I was perusing (that might not be the most accurate word) Reddit the other day—perhaps more like sucked into the black hole that it is. The amount of content on Reddit is so dense that it make sense how it draws everything towards itself. If you are a regular redditor then you probably have been down that road too.
Along the way, I scrolled past a post from /dankchristianmemes showing a two piece panel of Gamora and Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War. Anything beyond this sentence can be considered a spoiler so be forewarned if you choose to continue.
To be completely frank, I walked out of the theater unsure of how much I enjoyed the film. Perhaps the vastness of the story was just too much for me to process after only one viewing. I thought that Thor: Ragnarok was way more fun. But that digresses from what I want to share.
The scene in the reddit post I found shows Thanos seeking the soul stone, which is known as the most powerful stone out of the six infinity stones. It gives its wielder the power over life and death—the divine right to choose who lives and who dies. The stone also allows its user to see another person’s soul.
If we use the time stone to rewind time just a little bit, Thanos and Gamora are seen on the planet Vormir where he acquires the soul stone. Here the stone is under watch by the Stonekeeper, who tells Thanos that “to ensure that whoever possesses [the soul stone] understands its power, the stone demands a sacrifice” and that “in order to take the stone, you must lose that which you love. A soul for a soul.” This crushes Thanos as he realizes what needs to be done. In a surprising revelation, it turns out that Thanos does actually love something or someone. He loves his daughter Gamora and his means that he has to trade her life in exchange for the soul stone.
Thanos ultimately chooses to submit to the stone’s demands and sends Gamora to her death. As a sidenote: it is a Marvel movie so we can be sure that this will not be the last time we will see Gamora. This is where our spoilers end.
In the reddit post, Gamora is given the text: “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” A photo of Thanos is pictured as the analog to Abraham staring back at Gamora who is supposed to be Isaac. If you are familiar with the Law & Gospel or Mockingbird, the stone stands in place as the Law and requires a soul to be sacrifice. The Law, just like the soul stone, demands for something to be done before the reward; but the sacrifice is painstakingly costly. For Thanos, this is where the analogy ends. The absence of an angel, requires him to fulfill its demands and it crus
In Genesis 22, God sends an angel to stop Abraham from sacrificing his own son, Isaac, and promises an offspring that will ultimately stand in place of the Law’s demands for a soul. Moreso, there is a starker (yet another marvel reference) contrast to note here. Thanos in sacrificing his daughter is entirely self serving. Everything he has done is to serve his own purpose. God, however, stepping into the picture to stop Abraham was one piece in the grand narrative that ends in the ultimate self-sacrificing action on the cross.
Romans 8:3-4 says “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[a] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
The Marvel universe might lack a soul that showers mercy on Thanos and grace on Gamora, but we can trust that in our world, there is one person who trades “[his] soul for a soul”. In our lives, the Law’s demands have been met and we are home free. Thank God.
To close this off, a quote from Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion and a song you all know by The Clash listened to under a different context.
“From beginning to end, the Holy Scriptures testify that the predicament of fallen humanity is so serious, so grave, so irremediable from within, that nothing short of divine intervention can rectify it.”
“I left my baby and it feels so bad
Guess my race is run
She’s the best girl that I ever had
I fought the law and the law won
I fought the law and the law won”