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The Final Fantasy series has drawn inspiration from various real-world religions, and incorporated elements of them into the fiction that makes up the series.
In the SeriesEdit
The recurring summoned monster Leviathan is based on the biblical sea monster Livyatan (לִוְיָתָן). Though the word means 'whale' in modern Hebrew, it has been interpreted to be a fearsome sea monster from various biblical passages, and is mentioned multiple times in the Tanakh and in Talmud. In Christianity, the Leviathan was portrayed as a demonic avatar of Satan, described by Thomas Aquinas as a 'demon of envy'.
Similarly, the Behemoth is a biblical land beast, again mentioned in the Book of Job. Though in modern Hebrew it lacks the visceral connotation of the English, Behemot means 'beasts' and has been interpreted accordingly as a vicious and dangerous creature.
Odin is based on a Nordic god of the same name, and is often depicted with a horse. Several other summons and monsters from the series are based on gods and goddesses – Shiva, for instance, may be based on the god Shiva of the Hinduism religion, although the god is considered male.
Some items, weapons and equipment in most Final Fantasy games are references to Greek and Roman mythology, like Zeus' Wrath, Hades Equipment, Hermes Sandals, Minerva Bustier, Artemis Bow and Arrow and Perseus Bow.
In the original Japanese Famicom version, many of the towns contained churches, know as 'Clinics' in the North American NES version due to Nintendo of America's policy on religious references. The churches have a cross on the steeples, and are run by priests that wear outfits similar to the Pope. Other religious references in the Japanese version is the addition of Star of David replaced with different imagery in the Crystal Rooms of the Four Fiends, as well as crosses that lead up to Bahamut. The game's main antagonist, Chaos is based on The Devil/Satan from Abrahamic Religions.
Final Fantasy II strong direct allusions to the Abrahamic religions. Towards the end of the game, the party travels into Pandaemonium, the palace of Hell depicted in Paradise Lost. In Pandaemonium, the party encounters several demons from demonology, like Beelzebub, and Astaroth. In Soul of Rebirth, the party travels to Araboth, the highest heaven which contains the throne of God. While not in the game itself, the novelization Final Fantasy II Muma no Meikyū indicates the Emperor had sold his soul to Satan for his magical powers.
The Tower of Babil refers to the biblical Tower of Babel (מגדל בבל Migdal Bavel) built by a united humanity, with the intention of reaching the heavens. This is an interesting allusion, as the Tower of Babil houses a great power from the moon, and both God from the Genesis story and the Giant of Babil had the intention of 'confounding' humanity, so to speak.
Kain Highwind's name is from the Genesis story of Cain and Abel (קין והבל, Kayin v'Hevel), in which Cain, in his jealousy and envy of his brother, betrayed him by slaying him (fratricide). This is reflected in Kain repeatedly betraying his adoptive brother, Cecil Harvey (coincidentally to Cecil's real brother, Golbez). Kain's ultimate weapon is Abel's Lance, a biblical allusion to the story of Cain and Abel.
The concept of Yin and Yang (Darkness and Light) may be represented by Palom (a black mage) and Porom (a white mage). The concept of Yin Yang says the two depend on one another, perhaps shown in the twins' ability, Twincast.
In western culture, white and black traditionally symbolize the dichotomy of good and evil. This is seen in the elements of Holy and Dark. Holy representing the force of good while Dark represent the force of evil. The Dark element is unavailable to the player, there's no Dark-elemental spells, summons, nor weaponry outside of the dark swords which are exclusive to the Dark Knight.
When the SNES version was released outside of Japan, several changes were made, such as The Tower of Prayers which became Tower of Wishes, and the removal of Rosa's Pray ability. The Holy spell renamed to "White".
The original name for what is later referred to as Heartless Angel, Fallen One, alludes to a name of the fallen angels, Lucifer, better known as Satan or the devil.
Kefka's final battle with the Returners mirrors the Divine Comedy, which entails Dante's journey from Hell, to Purgatory, to Heaven, and eventually meeting God face-to-face where he tells him the meaning of life.
The first tier of the Statue of the Gods consists of Long Arm, Short Arm and Visage, which is based on Dante's journey in hell. Visage represents Satan in the centre of hell, as Satan was depicted as a demon entrapped up to the waist in ice, which may explain Visage's weakness.
