Clash of the Titans: Jesus much better than Perseus

Posted: May 20, 2013 by John C. Kwasny, Ph.D. in Adventure, Drama
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clashoftitansMy children are big fans of Greek mythology, especially daughter number 4 (when you have eight children, you are allowed to resort  to numbers rather than names).  On two of our most recent road trips, we listened to a Percy Jackson and the Olympians book on CD, which is a modern youthful version of the classic myths.  So, it was about time we watch the remake of the 1981 classic, Clash of the Titans, the other night.  Other than missing Laurence Olivier as Zeus, it didn’t disappoint, and gave us much to talk about.  Greek myths are probably some of the easiest stories to use to direct young hearts to the truth of God’s Word.

Clash of the Titans  is the film adaptation of the myth of Perseus and his quest to battle both Medusa and the Kraken monster to save the Princess Andromeda.  For those of you who remember your Greek mythology, Perseus is a demi-god, the son of Zeus and the human woman Danae he impregnated.  He and his mother were cast into the sea in a wooden chest, but only Perseus survived.  Raised by a fisherman and his wife, Perseus grew into manhood and was thrust into the task of saving his people (including Andromeda) from the wrath of Hades.

Without giving the whole story away, the following are some great discussion points to have with your children and youth after watching the movie or even reading the original myth itself:

1.  Even though there are many gods in Greek mythology, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon are the main three brother-gods.  Zeus rules the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld.  They are frequently at war with each other, and each seek to rule humans in their own way.  For example, Zeus wants to have the humans love him, while Hades wants them to fear him.  Thankfully, the truth is that we serve a God who is ONE God is THREE persons, in perfect UNITY with one another.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all work together to run the universe in perfect holiness and righteousness.

2.  In the Clash of the Titans, Zeus becomes angry with the Greeks for not serving him, as they rebel against the gods and want to be free of them.  In a fit of anger, he foolishly unleashes Hades to bring destruction in order to make humans fear the gods again.  Hades uses this weakness of Zeus’ just to gain more power for himself.  Thankfully we serve a perfectly just God who is angry over sin, yet chooses to show mercy to all who are in Christ.  He doesn’t use Satan to make people fear Him, but is at war with Satan and has ultimately defeated the Deceiver.  While the wicked are destroyed, the righteous are eternally saved.

3.  Perseus is part god and part man.  He is described by his caretaker Io as “the best part of the gods and man.”  He chooses to identify with the humans rather than take his rightful inheritance as a god.  Thankfully, we serve Jesus who is FULLY God and FULLY man.  He is not a demi-god, but rather the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity.  In a much better way, Jesus chose to humble Himself as a man and temporarily set aside his glory to live among us  in order to make a way to the Father–the only way of salvation.  And, Jesus was and is sinless and perfectly righteous!

4.  Finally, Perseus, because of his hatred for and distrust of the gods, wanted to save humans only as a man, using only his human strength.  He quickly discovered that he needed Zeus’s help as well as his god-like strength to defeat Medusa and the Kraken.  He really was an unwilling savior.  Thankfully, we have Jesus who is our perfectly loving and willing deliverer.  He only does the will of the Father, as opposed to rebellious Perseus.  Jesus conquered sin and death not in human strength, but as the perfect God-Man by His perfect life, death and resurrection.  He saved His people eternally, not just temporarily.

As we watch movies that are based on Greek myths, it’s essential to remind our children (and ourselves) that the Bible is not a competing set of myths.  It is the one true story of our redemption in Jesus Christ.  So, Jesus is also better than Perseus because the Word of God is true, and the stories of the Titans are but myth!


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