Creation myth

The Rosen Publishing Group.Living in a land of eternal sunshine, it is little wonder the ancient Egyptians chose the sun as the prime symbol for the creator of the universe.With its bounty of brawny, barrel-chested gods and buxom goddesses, the ancient Norse religion of the Scandinavian and Germanic countries is truly the creation myth for fans of both pro wrestling and heavy metal music.Characteristic of many Native American myths, earth-diver creation stories Creation myth as beings and potential forms linger asleep or suspended in the primordial realm.Anthropology and religion: what we know, think, and question.Sign Up.Male characters rarely figure into these stories, and scholars often consider them in counterpoint to male-oriented creation myths, like those of the ex nihilo variety.Cambridge University Press.These writings describe how the earth Creation myth created out of chaos by the god Atum.Symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it.Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file.
An atheist’s take on the Bible: The roots of the creation story | National Post

Common Elements in Creation Myths – And in this sense they go beyond etiological myths which explain specific features in religious rites, natural phenomena or cultural life.For example, most religions and mythologies have a story similar to the Garden of Eden, in which man disobeys God or the gods and incurs some kind of collective punishment as a result.On the seventh day God rests, contemplates Creation myth handiwork, and gives himself a good evaluation.This is the first question faced by any creation myth and He flew to Heliopolis, an ancient city near Cairo, where, at dawn, he alighted on the Benben, an obelisk representing a ray of the sun.

The twins separated the sky from the waters.They produced children named Geb , the dry land, and Nut , the sky.When the primeval waters receded, a mound of earth Geb appeared, providing the first solid dry land for the sun god, Re , to rest.During the dynastic period, Atum was also known as Re, meaning the sun at its first rising.Shu, the god of air, separates the sky goddess, Nut, from the earth god, Geb.Two ram-headed gods stand beside Shu.Drawing: Catherine Fitzpatrick.

Geb and Nut produced four offspring: Seth , the god of disorder; Osiris , the god of order; and their sisters, Nephthys and Isis.This new generation completed the Heliopolitan Ennead, the group of nine deities that began with Atum, the primeval creator god.In another version of the creation story, the city of Hermopolis , in Middle Egypt, substituted the Ennead with a group of eight deities called the Ogdoad.It consisted of four pairs of gods and goddesses symbolizing different aspects of the chaos that existed before creation.

The goddesses were depicted as snakes and the gods as frogs.The sun god, Re a form of Atum , ruled over the earth, where humans and divine beings coexisted.Humans were created from the Eye of Re or wedjat eye of wholeness.This happened when the eye separated from Re and failed to return.

Shu and Tefnut went to fetch it, but the eye resisted.In the ensuing struggle, the eye shed tears from which humans were born.The familiar eye motif is an enduring symbol for the creator, Atum, for Re and for Horus , the son of Osiris and Isis.It represents the power to see, to illuminate and to act.Maintaining right and order to prevent the earth from falling into chaos was central to the pharaoh’s role.Another version of the creation myth states that the wedjat simply wandered off, so Re sent Thoth , the moon god, to fetch it.

When it returned, the eye found that another eye had taken its place.To pacify the furious eye, Re placed it on his brow in the shape of a uraeus a cobra goddess , where it could rule the whole world.

Pharaohs wore the uraeus on their brows as a symbol of protection and to show that they were descended from the sun god.When Re became old, the deities tried to take advantage of his senility.Even humans plotted against him, which led to their fall from divine grace.In reaction to the rebellion, Re sent his eye to slaughter the rebels, a deed he accomplished by transforming himself into Sekhmet , a raging powerful goddess depicted as a lion.After punishing his foes, he changed himself into the contented goddess Hathor depicted as a cow.

In pain, and weary of these problems, Re withdrew from the world.Taking the form of Hathor, he mounted on Nut sky , who raised him to the heavens.The other gods clung to Hathor’s belly and became the stars.Following this, Thoth, the moon god, was given a spell to protect humans from harm when the sun disappeared below the earth.From that moment on, humans were separated from the gods, as earth was separated from the heavens.Now Re lived in the heavens, where order was established.

