Faith and Mythology: Creation myths

The Bible starts with creation of course, so let's look at creation myths around the world and see how they agree or disagree. There are some surprising similarities if you look for them. For a start, d’you suppose that seven-day weeks really come from the Bible account of creation? How come they’re so prevalent; how come the names of the days are so consistently non-Jewish? In fact, many (but not all) cultures made seven a symbolic number—it divides the lunar 28-day month into four manageable units; it accounts for the seven “visible” heavenly wanderers among the stars (sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter), hence Greek and Roman gods, etc…

So there’s going to be sevens in creation myths. What other similarities will we find?
  • World parent myths: God as father, or two gods as father and mother: The Bible says we are God’s children
    • Earth and sky are often the two parents, or
    • Chinese: Pangu is born in an egg, breaks it in two to make sky and earth, then his body parts become the different parts of the earth
    • India: the golden womb
    • Native-American: Earth-mother / midwife
  • Creation out of nothing / out of chaos: Not just a Judeo-Christian idea.
    • Ancient Egypt: The world came out of a lifeless sea of chaos when the first sun rose; first to appear was a pyramid. Different versions accentuated different gods. (And, of course, the Bible often uses a sea to represent chaos, see Revelation.)
    • India: In Indian stories, the creation hymn sounds very similar to the Bible—“not the non-existent existed, not did the existent exist…” is one translation. Existence grows from heat, and desire is the primal seed.
    • Many animist faiths have similar tales.
  • Built world: Formed out of dust perhaps?
    • Scandinavian mythology: world egg, world tree
    • Many myths have the broken parts of god forming the parts of the world. God’s sacrificial love?

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