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In the Marvel Universe there exist Norse gods, Greek gods, and some other pantheons from different civilizations. But how is this possible? The myths of each culture imply the existence of only their own gods and leave no place for others, there are different cosmologies, stories of the creation of the world, etc. How can all of this exist within one common universe?

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  • The overwhelming majority of polytheistic religions throughout history have accepted that the people "over there" might have their own weird gods, but they either are aspects of gods in our pantheon or just nasty foreign gods that we shouldn't worship.
    – Adamant
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 17:27
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    In any case, comics are not mythologically accurate, so some liberties are taken. For instance, Thor is a blond man with a winged helmet; in the myth, he has orange hair and seemingly went bare-headed (and if he had worn a helmet, it would not have had wings). That the creation myths of the various religions are not correct is the smallest liberty taken.
    – Adamant
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 17:30
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    It’s almost as if myths aren’t entirely accurate. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 17:39
  • Very well, thank you very much Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 0:10
  • Would any of the close-voters care to add a comment as to why this was closed as opinion based? It's not soliciting an opinion, the premise may be flawed, but that's no reason to close a question as demonstrated by two separate answers
    – fez
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 8:41

2 Answers 2

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Your confusion rests upon a false premise. Namely that the various pantheons exclude the others. This is a misunderstanding of ancient polytheistic thought. Most polytheistic pantheons accepted the existence of gods outside their pantheon in one form or another, so there's no problem with Greek gods and Norse gods existing in the same Marvel "timeline" from a historical perspective.

VERY broadly, polytheistic beliefs tend towards one of two outlooks:

A: Names change, but the gods stay the same. So a god of battle from Civilization 1 is believed to be the same god of battle Civilization 2 worships, and the name/detail differences are chalked up to different languages and the god doing different specific acts in the two different areas. Not what's actually going on with Marvel, but worth mentioning.

B: Our gods rule our world, not the world. In this sort of system the gods of Civilization 1 might have total control over, say, the Mediterranean or Japan or England or wherever Civilization 1 is, but are believed to have rough equals elsewhere. This is explained in the mythology (usually) by some Ur-Deity or event which caused the creation of Civilization 1's gods being capable of creating other gods in other areas, or the Ur-Deity itself only creating gods for a given region (which just so happens to center on the region of the civilization in question). So if you go far enough North/West/Wherever you eventually leave Civilization 1 god's "territory" and enter the region where Civilization 2's gods hold sway.

Again this is a very rough explanation, there's not signposts or a demarcation line. Polytheistic gods get adopted/modified/merged by various pantheons pretty regularly. The Romans during the Republic era were famous for asking the gods of defeated enemies to come live in Rome where the winners are!

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    Note that this can also be true of monotheists. The Bible/Torah contains remnants of ancient proto-Hebrew beliefs, at most, they appear to have had monolatry: worship of a single deity without denying others exist. Monotheism as we see it these days (belief that only a single deity exists) is a late development. You can see this in, for instance, in the Commandments: it's not "you shall not worship false gods", or "I am the only god that can be worshiped" or anything, it's "don't worship other gods". Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 19:56
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In the Marvel Universe, the gods are high tech aliens from other worlds that had some interactions with specific cultures on Earth who then worshipped them as their gods.

Whether the individual peoples knew of or recognized that the gods of other peoples were also real doesn't make the other gods more or less real.

And if the gods of one people lied to their people about their roles in the creation of the world and the people, that doesn't change the actual reality or whether the gods of the other peoples told similar lies.

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