Each morning he was reborn in the east and travelled across the sky in a boat, called the Bark of Millions of Years, accompanied by a number of gods who acted as his crew.The sun god was carried across the sky by the scarab god, Khepri, a dung beetle.The Noah from the Bible is Utnapishtim from the Gilgamesh epic, point for point.This is, to put it mildly, implausible.But it is not my purpose here to pick logical holes in the Bible.That ground is already well trod.

Note, for example, that I have not attempted to compare the Biblical story of creation against the geological, paleontological, or anthropological record.There hardly seems to be much point to it.

As an atheist reading the Bible, I take for granted that the stories in it are just myths, equivalent to the creation myths of the Greeks or of the Sumerians from whom they were borrowed.

What interests me here is to ask how they borrowed from earlier traditions, how their myths are different from the mythology of other cultures like the Greeks, and what impact this had.The mythology of Genesis contains stories that are not remarkable for what they include.They are remarkable for what they omit.

For example, most religions and mythologies have a story similar to the Garden of Eden, in which man disobeys God or the gods and incurs some kind of collective punishment as a result.Naturally, her curiosity wins out and she opens it, releasing into the world illness and pestilence and various other human maladies.

This is the usual solution to the problem of evil: if God is so great that he deserves to be worshipped, how is it that he allows so much suffering? Answer: because we brought it on ourselves, somehow, through our disobedience.So the point of these stories is to explain the various maladies and misfortunes that naturally befall mankind and which, in a pre-scientific age, were inevitable conditions of human life that could not be ameliorated.

The Bible is not distinctive in having such a story.The story itself is told in a relatively unadorned way.Yet notice the overall pattern of the early mythological stories in Genesis.This is a very striking omission.Greek mythology is filled with heroes and demigods like Hercules and Theseus and—well, pretty much everything in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The works of Homer are generally regarded as functioning in the Greek mind as a combination of the Bible and Shakespeare: a central source for both religion and literature.But Homer is almost exclusively concerned with the giants and mighty men of renown, while in the Bible they get only a passing reference.Note that this passing reference is not given any further explanation.Or consider the last big story in the early mythological sections of Genesis: the story of the Tower of Babel, in Chapter Again, other mythologies have similar stories.

The closest Classical equivalent of the Tower of Babel would be the story of Icarus.They are the mythology.

This mythology is the ur-source for Judeo-Christian theology, and it sets the tone for everything that comes after.We can also see it in the tribal history that begins in the next section of Genesis, as we finally circle back to that moment when Abraham departs from Ur—which is where we will begin the next installment of this series.

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In creation myths of the above type, the creation itself or the intent of the creator deity is to create a perfect world, paradise.Before the end of the.The gods created two divine siblings, brother Izanagi and sister Izanami, who stood upon a floating bridge above the primordial ocean.Using the.A creation myth is a supernatural mytho-religious story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe (cosmogony).

How to use:

  1. The closest Classical equivalent of the Tower of Babel would be the story of Icarus.
  2. According to Norse lore, before there was Earth Midgardthere was Muspell, a fiery land guarded by the fire sword-wielding Surt; Ginnungagap, a great void, and Niflheim, a frozen ice-covered land.
  3. This is bolstered, in my view, by a difference in two early versions of the Hebrew tradition on which the Bible is based.
  4. There hardly seems to be much point to it.
  5. Brahma creates the universe, which lasts for one of his days, or 4.
25 CREATION Stories From Around The World, time: 14:02

Creation myth

Cutting off her head, he flung it into the sky, where it became the moon.

The roots of the creation story: An atheist’s take on the Bible – properties

  • Mythologists have applied various schemes to classify creation myths found throughout human cultures.
  • It is a story of the creation of the world and of man.
  • Booth, Anna Birgitta
  • Barbour, Ian G.
  • To help out with this dilemma, LiveScience presents a list of those Creation Myths that helped define civilizations both past and present
  • A Dictionary of Asian Mythology.
  • Ashkenazi, Michael
  • Cora Agatucci.

