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Final Fantasy 7 and the Religious influences that helped create it’s world and themes

Mason Strife

Lv. 1 Adventurer
AKA
Duckinsons
Final Fantasy 7 is one the most philosophically rich pieces in terms of gaming media. The game has multiple complex and deep themes it tries to present through its plot and characters, its themes and subtle messages have been analysed and talked about ever since its release back in 1997. It would be very hard to cover them all and in great detail I will try to make multiple posts to explain and provide basic understanding of them to the best of my abilities. That being said considering the massive size of the game I may miss a thing or two if so please tell me in the comments. This first post as you have read from the title is about the Religious Influences on Final Fantasy 7.



I should start this off with The Planet itself. In the world of FF7 the planet is treated more or less like a deity. The name of the planet itself comes from a primordial deity in Greek mythology called Gaia who is the personification of the planet, she is also called and known as “Mother Earth” and is the great mother of all of creation in Greek mythology. The planet could also be considered the stand in for the God of Israel from the Old Testament who had a covenant with Abraham mentioned in Genesis 12 and 15 and the people of Israel mentioned in Exodus 19 and 24 is very similar to how the ancients have a special relationship and bond with the Planet.It can also be related to Malkuth which is the 10th sefirot in the tree of life it is often associated with Earth and the physical world.



In the last paragraph i mentioned the ancients, the ancients or the Cetra taken from the Latin word Cetera meaning “the others”, have their basis in two groups the Ancient Israelites and the Ainu.The connection between the Israelites and the ancients is clear as day as both share similar religious ideologies and have gone through suffering and persecution while the Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan mainly the island of Hokkaido who have faced persecution constantly. The Ainu also have many religious similarities with the ancients that probably the most distinct feature that connects the both.The ancients being wiped out by Jenova is probably inspired by biblical catastrophes such as the great flood and multiple plagues that are mentioned in the Old Testament mainly in Exodus and Genesis. Due to this connection some might believe that the Ancients are based on the antediluvians, who were the people who lived before God smote them with the great flood.



The Ainu are animists believing that everything has a spirit inside of them which is very similar to the native religion of Japan called “Shinto”. According to Shinto believes everything has a kami(Spirit) inside of them and is similar to the concept of the Livestream in FF7 but that’s not the only religious influence that inspired the live stream and the Shinto don’t end here as Red 13 or Nanaki maybe be based on the Komainu that lion-dog like creatures that guard the entrance or inner shrines of Shinto Shrines while Nanaki’s species act as guardians of the planet. The name Nanaki itself might be taken to mean nameless. Gnosticism and Lurian Kabalan beliefs have the concept of the divine light which states that humans have a spark of divine light. The purpose of the divine light is to be released and return to God as how people return to the livestream to the planet once they die and reach the promise land.



The promised land the ancients refer to is obviously based on the promised land “ The land of Milk and Honey” from the Old Testament that was promised to Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12. Moses later led the Israelites out of slavery to the promised land but due to their disbelief they wandered for 40 years before entering their promised land as their faith was weak.



Jenova’s name is based on Jehovah that is latinised vocalisation of (YHWH) the name of the God of Isreal mentioned in the Old Testament. Sephiroth’s relationship with his “mother” proclaiming to be one with her can be seen as being based on Jesus being the son of God yet being one with him and the holy spirit. The holy spirit in Sephiroth’s case is his ability to control people with Jenova cells through his will.

The Kabbalah states the Absolute is the Abrahamic God, whereas early Gnostics believed him to be an incompetent or malicious false god known as the demiurge who merely believed himself the uncreated deity because he was shielded from the Absolute by his mother an emanation from the Absolute known as an Aeon who fell from the skies. This demiurge, trapped in the material world, cannot create anything good, and instead corrupts the sparks of light, just like Jenova's corruption of the Lifestream and of human beings. Sephiroth’s name comes from Sefirot which has its basis in Jewish Kabbalah that states that Sefirot are the 10 attributes of God through which he reveals himself and creates physical and metaphysical realms. Sephiroth can also be seen as the anti christ as he wants become the new God of the planet and is a False idol as he proclaims to be an ancient even though he is actually born from a human mother and is human

Sephiroth summons Meteor to create a wound to the planet, thereby condensing the Lifestream at the impact site to allow him to reach Godhood. It is said in the Zohar that "If one tried to pour all of infinity into a vessel, the vessel would break." It would fissure, and the universe would rupture into a flowing, yet familiar pattern. Safer Sephiroth’s Design is based on The Seraph who have the highest rank in Christian angelology and are mentioned

in the Book of Enoch and Book of Revelations.



Aerith also represents one of the attributes of the Sefirot that being Chesed meaning kindness and love. Chesed also contributes to the concept of tikkun olam( repairing the world). In lurianic Kabbalah the concept of Repair is to return the sparks of divine light to their source. The Talmud also says that” The Torah begins chesed and ends with chesed", and Aerith is the first and last character seen in Final Fantasy 7. Aerith can be seen as a Christ figure as her sacrifice is similar to Jesus dying for the greater good.Aerith also didn’t plan on dying and Christ was also unwilling to sacrifice himself knowing how he was going to suffer but still carried out the will of God.



Barret also represents gevurah an element in Sefirot that represents Judgment and Strength it is the mode through which God punishes the wicked and judges humanity it is the left hand of God,That being the “ Left hand of God”. Which is funny considering Barret only has a left hand and not a right one. Tifa’s name is derived from Tiferet, The sixth sefira in the tree of life symbolising love, beauty and self sacrifice.Tifa’s bar called 7th heaven has its name based on the concept from Gnosticism which states God’s throne exist above 7th circle of heaven.Zack’s name is the shortened form of the Hebrew name Zachary which means “Jehovah hath remembered”. the link to a Reddit post that explains all the main cast being linked to the attributes of the Tree of Life(Sefirot): https://www.reddit.com/r/FinalFantasy/comments/1y9lfp


The biblical tale of the Tower of Babel is also present and can interpreted to be even presented two times. First the pillar of Sector 7, according to the myth God smote the tower as the people building it became too powerful as Shinra was threatened by the power and resistance of avalanche and decided to crush them by destroying the pillar. The second interpretation is that the Shinra Building represents the Tower of Babel which was later destroyed by the Diamond Weapon released by the Planet and the Planet itself being a deity in the world of FF7 it makes sense. It makes even more sense when you come to know that the tower was build on the plains of Shinar according to Genesis which sounds awfully similar to Shinra.



Final Fantasy 7 also takes influences from Norse mythology which are present throughout the game. The name Nibleheim comes from Niflheim one of the 9 realms in Norse mythology.

Nibelheim is literally translated as "fog-home" in German. "Nibel" is the old way to pronounce "Nebel", the German word for "fog", but can also be translated as "cloud" resulting in "cloud home. The name of the mako city Midgar comes from Norse mythology. It is similar to Midgard one of the 9 realms in Norse mythology.

The Midgar Zolom is based on the midgardsormr or also known as the “ World Serpent”.Its large enough to cover the whole world and reach around and bite its own tail. It’s a child of Loki.The summon Odin is based on the Norse God of war and death with the same.



Some influences of Celtic mythology are also present such as Cait Sith.Cait Sith is a fairy creatures from Celtic mythology said to look like large black cat with a white spot which haunts the Scottish highlands. Mideel’s name is based on Mider a lesser lord from true Irish mythology responsible for crafting rivers and lakes in the Irish countryside, which makes perfect sense for Mideel seeing who the livestream flows under it.
 
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