, but the lives that He touches are saved through Him.

The last, and maybe most interesting note, is that after Hope saved the day, she let her power go. She made the choice to give up infinitude. She could have become a goddess dwelling on the earth, forcing men and women to give her their souls. She could have dominated anyone anywhere at anytime just for the fun of it. She had supreme power over everything. No one would have been able to stop her. But, she stuck to her guns. She lived out her character: the hero, the savior. She did what needed to be done, not only to save the world but to keep it safe. She let go of her full potential.

Does this sound familiar?

In Jesus, God became man. In some mysterious way he remained full God, but was also full man. In some ways he let his power go. He became a humble servant. And, he didn't choose to be the messiah that the Jews wanted. He didn't use his power to rule the temporal realm, forcing us to believe in him. He didn't rule over anyone. Although no one would have been able to stop him, he lived out his character. He was sent here for a purpose: to be the hero, to be the Savior. He did what needed to be done. He let go of his power, he was forsaken by his Father, and he went to depths that our souls would never dream of going to. He did this all so that we might believe.

He didn't give into the power. He didn't give into us. He didn't give into temptation. He remained perfect and pure, a pascal lamb. And, he sacrificed it all to save us. He died. But, then he rose again and ascended into heaven. His job was far from over. He'll be back.

And, I'm sure Hope will also have a key part to play as stories around her begin to develop.

Although, we will always continue to fall short ("Without his visor, Scott Summers couldn't open his eyes. But still somehow he could see... all the blood on his hands.") we still have faith in Christ that He will redeem us. And, he never will let us down.

This has been part of the A v X Series

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