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Creation Alternatives; Norse v. Bible (Betsy Please Help)


jbg

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Recently, I finished reading the excellent book The Vikings (link) by Robert Ferguson. One of the more striking parts was their version of creation, which should be contrasted to the Judeo-Christian version. Both are compelling and show that mankind has a need to satiate their search for the beginning. Ferguson outlines two (2) versions, one of which, from Page 21-22 of the book, I excerpt below. I am saving the other for later in the thread:

The Prose Edda opens with a section called Gylfaginning, or the 'Beguiling of Gylfi', that describes how a legendary Swedish King Gylfi visited three Heathen gods in order to question them about the origins of the world. Snorri uses the replies King Gylfi receives to layout the creation myth and cosmological structure of northern Heathendom. Gylfi learns that everything began in an empty chaos that contained a world of heat and light called Muspelheim, and an opposing dim, dark and cold world called Nifelheim. The two worlds were separated by a chasm, Ginnungagap. In the extreme physical forces that operated across Ginnungagap a giant named Ymir came into being. He was nourished by milk from the udders of a primordial cow, Audhumla. Audhumla next licked the salty stones around her into the shape of another giant, Buri. By an unspecified process Buri fathered a son, Bur, who wed a giantess, Bestla. The couple produced three sons, one of whom was Odin. Odin and his brothers created the physical world by killing Ymir and, in an act of prodigious violence, tearing the body apart and flinging the pieces in all directions. The giant's blood became the sea, his flesh the land, his bones the mountains and cliffs, his skull the vault of the heavens. Later, as Odin and his brothers were walking by the sea, two logs washed up on the sands, and from these the gods created the first human beings by breathing life and consciousness into them. They named the first man Ask and the first woman Embla. Ask means 'ash', the meaning of Embla remains obscure.

Note the references to salt, similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Also note the similarities of Ask and Embla to Adam and Eve. Excerpts from Bible below:

Genesis 1 (New International Version)

Genesis 1

New International Version (NIV)

The Beginning

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

******************************

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

***********************

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The similarities are striking. Does this perhaps mean there is a divine origin for these stories? Or do the differences mean they're both oral tradition recorded?

Thoughts?

Edited by jbg
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Not sure why the origin has to be divine. Many people say the Jesus myth is a retelling of earlier myths, the Jewish myths also probably weren't invented holus bolus by them. The flood myth is ancient, etc. If the Norse are descendants of the invaders of Europe that came about 3000 years BC, displacing earlier peoples, they would have brought their myths with them. These people would have travelled thru or been from the middle east. Just as there is argument that inventions such as agriculture, pottery, what have you spread from a single source, so with myths. And by the time of the Norse, there was plenty of trade and movement in Europe and beyond - ie myths would travel along with the traders. No need to blame God(s) for this.

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Agreed with Canuckistani. One might be similarly stricken and amazed by the profound similarity between Greek and Roman mythology, until one realizes how heavily Roman mythology simply borrowed from the Greeks. Similar mythologies do not imply a divine origin, merely a common origin.

All that being said, Norse mythology is way the heck cooler than the Judeo-Christian variety.

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Not sure why the origin has to be divine. Many people say the Jesus myth is a retelling of earlier myths, the Jewish myths also probably weren't invented holus bolus by them. The flood myth is ancient, etc. If the Norse are descendants of the invaders of Europe that came about 3000 years BC, displacing earlier peoples, they would have brought their myths with them. These people would have travelled thru or been from the middle east. Just as there is argument that inventions such as agriculture, pottery, what have you spread from a single source, so with myths. And by the time of the Norse, there was plenty of trade and movement in Europe and beyond - ie myths would travel along with the traders. No need to blame God(s) for this.

There are similarities apparently between Jesus and Mythros. But anyone who actually looks into the evidence will find more differences than similarities. TThe life of Jesus is an accepted historical fact. The myth that his life was a re-telling of some other fable is absurd. Edited by the janitor
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Agreed with Canuckistani. One might be similarly stricken and amazed by the profound similarity between Greek and Roman mythology, until one realizes how heavily Roman mythology simply borrowed from the Greeks. Similar mythologies do not imply a divine origin, merely a common origin.

All that being said, Norse mythology is way the heck cooler than the Judeo-Christian variety.

Someone rising from the dead is about the coolest thing there is. When I was little I thought Thomas the Tank Engine was pretty cool. Still do. Only now I know it's a fairy tale. Norse mythology isn't based in historical fact. Christianity is.

Edited by the janitor
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The similarities are striking. Does this perhaps mean there is a divine origin for these stories? Or do the differences mean they're both oral tradition recorded?

Thoughts?

Just means the Vikings (like some other cultures) had a notion of something. It doesn't really prove or disprove anything I don't think. When trying to find the truth it's a simple matter of which version has the most evidential support.
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Just means the Vikings (like some other cultures) had a notion of something. It doesn't really prove or disprove anything I don't think. When trying to find the truth it's a simple matter of which version has the most evidential support.

I don't think either of those two versions has much evidentiary support either way.

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Someone rising from the dead is about the coolest thing there is. When I was little I thought Thomas the Tank Engine was pretty cool. Still do. Only now I know it's a fairy tale. Norse mythology isn't based in historical fact. Christianity is.

Of course Norse mythology is based upon as much fact as the Christian religion. There is no evidence for either.

When trying to find the truth it's a simple matter of which version has the most evidential support.

And the evidence for God is........?

Edited by The_Squid
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I don't think either of those two versions has much evidentiary support either way.

Of course Norse mythology is based upon as much fact as the Christian religion. There is no evidence for either.

And the evidence for God is........?

A rare time of agreement.

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A rare time of agreement.

There's plenty of evidence for Christianity. The New Testament is the most verifiable text in ancient history. You will not find another historical text from the same time period with more documentation (multiple texts, lines of transmission, witnesses to the fact).

The evidence for God is scientific. Every created thing must have a first cause. Science concurs that the Universe had a beginning. Nothing has ever been observed to cause itself to exist. Nothing. God does not need a creator because God never had a beginning. A beginning itself is a created thing.

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There's plenty of evidence for Christianity. The New Testament is the most verifiable text in ancient history. You will not find another historical text from the same time period with more documentation (multiple texts, lines of transmission, witnesses to the fact).

The evidence for God is scientific. Every created thing must have a first cause. Science concurs that the Universe had a beginning. Nothing has ever been observed to cause itself to exist. Nothing. God does not need a creator because God never had a beginning. A beginning itself is a created thing.

None of which is actual evidence for the existence of any god, let alone the Christian god.

Nice try though...

Edited by The_Squid
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There's plenty of evidence for Christianity.

There's plenty of evidence that there are Christians and there are Jews. The tenets of both religions are on balance positive for the world. It is not necessary to believe in Eve being carved out of Adam's body to believe in either Judaism or Christianity.

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