The second tier represents Purgatory in Divine Comedy, where souls suffer if they had committed any of the Seven Deadly Sins until they are spiritually purified.
The third tier represents Paradise or Heaven. The Rest and Lady portions of the final battle with Kefka are based on the Pieta statue, depicting Mary holding Jesus shortly after he died on the cross. It is further alluded to in the Japanese version, where Lady's name is Maria.
When trying to convince Terra to support the Returners' cause, Banon speaks of a box someone opened that unleashed the evils of the world, but contained within it a single ray of light, hope, and asks her to be their hope. This is a reference to the "Pandora's box" of Greek mythology. Pandora was given a beautiful container and told to not open it under any circumstances, but was compelled by curiosity. When she opened it, all evil contained escaped into the world, but at the bottom of the box remained a Spirit of Hope named Elpis.
Christian crosses can be seen carved on tombstones in the graveyard in the town of Thamasa, including the tombstone memorial of "General Leo" who died in battle in the World of Balance and World of Ruin and in the ruined town of Mobliz.
Final Fantasy VII draws heavily from the Lurian Kabalā (Jewish Mysticism), a medieval Jewish variant of Gnosticism. Gnosticism originated as a Roman-era fusion of Christianity and Ancient Greek philosophy, and its adherents were said to have knowledge of the "true" nature of the world. Like the Cetra, the Gnostics were persecuted until their beliefs died out, though traces remain in the Kabbalah, Sufi Islam, and Jungian psychology (which also relates to Cloud's journey into the Lifestream to confront the buried shadow aspects of his mind). Hojo's Reunion Theory, where entities infused with Jenova's cells will reunite with Jenova/Sephiroth at the North Crater, stems from Gnosticism, namely the concept of each human having a fragment of God.
Both belief systems, Gnosticism and its Kabbalist branch, proclaim that all humans have inside their bodies a spark of divine light from the Absolute, which returns there upon death. This Absolute is an infinite wellspring of spiritual energy, knowledge, and goodness, mirroring the function of the Lifestream. The Kabbalah states the Absolute is the Judeo-Christian God, whereas early Gnostics believed him to be an incompetent or malicious false god known as the demiurge ("artisan" in Ancient Greek) 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.
The name Jenova has Hebrew and Latin components. One is taken from the ineffable Hebrew name of God, יהוה (yud-hei-vav-hei), often romanized into Yahweh or Jehovah, although the original pronunciation is no longer known. This is combined with the Latin word nova, meaning 'new'. Thus Jenova is, in a sense, a 'new god', just like the demiurge when created by his mother. As Jenova is Sephiroth's "mother" yet is also implied to be virtually one and the same, their relationship is similar to the mainstream Christian view of Jesus Christ's relationship with Jehovah, as he is considered both the Son of God and Son of Man. Depending on how one counts the Remnants' and Sephiroth's will, this also alludes to the Holy Trinity, the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in Christian dogma.
Sephiroth factors in through Kabbalism. His name is Hebrew in origin (ספירות Sfirót) and means 'Counting', or 'Enumeration'. Many have compared this aspect to the name of the Sephiroth Clones, each given a number. The ten aspects of God and creation known as Sephirot (same as the Gnostic Aeons) are often arranged in a unique pattern known as the Tree of Life. These aspects are "Crown, Wisdom, Understanding, Benevolence, Strength, Beauty (known in Hebrew as "Tifaret"), Eternity, Splendor, Foundation (Vessel) and Royalty (Kinghood)," though some lists differ slightly.
Sephiroth summons Meteor to create a wound to the Planet, thereby condensing the entire Lifestream at the impact site which would allow him to ascend to 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 (the Tree of Life). This principle would also apply to Ultimecia's desire to unite all of existence and reform it to her liking in Final Fantasy VIII.
Sephiroth is practically a Fallen Angel. In both design and story, he is comparable to Lucifer (better known as Satan or the Devil), an angel who rebelled against God and fell from Heaven. This is reflected by his attempting to become God and destroy the world, similar to Satan or an Antichrist. Lucifer worked with God before turning against him, while Sephiroth worked with Shinra before he turned evil. In Sephiroth's "rebellion", he tries to capture the Promised Land, a heavenly place of myth, for himself.
