In the final battle of the last war between good and evil, the Son of the Father-God will defeat evil in the form of a serpent but, in doing so, will give up his own life. Sound familiar? There are some striking parallels between the Norse myth of Thor at Ragnarok and the Biblical prophesies of the Messiah. Is it possible, since Christ preceded the Norse myths, that Norse myths were actually informed by the Gospel?
Excited to see the new movie Thor: Ragnarok? Check out all the eerie similarities between the myth of Thor and the life and prophesies of Christ below!
1) A Tale of Two Serpents
The Bible refers frequently to the ancient serpent, the Devil. He appears in the Garden of Eden in the beginning and reappears at the end, waiting to devour the child of the Virgin Queen in the Book of Revelation. There is also a great serpent in Norse mythology. It is called the Midgard Serpent or Jörmungandr.
Jörmungandr simply means “huge monster” in Old Norse. Jörmungandr is the child of Loki by Angrboda, a giantess of Jotunheim, and it is the sibling of the Fenris-wolf, and Hel, who presides over a realm of the same name. As told in the Younger Edda or Prose Edda, Odin took the serpent and dropped it into the sea. Odin cast Hel into Niflheim, where she was to apportion men dead of sickness or of old age. Hel also had “great possessions” according to the paragraph XXXIV of Edda:
“[H]er walls are exceeding high and her gates great. Her hall is called Sleet-Cold; her dish, Hunger; Famine is her knife; Idler, her thrall; Sloven, her maidservant; Pit of Stumbling, her threshold, by which one enters; Disease, her bed; Gleaming Bale, her bed-hangings. She is half blue-black and half flesh-color (by which she is easily recognized), and very lowering and fierce.”
2) Ragnarök & Armageddon
Ragnarök is basically the Armageddon of Norse mythology. These are the final battles between good and evil. The final battle between good and evil in the Book of Revelation occurs in the plains of Megiddo, hence the name “Armageddon”. Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection occur in the Gospels, but they also reoccur allegorically in the Book of Revelation.
The children of Angrboda and Loki reappear elsewhere in Norse mythology. Jörmungandr and Fenris-wolf are both significant figures at Ragnarök. At Ragnarök, it is prophesied that Fenris-wolf will be pitted against Odin, the Father-god. It is further prophesied that Thor, Odin’s son, will battle Jörmungandr.
Check out these parallels: 1) Thor is the son of the father-god, Odin. Similarly, Jesus is the Son of God, the Father. 2) The final battle between good and evil in Norse myth is at Ragnarök and between Thor and the serpent, Jörmungandr. The final battle between good and evil in Christianity is at the Cross between Jesus and the serpent, Satan.
In the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá, Ragnarök begins with the crowing of three roosters. In the 42nd stanza, the crimson rooster Fjalar (Old Norse for “hider” or “deceiver”) crows in the forests of Jotunheim, then the golden rooster Gullinkambi crows to the Aesir gods in Valhalla, and finally the unnamed soot-red rooster crows in Hel.
Another parallel: The final battle in Norse myth begins with the crowing of three roosters. Similarly, the rooster crows at the beginning of Christ’s Passion. See, for example, at Matthew 26:34, Jesus tells Peter, “this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Next at Ragnarök, according to the Völuspá account, the Norse god Heimdall blows his horn, similar to the trumpet blasts of Revelation, cf. Revelation 8:7. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, then shudders and groans, similar to the hammering of nails into the tree on which Christ is crucified.
The serpent Jörmungandr begins writhing in the sea, creating massive waves like tsunamis. The ship Naglfar breaks free of its moorings due to the thrashing of the serpent in the deep. The ship, made entirely of the fingernails and toenails of the dead, sets sail from the east.
According to the Gylfaginning account of Ragnarök, the Fenris-wolf charges on Odin. The wolf’s eyes and nostrils spray flames, and its mouth is wide open. Its upper jaw scrapes the heavens while its lower jaw drags against the earth. At the same time and even beside the Fenris-wolf, Jörmungandr also charges and fills the air and the sea will a spray of venom. The sky is rent in two and the “sons of Muspell” ride forth across the Bifrost wreathed in flames, similar to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at Rev 6:1-8.
Odin and his son, Thor, together charge out to meet the wolf and the serpent along with the rest of the Æsir. The war god Tyr is also paired with the hound Garmr. Odin rides onto the plains of battle at the head of war party wearing a gold helmet and an intricate coat of mail and carrying his spear Gungnir. Odin advances against the Fenris-wolf. Thor moves to Odin’s side, but is unable to assist his father because he engages the serpent in combat.
Odin dies fighting the Fenris-wolf and is swallowed whole. Another of Odin’s sons, Víðarr, avenges his father by tearing the wolf’s jaws apart and stabbing it in the heart with his spear.
Jörmungandr opens its giant mouth against the charging god of thunder. Thor kills Jörmungandr, but is poisoned by the serpent. Thor walks nine steps before falling to the earth dead. So ends Ragnarök.
3) The Serpent’s Strike: The Last and Most Amazing Parallel
The last parallel between Thor and Jesus is the most significant, but it might take some explaining.
The passion, death, and victory of Christ are all foretold in the Book of Genesis. In just a couple short lines of Genesis, the entire Gospel is prophesied. This is called the Proto-evangelium, which translates as “The First Gospel”. Here it is, Genesis 3:15:
“I will put enmity between [the serpent] and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and [the serpent] shall bruise his heel.”
The Protoevangelium is packed with prophesies, but we will only address those that pertain to Satan, which is the serpent, and Christ, which is the seed of the woman. For more on this, check out these other posts: The Greatest Verse in the Bible & The First Prophesy in Human History.
It is prophesied that Christ will “bruise” the serpent’s head, but Satan, the serpent, will “bruise” the heel of Christ. These bruises are wounds, mortal wounds at that. Jesus will crush the serpent’s skull and defeat him. In so doing, however, the serpent will strike Jesus’ heel, and Jesus will be poisoned by the serpent’s venom.
Are you starting to see the connection to Thor and his battle with the serpent?
Jesus literally strikes the serpent’s skull. Sometimes, as in The Passion of the Christ, Jesus is depicted as crushing the serpent’s skull with his heel in the Garden of Gethsemane. But there’s still a more literal moment. Christ is crucified at Golgotha, which, in Hebrew, is called “the place of the skull.” The Cross of Christ, therefore, is stabbed into the skull.
Lastly, Christ’s defeat of Satan, the ancient serpent, on the Cross requires his own death, as the sacrificial Lamb of God. In this way, the prophesy of Christ being killed by the serpent is fulfilled. Christ’s heels are actually pierced by nails, as well. Jesus dies on the cross and the serpent claims his victim.
The final parallel:
1) In the final battle, Thor kills the serpent, Jörmungandr, but is nevertheless killed by the serpent’s venom.
2) In the final defeat of evil, Jesus kills the serpent, Satan, but is nevertheless killed by serpent striking his heel.
I’ll leave you with this question: Since Norse mythology developed long after the Crucifixion, is it possible that the origins of Norse mythology were, in part, Christian?