~~By James Fire
The long anticipated film of THOR was released some weeks back, and having seen it once already, I decided to go see it with some other friends a second time, and I was sure to take lots of mental notes as well.
I grew up reading Thor comics (graphic novels as they are called today) from Marvel publications. I always thought it would make a great movie what with the appeal of the super hero, but also with the fantastical element of Norse mythology (particularly since the huge success of The Lord of the Rings). I was quite eager to view the film and hoped it would succeed and do the comic justice.
Kenneth Branagh directed the film and brought all of his Shakespearean knowledge and experience directing (and acting) in such productions to bear with this film of the god of thunder. There is much in the film in the relationships between the Asgardians (Odin, Thor & Co.) among themselves, and their interactions with humanity that parallels various Shakespearean plays and themes; not to mention the Greek and Roman tales of myth and legend as they relate to the pantheon of the gods (which I will address in the latter half of this article).
In the film, Thor and his comrades are not portrayed as gods at all, nor did they consider themselves as such. This was however, the perspective of primitive man, who for his lack of sophistication in the sciences saw the abilities and deeds of these higher beings as gods worthy of worship.
While the film doesn’t go into the history of the origins of these beings (were they aliens from another world? Extra-dimensional beings from a parallel universe? etc, etc.
All we know is that there are Nine Realms and that the Asgardians were one people among the others who saw themselves as leaders of the Realms as well as guardians over the planet Earth (one of those nine realms) and mankind.
I found the film to be charming, funny, action filled and true to the graphic novel conception of Marvel and its artists and story tellers. Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman and all the others did an excellent job in their respective roles.
The story begins when astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her colleagues are tracking a highly unusual atmospheric disturbance which Dr. Portman believes to be a Rosenberg Bridge (a black hole).
From yon atmospheric storm comes forth he who was known in ages long ago as Thor, the god of thunder, recently dispatched, no – cast out from the realm of Asgard by his father, the All-Father, Odin the King because of Thor’s pride and arrogance. The heir apparent to the throne of Asgard presumed to take matters into his own hands and commit to a skirmish against the Frost Giants who had just secretly infiltrated the realm of Asgard (with the help of some unknown Asgardian in an act of conspiratorial treachery) in order to retrieve a device of tremendous power that was taken from them by Odin in a previous war between the two respective Realms.
The contention between father and son regarding the Frost Giants and their infringement and violation of the tenuous peace between them and Asgard becomes heated until they exchange words that lead to Thor’s banishment:
Odin: Thor, Odinson, through your arrogance and stupidity, you have opened these peaceful realms and innocent lives to the horror and devastation of war...
Odin: You are a vain, greedy, cruel boy.
Thor: And you are an old man, and a fool!
Odin: Yes... I was a fool to think you were ready (to assume the throne and rule Asgard).
Odin: You are unworthy of your title, and I'll take from you your power! In the name of my father, and his father before him, I cast you out!
(For a more detailed review of the film, please visit this site (as I will only touch on aspects that deal specifically with issues I want to address):
The IMDb Film Review of Thor)
Along with Thor, his mighty hammer Mjolnir was likewise cast down to Earth, but not before Odin pronounces an edict into the hammer itself “Whoever wields this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”
In an Arthurian parallel of the Sword in the Stone, people travel from far and wide in order to try and lift this mysterious hammer that rests in the middle of the New Mexican desert, even tying a chain to it and attempt to move it with a powerful truck, but to no avail. Loki, Thor’s mischievous, complicated and deceptive brother can’t lift it. When Thor learns that his hammer is also on Earth, he goes to retrieve it, but to his horror and frustration learns that he also is powerless to lift it!
The reason of course was that Odin placed the proscription on the device already, and Thor was not worthy (yet) to wield its power. His banishment to Earth, being stripped of his power, though while in mortal form he still exerts considerable strength and fighting prowess sufficient to make the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D “look like a bunch of minimum wage mall cops” (I LOVE that line!), yet the once confident, aggressive youth admits to a drinking partner (colleague of Dr. Foster) in a moment of introspection with a certain degree of humility: “For the first time in my life, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do...”
He learns in humble service to bring breakfast to his earthly friends, to help others in time of need; Thor begins to learn compassion and consider others rather than to gratify his own need of glory.
In a moment of truth, once his celestial friends from Asgard come to Earth to bring Thor back with them but then confront the Destroyer (an artificial intelligence in man-like but giant form that issues concussive gouts of fire who was sent by Loki to destroy Thor and friends) and fail to repel it, Thor commits a final act of selfless sacrifice and gives his life to protect all his friends, both human and Asgardian.
As he lies dying he assures a weeping Dr. Foster and the others that they are safe now, that they have nothing to fear. At that very moment, in the realm of Asgard, Odin’s (who had fallen into a kind of coma from a weakening condition that progressed throughout the film) still, prostrate form in bed, sheds a single, knowing tear for his son that has finally learned what it means to be a good and wise leader, led not by haughtiness but humility.
