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Justice in the MCU

Endgame is a poignant masterpiece. Spoilers ahead.

At the end of Infinity War, Thanos snapped half of the universe out of existence. As the universe and the Avengers cope, they must ask themselves, as the psalmist does, “how long will the wicked triumph?”

Now you might wonder what the Bible has to do with all this, but I promise that there is a lesson here.

***** SPOILERS *****

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Keep scrolling only if you’ve already seen Endgame or want to know what happens.

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How long will the wicked triumph?

In Endgame, the movie culminates with Bruce snapping back everyone snapped by Thanos.  2014 Thanos time travels to the 2019 avengers facility just after Bruce completes this monumental task.  This final battle ends with Tony Stark stealing the improvised gauntlet from Thanos and snapping Thanos and his army out of existence.

That is Thanos’ end.

Thanos, mass murderer and genocidal maniac, ceases to exist.  Thanos’ punishment is nonexistence.

Endgame presents us with a disturbing reality regarding worldviews. Namely, justice cannot be satisfied.

What justice is there in Thanos’ discontinued existence? Trillions died at his hand and the best punishment there is ends with him turning into dust?

Is there no cosmic entity in Marvel who can see Thanos’ great offense? Is there no means by which the wicked are held responsible for their evil?

In the Marvel Comics, there are a couple entities that could be classified as the multiverse’s Supreme Being.  Yet the Living Tribunal and The-One-Above-All are more like apathetic watchmakers than like the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The scientific naturalistism worldview presented in the MCU leaves no room for the existence of objective moral truth or objective moral law.  And consequently there is no room for justice.

If aliens were real and if the MCU existed within God’s reality here on Earth, how would the Mad Titan fair?

We know that Thanos returning to dust would not be the end of his existence. Thanos would face eternal conscious torment in the Lake of Fire.  There is justice in that end.  The eternal laws of the Eternal God require absolute obedience.  Any violation is an eternal violation.  Only an eternal sentence can satisfy the eternal wrath of a Holy and Just God.

God is glorified when the wicked face judgment, He would prefer to be glorified by faith and repentance.  Judgment displays God’s holiness.  Judgment displays God’s loving-kindness and compassion toward the oppressed. Whereas criminals may not face punishment on Earth, God’s justice will find them.

The Marvel worldview’s lack of objective morality is interesting because it ultimately points us to an inherent sense of right and wrong.  While the postmoderns claim Thanos did nothing wrong, we know that’s not true.  Horrendous crimes always stir the conscience. Surely Thanos deserves an eternity in hell, but what about us?

George Whitefield says, “If one evil thought, if one evil word, if one evil action, deserves eternal damnation, how many hells, my friends, do every one of us deserve, whose whole lives have been one continued rebellion against God!”

We are no better than Thanos. We are just as guilty.

But it doesn’t end there. The everlasting God became flesh, lived a perfect life, and took the eternal wrath of God the Father. By faith, we can escape judgment.  And because it is the literal perfection and righteousness of the living God being credited to our accounts and because it is the literal blood of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, everlasting Creator and Sustainer of the universe covering us, no amount of sin is too much to be forgiven.  Unless Thanos blasphemed the Holy Spirit, even he could be saved.

And you may ask where is the justice if someone like Thanos were to spend eternity in heaven.  The justice is that the sin in question was placed on Jesus at the cross and the full fury of God’s wrath was poured out on His Son. 

When you see that you are a vile wretch, remember that Jesus is such a good Savior, strong enough and holy enough to save someone as evil as Thanos from sin. But that first requires us to see that Thanos (if he were real) deserves an eternity in hell. Sin does not end with a simple discontinued existence.

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