“You were made to be ruled.”

Loki: [to crowd] Kneel before me. I said… KNEEL! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.
German Old Man: [Stands] Not to men like you.
Loki: There are no men like me.
German Old Man: There are always men like you.

(quote taken from IMDB.)

I went to go see the Avengers again. At one point, Loki attacks a crowd of fancy German types. As he forces them to bow, he makes the speech you see right there. And both times I saw the film, I wondered at the subtext.

Loki is meant to be the bad guy. He’s got no problem killing people if he wants. He aches for power. He loves mind games. In short, he makes a delightful villain that you enjoy rooting against. And then… he makes this speech.

Does the speech sound familiar at all? It does to me. It’s a Christian speech, cruelly twisted.

Let me explain: We were created to give all glory to God. We were created to worship him. And in heaven, Revelation says that we will serve our Father day and night before the Throne (Revelation 7:15). So, in other words… yeah, we really were created to serve. We were created to be ruled by our God.

And here’s where sin steps in. See, all we know by nature is the slavery of sin. We are convinced it’s a good slavery, that in fact we’re free, but we’re chained up by it. And it’s not a nice master. We know by nature only the overbearing, sneering face of being ruled that this sinful world gives us. We see faces like Loki’s. Insert your least favorite politician here. Or, as the “old German man” says it, “There are always men like you.” And there are. As long as there is sin, men will attempt to rule over us, and it will not be pleasant. We see burdensome labor under such rulers. We see injustice. We see things that simply aren’t fair. Our sinful minds take that ruling and says that anyone ruling over us must be like that.

Except… God is no man. Jesus doesn’t rule like that. His yoke is gentle. His ruling activity in our lives is like nothing else we’ve ever experienced. Being Jesus’ servant really is freedom — not “freedom from freedom” like Loki wanted to place over the planet. “For when the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Jesus frees you from the slavery of sin. And make no mistake, by nature we are slaves. “He who sins is a slave to sin.” You might be able to transfer control from one sin to a different sin, but sin will always whip you into doing what it wants. But Jesus! He has shattered those chains and made you free. And now you live in the glorious light of that Son.

And now we get to serve him! And it’s an awesome thing! It’s a thing we choose to do, because he has freed us from the slavery of sin. And how will I bring glory to God today? Well, at the moment, by writing a blog post. Later on I’ll be working on a sermon. And then going out and visiting people in their homes. I could forget all that and prepare for Bible study. That would bring glory to God, too. Or maybe I could go and spend all day with my family. All these things bring glory to God! (My normal family day is Friday, but I’ve already spent a good chunk of time reading with the kids and we’ll play later, too. Just not all day today!)

I don’t know if Joss Whedon was thinking of Christianity when he wrote that into the screenplay. He may have been, or he may simply have thought of a twisted way to portray how power-hungry Loki is. Whether or not he intended to make me think of my faith, he did remind me of it.

We really were made to be ruled — but not by Loki. Not by men like him. We were created to be ruled by God — and his leadership is unlike any we’ve ever experienced on this earth. It’s a good thing. His leadership truly is freedom.

And I will bow to that!

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20 thoughts on ““You were made to be ruled.”

    1. Yet even in that freedom we serve Christ — even in that freedom, we’re ruled by Christ. “For every knee shall bow!” The difference is that we rejoice and choose to bow. We’re not forced. It’s not out of fear that we bow (such as in Loki’s case) but in joy!

  1. Wow. I love what you did here, really great translation of Loki’s speech! Would you mind if I linked to it from my blog?

    1. Thanks, Mike! I basically used this exact thing when we watched Avengers for my congregation’s youth group. So, it’s gotten plenty of mileage!

  2. Your logic doesn’t make sense at all, mate. Your so-called “God” and Loki are the same person, they selfishly create through destruction a world that will worship them.

    Your God killed in the flood and by burning Sodom and Gomorrah much much more people than Loki did in Thor and Avengers both. And he wants to be worshiped, him and only him and if you don’t like him you can die. So who’s the cruelest? At least Loki had the excuse of a mean father to explain why he’s become evil, your God doesn’t.

    1. What you seem to forget, both in the flood and in Sodom and Gomorrah, God is punishing sin. As a holy God and as Creator, does He not have the right to exercise justice against the crimes done against Him?

      God at least spared Noah and Lot and their families. Loki reminds me of a twisted archetype of Satan. The fallen angels do not have a chance to turn their wickedness around. As humans when we sin we at least have a path of redemption through Jesus christ. How is this cruel?

      1. Death by a holy hand, its still death. We as humans have free will, God and man have no right to remove our will or us from the living realm until we’ve run out of time in our physical forms. If a human removes a person from their dwelling, where they are comfortable and well cared for or loved, its called kidnapping. If God says “Okay you’ve lived enough, here have cancer. Or perhaps a car accident because you slept with someone out of wedlock and went to casino.” Its all fine and dandy? Don’t think so. Many people forget that we are not saints or holy beings. We are, in the simplest sense, animals who learn by falling on our faces and getting back up with memory of what it’s like to trip and where that rock is so we don’t trip again. Sodom and Gomorrah were like any major city now a days, there is an underworld of crime but there are also innocent lives who just live and love.