Suddenly, Mjolnir, still within the confines of a laboratory encampment erected around the mysterious device by SHIELD, rockets skyward and with a tremendous arc races with super-sonic speed to land in the reflexive hand of Thor that rises up to meet it. From that point on, as another Marvel super hero is fond of saying, “Its clobberin’ time!”
Thor takes on the Destroyer! He then confronts Loki who led him to believe that their father Odin died due to his grief over Thor’s rebellion and the two gods strive in supreme struggle against one another.
The story ends well, as a wiser, gentler, yet stronger Thor approaches his father Odin and says that he hopes one day to make him proud of him; to which Odin responds with kind affection, “You already have.”
The themes of the film in some respects have two grains of biblical truth in them. First, we know that scripture states that:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
This is ably demonstrated in the film, and it parallels the event that transpired in heaven, when Lucifer himself was (unwillingly) cast out for his own will of self-exaltation (as was Thor, but interestingly enough, in this film, it’s the good guy that gets cast out of ‘heaven’. Might such an idea influence the people in the last days re: the Beast and his ‘father’ Lucifer; suggesting that this fallen cherub is simply a misunderstood ‘underdog’ and ‘hero’ in his own right?). This is diametrically opposed to God the Son, the Word – Who willingly took on flesh, and humbled Himself to be made in the fashion of man to bear the sins of the world (See Isaiah 14: 12-14; John 1: 1-3, 14; Phil. 2: 5-8; 2 Cor. 5:21).
One might suspect that when Odin cast Thor out of Asgard, he had the purpose of bringing Thor down with the intent that he might learn humility, and thereby arise to a newly appointed state of honor, which is the second biblical concept demonstrated:
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
(See also: Prov. 29:23; Isaiah 57:15; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6)
WHAT CAN BE SAID FROM THE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE?
These two points aside, the movie plays into a common theme that has long been entertained by humanity which disparages the idea of Intelligent Design and a Creator God – that being the idea of ‘directed panspermia’, that is, alien or higher beings once visited Earth and seeded it, and thus they, not the God of the Bible, are the ‘authors of life’ and of whom ancient man worshipped as gods. Many believe the idea that YHWH was actually nothing more than one of these Higher Intelligences about Whom the Genesis record relates. The following is a quote from a Wikipedia article on directed panspermia:
“A second prominent proponent of panspermia was the late Nobel prize winner Professor Francis Crick, who along with Leslie Orgel proposed the hypothesis of 'directed panspermia'. This proposes that the seeds of life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization. Later, after biologists had proposed that an "RNA world" might be involved in the origin of life, Crick noted that he had been overly pessimistic about the chances of life originating on Earth.
“The application of directed panspermia has been proposed as a way to spread life from Earth to other solar systems. For example, microbial payloads launched by solar sails at speeds up to 0.0001 c (30,000 m/s) would reach targets at 10 to 100 light-years in 0.1 million to 1 million years. Fleets of microbial capsules can be aimed at clusters of new stars in star-forming clouds where they may land on planets, or captured by asteroids and comets and later delivered to planets. Payloads may contain extremophiles for diverse environments and cyanobacteria similar to early microorganisms. Hardy multicellular organisms (rotifer cysts) may be included to induce higher evolution.”
The above quote taken from: Wikipedia’s Definition of panspermia
There is much talk among modern day mystics and proponents of New Age/Spirituality beliefs that these ‘Higher Beings’ will one day return (if they haven’t already) to monitor and adjust the progress of their ‘experiment that is man’. It would seem that this is where science and magic (or mystical knowledge for example) will (and are) become one. Thor even says as much in the film to Dr. Foster –
Jane Foster: Describe exactly what happened to you last night.
Thor: Your ancestors called it magic...
[Thor skims through a book on Norse mythology]
Thor: ...but you call it science. I come from a land where they are one and the same.
Magic and religion, science and technology, all seem to be merging together in an amalgam of apostasy that denies the biblical truth in the scriptures:
Interview with a Psychic
The idea of space visitors landing on Earth and being regarded as gods is nothing new; it’s been the theme of many a film today, among them, Alien vs. Predator or even the old ‘60’s TV show Star Trek in an episode entitled Who Mourns for Adonis?
“Overview: The crew of Enterprise is held captive by an alien claiming to be the Greek god Apollo.
“Kirk and McCoy conclude that he is indeed the real Apollo, who was part of a group of powerful space aliens that once visited Earth 50 centuries ago, and thrived on the love, worship, loyalty and attention of the ancient Greeks. Eventually all of them but Apollo realized that humanity had outgrown them. They spread themselves "upon the wings of the wind" and faded away into nothing.”
However, far from humanity having had “outgrown” the gods, and such fading into nothing, these gods or ascended masters are very much present in the affairs and dealings on planet Earth, inspiring such writers as Alice Bailey and her predecessor Helena Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society to scribe their ‘game plan’ which is being faithfully followed by global organizations such as the UN, the Bilderbergs, Club of Rome, C.F.R. among others.
