So basically everyone in the religious community goes on and on about the symbolism in Batman relating to events from the Bible, but I never examined it on my own. Seeing the movie tonight and discovering it for myself was so completely eye opening, I felt God in my very presence, bearing down on me, on my heart, so that it couldn’t be ignored or coincidence. This movie that’s reaching masses and masses of people, people who don’t know God or who have no relationship with Jesus, is the most mainstream topic in the news right now that could profoundly reach people if they knew the actual events on which it was based.
Obviously, superheroes like Batman are silly. But people are silly and they enjoy silly things like superhero movies. Sometimes God uses the mainstream to reach us without beating us over the head with hellfire and brimstone. This is the kind of ministry Ben and I are most interested in. Like Ben said in a journal he wrote, “When it comes to Christian music, though, let’s face it, we are the only ones who ever hear it. The girl who is sitting at the coffee shop feeling lost isn’t going to hear God in Chris Tomlin. The man at the bar who has lost everything isn’t going to hear God in Hillsong United. Only the found are hearing those songs, not the lost. They might, however, hear God in Johnny Cash’s Hurt. They will probably find Him in the Avett Brothers’ The Weight of Lies.”
The story of Batman was God-inspired by the author of the comics and the director who created these movies. The allegories are no coincidence. Commissioner Gordon even says such to Detective Blake, “You are a detective now. There are no coincidences.” I’m absolutely not a minister, I have no degrees in theology or anything, I have what I consider to be a casual knowledge of the Bible compared to my parents-in-law and husband, but this is what I know:
If you’ve not seen the movie yet, don’t read any further!
Batman represents Jesus, of course.
He shows grace to the undeserving.
He shows Selina Kyle grace, even when she fails him, even though she does not deserve it. She even says, “you trust me after what I’ve done to you?” and he says he was disappointed but he believes there is more to her than meets the eye. That she’s capable of more than she thinks. She is representative of humanity, constantly failing, irreparably broken, but God continues to love us and show us grace. He’s not angry in the beginning when she steals his mother’s pearl necklace, and he gives her a literal clean slate through the software that erases her sins from the judicial system.
He descended into hell, the third day he rose from the dead
Bruce Wayne is broken by Bane physically, and at that point symbolizes Christ’s physical death. His body is carried to the depths of the prison that’s a pit (tomb), then eventually regains his strength and loses all fear to climb up out of the pit. This is symbolic of the resurrection. I felt like they were actually beating us over the head with this obvious reference, but I’ll write about it anyway. The prison is constantly referred to as “hell” over and over again.
The Apostles and Other Important Figures
Alfred = Mary, Jesus’ mother who loved Him since she heard His first infant cry
Commissioner Gordon = The church, as it should be. He didn’t know who Batman was behind the mask, only that he should be trusted without question. He never wavered in his faith that Batman was good and would save Gotham City. We can’t see Jesus, we can’t hear His literal voice, but we HAVE to have faith that He will take care of us no matter what. The bat signal is like a prayer—we use it when we need to call on Jesus, just as Gordon relies on it to call on Batman.
Blake = Paul (leader of the early Christian church after Jesus’ resurrection, like Robin who carries the torch after Batman is gone. Paul was the ultimate Jew, and he denounced Judaism just as Blake, the ultimate police officer, turns away from and denounces the police force.)
Catwoman = Judas (led Batman to Bane, where he was “crucified”)
Selina Kyle = Not to be confused with Catwoman, Selina represents humanity. God loves humanity so deeply that he gives us constant Grace and forgiveness, and loves us more than anything so that we can be with him in eternity, in heaven. Just as he takes Selina with him when he leaves his duties as Batman to see the world and truly live.
Detective Foley = Peter (he denied Batman 3 times—in the car, in the hospital, and at his home, then repents and dies for the cause—a martyr)
US Police/Military = Doubting Thomas (they don’t trust Blake when he tells them to let the children across the bridge, they’re too afraid to have enough faith to “walk on water”)
Lucius Fox = God. He’s omniscient in The Dark Knight, the all-seeing eye who masterminds the use of the cell phone systems as sonar, and he gives Batman the tools he needs to beat any foe. Without Lucius Fox, Batman is just a rich guy with a good heart. With Lucius Fox, he can do anything.
The original sin was committed by a woman, and in The Dark Knight Rises, Satan is represented by Miranda. She tempts Bruce Wayne with her beauty, and the night they spend together is after Wayne Enterprises loses everything and Bruce Wayne is in a metaphorical desert. Satan is called the great deceiver who will appear attractive to the weak in faith.
An obvious representation of government and how it fails society if we put faith in it. Like the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus, Bane breaks Batman’s body (crucifixion) and exiles him to the prison pit (tomb). He is broken and loses his power at the end. Miranda (Satan) was always in control of him because he adored her.
Other Biblical References
Stabbing in the side = The movie makes a big deal of Miranda stabbing Batman specifically in his side. Jesus was stabbed in His side on the cross.The Exodus = Batman even uses the word ‘exodus’ when he tells Blake to lead the people out of Gotham City, his people, to safety, then Selina clears the way (parts the sea) by blasting the debris from the tunnel.
Batman doesn’t die at the end! Bruce Wayne finds his own “heaven” traveling the world, free from the bondage of being Batman, just as Jesus is no longer human, but God in heaven. He was resurrected and is alive and well, even though we can’t see Him, just as Gotham City believes Batman to have died after he saved the city.
The Batman stuff is all just a story meant to be a metaphor, and I’m no Bible scholar by any means at all, but I think this is fascinating and inspiring. Don’t you?