Top 11 Creation Myths
(Top Posts - History - 122504 [updated 031509])

A multitude of creation myths have existed through-
out the cultures of evolved apes, with quite a few
of them surviving long enough to make it into modern
times.

One recent creation myth, an effort by religionists to
deal with the ongoing advances in scientific areas,
starts out the list, and the most popular surviving myth
in the western-influenced and Arabic-influenced worlds
rounds out the list.

#11 : "The Creator" Designs Nature

#10 : Hammer of the Gods, Norse Mythology

  #9 : Zoroastrianism, The Religion of Ancient Persia

  #8 : By the Rivers of Babylon, Mesopotamian Religions

  #7 : Spirits of Ancient Egypt

  #6 : Aztecs, South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

  #5 : China, The Middle Kingdom

  #4 : Japan, This Island Earth

  #3 : Hinduism, Rendezvous With Brahma

  #2 : The Greeks and the Titans

  #1 : The Genesis of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic Faiths

- - -

#11 : "The Creator" Designs Nature

The following myth is something that religious folks
who are interested in nature as a result of "the Cre-
ator" might find of import, to fit somewhere in their
perceptions of a marriage between science and "the
Creator" that some of them seek:

- - -

Becoming dissatisfied with myths 1-10 mentioned
above (as if, for in actuality, the ID myth is simply
an effort by religionists to get evolution doubt and
religious faith instituted in U.S. science classes), reli-
gionists who advocate Intelligent Design (an effort
to interpret science in a manner that leaves room for
"the Creator") seek some way to reconcile science
with religion, specifically with monotheism of a Judeo-
Christian/western perspective, for the most part, al-
though a vaguer "In God We Trust" Deism is also
in play with the ID crowd.

- - -

And in the beginning was "the Creator", and lo, being
a lonely being, it sought companionship in the empti-
ness which filled all that ever was.

So, in its infinite wisdom, it designed "the Universe",
implementing all the laws of nature, and so it began.

And at that moment, within the instructions laid down,
"the Creator" implemented the physics by which, on
the 3rd rock from an average star in a nondescript gal-
axy, eventually, a form of life evolved that "the Creator"
could interact with, on occasion, following billions of
years of development of other life forms, some of
which eventually ended up in the evolved ape known
as homo sapiens.

- - -
Aside --

One version of this myth has the design of nature by
"the Creator" falling short of the mark insofar as cre-
ation of life was concerned.

In that version, "the Creator" decided to intervene in
the realm of nature, and while earth was amidst its
fiery developmental stage, with massive comet/aster-
oid collisions, no oxygen in the atmosphere, "the
Creator" supernaturalistically planted DNA instruc-
tions which took about 4 billion years to eventually
result in a being "the Creator" could relate to.

How did "the Creator" relate to his creation?

With stuff like guilt, hell-threats, disease, plagues,
death, starvation, and with (per one particular version
of the myth that many in the west like) the appearance
of a blood sacrifice called Jesus, to supposedly save
the worthy (the believers in the 'right' version of super-
naturalism).

From whom are the worthy being saved?

Well, from "the Creator", of course. -- End Aside
- - -

And so it was, the great plan, a masterstroke of "the
Creator", but whatever you do, don't blame "the Cre-
ator" for anything 'wrong', 'cause "the Creator" is per-
fection -and- is grrrrrrrreat, so anything 'wrong' must
be due to something or someone *not* "the Creator".

So goes much of the mythos of "the Creator" stories.

Amen.

- - -
The Top 10 Intelligent Designs (or Creation Myths)
  http://www.livescience.com/history/top10_intelligent_designs.html
- - -

Several parents won a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania
school district in 2005 that had added the controversial
theory of "intelligent design" to its curriculum. Unlike
the theory of evolution which is taught at most schools
as a fact-based science, "intelligent design" -- as argued
by the plaintiffs -- was nothing more than a philosophy
predicated on the Judeo-Christian belief that the logical
sequences found in nature are not random happenings
or surprising mutations, but deftly managed events cre-
ated by a greater omniscient and omnipresent intelligence
with a specific plan. In short, the work of God. A federal
judge thought otherwise.

But therein lies the rub: Which god? When the founding
fathers established the Constitution of the United States,
they chose to include the separation of church and state.
This was to ensure that the state-sanctioned religious per-
secutions that plagued much of Europe during the 16th
century would not despoil the young, yet grand experi-
ment in democracy that was to become this Republic.