        As for Loki being Satan, oh you are so wrong. Loki represents so many things, but never something truly evil. He is the perfect example of what happens when someone is abused, neglected and cast aside. Yes, he was cast in the shadows as the Norse predecessor to the Christian “Satan” and was even demonized by a priest who translated the Edda. Loki was punished in the poetic Edda for telling the truth only because others didn’t want to here that they were sinners too. They killed one of his sons to tie him to a rock with his son’s intestines as a snake dipped poison on his face and chest. They called him jealous, a liar, a sinner and traitor when all he did was offer truth in saying that the others where as flawed as he was. The Aesir would be the ‘angels’ in this analogy, Loki was never really an angel or even a demon, but something else entirely. He is not evil or good, he’s a neutral who wants what we all want. Love, acceptance and to be treated fairly by our kin. If Loki were a person, I think he would be capable of seeking redemption and receiving forgiveness from a holy being. He made human mistakes amplified by the fact that he was a superhuman or space viking (if your uncomfortable with the term ‘Norse God of Mischief’). The main reason he’s demonized is because he’s labeled as “The father of lies, God of Mischief.” When really he’s the quick witted and clever outcast that did good things and was paid with pain, grief and neglect for his good deeds. Look past all the fancy titles and you will see a brilliant strategist and scholar who seeks the approval and redemption of his adoptive father but was sadly driven to madness. Honestly who wouldn’t flip their sh.. after finding out they were adopted and they happen to be the very thing they were taught to hate and kill, unwanted even by their own kind? Add being fed false hopes that you will someday matter to people and they you have one heck of a psychotic break severe enough that you want to kill a planet and end up trying to take your life when the favored son comes and saves the day… only you’re going to be tortured half to death and your brain will be unmade and made anew by a real demon who wants to shack up with Lady Death.

  3. I see what you mean, and I somewhat agree despite not sharing your fate. But you can’t forget that Loki is no man, not technically. Whether you see ‘man’ as meaning human or male, Loki is technically neither. In his very nature, both in the Marvel Universe and in Norse Mythology, Loki is neither man nor woman, a true shapeshifter capable to appear and become whoever and whatever he wishes, down to the very marrow of his bones. This was demonstrated by his bearing a child (Sleipnir), though he chooses to look like a man.

    1. It’s true that Loki is no man in either Marvel nor Norse continuity. (Not sure I’d call it a continuity, but…) And it’s true — but that doesn’t change where to Trinitarian, Christian God stands compared to him. 🙂

      (And yeah… some of those Norse stories were… interesting!)

  4. CRYPTIC. Without a ruler is to be in complete freedom. In complete freedom there is no power and no identity. With a ruler there is the “mad scramble for power” of the daily races of employment and earnings.

    The quote “The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity.” makes no sense. The grammar should be “The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy. In a mad scramble for power, for identity.”

  5. I’d rather bow to Loki than to some unseen “God” that want to be worshiped but don’t even show himself. (Because he didn’t exist)

    1. I would say that God did show himself – Jesus Christ (whose existence is proved by history) claimed to be God and proved it by the things he said and did. So what do you do with him? How do you deal with the claims he made and the impact he had on history?

  6. I’d say it’s pretty obvious that it was an allusion to Hitler and the Nazis. They’re in Germany, the older guy is either an elderly German, possibly Ashkenazi. Loki says there’s no men like me, he says, there’s always men like you – people who want to rule others like a tyrant. I don’t think God has much to do with this one.

  7. Loki IS a GOD. Period. His Pantheon is still worshiped today by the Ásatrú Faithful and Odinists alike. Many Solitary Practicing Pagans also follow him or one of the other Deities in the Nordic pantheon as their patron deity.
    I agree with UCSDboy that the German man was either a survivor or a disenfranchised german soldier of WWII, and he felt it was his duty to stand up to people who tread the Black Road as Hitler once did. However, Hitler never had remorse, he went to his grave trying to still get to the end of the Black Road.

    Still my adoration of the realistic and pain-filled performance of Loki that Tom Hiddleston gave, and my firm belief in the redeemability of such a God, if he were similar to the actual mythical one, is not the subject of this post.
    You CAN NOT tell people Loki is right, and then tell people he is also WRONG by reducing him to a Mortal level enemy. He IS A GOD, He’s Right and YOU KNEEL or He’s Wrong and you give you LIFE to Stand Up for FREEDOM of MIDGARD. Please do not impose your Religious Beliefs on my Geeky Fun Movies OR on my Pagan Beliefs, as you have done both here.

    I am highly offended as both a geek and a pagan. I have a feeling you will claim freedom of speech lets you be hateful and insensitive to me. So I will counter with the fact that MY Freedom of speech allows me to post my re imagining of one of the main christian prayers, if I so choose. After all, your religion stole a lot of our traditions and repackaged them, so I feel we can steal for you as well.

    Kneel or Defend. Slithering out from under the question does not make you right. It makes you a serpent…aren’t you opposed to those or something?

    – The Catalyst

    P.S. May The Norns have mercy on your soul.

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