Much of Sephiroth's design is similar to a fallen angel. The top of his hair is shaped like devil's horns, and he has a single black wing protruding from his back; fallen angels' wings are often depicted as black, and he only has one, not two as in the case of Heaven's angels. Sephiroth's final form, Safer∙Sephiroth, is based off of Biblical descriptions of a Seraph. In Isaiah 6, the Seraphim are described as Celestial, six-winged beings that circle the throne of God. Worthy of note however, Sephiroth still retains his single, black wing as a Seraph. This may be because Lucifer was a Seraph (the angel of the Morning Star to be exact), before he turned against God. Safer∙Sephiroth also has the Heartless Angel attack.
Aerith Gainsborough grows flowers in an abandoned church in the Midgar Slums reminiscent in structure to a Catholic or Lutheran church. The flowers grow from a hole where the pulpit would have stood. Aerith is part of a race able to talk to the Planet. A similar concept of a "chosen people" being able to speak to God is present in Judaism and Christianity, and the Pope is supposedly chosen to deliver God's will to the world. Sephiroth holds a similar, though much darker, belief about himself being "the chosen one, chosen to rule this planet". This connection is strengthened when Aerith prays at an altar to get the Planet to cast Holy. After her death, Aerith travels through the Lifestream, easing the passage of departed souls, and working against Sephiroth. As such, she can be likened to Jesus Christ, a saint, and/or a guardian angel, although angels traditionally are not born of the souls of the departed.
The Christian Bible often tells about trials during apocalyptic times, and one of the most common warnings is to avoid being misled by false prophets. In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus often talks about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter heaven ("It is easier for a camel to pass through the Eye of the Needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God"). Aerith is a poor woman who lives in a church and helps all who need her, which further deepens the comparison. As such, Jenova is practically a false God, leading people astray to believe in a fallacy, rather than the Lifestream.
The Promised Land is based on the Biblical tale of Moses where he was ordered by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery to a land which God promised that they'd find.
Tifa's bar, 7th Heaven, is named for a concept in both Jewish and Gnostic belief, whereby the Throne of Jehovah/the demiurge is located above the seventh circle of heaven. Tifa herself is possibly named after a concept from the Judeo-Gnostic Kabbalah, the "Tifaret", the emanation of the Absolute concerned with beauty and masculinity.
The Jenova-mutated form of Hojo, Helletic Hojo, is a misromanization of "Heretic Hojo", referring to Heresy, a concept in various religions where people interprets beliefs in a religion that goes against the norm of the religion.
Final Fantasy VII holds many references to Norse Mythology, particularly in names. Midgar comes from Midgård, the Realm of Mankind, and is depicted as the most highly advanced city in the world in terms of technology and man-made devices. Nibelheim comes from Niflheim, the realm of mist and darkness, where Hel, also called Helheim is located. Helheim, a Norse underworld, is ruled by the goddess Hel, who was the sibling of Fenrir. Fenrir is a hell hound known for his great strength, and during Ragnarok, the event that would herald the end of the world, he would rise up and kill Odin, the king of the gods; Fenrir is the name of the motorcycle belonging to Cloud, who is noticeable for his strength, and who was born and raised in Nibelheim. He would later strike down Sephiroth who had become a god after absorbing Jenova's cells and the knowledge of the Lifestream. This event draws obvious parallels with Ragnarok as the summoned Meteor was about to destroy the planet had Cloud and his friends not intervened to stop Sephiroth. However in the myth, Fenrir is later killed as retribution by Odin's son Vidar.
The game, among other Final Fantasy titles bears a significant amount of religious imagery. An excellent example is when Aerith is seen calling Cloud to the Lifestream. Although the spatial orientation is different, Aerith's image rising from the Lifestream is similar to Jesus descending from the clouds during the Apocalypse in The Book of Revelations from the Christian Bible.
The Lifestream is similar to Abrahamic descriptions of Heaven, as within it is the secret to eternal life. The Lifestream is constantly flowing and changing, but never disappearing. By joining it, people are returned to a state of innocence, where there is no pride, there are no cities, and all that remains are God and His garden. The Lifestream is also similar to Japan's native religion, Buddhism, which purports that all things have souls. In Final Fantasy VII, all living things have souls, which contribute to the overall soul of the Planet after they depart and "Return to the Lifestream". The Planet breeds new life from this soul in a process similar to reincarnation, although in Hinduism, the individual soul joins the overall soul only upon reaching enlightenment.
