I recently attended a Heroscape tournament at a small comics and games store in Ann Arbor, MI called Fun 4 All. While there I picked up a copy of a graphic novel that combines the first 7 parts of Neil Gaiman’s run with the Eternals for Marvel Comics. I chose this because I have not read any of the Eternals books and I wanted to get to know them a bit before the movie comes out this fall. I also have not read any of Neil Gaiman’s works yet so this seemed a good way to take out two notches in my nerdy blind spots.
This book takes place during the super hero registration act and most of the Eternals have forgotten who they are and are out living mundane lives. For those not in the know, the Eternals are immortals who were blessed with immortality by beings called Celestials that wanted them to protect Earth. In the history of the comics some formed a colony on Titan, which is the home of a guy named Thanos. The Celestials also turned some proto-humans into a race called Deviants. Deviants do not look the same or even have the same shape. Naturally, Deviants and Eternals do not like each other and tend to fight.
Spoilers for the book ahead.
Forward to the recent history and specifically the time of the Super Hero Registration Act. In the middle of all the craziness, a celestial is unearthed. It has been laying underneath a park in San Francisco for half a million years, or beneath what became a park. I won’t go into detail about how it is unearthed or found, but what is important is what happens as it wakes up.
First of all, everyone notices and none of the responses are positive. Uatu the Watcher actually takes a moment to look away from the situation. Halfway across the galaxy, Galactus feels the awakening of the Celestial and “…remembers what it is to be afraid.” Chew on that. If Galactus is afraid of this thing, or at least what this Celestial can do, then no one wants to be near it.
A few moments later, when the team tries to form together as one mind to connect with this Celestial, one of them has a unique experience. A “subroutine” of the being chooses to reveal itself to Makkari in a telepathic experience. In this conversation the Celestial tells him of creating specific Eternals with specific skills. Apparently he “built several other interesting features into [Makkari’s] DNA structure.” Then he informs him that he will be a prophet. That he should communicate something to all the groups on Earth (Eternals, Deviants, Humans).
Tell them that I am (awake/alive/monitoring). that I will (watch/listen), and that once I have seen enough, I shall judge.Celestial in The Eternals by Neil Gaiman.
We don’t talk much about judgment in modern day America. We don’t like it. But judging is part of God’s role in our universe. Alongside creator, sustainer, savior, He is also the Judge. If the idea of God judging you is scary, then join the club. We all have reasons why it should be scary to us. I am guilty of lust and I know that God is my judge. Some are guilty of letting anger control them instead of controlling it. They will be judged. And on and on with all sin and all people.
But just as this Celestial in this fictional book chooses to warn of judgement so people have a chance to change or repent, so does Christ choose to give us time to repent in real life. He chose to come in the form of a man to speak to us. To give us training in how to live, to pay the price for our sins, and to resurrect from death to show that nothing can defeat the God who created us.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”2 Peter 3:9
At some point the judgement will come. For me, you and all of creation. Yet Christ gives us time and hope. Time to seek His help in repenting. While I have done some practical things in repentance from lust, I also trust Jesus for help. I am still learning, still growing.
Some think God can not or will not both judge and love. They think He will only love or only judge. Yet remember He is God Immortal. His judgement and love are not limited by each other because both are aspects of Who He Is.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7
Right now we are in Lent. A time of slowing down, pausing, reflecting, and realizing our need for the Death and Resurrection we celebrate during Holy Week. This is as perfect a time as any to reach out to Jesus. Spend time in prayer talking with Him about your sin. Read scripture on it. You might even want to fast or give something up for Lent. If you are not attending church regularly, start visiting churches or go back to one that was a good fit for you. This Celestial did not offer his services as a coach, but Jesus does. Use your time well! Let Jesus coach you in repentance. When you fall of the bike, confess and get back on it again.