Deities and Lesser SpiritsGods represented in mythology possess different characteristics. Lesser gods or deities may have ultimate power, finitude, good, or evil tied to the stories that tell about their lives and existence. The purpose of this paper is to define the terms ultimate power, finitude, good and evil and identify four mythological deities that personify these terms.
Apollo, who is also referred to as Apollon, was a Greek Olympian god. His mother was Leto, a bride of Zeus. Apollo was a god of prophecy, healing, disease and plague, music, song and poetry, archery and he protected young life. He had ultimate power as a god. Ultimate power is defined as Gods are considered immortal and in control of lesser life forms (Theoi Greek Mythology, 2000-2007). Apollo had invented the flute and the lyre. Suprisingly, he had built the walls of Troy while simply playing the lyre. The Theoi Greek Mythology (2000-2007) stated, Apollo guarded the cattle of Laomedon in the valleys of Ida. In these two examples, it appears he in fact was the god of music, song and protection of young life.
Finitude means being finite. Therefore, a god that personifies finitude is one whom only existed for a limited time (Language of Light Glossary, n.d.). The god that was chosen that represents finitude is Christ. Christ represented God during his tenure on earth and all the finite limitations that humans, created by God, face. Life with its choices puts a black or white finish on an individuals moral standing. Death representing the end of the opportunity to make those choices was experienced by Christ himself. Christ while interacting with both the Jews and Gentiles admonished individuals for a variety of sins and life styles that were uncharacteristic of a godly life. Measures were not applied to actions (i.e. tithing) but standards were applied to acts (the act of giving). The life Christ lived provided an example of finiteness people live with during their short lives but the reward as seen through Christs resurrection is infinite life in the realm of heaven.
The definition of good as it relates to the gods is sometimes hard to define. Good is defined as having sought-after qualities, kind, merciful, high morale values, religious, successful, fair to mention a few. With regard to the gods, a good god represented the positive, non-evil powers. Having a bountiful harvest, producing many children, finding love, and being successful in business could be tied to a god protecting the people. Although when researching good gods there seemed to be a shortage as compared to the gods associated with power or evil.
A god that represented good was the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, who was one of many gods in the Aztec belief system. Quetzalcoatl is reported to have given man the science of agriculture and writing as well as being the god of the morning and evening star and the wind. Quetzalcoatl was considered a hero among those who worshiped him and he fought with other gods for what he thought was right.
Evil is defined by one source as morally bad or wrong (WordNet Search, n.d.). An evil deity is therefore, one whose actions are morally wrong. An example of a deity that personifies evil is the Devil. The Devil is a deity in Christianity that is described as a fallen angel who rebelled against God. The Devil best represents the term evil because of his hatred for humanity and all things created by God. According to Bible stories, throughout the history of mankind, the Devil has tempted humans to rebel against God and follow him. To achieve that end, the Devil is said to tell to tell lies and intentionally deceive people. The Devil promotes of deceit, sin, and other morally wrong behaviors. In fact, the devil is said to be the cause of original sin, which is the reason for the Apocalypse, or the second coming of Christ. The Devil rewards those who turn against God with eternity in Hell.
In conclusion, the gods of mythology possess different characteristics. The story of Apollo is example of a god with ultimate power as he had healing power and could protect young life. Quetzalcoatl shows us good as he was considered a hero and worshiped for fighting for what was right. Christ represented God during his tenure on earth and all the finite limitations that humans face, such as death. The Devil is the ultimate example of evil as he intentionally deceives and promotes deceit, sin, and other morally wrong behaviors. Stories tell about the existence and lives of deities and lesser gods and from those stories, one must decide which powers they possessed.
Davies, N. (1973). The Aztecs. Norman, Oklahoma, University ofOklahoma PressLanguage of Light Glossary. (N.D.). Retrieved November 4, 2007 from http://www.goddirect.org/glossary/f.htmTheoi Greek Mythology. (2000-2007). Apollon. Retrieved November 2, 2007, from http://www.theoi.com/WordNet Search. (n.d.). WordNet Search. Retrieved November 1, 2007, from http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=evil&sub=Search+WordNet&o2=&o0=1&o7=&o5=&o1=1&o6=&o4=&o3=&h