Angeal Hewley sprouts two wings on one side of his body, both white and feathered like those of angels as they are often depicted. His first name is a respelling of the word "angel".
Angeal having two white wings protruding from his back is done in contrast to Sephiroth and Genesis Rhapsodos. He has two white wings, which makes him more Godly and akin to a heavenly angel, while Sephiroth and Genesis have one black wing each, representing them as fallen angels/Lucifer. This would explain why Angeal is cast more as a protagonist, while Sephiroth and Genesis are the villains.
Genesis is named after the Biblical account of Creation and has a black wing protruding from his back, much like Sephiroth. He is often seen offering a Banora White apple to people he wishes to join him, a reference to the temptation of Adam and Eve where the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is often said to have been an apple. Similarly, Genesis was the first to learn about the "sin" of the Jenova Project, but unlike Sephiroth, he achieves salvation, as well as spiritual and physical healing, from the Gift of the Goddess.
Angeal Penance uses attacks named after the Seven Deadly Sins, which are a part of Christian ethics and the Catholic culture. His attacks are: Defense of Lust, End of Gluttony, Charge of Greed, Rage of Sloth, Unleashed Wrath, Thunder of Envy and Wings of Pride. Penance is the repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.
Minerva's presence as the personification of the Lifestream reflects the role of Sophia in Gnostic belief, an Aeon made from the pure energy of the divine realm of light known as the Absolute, who was fragmented and trapped inside the bodies of human beings. The name Minerva is the Roman name of Athena, the wise Greek goddess of war strategy and crafts, a play on the name Sophia meaning "wisdom" in Greek.
The story of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is based heavily on Christianity. The title refers to the Christian belief in the advent, or second coming of Jesus Christ to restore life and take the pious to the Kingdom of Heaven. The plot focuses on the inevitable rebirth of Sephiroth and the collection of all those who are infused with Jenova cells into the Lifestream so he may take control of the Planet.
Much of the film revolves around Cloud as he attempts to seek forgiveness regarding Aerith's and Zack's deaths and cure his Geostigma. This mirrors the Christian belief that for one to be forgiven of sins, they must present themselves before God/Jesus and ask for forgiveness, the reward being "Eternal Life". That "Eternal Life" aspect is Cloud being cured of the fatal disease and being forgiven of letting Aerith and Zack die. At the end of the film, Aerith cures everyone of the stigma. This is taken from the Christian foresight that when Satan has risen to power and the world is at its worst (Sephiroth has returned and the world is suffering from the stigma), Jesus will present himself and heal those who believe in him of their sins.
The additions of "stagnant Mako", which make up Chaos, and "negative Lifestream", controlled by Sephiroth, imply a sort of Hell or karma to the story's reincarnation system. It most closely resembles Hell in Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, where souls who don't move on are explicitly said to be suffering torment, in this case of their own grief and regrets. Wailing emanates from the stagnant Mako. Thus, Sephiroth's "negative Lifestream" alludes directly to Abrahamic descriptions of Hell, as it reflects the belief of an evil being, such as Satan, who corrupts humans to evil and reaps their souls when they die. Similarly, Aerith's legacy in the Lifestream alludes to Christian theology regarding Jesus and Heaven.
The scene where Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo infect the children with black water containing negative Lifestream is similar to a Christian baptism, though much darker, and possibly Satanic. Kadaj’s veiled explanation to the children infected with Geostigma is composed of properties from both Jenova and the planet, and he leads a type of baptism to remove the natural properties, calling Jenova’s portion their inheritance of her legacy. Therefore, him and his brothers are similar to Christian leaders who regard the planet’s influence negatively.
However, the true “savior” is not Jenova, but actually Aerith and the Lifestream, which Kadaj had touted as the negative portion of the geostigma. This is apparent by the healing properties of the Lifestream and Aerith’s interventions from the afterlife, which ultimately cures the Geostigma. This is an interesting allusion because mainstream Christianity uses the terms “wordly” and “earthly” interchangeably. This also highlights Jenova as a type of AntiChrist.
