Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Creation (Gods Among Us)

The first world was Muspell,
A land of fire and light
With Surt as its guard.

Beyond Muspell laid the gap,
And beyond the gap, Niflheim.

Ice, frost, wind, and rain emanated from Niflheim,
Flowing into the gap and meeting the
Fire, warmth, heat, and breeze from Muspell.

Where the elements met, Ymir was born.
Ymir, the mighty frost ogre, slept.
While he slept, his sweat grew into his ogre-children.

Buri was the first man, recovered from ice.
Buri's son was Bor, who married a giant's daughter.
Bor's sons were Odin, Vili, and Vé,
Odin was the first
And, the most well-known.
For, he ruled the heavens and the earth.

Odin, Vili, and Vé killed Ymir.
They brought his body to the gap
And they created the worlds with his members.

This is just a small breach of the Norse mythology concerning creation. (You can read more here.) This story paints a much different picture than any other creation story we have heard. And, it is probably worse than any creation story that we would want to hear. Just picture this:

Little Boy [let's name him Jarl]: "Mommy, Mommy, how was the world made?"

Mom: "Don't you remember, Jarl? The world was built from the dead corpse of an innocent frost ogre; the same frost ogre that our gods mercilessly slayed and formed into planets."

Jarl: "Oh..."

The very picture of creation brings up disturbing and disgusting images (and I even left some of the weirdest parts out of my rendition). This story is nothing that modern man would want to believe, let alone put faith in or confide in. Why would we care for gods such as these? It's not even clear when Odin, Vili, and Vé stopped being men and became gods. There was no apparent order to this chaos (something comic geeks often rant about). The world just happened. There was no real rhyme or reason. There was no purpose. Still, this story was understood as a historical chain of extremely obscure events.

It is much more comforting to know what really happened. Order came into the chaos. Everything was created. There was/is rhyme and reason. There is purpose. And, the events seem like common sense.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form (chaotic) and void (empty), and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Genesis 1.

There was nothing until God created something.

Here is the "common sense," the Reason: Plato says that everything that has come into being must also have an end, while things that have always existed must remain eternal. So, it fits that God necessarily has always existed. He has always been and will always be. But, even in Norse mythology, the world came into being. It must end. Revelation and Ragnarök have their differences. But, they agree that time must end.

As, Heraclitus would say, "The beginning is the end" (Fragment 70).

But, not for us.

Wait a minute. I've skipped over something.

Hhmm... Unlike the gods, our God is eternal. He's everlasting, ever-living, immutable, and immortal, the creator of time itself. He is the God of gods. But, why do we care? It may suffice to say, "because He cared first." He has always and will always love us with an enduring love.  But, where is the logic behind this?

The Asgardian gods have obviously run off to do a little tom-fullery somewhere else. Plato believed in a creator divinity, but after he made the world self-sufficient he must have wandered off elsewhere. And, Aristotle knew a sort of unmoved mover to put the world in motion and then go contemplate about perfect things (namely himself).

What sets the true God apart is his immutability, his changelessness.

Like a fad, the gods and idols were worshiped. They seemed to care about us when it was convenient for them. But, they had no problem moving on. They were glad to leave us in the dust for something else. They were said to have cared for humanity at one point. But, then they changed. They moved on to care only about themselves. They were created and they also died.

God was not created and he cannot die.

Because of God's changelessness, his character remains the same. He is good. He has always been good. And, he will always be good. He (first) loved us. He has always loved us. And, he will always love us. Because of this love, he set this all in motion. I mean, how could God love something that never exists/existed? The Lord is omniscient and omnipotent, not schizophrenic (for if he were, we would all be too [made in His image]).

So, God made the world in order to love it? I'm not the authority to lay claims on God's intentions by any means (Jesus' prayer might have your answer here, John 17). The fact of the matter remains that God did/does/will always love the us. He does not merely love the world, but those who currently inhabit it.

Then, what is the world's purpose?

"The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God [our redemption through Christ and deliverance at the end of days]. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it [the Fall], in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies [through Christ]. For in this hope we were saved." Romans 7:18-24.

We were made to wait.

Ever since the birth of time the world has been waiting. It had suffered through the fall. And, continued to wait. We too have been waiting [Advent].

In a way the season of Advent, the day of Christmas, the season of Lent, and the day of Easter are all four days that a Christian is continually in. We have been waiting for the coming of Christ [Advent]. He has come [Christmas]!!! He suffered and died [Lent]. Then, he rose [Easter]!!! Now, we continue to wait [Advent] for him to come again with the knowledge that he is still with us [Christmas and Easter] because he has already accomplished what he had been sent to do [Lent].

Our beginning is not our end. Because Christ, through his sacrifice, was able to make what God had made into something eternal. He alone was able to take something that had been made (us) and refine it into something that cannot pass away.

There are more correlations between the Norse mythology and the truth than most would recognize. Although, Asgard is a lie, something so great as the truth of the Gospel has still managed to carry some themes beneath the Nordic layers. I won't make a list here. But, feel free to contemplate the correlations and make a comment or two.

And, as you do, I would like you to remember this last point:

Where did these gods come from? As we were made in the image of God, these gods were made in the image of ourselves. In this way, these gods reflect us as a race. They reflect the dark sin in our humanity. It is not as if they truly existed to run away from us, they never really stopped caring for us for they never existed to care for us in the first place. But, it is us who have had the habit to stop caring for God. We are the ones who run away. We are the ones who change. We are the ones who move on to something else.

But, God, in his infinite and immutable mercy and love continues his faithfulness through Jesus Christ. And, he has promise to return for those who trust in him with open arms at the end of time.

No, our beginning is not our end. Our end is our beginning.

"Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
And the patient in spirit better than the proud in spirit."

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