But right away, we encounter an intriguing clue about the origins of this origin myth.Before that it was mostly memorized and passed down by oral tradition, much like the works of Homer which were first written down at about the same time.It would be impossible to change.Read part one of this series here: What has Homer to do with the Bible?

I should note that this is one theory and that there are alternative theories, such as the view that some Semitic languages used the plural as a form of emphasis to denote an abstract version of a concept as opposed to a concrete version.On the other hand, in the old Semitic languages of the Middle East, there was a clear way of making sure you were talking about a single god.Here again, there are other theories, such as the view that God is speaking to an audience of angels.

This is bolstered, in my view, by a difference in two early versions of the Hebrew tradition on which the Bible is based.The Bible is believed to have been cobbled together from about four different sources, referred to by the abbreviations E, J, P, and D.But then with Genesis , the whole creation story starts over again, and in this version we get a few new twists, such as God creating Eve out of a rib taken from Adam.

This is one of the things that lead scholars to believe there are different versions of the Bible being combined.To give your god a specific name implies that there might be other gods with other names.

It is the term you would use when referring to the god of your city or your tribe, as opposed to the gods of other cities and other tribes.In historical terms, this could reflect a transitional stage between polytheism and monotheism: what is called monolatry.

So all of this suggests that the creation story in the Bible is an offshoot of a previous, polytheistic tradition.It becomes pretty obvious later on in Genesis when we first meet Abraham, the great patriarch of the Jewish and Arab people.

This set off a lot of bells for me, because the Sumerians were the first great civilization, springing up among the farmers of Mesopotamia around BC and creating a surprisingly sophisticated culture.Some of the most fascinating Sumerian artifacts are clay seals marked with cuneiform writing that turn out to be deeds of property, or account ledgers, or bills of lading.It is a little unclear whether the Biblical Ur of Abraham is the same as the city where they built the Great Ziggurat , but that is not important.

What is important is that Hebrews are Sumerians.Ancient Hebrew civilization was an offshoot of the original civilization.Well, the ur-source of the Bible is Ur.Take the Garden of Eden.The Bible gives very specific directions about where the Garden was located, and Asimov reasons through these and concludes that Eden was located at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates as they formed a wider waterway that empties into the ocean.Today, the two rivers become what is known as the Shatt al-Arab, but the Biblical equivalent would have been some distance upstream from its current location, which has moved southward thanks to six thousand years of silt deposits.

This location for Eden also turns out to be exactly where the very first Sumerian civilization was formed.It is the creation myth you would have if you were a Sumerian passing down stories about your most ancient origins.A Sumerian origin also explains a lot of other Biblical stories, most particularly the flood.This is not the kind of cataclysm you would naturally fear as a nomadic herdsman living in the arid uplands of what is now Israel.

But it is precisely what you would fear as a Sumerian living on a low, flat plain between two big rivers, where catastrophic flooding could and did occur.In fact, the story of Noah and the flood seems to be lifted directly from the original heroic epic poem, the story of a Sumerian king named Gilgamesh.The Noah from the Bible is Utnapishtim from the Gilgamesh epic, point for point.

This is, to put it mildly, implausible.But it is not my purpose here to pick logical holes in the Bible.That ground is already well trod.Note, for example, that I have not attempted to compare the Biblical story of creation against the geological, paleontological, or anthropological record.

There hardly seems to be much point to it.As an atheist reading the Bible, I take for granted that the stories in it are just myths, equivalent to the creation myths of the Greeks or of the Sumerians from whom they were borrowed.What interests me here is to ask how they borrowed from earlier traditions, how their myths are different from the mythology of other cultures like the Greeks, and what impact this had.The mythology of Genesis contains stories that are not remarkable for what they include.

They are remarkable for what they omit.For example, most religions and mythologies have a story similar to the Garden of Eden, in which man disobeys God or the gods and incurs some kind of collective punishment as a result.

Naturally, her curiosity wins out and she opens it, releasing into the world illness and pestilence and various other human maladies.

