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Encyclopedia > Cosmogonic myths
For scientific articles about the origins of the Earth and the Universe, see: formation and evolution of the solar system and Big Bang, respectively.
For origin narratives in various traditions, see: Creation within belief systems.

An origin belief, creation myth, or cosmogonic myth is a supernatural story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe (cosmogony). [1][ Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... Creation within belief systems covers creation beliefs that are part of a named system of beliefs. ... Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... The theories concerning the formation and evolution of the Solar System are complex and varied, interweaving various scientific disciplines, from astronomy and physics to geology and planetary science. ... According to the Big Bang model, the universe emerged from an extremely dense and hot state. ... Creation within belief systems covers creation beliefs that are part of a named system of beliefs. ... Various creation stories have a first man, the first human being. ... Adjectives: Terrestrial, Terran, Telluric, Tellurian, Earthly Atmosphere Surface pressure: 101. ... For other uses, see Life (disambiguation). ... The Universe is defined as the summation of all particles and energy that exist and the space-time in which all events occur. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

Contents

Overview

Bill Reid's sculpture The Raven and The First Men, showing part of a Haida creation myth. The Raven represents the Trickster figure common to many mythologies. The work is in the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver.

Origin beliefs are mytho-religious stories which typically explain the beginnings of the universe as a deliberate act of "creation" by a supreme being. Creation within belief systems covers creation beliefs that are part of a named system of beliefs. ... Photo of Bill Reids sculpture Raven and The First Men, showing part of a Haida creation myth. ... Photo of Bill Reids sculpture Raven and The First Men, showing part of a Haida creation myth. ... Bill Reids sculpture The Raven and The New Men, showing part of a Haida creation myth. ... The Haida are an Indigenous nation of the west coast of North America. ... The trickster figure Reynard the Fox as depicted in an 1869 childrens book by Michel Rodange. ... Mythologies is the title of a book by Roland Barthes (ISBN 0374521506), published in 1957. ... The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a Canadian public university with its main campus located at Point Grey in the unincorporated Electoral Area A, immediately west of Vancouver, British Columbia. ... The word mythology (from the Greek μυολογία mythología, from μυολογείν mythologein to relate myths, from μύος mythos, meaning a narrative, and λόγος logos, meaning speech or argument) literally means the (oral) retelling of myths – stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use the supernatural to interpret natural events and... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... Creation is a doctrinal position in many religions which maintains that one or a group of gods or deities is responsible for creating the universe. ... Candidates for regular freemasonry are required to declare a belief in a Supreme Being; a generic description allowing the candidate to adhere to whichever deity or concept he holds to be appropriate. ...


The term creation myth is sometimes used in a derogatory way to describe stories which are still believed today, as the term myth may suggest something which is absurd or fictional. While these beliefs and stories need not be a literal account of actual events, they may yet express ideas that are perceived by some people and cultures to be truths at a deeper or more symbolic level. Author Daniel Quinn notes that in this sense creation myths need not be religious in nature, and they have secular analogues in modern cultures. Daniel Quinn (born 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska) is a United States writer. ...


Many accounts of creation share broadly similar themes. Common motifs include the fractionation of the things of the world from a primordial chaos (demiurge); the separation of the mother and father gods; land emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean; and so on. The Demiurge, The Craftsman or Creator, in some belief systems, is the deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...


Creation myths generally have nine elements throughout the story:[citation needed]

  • Birth: where the first person or deity came from.
  • Mother/Father: who the father god and mother goddess. For example, the Greek creation myth has Gaia as the mother goddess, and Uranus as the father god.
  • Genealogy: who was the parent of whom
  • Active/Passive creation: how everything had been created. If it had been active creation, then there was a creator. Passive creation is when something is just created. Therefore, Gaia is the active creator and Uranus the passive creator.
  • Supreme Being: the most powerful god. For Babylonians, this was Marduk.
  • Realm: the home of the gods.

Some religious groups assert that their accounts of creation should be considered alongside, supersede, or even replace scientific accounts of the development of life and the cosmos. This assertion has proven highly controversial (for one example, see creation-evolution controversy). For other uses, see Gaia. ... Uranus is the Latinized form of Ouranos (), the Greek word for sky. ... Marduk (Sumerian spelling in Akkadian: AMAR.UTU solar calf; Biblical: Merodach) was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon permanently became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ... For other uses, see Life (disambiguation). ... The Ancient and Medieval cosmos as depicted in Peter Apians Cosmographia (Antwerp, 1539). ... The creation-evolution controversy (also termed the creation vs. ...


