My Answer to Stack Exchange

Someone on Stack Exchange asked why the story of Odin on Yggdrasil was so similar to the story of Jesus on the cross. I'm not a regular at Stack Exchange, but I wanted to give an answer. Of course, I didn't say it as well as I wanted to, but I reproduce my answer here for all to consider. Anything appearing in brackets [] was added when I re-posted it here.

The reason that so many stories, not just this one, appear so similar to the Story of Jesus is because this is what was meant by God when He said that He would make Man in His Image. God's Image cannot be properly expressed in two- or three-dimensional space, but must be expressed across Time as well, since He is ever-existent. Because it incorporates Time and is the very Image of Christ, it incorporates His Story as well. So all stories are echoes and reflections of the Word and Light of God in this world. Like echoes and reflections, they are altered by the characteristics of the surface(s) across which they play. Thus echo from rock is sharp, while cloth dampens the clarity or mutes it altogether. Thus light from the moon is pale white and from Mars is red, although both are reflecting light from the same source. If you want to read more about these things, consider visiting my pages at Cup of Christ (dot) net, without spaces.

A proper argument in favor of my position might well take hundreds of pages to do it justice, well more than I am willing to devote here. But I'm happy to start you on the quest for truth that I have walked for fifteen years now. 

All stories may ultimately be boiled down to one story. In fact, though the quote is not properly attributable, it has been said that in the entire world there are only two stories: A man goes on a journey and a stranger comes to town. These two are one from different perspectives, and may be satisfied fully in Christ, Who is the Son of Man going on a journey, and as Outside Other is also the Stranger come to town as the Son of God, in fact very God Himself. You may read the respected works of Sir James George Frazer, C. G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, Christopher Vogler, Otto Rank, Lord Raglan, and Alan Dundes if you want to truly understand the meaning of my statements. I do not feel that the reality of archetypal matters must be further argued as a body of academic works already exists to say what I've paraphrased here. So the archetypal patterns of humanity repeat the world over without respect for time, language, or culture. The patterns themselves are incontrovertible.

So far as I know, none of these scholars supports my view of Christ as the source of these patterns. [In fact, I am certain most of them would oppose it.] It is interesting to note, however, that all the patterns, as these men express them, largely [or at least in very significant ways] resemble the Story of Christ. Lord Raglan's pattern includes, for instance, reference to the hero having at least one or more holy sepulchres, in which he is not buried. Christopher Vogler's pattern includes the resurrection as one of the hero's story stages. I could go on. I will concede to you that my position on this matter is my own, but I do not stand alone.

C.S. Lewis raised the matter of a missing portion of manuscript, as you may read in God in the Dock. He, more or less, supports my assertions, though I have attempted to explain it in terms of Scripture and metaphor. He does, too, but then he does not. He does not use metaphor when he argues that there ought to be repeating similarities to Christ in other stories because Christ, at the center of all things, is a very real myth. He does use metaphor, however, when he essentially argues that Christ is the missing piece of the manuscript that fits the rest of the work and gives new meaning and insights to the whole of the body. 

Furthermore, Tolkien, though he had no use for any such Monomyth theory as Campbell proposes, states my views [regarding the source of Story] rather poetically in "Mythopoeia." In particular, this passage:

The heart of man is not compound of lies,

but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,

and still recalls him. Though now long estranged,

man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.

Disgraced he may be, yet is not dethroned,

and keeps the rags of lordship one he owned,

his world-dominion by creative act:

not his to worship the great Artefact,

man, sub-creator, the refracted light

through whom is splintered from a single White

to many hues, and endlessly combined

in living shapes that move from mind to mind.

Though all the crannies of the world we filled

with elves and goblins, though we dared to build

gods and their houses out of dark and light,

and sow the seed of dragons, 'twas our right

(used or misused). The right has not decayed.

We make still by the law in which we're made.

And with that, I'll leave you to ponder these things.

Ed MyersComment