Scientific research has come a long way since Charles
Darwin first posited the concept of "natural selection."
In the intervening years, humanity has learned much about
how we became the dominant species on the planet, how
the Earth and the solar system were formed and the ever-
changing development of the Universe. Over that time,
how we understand the theory of evolution has also
changed.

Scientists now think that there is an intrinsic logic to our
reality, that there are absolutes, laws of nature. Much
remains a mystery, and as one question is answered,
many others arise. The question that faced Pennsylva-
nia's Dover School District was whether or not the im-
position 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 sys-
tem 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 civiliza-
tions both past and present...

- - -
  http://www.livescience.com/history/top10_intelligent_designs-1.html
- - -

#10 : Hammer of the Gods, Norse Mythology

Mother's Milk: The giant cow Auđhumla feeds
Ymir with her milk
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_norse.jpg

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.

According to Norse lore, before there was Earth
(Midgard), there was Muspell, a fiery land guarded
by the fire sword-wielding Surt; Ginnungagap, a
great void, and Niflheim, a frozen ice-covered land.

When the cold of Niflheim touched the fires of Mus-
pell, the giant Ymir and a behemothic cow, Auđhumla,
emerged from the thaw.

Then, the cow licked the god Bor and his wife into
being.

The couple gave birth to Buri, who fathered three
sons, Odin, Vili, and Vé.

The sons rose up and killed Ymir and from his
corpse created from his flesh, the Earth; the moun-
tains from his bones, trees with his hair and rivers,
and the seas and lakes with his blood.

Within Ymir's hollowed-out skull, the gods created
the starry heavens.

What can we say: Pure metal magic!!

- - -

#9 : Zoroastrianism, The Religion of Ancient Persia

The god Ahura Mazda: At first, he was only repre-
sented as two wings, later the human figure was
added. Credit: hindubooks.org
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_zoroastrian.jpg

The Bundahishn of the Middle Persian era tells of
the world created by the deity Ahura Mazda.

The great mountain, Alburz, grew for 800 years
until it touched the sky.

From that point, rain fell, forming the Vourukasha
sea and two great rivers.

The first animal, the white bull, lived on the bank of
the river Veh Rod.

However, the evil spirit, Angra Mainyu, killed it.

Its seed was carried to the moon and purified, cre-
ating many animals and plants.

Across the river lived the first man, Gayomard, bright
as the sun.

Angra Mainyu also killed him. Ouch!

The sun purified his seed for forty years, which then
sprouted a rhubarb plant. This plant grew into Mashya
and Mashyanag, the first mortals.

Instead of killing them, Angra Mainyu deceived them
into worshipping him. After 50 years they bore twins,
but they ate the twins, owing to their sin.

After a very long time, two more twins were born, and
from them came all humans (but specifically Persians).

- - -

#8 : By the Rivers of Babylon, Mesopotamian Religions

Not ready for primetime: Image of Marduk
and his snake dragon. Image Credit: J. Black
& A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols of
ancient Mesopotamia, 1992
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_babylonian.jpg

The Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish,
begins with the gods of water, Apsu (fresh), and
Tiamat (salt), spawning several generations of
gods, leading to Ea and his many brothers.

However, these younger gods made so much
noise that Apsu and Tiamat could not sleep (a
complaint still common today amongst apartment-
dwellers).

Apsu plotted to kill them, but Ea killed him first.

Tiamat vowed revenge and created many mon-
sters, including the Mad Dog and Scorpion Man.

Ea and the goddess Damkina created Marduk,
a giant god with four eyes and four ears, as their
protector.

In tangling with Tiamat, Marduk, bearing the winds
as weapons, hurled an evil wind down her gullet,
incapacitating her, and then killed her with a single
arrow to her heart.

He then split her body in half and used it to create
the heavens and the earth.

Later he created man to do the drudge work that
the gods refused to do, like farming, telemarketing
and accounting.

(Marduk currently appears on Cartoon Network's
Sealab 2020!)

- - -

#7 : Spirits of Ancient Egypt

Hold that pose: Geb, the god of the Earth,
hoists Nut, the goddess of the sky, into
position.
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_egyptian.jpg

The ancient Egyptians had several creation
myths. All begin with the swirling, chaotic waters
of Nu (or Nun).

Atum willed himself into being, and then created
a hill, otherwise there'd be no place for him to
stand. Atum was genderless and possessed an
all-seeing eye. He/she spat out a son, Shu, god
of the air.

Atum then vomited up a daughter, Tefnut, goddess
of moisture. These two were charged with the task
of creating order out of chaos.

Shu and Tefnut generated Geb, the earth, and Nut,
the sky. First they were entwined, but Geb lifted
Nut above him. Gradually the world's order formed,
but Shu and Tefnut became lost in the remaining
darkness.