This is the usual solution to the problem of evil: if God is so great that he deserves to be worshipped, how is it that he allows so much suffering? Answer: because we brought it on ourselves, somehow, through our disobedience.

So the point of these stories is to explain the various maladies and misfortunes that naturally befall mankind and which, in a pre-scientific age, were inevitable conditions of human life that could not be ameliorated.

It consisted of four pairs of gods and goddesses symbolizing different aspects of the chaos that existed before creation.The goddesses were depicted as snakes and the gods as frogs.The sun god, Re a form of Atum , ruled over the earth, where humans and divine beings coexisted.Humans were created from the Eye of Re or wedjat eye of wholeness.This happened when the eye separated from Re and failed to return.

Shu and Tefnut went to fetch it, but the eye resisted.In the ensuing struggle, the eye shed tears from which humans were born.The familiar eye motif is an enduring symbol for the creator, Atum, for Re and for Horus , the son of Osiris and Isis.It represents the power to see, to illuminate and to act.Maintaining right and order to prevent the earth from falling into chaos was central to the pharaoh’s role.

Another version of the creation myth states that the wedjat simply wandered off, so Re sent Thoth , the moon god, to fetch it.When it returned, the eye found that another eye had taken its place.To pacify the furious eye, Re placed it on his brow in the shape of a uraeus a cobra goddess , where it could rule the whole world.

Pharaohs wore the uraeus on their brows as a symbol of protection and to show that they were descended from the sun god.When Re became old, the deities tried to take advantage of his senility.Even humans plotted against him, which led to their fall from divine grace.

In reaction to the rebellion, Re sent his eye to slaughter the rebels, a deed he accomplished by transforming himself into Sekhmet , a raging powerful goddess depicted as a lion.

After punishing his foes, he changed himself into the contented goddess Hathor depicted as a cow.In pain, and weary of these problems, Re withdrew from the world.

Taking the form of Hathor, he mounted on Nut sky , who raised him to the heavens.The other gods clung to Hathor’s belly and became the stars.Following this, Thoth, the moon god, was given a spell to protect humans from harm when the sun disappeared below the earth.From that moment on, humans were separated from the gods, as earth was separated from the heavens.

Now Re lived in the heavens, where order was established.Each morning he was reborn in the east and travelled across the sky in a boat, called the Bark of Millions of Years, accompanied by a number of gods who acted as his crew.The sun god was carried across the sky by the scarab god, Khepri, a dung beetle.

His chief enemy was the Apep, a huge serpent that lived in the Nile and the waters of Nun.Apep tried to obstruct the solar bark’s daily passage, but the sun god was ultimately victorious.The sun god was the most important deity in the Egyptian pantheon.He had many names: as the sun disk, he was Aten; as the rising sun, he was Khepri, the scarab; at the sun’s zenith, he was Re, the supreme god of Heliopolis; and as the setting sun, he was Atum.

Egypt’s pyramids and obelisks, as well as the sphinx , were associated with the sun god.In the New Kingdom , the sphinx was a symbol for the sun god as Re-Horakhty , the winged sun disk that appeared on the horizon at dawn.

The scarab buries its eggs in dung, which it rolls into a hole in the earth, where the eggs hatch.It became a symbol for the sun god, who took the form of a scarab when he pushed the sun out of the eastern horizon for its daily journey across the sky.

The sun, symbol of light and enlightenment, is probably the most enduring symbol found in ancient and modern religions.Living in a land of eternal sunshine, it is little wonder the ancient Egyptians chose the sun as the prime symbol for the creator of the universe.

: ISBN

Greek mythology is filled with heroes and demigods like Hercules and Theseus and—well, pretty much everything in the Iliad and the Odyssey.In both cases emphasis is placed on beginnings emanating from the depths.

  • The closest Classical equivalent of the Tower of Babel would be the story of Icarus.
  • Giddens, Sandra; Giddens, Owen
  • Yet notice the overall pattern of the early mythological stories in Genesis.
  • Note, for example, that I have not attempted to compare the Biblical story of creation against the geological, paleontological, or anthropological record.
  • So the point of these stories is to explain the various maladies and misfortunes that naturally befall mankind and which, in a pre-scientific age, were inevitable conditions of human life that could not be ameliorated.

