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  1. The Romance of Romans: God's Big God-Story
  2. Poetry, magic and war
  3. Character List
  4. SparkNotes: Mythology: Character List

I f pushed, most of us remember that almost all the days of the week are named after Norse gods. But most of us would struggle to recall much more than that about these northern deities. The Vikings closer to us in time and space left a significant mark on the English language, our place names and perhaps our psyche. Their mythology is rich and strange, and well worth discovering. The stories even speak of the great void of Ginnungagap that existed even before the universe was created. Creation myths are often among the strangest of all stories, and the Norse version is no exception.

He rode across the battlefield on Sleipnir, an eight-legged steed, with the ravens Hugin thought and Munin memory on his shoulders. As well as thunderstorms, Thor is associated with oak trees, and is said to protect mankind.

It is less well-known that he was also a representative of healing and hallowing sanctification. As well as his famous hammer, he possessed a magical belt and iron gloves, all with names of their own, named weapons being common fare for the Norse — something fans of JRR Tolkien will recognise.

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In fact, it was said he was so bright that the light shone from him. Having had a dream foretelling his death, Frigg, his mother, made all the things of the Earth vow never to harm him. They all did, save the mistletoe, and it was a spear made of this innocuous plant that killed him, through the trickery of our next god, Loki. He was also a shape-shifter, and transformed into various animals. It was he, while in the form of a horse, who sired Sleipnir. Read Romans 1 Articles. This comes as quite a shock, but Paul stresses that living by rules and regulations only brings about judgment and condemnation.

Paul concludes that a true Jew is one that has experienced circumcision of the heart by the Spirit of God. Read Romans 2 Articles. Romans 3 completes the accusation that both the Jews and the Gentiles are guilty before God. Now the prosecution can rest and the defense begin.

The Romance of Romans: God's Big God-Story

Paul switches gears by explaining that the righteousness that the law was powerless to give us, God did by sending Jesus. He maintains that this righteousness comes by faith to all who believe in Christ Jesus apart from obeying the law. Read Romans 3 Articles. Romans 4 is proof that faith has always been the means for justification. Paul reflects back to the Old Testament patriarchs who were justified by faith, not works, to illustrate his point. Paul uses this illustration to prove that Gentiles were part of this promise given to Abraham.

The whole world was blessed through him because he chose to believe God rather than his circumstances and, because of this, his faith was credited to him as righteousness. Read Romans 4 Articles. Romans 5 is powerful and instrumental in understanding that we are reconciled with God through Jesus Christ. God did not spare His own son, but graciously gave Him for us to undo what Adam did in the garden. Paul stresses that this reconciliation is not something we are waiting for, but in every sense of the word, believers are righteous, holy, and acceptable to God.

Poetry, magic and war

Read Romans 5 Articles. Paul maintains that we are freed from sin and made alive to God through Jesus Christ. Our sinful nature was crucified with Him when we were baptized into his death. Now through Jesus, we have received the gift of God, which is eternal life. Read Romans 6 Articles. Romans 7 shows us the contrast between living bound to the law and living by the Spirit of God. We are no longer in bondage as slaves and are now free to belong to God.

The struggle with sin may still be evident, but Paul maintains we have no obligation to succumb to it. We are instructed to live by the Spirit and bear fruit according to our new nature. Read Romans 7 Articles. Romans 8 shows how to live by the Spirit and let peace rule in our hearts. The Holy Spirit within us continually testifies to us that we are children of God. This is a passage of hope because we know our future is bright in Christ.

Read Romans 8 Articles. The promise comes through faith in Christ not by works of the Law. He uses the example of the Israelites, who pursued righteousness by the law without obtaining it, and Gentiles, who pursued it by faith and obtained righteousness through Jesus Christ. Many of us might remember how Theseus slayed the Minotaur, how Hades would rule the underworld, the wrath Zeus would bring upon others with his mighty thunder and many more — all those exciting stories we read when we were kids.

As for the majestic Gods of ancient Greece, lets see how many of your favorites make it on our top 10 list.

Character List

Also known as the messenger among ancient Greek gods, Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia. He has been depicted in rather noticeable contrasts in different poems, plays and myths. Popularly, he comes across as a handsome and athletic, beardless youth and sometimes as an older bearded man. Hermes was a quick thinker and even quicker in his movements, and was notorious among gods for his cunning.

SparkNotes: Mythology: Character List

Since he could easily move in between the three main worlds in mythological paradigm of ancient Greece — heaven, seas and the underworld, he often acted as messenger for gods. Given the cunning tricks he would pull off on fellow gods for his own amusement, one could find stark similarities between him and the much popular Norse god Loki. No wonder he was also known as the god of cunning and thievery. Popular in the Greek folklore by the name of God of fire, Hephaestus was associated with the realms of heaven.

His origin has been given contradicting renditions by Homer and Hesiod. Homer narrates his story as the crippled son of Zeus and Hera.

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Hesiod takes a rather unconventional and far more intriguing route by stating that Hera bore him alone by herself. He was born a limp, which led his mother to throw him off Mount Olympus, though in a different account he once interceded a brawl between Zeus and Hera and ended up getting dragged off Olympus by the mighty Zeus. Once he fell on earth, he went on to become a prodigal craftsman, and was eventually reinstated in the heaven where he then built a number of marvelous for gods and goddesses. He also created those majestic god armors and shields — most famous of them being the one donned by Achilles in the battle of Troy.

Born of Zeus and Hera, Ares was also known as the god of war. But he reflected the violent and gore aspect of war far more than the justification and righteousness of violence for the greater good. He was always willing to wreak havoc just to display his might in the battle and rarely thought of fighting for justice and defense. His acts of imprudence led both his parents to despise him and look up to his sister Athena.

Greek Gods Explained In 12 Minutes

Despite his personification of sheer ruthlessness in war, he also came across as a coward especially given how outrageously he would respond even to the slightest of injuries in battle.