A Tale of Two Fathers -- Is God the Father Like Ego the Living Planet?
A guest post from the mind of Mike Antonacci
When I saw the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, I was blown away. I had no idea what to expect and went to see it on a random summer afternoon at a friend’s suggestion, and it was awesome.
I loved Vol. 2 as well. It was a great action movie with good character development. But one thing about it stuck in my mind: the sad representation of fatherhood, particularly as we relate to God our father. Allow me to explain.
A lot of superhero movies show heroes who tend to gather their identity from what they do. Whether it’s Batman’s “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me” in Batman Begins or Peter Parker saying, “I’m nothing without this suit” in the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, you see it. But is that true? Does your identity come primarily from what you do?
Every story is a carrier of a worldview, the assumptions it makes about the world, what matters...things like that. Sometimes they’re easy to spot, other times they aren’t. So, you’ve got to take and look and ask: is this worldview true?
For the Christian, our identity doesn’t primarily come from what we do, but, rather, it comes from God, freely given to us. Being is more important then doing. You don’t have to do anything special to “earn” God’s love. He loves you as you. That doesn’t mean doing is irrelevant, it just means being comes first. It’s from your identity (being) that you respond in love (doing).
Which brings me to Ego the Living Planet.
(spoiler alert: major spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 beyond this point)
Ego vs. God: As a father
Let’s take a look at Ego. He’s Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord’s father. Except, he’s an absent father who didn’t appear to have much interest in Peter’s life. Only now, he wants to bring Peter home and be a dad to him. That’s beautiful. Except as we see in the movie, there’s something sinister underneath it all.
Ego only wants Peter so he can get something out of him. He needs another Celestial to power his “I’m going to turn the whole universe into me” flowers. Beyond that, he doesn’t care about Peter, just like he didn’t care about his other children who didn’t have Celestial genes.
Ego, true to his name, is all about himself.
But what about God the Father? In beautiful, poetic language, St. Paul tells us that every earthly father is a shadow of God’s heavenly fatherhood (“from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named”, Ephesians 3:15). If our earthly fathers can be called fathers, so much more can God.
Unlike Ego, God the Father isn’t uncaring. Instead, He’s enamored with us, interested in everything we do. Have you ever been around a baby and are just fascinated? They might not even be doing anything impressive, or just spit up, and yet you just want to be with them. God the Father is like that for us, and so much more.
Like Ego, God the Father is looking for us. We’re separated from Him and He wants to be with us. But Ego wanted to find Peter for selfish reasons, so he could use Peter. God the Father’s desire for us is entirely selfless: God is already perfect and doesn’t need anything. But if we’re with Him, we’re happy and fulfilled. Him finding us is entirely for our benefit, not His.
Ego vs. God: Purpose in life
Both Ego and God are tremendously powerful. Ego uses that power for completely selfish purposes. Even his supposed love of Peter’s mom is for his own selfishness. As soon as he realizes he’ll fall in love with her and abandon his plan to remake the universe, he uses his power to put a tumor in her brain.
If that’s what having lots of power is like, count me out.
Ego’s life has no purpose other than what he “invents”. But ultimately, there’s a huge assumption that life has no purpose. He decides he wants to turn everything in the universe to himself. He makes plans and sacrifices to accomplish that purpose.
God the Father’s purpose in life is to love. Actually, that’s who He is. “God is love” isn’t flowery language, it’s a statement of fact, kinda like saying “I’m a human.” From that love, He desires to bring each of us into that love.
Ego wants to end all life in the universe so only he and Peter remain. God the Father wants to bring all life in the universe into relationship with Himself.
As Peter fights against his father, Ego quips, “Peter, you and I will be all that remains. So stop pissing me off!” What a view of eternity. “We’ll be together forever, so stop making me miserable.” If that’s how we view God, then heaven would be unbearable. Good thing heaven isn’t like that.
It’s a good contrast
They’re both dads, they both look for their children, they’re both very powerful, and the similarities end there. By exploring the worldview and assumptions of the movie, I think I’ve actually come to a better understanding of who God is. And that’s always a good thing.
Mike Antonacci is a blogger who writes on all things nerd and Catholic, focusing on helping people become the hero God is calling them to be. And, he’s giving away a free ebook to help you with Jesus’ Epic Quest for your life. Click here to learn more.