Atum removed his/her all-seeing eye and sent it in
search of them.

(Just how all-seeing it was, and what did Atum do
without, remains a mystery.)

When Shu and Tefnut returned, thanks to the eye,
Atum wept with joy.

(Presumably he/she re-inserted the eye first.)

Where the tears struck the earth, men sprang up.

- - -

#6 : Aztecs, South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

Mother! Please!: Coatlicue was depicted as
a woman with a skirt of snakes and a necklace
of hearts torn from her victims.
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_aztec.jpg

The earth mother of the Aztecs, Coatlicue ("skirt
of snakes,") is depicted in a fearsome way, wear-
ing a necklace of human hearts and hands, and
a skirt of snakes as her name suggests.

The story goes that Coatlicue was impregnated
by an obsidian knife and gave birth to Coyolxauhqui,
goddess of the moon, and to 400 sons, who be-
came the stars of the southern sky.

Later, a ball of feathers fell from the sky which,
upon Coatlicue finding it and placing it in her waist-
band, caused her to become pregnant again.

Coyolxauhqui and her brothers turned against their
mother, whose unusual pregnancy shocked and
outraged them, the origin being unknown. However,
the child inside Coatlique, Huitzilopochtli, the god
of war and the sun god, sprang from his mother's
womb, fully-grown and armored (talk about a C-
section!).

He attacked Coyolxauhqui, killing her with the aid
of a fire serpent. Cutting off her head, he flung it
into the sky, where it became the moon.

That was supposed to comfort Coatlicue, his
mother--some comfort!

- - -

#5 : China, The Middle Kingdom

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Pan-gu
separates the Earth from the Sky.
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_china.jpg

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 down-
wards, 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 18,000 years, until
the sky was 30,000 miles high.

His work completed, he died.

His parts transformed into elements of the uni-
verse, whether animals, weather phenomena, or
celestial bodies.

Some say the fleas on him became humans, but
there is another explanation. The goddess Nuwa
was lonely, so she fashioned men out of mud from
the Yellow River. These first humans delighted her,
but took long to make, so she flung muddy droplets
over the earth, each one becoming a new person.

These hastily-made people became the common-
ers, with the earlier ones being the nobles, the first
example of mass-production!

- - -

#4 : Japan, This Island Earth

All in the Family: Izanagi and Izanami, the siblings
that brought forth Japan and its inhabitants.
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_japan.jpg

The gods created two divine siblings, brother
Izanagi and sister Izanami, who stood upon a float-
ing 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 trans-
formed 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?)

- - -

#3 : Hinduism, Rendezvous With Brahma

The Other Trinity: Brahma, the creator, is pictured
with four heads, though he used to have five.
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_hindu.jpg

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 thous-
and 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 trans-
formed 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 cre-
ator), 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 4.32 billion years. Then Shiva destroys the
universe and the cycle restarts.

Relax everybody, the current cycle has a couple
billion years left.

- - -

#2 : The Greeks and the Titans

Dads, think twice about curfew: The Mutilation
of Uranus by Cronus, by Vasari and Gherardi.
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_greek.jpg

The early Greek poets posited various cosmo-
gonies.

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 forg-
ers 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 instruc-
tions. 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 testi-
cles came the goddess Aphrodite.

Later, Cronus fathered the next generation of gods,
Zeus and the Olympians.

And, boy, were they dysfunctional!

- - -

#1 : The Genesis of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic Faiths

Gifts from a Stranger: Adam and Eve, bears the
following marking: 'Albrecht Durer of Nuremberg
made this engraving in 1504'
  http://www.livescience.com/images/top10_creation_jud_christ.jpg

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 handi-
work, and gives himself a good evaluation.

In the second story, God creates the first man,
Adam, from the earth. He makes a garden in
Eden for Adam, but forbids him to eat fruit from
the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."
Adam names the animals but remains lonely.

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!

- - - end of article - - -

Further elaboration, myths present in Mesopotamia
prior to the development of the versions iterated
above:

Myths
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=119916&tocid=68264#68264.toc
Excerpt: "... 'Inanna's Descent," relates how the god-
dess Inanna (Lady of the Date Clusters) set her heart
on ruling the netherworld and tried to depose her older
sister, the queen of the netherworld, Ereshkigal (Lady
of the Greater Earth).

Her attempt failed, and she was killed and changed into
a piece of rotting meat in the netherworld. It took all the
ingenuity of Enki (Lord of Sweet Waters in the Earth)
to bring Inanna back to life, and even then she was
released only on condition that she furnish a substitute
to take her place. ...

