Love Thy Nerd
Love Nerds + Engage Culture + Build Community

The Power Source Behind Our Will – The Emotional Spectrum Part 1: Green

The Green Lantern Corps is one of the most iconic and revered institutions within the DC Comics universe. Central to the mythos of the Green Lanterns is the concept of the Emotional Spectrum, a series of energies fueled by different emotions. Each color in the spectrum represents a distinct emotion: red for rage, orange for avarice, yellow for fear, green for willpower, blue for hope, indigo for compassion, violet for love, and white and black for life and death, respectively.

A major part of Geoff Johns’ 10-year run crafting the story of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, the Emotional Spectrum opened up the lore of these space cops, and tapped into the truth about the power of our emotions.

Among these emotions, the color green stands out as it symbolizes willpower, the driving force behind the Green Lanterns. The Green Lantern Corps, with their emerald rings, draw on the power of will to overcome obstacles and perform incredible feats. This concept of willpower is not just a fictional construct but is deeply rooted in human experience and has profound parallels in various philosophical and religious teachings, including Christianity.

© DC Comics

The Green Lantern’s Willpower

The Green Lantern Corps was established by the Guardians of the Universe, ancient beings who understood the need for order and peace across the cosmos. They harnessed the green energy of willpower to create the Central Power Battery on the planet Oa, which serves as the main source of power for all Green Lantern rings. The rings, in turn, tap into this energy source, allowing the Lanterns to create constructs, fly, and perform other extraordinary actions.

Willpower, as depicted in the Green Lantern comics, is a potent force. It is the ability to confront fear, persevere through challenges, and remain steadfast in the face of adversity. The rings themselves are sensitive to the user’s willpower, growing stronger or weaker depending on the wielder’s mental fortitude and determination. This dynamic illustrates an essential truth about willpower: it is not static but fluctuates based on one’s internal resolve and external circumstances.

The concept of willpower is also deeply ingrained in Christian theology. The Bible frequently addresses the human struggle with willpower and the need for divine assistance to overcome weaknesses. In Christian doctrine, willpower alone is often insufficient to achieve righteousness or overcome sin. The Apostle Paul famously lamented this struggle in his letter to the Romans: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19, NIV).

This passage highlights the inherent human struggle with willpower. Despite the best intentions, individuals often find themselves faltering, unable to adhere to their moral convictions through sheer force of will. Christianity teaches that while human willpower is important, it is ultimately limited and must be supplemented by a higher power—God.

© DC Comics

Tapping into the Source of Power

In the Green Lantern universe, when a Lantern’s willpower wanes, they must recharge their ring by reciting the iconic oath and drawing energy from the Central Power Battery on Oa. This ritual symbolizes the need to reconnect with a greater source of strength to replenish one’s willpower.

Similarly, Christians believe in the necessity of connecting with God to renew their spiritual strength and willpower. Prayer, scripture reading, and communal worship are seen as vital practices for drawing closer to God and receiving the divine assistance needed to persevere. Jesus himself emphasized this dependence on God, saying, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NIV).

This analogy underscores the belief that human effort, apart from divine support, is ultimately futile. Just as a Green Lantern must recharge their ring, Christians must continually seek God’s presence and guidance to maintain their spiritual and moral resolve.

Believers are called to exercise their willpower while also relying on God’s strength.

The Apostle Paul encapsulated this synergy in his letter to the Philippians: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV). This verse reflects the belief that human effort is augmented by divine empowerment, enabling believers to accomplish what would otherwise be impossible. And we’re not talking about passing that final exam or lifting a thousand pounds. We’re talking about facing temptation, learning to be content, and being Jesus to those in our lives – all of which require more willpower to sustain than we have in us.

© DC Comics

Overcoming Fear and Doubt

Fear is a common adversary of willpower, both in the Green Lantern universe and in everyday life. The Green Lanterns’ primary enemies, the Sinestro Corps, wield the yellow light of fear. Fear can paralyze and diminish one’s resolve, making it a formidable obstacle. Green Lanterns are chosen for their ability to overcome fear, embodying the triumph of willpower over intimidation.

In a similar vein, the Bible addresses the debilitating effects of fear and offers faith as a remedy. The Psalmist declared, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, NIV). This verse highlights the belief that trust in God can dispel fear, empowering believers to act with courage and determination.

© DC Comics

The Role of Community

Both the Green Lantern Corps and Christian communities recognize the importance of solidarity and mutual support. The Green Lantern Corps is not just a collection of individuals but a brotherhood united by a common purpose. Lanterns rely on each other for support, encouragement, and collaboration in their mission to protect the universe.

Similarly, Christianity emphasizes the role of community in fostering spiritual growth and resilience. The early church is described in the Book of Acts as a close-knit community where believers “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42, NIV). This communal aspect helps individuals strengthen their faith and willpower through shared experiences and mutual encouragement.

The journey of the Green Lanterns and the path of Christian faith share remarkable similarities in their portrayal of willpower. Both narratives recognize the limitations of individual strength and the necessity of connecting with a greater power source—be it the Central Power Battery or God. This connection not only replenishes but amplifies one’s willpower, enabling individuals to overcome fear, persevere through challenges, and accomplish extraordinary feats.

In the end, the message is clear: while human willpower is vital, it is not sufficient on its own. By tapping into a higher power, whether through the emerald energy of Oa or the divine strength of God, individuals can find the resilience and courage needed to face life’s trials. This timeless truth resonates across both fictional and real-life landscapes, offering a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who seek to wield the power of will.

Coming Soon: Part 2 – Yellow (Fear)

Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

Reader Comments

Related Content

Why Hope Must Fuel Action – The Emotional Spectrum Part 3: Blue

In this third reflection from the Green Lantern comics "Emotional Spectrum," we see how powerful hope is, but how to do any good, it must be pair with purposeful action and will.

Pull List 102 | Summer Break (Season 9 Finale)

In the season finale, Chris and co-host Hector are on the podcast with new and exciting takes on the comic’s biz. Catch up on the latest pulls, some industry news, and more!

My Voyage to Empathy: Psychosis and Star Wars’ Jake Lloyd

Overcoming Fear – The Emotional Spectrum Part 2: Yellow

In this second reflection from the Green Lantern comics "Emotional Spectrum," we see how our own Fear is a powerful, crippling force, and how we can overcome it.

Pull List 101 | Happy Birthday, Hector!

Chris and co-host Hector are on the podcast with new and exciting takes on the comic’s biz - for the ONE HUNDRETH TIME! Catch up on the latest pulls, some industry news, and more!

Pull List 100 | We Still Here

Chris and co-host Hector are on the podcast with new and exciting takes on the comic’s biz - for the ONE HUNDRETH TIME! Catch up on the latest pulls, some industry news, and more!

Staying Grounded Amidst the NIJISANJI Drama

Pull List 99 | Is A.I. Drawing Our Comics?

DC might be in hot water over A.I. accusations! Chris and co-host Hector are on the podcast with new and exciting takes on the comic’s biz. Catch up on the latest pulls, some industry news, and more!