Only 8 more days until I will be either deliriously happy or uncontrollably homicidal. That’s right, the Watchmen movie is finally upon us! I started reviewing the individual issues late last year. And like so many other things, it got abandoned over summer. 8 days. 9 issues left. Let’s do this thing.
What does it mean to be human? At what point do you stop being human and start being something else? Could God be one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a naked blue guy on the surface of Mars trying to find his way home?
What has gone before: The Comedian is dead. Rorschach suspects a conspiracy. Silk Spectre and Nite Owl beat up some muggers and experience some sexual tension. And Doctor Manhattan escapes to Mars after he is accused of giving everyone he knows cancer.
Watchmen #4 is the story of Jon Osterman aka Doctor Manhattan. Through his unique point of view and perception of time, we see how went from mere mortal to near omnipotent. How a child in love with the precision of watchmaking became a physicist. How a freak accident killed him. And how he managed to bring himself back, one atom at a time. Can one man change the world? In the pages of Watchmen, the answer is yes. The big blue Energiser bunny changes everything from politics to car manufacturing.
As I mentioned earlier, Jon has a unique perspective on time. He doesn’t see the world one moment to the next like we do. He sees every moment of his existence simultaniously. It’s impossible to surprise him. He already knows it will happen. And is happening. And has happened. This knowledge produces a detachment. He becomes a spectator to his own life. He already knows how it will pan out so he’s just along for the ride. The choices in life are already made for him. There is no deviation from the path. As powerful as Jon is, the cost is far greater. He’s no longer one of us.
It’s easy to see God in the same way. God is omniscient. He knows everything. From the smallest breeze to the biggest hurricane. From the labours of an ant to the advances of a great nation. He knows it all. He knows how we will respond. He knows what we are thinking. Surely then, from God’s perspective, there’s no point getting too involved. Just wind up the universe and make sure it doesn’t get into any trouble. When we think of God in this way, he is distant, disconnected, and uninterested in our lives. This kind of God is just like Doctor Manhattan.
While God is indeed all knowing, he is not distant and detached. He is loving and caring. He is interested in his creation. And most importantly, he answers prayer. Our God is someone who listens to his people. He listens to their every plea. And if it is in his will, he acts. And even if he doesn’t act, we know that he will guard our hearts. That he will comfort us and sustain us. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
God is not one of us. He is so much more. But he has not forgotten his creation. He is not a distant entity sitting around on another planet, unable to interact with us. He is right here with us. He is a God that is emotional. He is a God that loves us.