Most likely all of these myths have backgrounds in
fertility cults and concern the disappearance of nature's
fertility with the onset of the dry season or with the
underground storage of food. ...

Another Sumerian myth, the 'Eridu Genesis,' tells of the
creation of man and animals, of the building of the first
cities, and of the flood. ..."

Eridu Genesis
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=33472
"In Mesopotamian religious literature, ancient Sumerian
epic primarily concerned with the creation of the world,
the building of cities, and the flood.

According to the epic, after the universe was created
out of the primeval sea and the gods were given birth,
the deities in turn fashioned man from clay to cultivate
the ground, care for flocks, and perpetuate the worship
of the gods.

Cities were soon built and kingship was instituted on
Earth. For some reason, however, the gods determined
to destroy mankind with a flood. Enki (Akkadian Ea),
who did not agree with the decree, revealed it to
Ziusudra (Utnapishtim), a man well known for his
humility and obedience.

Ziusudra did as Enki commanded him and built a huge
boat, in which he successfully rode out the flood.

Afterward, he prostrated himself before the gods
An (Anu) and Enlil (Bel), and, as a reward for living
a godly life, Ziusudra was given immortality."

Gilgamesh
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=37553
Excerpt: "... The Gilgamesh of the poems and of the
epic tablets was probably the Gilgamesh who ruled
at Uruk in southern Mesopotamia sometime during
the first half of the 3rd millennium BC and who was
thus a contemporary of Agga, ruler of Kish; Gilgamesh
of Uruk was also mentioned in the Sumerian list of
kings as reigning after the flood. There is, however,
no historical evidence for the exploits narrated in
poems and epic. ..."

India
Religion and burial customs
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=121168&tocid=46833#46833.toc
Excerpt: "... Some seals suggest influence from or
at least traits held in common with Mesopotamia;
among these are the Gilgamesh (Mesopotamian epic)
motif of a man grappling with a pair of tigers and the
bull-man Enkidu (a human with horns, tail, and rear
hooves of a bull). ..."

Middle Eastern Religion
General Considerations
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=119914&tocid=68342#68342.toc
Excerpt: "... The prototype of the biblical story
of the Deluge has turned up in the Gilgamesh
epic. A fragment (dating from about 1400 BC)
of that Babylonian epic has been found at
Megiddo in Israel, showing that the Mesopo-
tamian version was current in Palestine before
the Hebrews, under Joshua, conquered the
land about 1200 BC. ..."

Archaeology refutes the Bible's claim to history
  http://prohuman.net/history/archaeology_refutes_bible.htm

Excerpt: "... Back in the days when archaeology was
buttressing the old biblical tales, the relationship
between science and religon had warmed consider-
ably; now the old chill has crept back in.

The comfy ecumenicism that allowed one to believe in,
say, modern physics and Abraham, Isaac, et al. is dis-
appearing; replaced by a somewhat sharper dividing line
between science and faith.

The implications are sweeping--after all, it is not the Song
of the Nibelungen or the Epic of Gilgamesh that is being
called into question here but a series of foundational myths
to which fully half the world's population, in one way or
another, subscribes. ..."

Meteor clue to end of Middle East civilisations    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1361474/Meteor-clue-to-end-of-Middle-East-civilisations.html

Excerpt: "... SCIENTISTS have found the first evidence
that a devastating meteor impact in the Middle East might
have triggered the mysterious collapse of civilisations more
than 4,000 years ago.

Studies of satellite images of southern Iraq have revealed
a two-mile-wide circular depression which scientists say
bears all the hallmarks of an impact crater. If confirmed,
it would point to the Middle East being struck by a meteor
with the violence equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs.

Today's crater lies on what would have been shallow sea
4,000 years ago, and any impact would have caused devas-
tating fires and flooding.

The catastrophic effect of these could explain the mystery
of why so many early cultures went into sudden decline
around 2300 BC.

...

A date of around 2300 BC for the impact may also cast
new light on the legend of Gilgamesh, dating from the same
period. The legend talks of "the Seven Judges of Hell", who
raised their torches, lighting the land with flame, and a storm
that turned day into night, "smashed the land like a cup", and
flooded the area.

The discovery of the crater has sparked great interest among
scientists.

Dr Benny Peiser, who lectures on the effects of meteor im-
pacts at John Moores University, Liverpool, said it was one
of the most significant discoveries in recent years and would
corroborate research he and others have done.

He said that craters recently found in Argentina date from
around the same period - suggesting that the Earth may have
been hit by a shower of large meteors at about the same time."

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