Also, Cloud curing Denzel's stigma through the pool of water in Aerith's church is also similar to a Christian baptism in the name of Jesus. Interestingly, this defies Kadaj’s "negative" baptism of the children, which simply took control over them, but did not cure their stigma. This new baptism is positive, effectively removing the Geostigma. This relates to faith in Christian doctrine, showing that its practices are only beneficial when performed correctly and for the right reasons. As such, Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo are similar to false prophets, while Aerith is similar to Jesus.
Vincent Valentine's primary weapon in both Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, the three-barreled Cerberus handgun, references the three-headed guard dog of Hades in Greek Mythology. His other weapons in Dirge of Cerberus, Hydra and Griffin, also refer to creatures of Greek mythology.
Weiss's subtitle, the Immaculate, as well as his being born untainted by the negative Lifestream, alludes to a concept in the Catholic church of someone born free of Original Sin, believed to be the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Jesus Christ.
Omega Weapon's attack Megiddo Flame may refer to the final battle at the end of time in Abrahamic religions, Armageddon. The word itself is based on the mountain of Megiddo in modern-day Israel, where the battle is alleged to take place.
Rinoa's Limit Break, Angel Wing, has her sprout white feathered wings like those of angels as depicted in most works. Angels and angel wings are Rinoa's motif in Final Fantasy VIII, with her having the wings printed on the back of her duster, her dog's name is Angelo, her ultimate weapon is made of interlocking white featherly wings, and she is associated with a single white feather, which she uses to seek out Squall who is trapped outside of time.
Freya Crescent is named after the Nordic Goddess Freyja (lit. 'Lady'), whom among other things, was associated with war, magic, death, and love. As a throwback to previous Final Fantasy games, the town of Lindblum has a church.
Much of Final Fantasy X is based around the corruption of organized religion and the misuse of such faith to support an evil cause. The order of Yevon is similar to the Roman Catholic Church and Tokugawa-era Japanese Buddhism, but corrupted and manipulating the masses to maintain the status quo while committing heresies in the background. Yevon comprises of leaders known as Maesters, which include Seymour Guado, Wen Kinoc, and Kelk Ronso. These positions are comparable to the Catholic roles of cardinals, and Grand Maester Yo Mika's wardrobe resembles the pope's.
The downfall of Yevon alludes to the religious skeptic's argument that organized religion is corrupt, and has its followers worshiping lies. The Yevon religion resembles a theocracy; one that exercises authoritarian political power, rather than solely administrating its doctrinal affairs. Like Final Fantasy VII (which the developers have said is connected to Final Fantasy X) there are strong Gnostic undertones to the portrayal of spirituality in Spira.
One of the game's main protagonists, Yuna, is similar to a miko of Shinto religion; Yuna is a female raised in the ways of her religion and travels to do good in the world. To further the elements of Japanese religions, the pyreflies are based on the concept of human souls appearing as fireflies.
One of the game's main antagonists, Seymour Guado, envisions himself as a messiah to Spira as he beguiles the promise of a better life. Seymour's goals are more akin to the Hindu deity Shiva, intending to destroy everything to save it. He is also similar to a false prophet, possibly the Antichrist, since he tricks the people of Yevon and plans to become Sin with the intention of destroying everything.
Gnostics believed all humans have a fragment of divine light, corresponding to the pyreflies, inside them. Only by rejecting the material world and recognizing all life stems from the Pleroma/the Absolute can the fragments return to the source (i.e. the Farplane), bringing their memories of life with them. This overlaps with Seymour's nihilistic worldview, in that he attempts to free people's souls from the pain of life, though he attempts to kill them rather than enlighten them.
The Roman Catholic Church persecuted the Gnostics as heretics, and the Gnostics' esoteric knowledge of how to return to the source of life was mostly eradicated, dooming the fragments of divine light, in the Gnostics' eyes, to keep cycling (a key theme in Final Fantasy X) into the material world. Similarly, the true nature of Sin and the destruction it wreaks was subsumed by the Yevonite church, who created a doctrine to fit their ideals, perpetuating their organization and, by extension, the suffering of the Spirans.
The Crusaders are named for the legions of the Catholic Church who fought against the Muslims during the Crusades.
Gnostics believed in aeons, manifestations of the Absolute formed from its divine light, like how the aeons are made of pyreflies in Final Fantasy X. One of the aeons, Anima, is a concept of the eternal feminine in the psychology of Carl Jung, who was inspired by Gnosticism. The name "aeon" has its root in the Greek deity of the unending cyclical nature of time, "Aion".
