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CREATION MYTHS. Creation Myths explain the creation of the world/universe. The myth can be personal or impersonal, linear or cyclical Personal –speaks of a specific god like Gaea Impersonal – some great force like chaos Linear – creation to life and death
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Creation Myths explain the creation of the world/universe • The myth can be personal or impersonal, linear or cyclical • Personal –speaks of a specific god like Gaea • Impersonal – some great force like chaos • Linear – creation to life and death • Cyclical – creation to death to creation again • Chaos can be the enemy or the source of creation • The world can be created of nothing, of matter [existing earth or water], of self [part of a god or being] • The creative act can be solitary [single god] or communal [group of gods], sexual or asexual
Creation Myths establish a model of the creative process • Creation can come from firmament [ as in Gilgamesh / Endiku] & Genesis [man from Earth] • Creation via separation [Genesis: woman created by separation of rib from Adam] • From Chaos [Hymn of the Sun & Genesis] Michael Angelo
Creation Myths Build up a world-view, a hierarchy of values, "first things first" • In Genesis: god is male, the first human is male and the female is derivative. • In Plato's Symposium there is an evolution from unity to diversity and back towards unity. [Aristophanes story of Androgeny – humans originally had 2 heads, 4 legs and 4 arms and were very powerful. They were sexually she/she, he/he/ or she/he. Zeus was afraid humans were too powerful thus cut them in half. Thus, we are all looking for our other half – explains sexual preference.] • In many Goddess stories, creation comes from the female Goddess, then female humans, then last of all male humans. Sometimes the male God is entirely absent or he can be a rotating consort [Greeks: Gaea is mother Earth, Theogony]
In Creation Myths, sexuality is often linked to salvation or shame • In Genesis we have both – be prosperous and multiply as well as sex= fall, fault, shame. Covering of nakedness; sexuality is desacralized and disconnected from the fertility of the earth. • Gilgamesh – sexuality = civilization but innocence is lost [Endiku becomes civilized through sexuality but loses connection with the wild beasts] • In Plato's Symposium, sexuality is linked to our original unity, [Aristophanes tale of Androgeny]
Apache Creation Shows a mother goddess giving birth to man and providing the waters for a fertile earth.
Creation Myths explain how and why bad things happen • Genesis: The description of the Fall tells us who to blame as well as the first murder [Cain & Abel] and the flood [Noah] establish right vs. wrong • Gilgamesh – the killing of bull and its repercussions [death of Endiku] • Coyote stories of the Native Americans blame Coyote: a sometimes dangerous but comic figure who is somewhere between the gods and humans. [Coyote’s wife died and he was told he could reclaim her if he didn’t touch her. But poor coyote could not resist trying to touch her and thus death for everyone means we cannot see, hear or touch those who have died].
Creation Myths show patterns of divine/human interaction and establish ethics models • The Genesis myth sanctifies obedience. • Man must obey God’s will or suffer punishment • The Prometheus myth sanctifies rebellion. • Because Prometheus disobeyed Zeus, man has fire and can survive. • Gilgamesh sanctifies balance • Gilgamesh not a good ruler until her is both powerful and compassionate. • Hymn to the Sun sanctifies Akenaten • Hymn establishes Akenaten as true ruler as he is the son of God.