How to Kill a God
Now watch closely, everyone. I’m going to show you how to kill a god. A god of life and death. The trick is not to fear him.
- Lady Eboshi, “Princess Mononoke”
A common and compelling trope in anime is of characters challenging God. In Princess Mononoke, for instance, Lady Eboshi attempts to literally kill a god. And though more of the variety of the countless kami, the god she intends to kill is the Forest Spirit, who could represent a supreme God. In other series, like the more controversial Angel Sanctuary and Neon Genesis Evangelion, the killing of God is more directly aimed at one God and often the Christian one.
The irony is this – while these fictional characters risk everything in an attempt to kill God, the act has already been done. And it’s been accomplished by God himself.
Humans call out for blood–“Crucify! Crucify!”–and God hands Jesus over to appease us. The significance of this reversal cannot be overstated. In Christianity God is handed over to humans in an act of sacrifice. In Christianity God is killed. God isn’t demanding the sacrifice. God is the sacrifice.
- Richard Beck, “Algorithms of Salvation“
Sacrificial love is part of the beauty of the Christian faith. Some 2,000 years ago, God died so we could live. In a moment in time, the Almighty God of the universe allowed Himself to be beaten and crucified by his own dirty creation so that we could reestablish relationship with Him.
It’s a story of redemption. Of grace. Of love.
It’s a story as epic as any, and one that makes some of these anime character who rage against the heavens seem…a little misguided.
There’s no need to try to kill God. As Jesus said on the cross – “It [and so much more] is done.”