Sin is a transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate. Yu Yevon created Sin as a bodyguard and for power, thus exhibiting lust, pride, and greed (and possibly more): three of the seven deadly sins. Sin may also be a representation of the Christian concept of "original sin", as the Maesters state Sin can never be vanquished, because humanity will never be that pure.
Yunalesca tempts the summoners into committing another sin (murder) under the guise for being for the greater good. The summoner's pilgrimage is a religious pilgrimage, the summoner praying to shrines of departed spirits to receive their protection as a spirit guide. The summoners are viewed as martyrs, a concept where one dies for their religion in the face of an enemy, physical or spiritual, and is exalted for it.
Valefor is a demon in the ars goetia (demonology text listing the names of all the demons and their orders). "He tempts people to steal and is in charge of a good relationship among thieves. Valefar is considered a good familiar by his associates till they are caught in the trap." He commands ten legions of demons, though his appearance in the game is different than his form in the aforementioned texts (lion with the head of a man or donkey). His description is reminiscent of the game in general, since the aeons are created by the fayth who, in turn, were created by Yu Yevon.
The story of Final Fantasy X reflects Christianity. This includes, the existence of Sin, and the coming, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Christian Bible is separated into two primary parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The first book of the Bible is Genesis. Following Creation, man (Adam and Eve) disobeyed God, thereby introducing sin into the world. Prior to the original sin death did not exist as Adam and Eve could eat from the Tree of Life. However, after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the two were expelled from Garden of Eden where the Tree of Life was located, and death was introduced to the world.
Death existed prior to Sin in Final Fantasy X, but Sin brought with it the "spiral of death," the cycle of sorrow and demise; because of Sin, everything in Spira revolves around death.
Throughout the Old Testament, various figures arose who have been described as God's anointed. These figures included the prophets: of primary importance among their predictions were the messianic prophecies, which foretold the coming of a messiah. From a retroactive Christian perspective, this message was not correctly understood, either then or by people during the time of Christ. Thus, the High Summoners of Spira are like the prophets of the Old Testament. Ohalland, Yocun, Gandof, and Braska intended to beat back Sin, but could not do so permanently, as the message of how to defeat Sin was "misunderstood."
Just as Jesus Christ conquered sin and death in the Bible, so would Sin's spiral of death be ultimately overcome in Spira. As such, Tidus is similar to Jesus, in the manner that he is brought to Spira and gives his life up to free his friends and loved ones from Sin.
The perspective of Cocoon's citizens onto Pulse is most similar to the Christian perspective of the material world, where it is said to be a corruptible and malignant place, "an illusion to the glory of Heaven" that is Cocoon. Ironically, the view is paradoxical in how the basis of Cocoon is based on the Floating World of Japanese culture, where hedonistic and material pleasures are sought, the thesis of John B. Cobb, where the priority of wealth is have said to have overtaken even the pursuit of God in the Western world, and how years of corruption in the Christian church has come to greed and hypocrisy; from abuse of power to wayward gospels centered on gain and power through faith and zealousness, from the Prosperity Gospel and Christian Identity.
The Sanctum is the militant version of a corrupted Roman Catholic Church as a majority of its leadership manipulates the public while being manipulated themselves by the fal'Cie of Cocoon who are the true power behind them. One of fal'Cie, Barthandelus in his guise as Galenth Dysley, can be considered the Sanctum's version of the pope while he was Primarch right down to similar attire and the use of purples and whites in his attire. But ultimately, Barthandelus is more like a false prophet as he manipulates events and people to suit his kind's needs.
The concept of l'Cie is an allusion to principles within Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Bön, and other Indic religions. According to the principle of samsāra, life on earth is a curse, and ideally a sentient being must ascend, over many lifetimes, to nirvāna, a more ideal, though not earthly, state of being. crystal stasis is similar in regards to its victims forcibly being crystallized and experiencing a life without freedom from the wills of the Fal'Cie, while forced to live in situations that are not natural to human needs. Nirvāna is comparable to the release from crystal stasis and servitude to the Fal'Cie, to be a free human being and capable of passing on naturally, in this respect.