Gary DeMar (whose political/conservative views as they relate to biblical Christianity are not endorsed by TTUF, smacking of the Dominionist and Kingdom Now ideology) but whose article that addresses this notion of:Aliens As Cosmic Saviors is a good one.
“People looking for a way to fill the spiritual vacuum left by atheistic materialism want to do it on their own terms, even if what they advocate is more science fiction than true science. There are a number of theories to explain what many people believe are extraterrestrials. Are they visitors from other solar systems who travel among the galaxies via highly sophisticated spacecraft, beings from a parallel universe, spiritual creatures from a different dimension who live among us unseen by our three-dimensional eyes, or are they demons posing as benevolent space aliens?
"These aliens were thought to be gods by ancient civilizations. In our scientific age, we now know better.
“Americans are experiencing a crisis in faith where many no longer believe that science can explain everything. A sizeable number consider traditional religions to be narrow minded, quick to dismiss anything that does not fit into their rigidly constructed worldview. They want more, and they are willing to reach toward the heavens to get it.
“Many flying saucer buffs are believers precisely because aliens may offer hope, much like a deity. . . . Americans are desperately searching for hope in an increasingly cynical age.” Carl Sagan makes a similar point:
“The interest in UFOs and ancient astronauts seems at least partly the result of unfulfilled religious needs. The extraterrestrials are often described as wise, powerful, benign, human in appearance, and sometimes they are attired in long white robes. They are very much like gods and angels, coming from other planets rather than from heaven, using spaceships rather than wings. There is a little pseudoscientific overlay, but the theological antecedents are clear.”
It’s an interesting fact that the various cultures around the globe and throughout history have paid homage to a pantheon of the gods; the Greek and Roman religions are the best known of this polytheistic system, but there was also the Babylonian, Oriental, Native American, and South American pantheons as well.
From Encyclopedia Mythica – The Roman and Greek Pantheon (note that every god and their jurisdiction has an equal counterpart in the others culture; essentially only the names have been changed – but not to protect the innocent):
The Greek/Roman Pantheon
Also the Babylonian pantheon
And the Oriental pantheon
It would seem that all these versions of a polytheistic religion have as their basis, a time on Earth when the sons of God (angels “benai ha eloheim”, in this case, the fallen kind) who no doubt were perceived as gods by mere mortals, came down and took women (presumably by force) as their wives, and their offspring were giants or some other notable form of “renown” that made them seemingly superior to human beings; these were the nephilim:
“. . . mighty (Strongs Concordance: gibbor – “powerful, warrior, tyrant, valiant, chief, excel, giant, mightiest, strongest”) men of renown (Strongs: shem – “position, conspicuous position, appellation, honor, authority, famous, infamous, )”
“There were giants in those days; (Strongs: n’phiyl – “a feller, a bully or tyrant, giant”; based on the root word, naphal, meaning : “to fall, cast down, fall away, divide, overthrow, fugitive, be judged” among other words) . . . and also after that . . .”
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
This event chronicled in the Bible has survived in various cultures, and albeit modified and made perhaps more sophisticated, and adapted by said cultures, survives today as myths and legends of gods and demi- (half god/half human) gods.
It’s fascinating to note that scripture states that there were giants “also after that” which is why we see giants in the Old Testament, such as King Og, Goliath, and whole tribes of such giants that the children of Israel faced when they waged war in conquest of Canaan.
Yet in the book of Daniel, there is a rather enigmatic passage in the second chapter. . .
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
As this passage deals with the four world empires in relation to Israel as well as the Gentile world at large, and that this image’s toes refer to the final aspect of the last empire, which the beast will assume leadership of, we know that this must occur in the last days. In other words, this is something yet future.
So when this verse speaks of “they” it must refer to something other than human (“seed of men”), or an extraterrestrial species perhaps of the spiritual kind? Fallen angels maybe? Could we then actually expect giants (or in some sense, super-humans) to once again populate planet Earth, who will once again be hailed as warriors, or heroes. . . maybe even super-heroes?
It occurred to me that while these ancient cultures had their pantheon, we too in modern society, and America in particular, have our own ‘pantheon’ of sorts, that is, the realm of fictitious super heroes such as Superman (an alien from another world), the Hulk (a transformed human via mutated cells due to gamma radiation, the Flash (a supersonic persona not unlike Mercury), and of course, such as Thor (god of thunder).
I enjoy super hero stories just as much as any; I was a comic book fan since I was knee high and collected many of the most popular issues and characters. Could Satan use such a media in order to condition and prepare us for a time ahead when such creatures would populate our planet? The possibility exists!
However don’t expect me to get excited over such potentially presiding so-called ‘heroes’; the One and only Hero that I will laud and pay homage to is the One Who reigns supreme over all of creation and heaven itself – the same One that died for my sins and rose from the dead and is coming back one day (SOON!) to bring me to my eternal home: the LORD Jesus Christ!