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Norse theology: norns vs. free-will and original sin

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by ideogenous_mover, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2014
    Standard Animism
    So this week I read Gylfaginning in the Prose Edda, and I wanted to write something about it before reading the next half of the book

    So the norns give men their weirds, and I was trying to figure out if that meant total predestination to the norse, or if the norns were just fleshing out the conditions which each individual human must face, wherein they make free choices.

    I find that throughout the narrative, an impetus to make active choices is variously given, despite weirds. If predestination existed concretely, there would be no need in the narrative to urge men to discard their old shoe leather to aid the aesir, or to not clip their nails before dying. The aesir had fates like men did, but it seems like theirs were more paramount. Perhaps the gods had more gravitated and concrete weirds than men, as if there was a hierarchy of free-will. (not sure if I'm making sense, getting tired)

    I think this norn concept of fate, to whatever degree it exists, also contrasts with original sin. If your life's conditions are put in place by a norn, then it isn't apparent to me that it was ever your personal sin, or the sin of your ancestors that caused whatever conditions you face. Askr and Embla don't seem to ever be cursed by the gods after they are whittled from trees, rather they are given clothes and consciousness straightaway.


    Anyway, here's a tolkienesque passage about the norns so you can see what I mean:

    'A hall stands there, fair, under the ash by the well, and out of that hall come three maids, who are called thus: Urdr, Verdandi, Skuld; these maids determine the period of men's lives: we call them Norns; but there are many norns: those who come to each child that is born, to appoint his life; these are of the race of the gods, but the second are of the Elf-people, and the third are of the kindred of the dwarves, as it is said here:

    Most sundered in birth | I say the Norns are;
    They claim no common kin:
    Some are of Æsir-kin, | some are of Elf-kind,
    Some are Dvalinn's daughters."

    Then said Gangleri: "If the Norns determine the weirds of men, then they apportion exceeding unevenly, seeing that some have a pleasant and luxurious life, but others have little worldly goods or fame; some have long life, others short." Hárr said: "Good norns and of honorable race appoint good life; but those men that suffer evil fortunes are governed by evil norns.'
    #1 ideogenous_mover, Dec 9, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
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