The means of escaping samsāra are known as Atman, like a Focus. There are many paths to ascension, although it is never clearly stated which a person must take. One of them is alluded to in Oerba, with Vanille's robot Bhakti. Bhakti comes from the word bhakta (love) and refers to the idea that one way to achieve salvation is through personal devotion to a deity (fal'Cie).
The idea of Ragnarok originates from the final war mentioned Norse mythology where the world is destroyed with only a handful of survivors, both divine and immortal, who repopulate the world as it is reborn. The idea of Ragnarok is thematically revisited in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, with the merging of Gran Pulse and Valhalla marking a slow decline of the world into destruction, and Lightning being tasked to guide the survivors to the new world that is about to be born.
The use of the Ark in the series of FFXIII seems to differ from its religious use. According to world myths, a great flood was set to occur by a vengeful god. Disappointed in his creations, he planned to wash everything away to make way for a new age. However, the god also saw there was one of his creations who he deemed pure and deserving to be in the new world free of evil, and so he warned this person. In Abrahamic theology, this man was Noah, and in Mesopotamian tradition, this man was called Uta-Napishtim, as well as Atrahasis and Zisudra among others around the world. The man was told to create an Ark capable of carrying animals and the man's family upon the deluge. The humans did as they were told and survived the flood that destroyed all other land-life. As a reward, these patriarch were either promised by god never again to destroy the Earth by flood or were given immortality as a reward for saving lives from the catastrophe. In Final Fantasy XIII, the Arks appear to be armouries filled with living weapons in stasis, ready for the war they were prepared for. The Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology infers that the Arks were designed for the war between Bhunivelze and Mwynn, once Pulse fulfilled his mission to locate the unseen gate to the place where Mwynn was taken upon her death at her son's hands. With the release of Lightning Returns it could be seen that the pure, chosen human by a vengeful god is Lightning, by Bhunivelze, who plans to destroy humanity to make way for a new world. Lightning is given the role of the savior, to shepherd souls to this new world before the catastrophe occurs. And she is given the use of the Ark on Hope's Bhunivelze in which to rest and release the souls of those she has managed to save.
The word Eidolon itself is a Greek term used throughout the Bible for false gods or idols, which are explained to be either nothing at all, or demons.
Orphan is named after the Ophanim, a choir of angels described in Ezekiel's vision as fiery wheels covered in eyes, a description approximated by Orphan's design.
In Norse mythology, Valhalla was a majestic hall in Asgard, where the gods and half of those who died in combat dwell. It was ruled over by Odin, who appears as Lightning's Eidolon.
There is an NPC who quips, "Need an ark? I Noah guy!", a reference to the Biblical story in which a man names Noah builds an ark at God's command and places two of each type of animal within it to guard against their extinction due to a cataclysmic flood about to be unleashed by God.
Noel and Yeul have their names derived from French and alternate English name for Christmas, respectively. Noel's name refers to his 'birth' as a Guardian while case of Yeul's name refers to her fate of being reborn, referencing the Hindu concept of Samsara while playing on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with whom Christmas is directly connected with.
Various Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII aspects are based on Norse mythology. As alluded to by Ragnarok in Final Fantasy XIII, the world will end in a great battle called Ragnarok, killing numerous gods, triggering many natural disasters, and a globe-spanning world war. After Ragnarok ends, the world will be reborn, and the surviving gods and mortals will join to rebuild civilization in the new world.
While Garlean Empire is not shown much, many amongst its invasion forces expressed a denouncing view on the divinities worshipped by residents of Eorzea to the point of committing iconoclasm as seen with Gaius Van Baelsar.
A major antagonistic organization in Final Fantasy Tactics is the Church of Glabados, an allusion to the old Roman Catholic Church and the infamous Medieval Inquisition. The Church's Messiah, St. Ajora, is a reference to Jesus Christ, although his actions were closer to that of a false prophet or the Antichrist. His comparison to a false prophet was indicated by his job class, "False Saint" or "Phony Saint".
Germonique's betrayal of St. Ajora to the proper authorities, exempting the more noble reasons behind the betrayal, were similar to Judas's betrayal of Jesus Christ to Pontious Pilate. The Lucavi, who possess humans upon death, refer to demonic possession. The Lucavi are explicitly referred to as demons, and their leader, Ultima, a fallen angel.