Last week we read a bit about creation myths from around the world. Although this was more difficult reading, it was my favorite reading from the semester thus far. I find creation myths intriguing, likely because of my Christian background. I believe in one God who created the Heavens and the Earth, and even though the different creation myths throughout the world differ, they all have similarities that I believe prove that they all branch from what I believe to be the one true Creation Story as recorded in the Holy Bible.
The reading suggests that there are five overarching categories of creation myths:
- Ex Nihilo, or the belief that one God created all. This is the type of creation that I identify with. The Hebrew God created the heavens, earth, man, animals, and everything around us in six days and rested on the seventh. A similar god exists in many other cultures throughout the world, although he appears in different forms.For the Bantu speaking Fan people of Africa, “In the beginning there was only Nzame, made up of three parts: Nzame, Mebere, and Nkwa.” This sounds very similar to the Hebrew God who consists of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- The next type of myth is referred to as “creation from chaos.” This is similar to the Big Bang Theory- ideas that everything came from something in various ways. Similar to Ex Nihilo creation, there is sometimes a creator but unlike the Hebrew God, he does not create everything from nothing. The California Cahto Indians, for example, say that Nagaitcho created the world, beginning by “repairing the old sandstone sky” that obviously existed before he did. The concept of the “cosmic egg” also appears within this category of creation myth. Sometimes this mythological motif appears in the form of a giant bird, carrying an egg that was dropped and when it cracked, the world was created. Or in the case of the Indian creator Prajapati who emerged from a cosmic egg in some versions of his story, as did the Self-Existent Brahman, whose semen in the waters became a golden egg, and out of the egg Brahman was born as progenitor of all.
- World-Parent creation often tells of two lovers, often depicted as sky and earth, whose relationship created man in some way or another. The Northern Indian Minyong people have a world parent creation myth in which the love-making of the primal female, Earth, and the primal male, Sky,threatened to crush their offspring. The same fear arose among the children of the Polynesian Rangi and Papa (Heaven
and Earth) who found themselves in the darkness between the coupling parents.
- Emergence Creation is often the belief that man emerged from lower levels within the earth. If one could enter the kivas of present day pueblo tribes along the Rio Grande in New Mexico and in northwestern Arizona, a large hole would be evident. This hole is the sipapu, the symbolic opening from which the people emerged finally from the lower world·from Mother Earth.
- Finally, Earth Divers Creation stresses the creation of Earth as opposed to the larger cosmos. Animals often play an important role in the creation, as do the primeval waters and often an evil force that balances the good in a dualistic tension. For the Garo of India it was a beetle who gathered clay from under the waters. Using this clay, the creator made Earth and decorated her with sky, clouds, and plant life. Eventually he made the first Garo as well.