What Wonder Woman teaches us about justice

One of the biggest movies to hit the theaters this summer is Wonder Woman, which tells the origin story of one of DC Comic’s most well-known heroes. Many viewers are ecstatic about getting their first well-written movie about a female superhero, and countless young girls have embraced Wonder Woman as a role model. What does Wonder Woman stand for? Is it something that we can and should get behind?

As the Amazon princess Diana, she stands up for right in the face of wrongdoing, peace instead of war. As a member of the Justice League (not pictured in this film but an important part of her identity), her mission isn’t much different—she will fight for what is right and stop those who would do otherwise.

In the movie, young Diana must ask and answer the question of what is in the hearts of mankind. Are men all good once evil influences are removed, or are they evil in and of themselves, fully willing to choose war and pain? Do they deserve outside intervention? Do they deserve for her to save them? People have been asking similar things for far longer than Wonder Woman has. Thankfully, as Christians, we know that someone has intervened on our behalf, and because of him, we can confidently find answers to these very questions.

“It’s not about ‘deserve.’ It’s about what you believe.”

People aren’t all good deep down, and this quote from the movie reveals part of the truth Diana must wrestle with as she gets to know them. The Bible tells us the same thing. In Jeremiah 17:9, God declares through the prophet that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” In Romans 3:10–18, we read that not one person is good—everyone has turned away from God. Apart from him, they are worthless, bloodthirsty, and without peace. Paul wrote in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death,” and if humanity got what it deserved, nobody would be saved.

Thankfully, God made another way. Romans 5:6–8 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Humanity did nothing to deserve this love—it was God’s choice. Though it is undeserved, we have been given the choice of believing in Jesus Christ and finding salvation through him (John 3:16).

“Only love can actually save the world.”

The Amazons in Wonder Woman train for war in hope of one day ending all war, but the world in which Diana suddenly finds herself is full of meaningless brutality, caught in not the first but the second of humankind’s world wars. She realizes that fighting is not the way to stop the fighting—it is love that will find the way. In the Bible, we see that God’s love—the truest love of all—is what will (and does!) save the world. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The very definition of love here is God reaching out and giving us something we didn’t deserve—a means of reconciliation with himself through his Son.

That same Son brings justice to the world. Matthew 12:17-21 tells us that Jesus’ ministry fulfilled prophecy—prophecies of one who “will proclaim justice” and “brings justice to victory” regardless of people’s backgrounds. In the end, he will even destroy death itself (1 Corinthians 15:24–26). In the person of Jesus Christ, love really is what saves the world.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.”

Who doesn’t make their way out of a superhero movie longing to be like the saviors on the screen? Who doesn’t wish for gear like Wonder Woman’s bullet-stopping shield or her Lasso of Truth? It’s easy to dream of being a hero, but if God through Jesus is the one who saves the world, are we even supposed to fight?

The Bible is pretty clear that the answer is yes. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we are in a battle “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” That’s a pretty serious fight! Verse 13 says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” The chapter goes on to describe the pieces of armor—and the weapons—that we are to take up (Ephesians 6:14–18). We are called to join in the fight, and there isn’t an opt-out option.  God commands us to stand strong and equips us for the job.

Make your choice.

Does humanity deserve to be saved? When you take an honest look at the state of the human heart apart from God, you’ll see that the answer is no. Luckily, love really does save the world, and God provided a way for us to choose love, life, and justice in himself. Wonder Woman longed for men to join her in a fight to be free from evil; God calls us to do the same. In the end, His love and justice will win the battle—will you be fighting for the right side?

About the author

Elizabeth Buege graduated from the University of Northwestern—St. Paul with a B.A. in English Writing. She works as a freelance book editor, offering writing and editing tips alongside her services at www.elizabethbuege.com. She also teaches weekly writing classes as the secondary writing tutor for the ESCHEL homeschool co-op in Oakdale, MN.

When Elizabeth isn’t working, you can probably find her reading or writing for fun. She also loves gardening, cooking, exploring parks, and hanging out with big dogs and small children. She attends First Free in Maplewood and is thankful to have found such strong fellowship so close to home.

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