Green Lantern and Free Will

Tomorrow is new comic book day. For the uninitiated or those who don’t watch The Big Bang Theory, Wednesday is the day new comic books hit the shelves. Along with the other comic book enthusiasts,  I’m looking forward to Green Lantern Annual Corp #1 because it marks the climax of the long running story line, “The Rise of the Third Army”.

A bit of backstory for non Green Lantern readers.  The “army”  story line has followed the Guardians of the Universe and their descent into madness. The Guardians were the ones who started the Green Lantern Corps in an effort to fight evil and chaos in the universe. Using the green light of “Will”, they created an intergalactic police force, the Green Lanterns, to accomplish their task through distributing rings. These rings harnessed the power of “Will” through the individual corp member.  When the “Rise” story line starts out, the Guardians think the only way to achieve order and peace is through making everyone mindless drones. They want to eliminate free will and all emotion.

After having gotten back into comic books last year, I’ve delved deep into the Green Lantern universe. I’ve become a huge fan of the Geoff Johns reboot that started in 2004 with Green Lantern Rebirth.  Johns fully developed an idea hinted at in previous Green Lantern stories. That is, there are other “colors” of the universe besides the well known green light of “will”. He showed us that Blue equals Hope, Purple equals love, Yellow equals fear, Red equals rage, and orange equals desire or avaraice. All of these colors have the ability to make “lanterns” and “rings”. John makes allusions through his stories to how the  emotional spectrum comes from “the white light” which was present at the moment of creation. Indeed, he often implies the white light is of God and that emotions play a huge role in how the universe works. The emotions become a stand in for the concept of free will.

The Guardians have always been fearful of emotions and the concept of free will. They believe emotions are unpredictable at best, outright dangerous at worst. Through the past nine years of the Green Lantern universe, the Guardians have become  hostile to the emotional “colors”. They are now seeking the destruction of the emotional spectrum and in turn, the destruction of the  white light.

If you’re familiar with theology, you’ve probably already had the thought; “this sounds just like the Free Will debate in theology“. The Guardians, at times, seem like heretical Calvinists. They believe only total control will bring peace and order to the universe.  Indeed, when you talk to some Calvinists, you have to wonder why God even bothered making us in the first place. Emotion and free will don’t seem to have any place in God’s created order.

Many of us want the universe in a nice, orderly package. We want things not to be messy, crazy and open ended. Even more scary, we want our God that way.  Yet, the Bible tells us this is how God created the world. He wanted free beings who would worship Him, not robots. The risk of doing so means He created free will in people, and we’ve used that free will to create utter destruction. Does that mean free will is bad? Not at all. Does that mean God is not in control? Of course not. It just means He seems to like emotions and free will. He meant them to be a part of His creation from the beginning. How does that relate to His choices of governing of the world? Your guess is as good as mine.

In the Green Lantern universe, the ring bearers of each color have used their powers to destroy, tear down and cause the ruin of worlds. Yet, they also combine in the Darkest Night story line to defeat Nekron, the spirit of death. When the colors unite, they became “the white light” the light of holiness and creation. Nekron couldn’t stand against the combined power of emotion put in the creation of the world by God Himself.

Read more in the final issue of The Rise of the Third Army. You can get it at your local comic book store on Wendsday. I shop at The Laughing Ogre.

So, what do you think, you roguish geeks? Free will? Good, bad or not an issue? Comment below….until then…remember…


"Protestants, who believe in the saving message proclaimed by Luther, Zwingli, Bucer, Calvin, Cranmer and ..."

Why Reformation Day is Dumb…
"In two words --> Carrie Fisher.We cared. The long white robe was better than the ..."

"It gets easier to read the 10th time ... and it is 111% worth every ..."

The Most Underappreciated Work of Fantasy ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment