“Iron Man” and the “Armour of God”: possible comparisons?

The immediate comparisons between the “Iron Man”‘s costume and the “Armour of God” in Ephesians 6, are many. And I’m sure many a youth pastor are going to use this hugely popular movie as an illustration of the biblical armour. My purpose in the article is to see whether such a comparison can be made, and if so, up to what extent. Quick answer, yes comparisons can be made, but with caution.

Similarities/parallels

On the outside

The obvious parallel between the two ideas is that the armour is put on the outside… for the world to see. Thus, even as people see the Iron Man (and the ending line is remarkably honest), so also people can see at least some of our spiritual armour (with natural eyes). The point is that we must not hide our faith, not hide our armour. It not only protects us, but also identifies who we are and whose we are.

On the inside

Tony Stark (Iron Man) needs a special life-support that not only gives him life, but also powers his suit. This, in some senses, could be parallel to our own regenerate life… our new born again life… without which neither do we truly live, nor does the whole armour make sense without it. Perhaps we can say it more personally; without the Holy Spirit, we can neither have life nor can we have power in our armour.

Purpose

The purpose of the armour is to fight evil. Iron Man (previous weapons manufacturer Tony Stark) is struck by conscience and wants to rid the world (at least at the moment) of the obvious evil he sees. Not every evil, mind you, but only the evil that is directly concerned/related to him. Similarly, our own armour helps us fight not every single battle, but the battles that are relevant to us; against the evil around us (and in us).

Disimilarites/Dangerous associations

Fight against whom?

Biblically, clearly we are fighting NOT against flesh and blood, but here, in Iron Man, his suit helps him only fight against flesh and blood. This is obviously different, since a movie will obvious beat-up bad-guys. But sometimes Christians tend to think that they’re fighting against people, even evil people, but that is definitely NOT the case. We are not fighting people, we are fighting evil (both the evil in the world and the evil in us)… with God’s help of course. We do not have an armour to fight a holy war against a religion or ethnic group… our armour is for justice and peace… and to fight the evil that makes injustice prevail (it’s not flesh and blood).

Weapons

One of Iron Man’s features is his weaponry. He packs quite a punch, literally. However, in our spiritual/godly armour, there is only one aggressive weapon, and that is the sword of the spirit, the word of God. In fact, that weapon, is not even in our control, but in control by the Spirit himself “Sword OF THE SPIRIT”. Therefore, it is not we who use it as a weapon, but the Spirit of the Lord, in us, that enables us to use the word of God wisely. (again, not against flesh and blood)

The danger of wanting to look cool

Iron Man’s armour is cool, really cool. In fact, the whole movie is cool. In contrast, the armour of God, with a helmet and with a shield may not be such a cool image for us today. The image above is a case in point! Our association with the armour of God only brings ridicule and shame; not appreciation and wonder.

Finally…

I know there’s a lot more that can be said, one way or the other. But it is good to think about how popular culture relates our faith, and how our faith must relate to our popular culture. This is just a start in that direction.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

photo credit: While the Iron Man still is from the movie site, the “Armour of God” graphic is adapted from an image found in the following site: http://www.smilinjackart.com/armour_of_god.jpg

12 Responses to ““Iron Man” and the “Armour of God”: possible comparisons?”


  1. 1 patrick May 7, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Iron Man was practically flawless as a super hero flick; its makers drop some pretty obvious sequel hints too… i’m thinking the next one should be equally great

  2. 2 God May 7, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    My Armour is much stronger and has better rocket-boosters.

  3. 3 Matt May 16, 2008 at 1:29 am

    Great thought. I never really considered the comparisons until I googled “God and Iron Man” and stumbled upon this article.

  4. 4 david June 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Interesting comparison, but God’s armour is unlimited;iron man’s armour freezes when it trancends a specific atmospheric altitude -interesting though; lol. and also it’s destructible; lol

    David and Jesus.

    God bless you today, and may we place our faith in the LorD JESUS christ, amen.

  5. 6 Robben Salter July 3, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Something Interesting I thought of, is that there are two armours.
    Many put on the lord “satan” the prince of the air.

    I remember I used to have a spirit of pride, and it protected a broken heart I had inside.

    The moment I took off this wicked armour, I felt vunerable, and my heart was tender.

    I then put on the lord yeshua, and put on the new armour.
    my heart is now protected fully, and I now have power over my enemy.

    It’s through the new armour that we heal the sick, cast out devils, share the good news, and change the world.

    Our battle is not with people, but with the ones that control people.
    The Rulers of darkness.

    One day, we will put on incorruption, and will have new bodies.
    perhaps we will fly, have infinite strength etc.

    But even this outside demonstration of power, is no match for our present power we have in yeshua.

    Tony Starks is a fictional character, but he deals with a real spiritual enemy. pride.

    Pride is a weak armour, and it leads to ultimate destruction.

  6. 7 Robben Salter July 3, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    PS. Jesus is the real Iron Man! check out this verse

    REV 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: (whatever he says, happens)

    and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (he rules them)

    On his robe and his thigh he has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

    (on his cape, and on the side of his leg armour, it says “King of all Kings, Ruler of all Rulers”)

    I don’t think Tony Stark, or Superman has a chance against Yeshua.

  7. 8 Iron Man Costume July 19, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Armour of god in the picture should be re-designed. Iron Man Costume totally look cool more than it.

  8. 9 David June 2, 2009 at 3:12 am

    And why shouldn’t God’s armor be awesome?
    Does it not protect us from Satan’s wiles? When I imagine the armor of God, I think of thick, strong, alloy plating… With scripture written on it. It covers me completely. Heavy duty armor. ;)

    I think the dorky armor of God doesn’t do the actual spiritual application of armor right. It is something that is comforting, empowering and strong! Not something that’s old, light, and scimpy…

    Lord, please bless me and help me to wear Your armor effectively! Be my Strength and my hope forever!
    I pray in the power of the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

  9. 11 Pastor_E April 15, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Here is link to a video using the Iron Man suit up scene with John MacArthur reading from Ephesians 6


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Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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