Glasgow , The Concept of Water , p.Tales of the North American Indians.Cambridge, Mass.Education Department Bulletin.University of the State of New York: Huron and Wyandot mythology, with an appendix containing earlier published records.Ottawa, Government Printing Bureau.Ashkenazi, Michael Handbook of Japanese mythology illustrated ed.OUP US.Barbour, Ian G.

Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues first revised ed.Bastian, Dawn E.Handbook of Native American Mythology.Boas, Franz Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnography.Government Printing Office: Bodde, Derk In Samuel Noah Kramer ed.Mythologies of the Ancient World.Booth, Anna Birgitta In Alan Dundes ed.Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth.Courlander, Harold Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions.

Doty, William Myth: A Handbook.University Alabama Press.Eliade, Mircea Patterns in comparative religion.Myth and Reality.Frank; Leaman, Oliver History of Jewish Philosophy.Psychology Press.Frankfort, Henri University of Chicago Press.Giddens, Sandra; Giddens, Owen African Mythology.The Rosen Publishing Group.Honko, Lauri Johnston, Susan A.Recorded Books , LLC.Kimball, Charles Comparative Religion.

The Teaching Company.Knappert, Jan Bantu Myths and Other Tales.Brill Archive.Encyclopedia of Creation Myths 2nd ed.Leeming, David A.Myth: A Biography of Belief.Creation Myths of the World 2nd ed.The Oxford companion to world mythology online ed.Retrieved 13 October Myth and Knowing illustrated ed.Littleton, C.Scott Gods, goddesses, and mythology.Marshall Cavendish.Long, Charles H.Alpha: The Myths of Creation.New York: George Braziller.MacClaglan, David Creation Myths: Man’s Introduction to the World.

Mair, Victor H.Bantam Books.McMullin, Ernan In Burrell, David B.Creation and the God of Abraham.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

May, Gerhard Creatio ex nihilo English trans.Nassen-Bayer; Stuart, Kevin October Asian Folklore Studies.JSTOR Nebe, Gottfried Creation in Jewish and Christian Tradition.Sheffield Academic Press.Pettazzoni, Raffaele ; Rose, H A Essays on the History of Religions.

E J Brill.Segal, Robert Myth: A Very Short Introduction.Soskice, Janet M.Cambridge University Press.Sproul, Barbara C.Primal Myths.HarperOne HarperCollinsPublishers.Stocker, Terry The Paleolithic Paradigm.Sweetman, James Windrow Islam and Christian Theology.

Thomas, Cullen Walton, John H.Baker Academic.Wasilewska, Ewa Creation stories of the Middle East.Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Retrieved 23 May Edson Richmond ed.Indiana University Press.Weigle, Marta Journal of American Folklore.Winzeler, Robert L.Anthropology and religion: what we know, think, and question.AltaMira Press.Womack, Mari Symbols and Meaning: A Concise Introduction.June Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany.Biblical cosmology Creation myth Creationism Creationist museum Genesis creation narrative History of creationism.

Outline Creation—evolution controversy Creation and evolution in public education Edwards v.Aguillard Kansas evolution hearings Kitzmiller v.Much remains a mystery, and as one question is answered, many others arise.The question that faced Pennsylvania’s Dover School District was whether or not the imposition of one creation belief on a multi-ethnic, secular student body is in keeping with the law that prohibits the creation of a state religion.

If they allow one belief system to be taught, surely they must also teach others? To help out with this dilemma, LiveScience presents a list of those Creation Myths that helped define civilizations both past and present Genesis, the first book of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible, contains two origin stories, both of which are accepted as the creation of the world by today’s Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths.In the first, God says, “Let there be light,” and light appears.

