In Voluspa Odin is shown to be the great creator of worlds and of life. It is said of Odin that, " He lives forever and ever and rules over the whole of his kingdom, and governs all things great and small. " It goes on to say that, " He created heaven and earth, and the sky and all that is in them. " The Eddas then go on to say, " Odin gave life' s breath, ( to two lone trees he and his brothers found ) , to Lif and Lifthrasir . Then just a few stanzas later Odin becomes the great destroyer and, " Starts the first war in the worlds", by casting the first spear at Gullveig, who the Eddas describe as a, " Sorceress casting evil spells", and using, " Magic to ensnare the mind. " Odin who's wisdom usually proves to be the deciding factor, misjudged the Vanir, and it is said that, " The walls of Asgard proved to weak, the victory was won by Vanir magic. " Odin was wise enough, however, to seek peace with the Vanir, and after an exchange of hostages, the peace was accepted and kept.
Odin and the other Gods also showed their generosity in dealing with the Dwarves. It is written that the Gods, who remembered how the dwarves had, " quickened in the earth, like maggots in Ymir's flesh" , decided by a holy decree, to rise up these lowly creatures and gave them human understanding and appearance.
Odin created life within Asgard as well as Midgard . Although his joining with Jotuns and Goddesses could be seen as a sign of a gentler side of Odin, to me it simply shows a logical side of his wisdom because there is a deeper purpose to each one of his sons. Thor was born to rule over Midgard and to act as earth' s protector from the Jotuns. Balder was born to rule over Asgard with his brother Hodr at his side. Vali was born to avenge Balder' s death, and Vidar the Silent was born to kill Fenrir and avenge Odin's death. Odin knew the future and therefore was well aware of what it would take to keep his kingdom ( Asgard ) protected and ruled after his death. His children were his insurance policy. It is strange that Odin had no female children, but I guess he had no " purpose " for them. Thor is the only child of his who had a female child. Her name is Thrud.
On the flip side of this conversation is the fact that Odin is not only the great creator of life, but also the keeper of the dead. As Valfather he is the one who takes care of all those who fall in battle. ( At least the ones He chooses ) In Gylfaginning it goes so far as to say that, " All who fall in battle are his appointed sons. " These fallen warriors chosen by Almighty Odin are then called Einherjar.
Odin sends out his Valkyries to every battle, and they choose, on his behalf, those who will sit on the golden benches in Valhalla, and those who will be awarded victory in battle. These same Valkyries also have the duty of serving those same warriors who sit in Valhalla as serving maidens. They look after the table service and fill the cups of the Einherjar. Odin is kind to his beloved Valkyries, but if they cross him, the way Brynhild did by choosing against his will, they meet his wrath. Brynhild was struck with a sleep thorn, and surrounded in a fortress of fire, but was later awakened by Sigurd.
Even these, " appointed sons " , have a deeper purpose than simply to sit at the same table as Odin and enjoy his hospitality. They have been chosen because when the beast breaks free and the forces of Chaos run amok, these same warriors will fight in the final battle known to all of us through the Eddas as Ragnarok. It seems that Odin does nothing without purpose, and that my friends is because unlike us humans, Odin sees the whole picture which is our , and Their future.
Next : Odin The Great Deceiver.
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor's protection !