In six days, he creates the sky, the land, plants, the sun and moon, animals, and all creatures, including humans.To all he says, “Be fruitful and multiply,” which they do.On the seventh day God rests, contemplates his handiwork, and gives himself a good evaluation.In the second story, God creates the first man, Adam, from the earth.God anesthetizes Adam and makes one of his ribs into the first woman, Eve.

A talking serpent persuades her to eat the forbidden fruit, and she convinces Adam to do likewise.When God finds out, he drives them from the garden and makes man mortal.They should have stuck with apricots! The early Greek poets posited various cosmogonies.The best-preserved is Hesiod’s Theogony.In this hymn, out of the primordial chaos came the earliest divinities, including Gaia mother earth.

Gaia created Uranus, the sky, to cover herself.They spawned a bizarre menagerie of gods and monsters, including the Hecatonchires, monsters with 50 heads and a hundred hands, and the Cyclopes, the “wheel-eyed,” later forgers of Zeus’s thunderbolts.Next came the gods known as the Titans, 6 sons and 6 daughters.Uranus, despising his monstrous children, imprisoned them in Tartarus, the earth’s bowels.Enraged, Gaia made an enormous sickle and gave it to her youngest son, Cronus, with instructions.

When next Uranus appeared to copulate with Gaia, Cronus sprang out and hacked off his father’s genitals! Where Uranus’s blood and naughty bits fell, there sprang forth more monsters, the Giants and Furies.From the sea foam churned up by the the holy testicles came the goddess Aphrodite.Later, Cronus fathered the next generation of gods, Zeus and the Olympians.And, boy, were they dysfunctional! The Hindu cosmology contains many myths of creation, and the principal players have risen and fallen in importance over the centuries.

The earliest Vedic text, the Rig Veda, tells of a gigantic being, Purusha, possessing a thousand heads, eyes, and feet.He enveloped the earth, extending beyond it by the space of ten fingers.When the gods sacrificed Purusha, his body produced clarified butter, which engendered the birds and animals.

His body parts transformed into the world’s elements, and the gods Agni, Vayu, and Indra.Also, the four castes of Hindu society were created from his body: the priests, warriors, general populace, and the servants.Historically later, the trinity of Brahma the creator , Vishnu the preserver , and Shiva the destroyer gained prominence.

Brahma appears in a lotus sprouting from the navel of the sleeping Vishnu.Brahma creates the universe, which lasts for one of his days, or 4.Then Shiva destroys the universe and the cycle restarts.

Relax everybody, the current cycle has a couple billion years left.The gods created two divine siblings, brother Izanagi and sister Izanami, who stood upon a floating bridge above the primordial ocean.Using the jeweled spear of the gods, they churned up the first island, Onogoro.

Upon the island, Izanagi and Izanami married, and gave forth progeny that were malformed.The gods blamed it upon a breach of protocol.During the marriage ritual, Izanami, the woman, had spoken first.Correctly reprising their marriage ritual, the two coupled and produced the islands of Japan and more deities.

However, in birthing Kagutsuchi-no-Kami, the fire god, Izanami died.Traumatized, Izanagi followed her to Yomi, the land of the dead.Izanami, having eaten the food of Yomi, could not return.When Izanagi suddenly saw Izanami’s decomposing body, he was terrified and fled.Izanami, enraged, pursued him, accompanied by hideous women.

Izanagi hurled personal items at them, which transformed into diversions.Escaping the cavern entrance of Yomi, he blocked it with a boulder, thus permanently separating life from death.Rather like Persephone in Hades, isn’t it? A cosmic egg floated within the timeless void, containing the opposing forces of yin and yang.After eons of incubation, the first being, Pan-gu emerged.

The heavy parts yin of the egg drifted downwards, forming the earth.The lighter parts yang rose to form the sky.Pan-gu, fearing the parts might re-form, stood upon the earth and held up the sky.He grew 10 feet per day for 18, years, until the sky was 30, miles high.His work completed, he died.His parts transformed into elements of the universe, whether animals, weather phenomena, or celestial bodies.Some say the fleas on him became humans, but there is another explanation.

The Genesis of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic Faiths.All begin with the swirling, chaotic waters of Nu or Nun.

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