Metaphysical creation possibilities

Creation stories at their outset being with either of two possibilities: demiurge or creation ex nihilo (Latin: out of nothing). In the first case, the universe is assumed infinite in existence, though the present order of the universe is derived from some organizational initiative, often precipitated by a deity, as is found in the Abrahamic Religions. In an example of demiurge creation, Ancient Greeks believed that the present order was borne out of an initial state of chaos in a process known as the demiurge.[citations needed] The Demiurge, The Craftsman or Creator, in some belief systems, is the deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... Ex nihilo is a Latin term meaning out of nothing. It is often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning creation out of nothing. Due to the nature of this, the term is often used in philosophical or creationistic arguments, as a number of... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... The Universe is defined as the summation of all particles and energy that exist and the space-time in which all events occur. ... The infinity symbol ∞ in several typefaces. ... Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... map showing the prevalence of Abrahamic (purple) and Dharmic (yellow) religions in each country. ... Ancient Greece is the term used to describe the Greek_speaking world in ancient times. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...


Abrahamic tradition

Several religions have creation stories, some of which account for the existence and present form of the Universe by the act of creation by a supreme being or the Creator God. Most of these accounts depict one or several gods fashioning things out of themselves, or from pre-existing material (for example chaos or prakriti). Creation within belief systems covers creation beliefs that are part of a named system of beliefs. ... Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... The Universe is defined as the summation of all particles and energy that exist and the space-time in which all events occur. ... Candidates for regular freemasonry are required to declare a belief in a Supreme Being; a generic description allowing the candidate to adhere to whichever deity or concept he holds to be appropriate. ... God is the divine being that created the omniverse. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Prakrti or Prakriti (from Sanskrit language) is, according to samkhya philosophy the basic matter of which the universe consists. ...


The scholastic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam for the most part speak of creation ex nihilo (creation from nothing, emphasising that before God created the Universe, there were no elements of it in existence). This is typified, for example, by the view that the first verse of the Hebrew Bible ("In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth") indicates the only self-existent entity is God with all other things deriving from God. 2 Maccabees 7:28 indicates that this philosophy may have been a common Jewish understanding of creation: "I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not ...". Similar to this is the language found in the Book of Hebrews, which states, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear". Some (notably Augustine of Hippo) also hold that God is altogether outside of time and that time exists only within the created universe. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Christianity percentage by country, purple is highest, orange is lowest Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch... Islam (Arabic:  ) is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ... 2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible which focuses on the Jews revolt against Antiochus and concludes with the defeat of the Syrian general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the work. ... The Epistle to the Hebrews (abbreviated Heb. ... “Augustinus” redirects here. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... While in the popular mind, eternity often simply means existing for an infinite, i. ...


However, in these traditions, the belief that God gave shape to pre-existing things was not unheard of, and that idea became more fully articulated especially under the influence of Greek philosophy. In both Judaism and Christianity, belief in creation "from nothing" clearly dominated the traditions sometime in the second century C.E., in part as a reaction against classical philosophy. The following story from the Talmud illustrates this:

A philosopher said to R. Gamiliel: Your God was a great craftsman, but he found himself good materials which assisted him: Tohu wa-Bohu (Hebrew for "formless and void"), and darkness, and wind, and water, and the primeval deep. Said R. Gamiliel to him: May the wind be blown out of that man! Each material is referred to as created. Tohu wa-Bohu: "I make peace and create evil"; darkness: "I form the light and create darkness"; water: "Praise him, ye heaven of heavens, and ye waters" -- why? -- "For he commanded, and they were created"; wind: "For, lo, He that formeth the mountains, and created the wind"; the primeval deep: "When there were no depths, I was brought forth". BR 1.9, Th-Alb:8

Departing from this tradition, some modern scholars have argued that these statements and all others are still susceptible to ambiguous interpretation, so that creation ex nihilo may not be clearly supported by ancient texts, including the Bible. They point out the similarities of the biblical account, to other ancient religious beliefs that the universe was created by God or the gods out of pre-existing matter (demiurge), as opposed to "out of nothing". Some scholars[citation needed] see evidence that the biblical account, like other ancient religious views, presumes pre-existence of some kind of raw material, albeit without form: "Now the earth was formless and void, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the spirit of God hovered over the waters." God then fashions the disordered material, to create the world. This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... The Demiurge, The Craftsman or Creator, in some belief systems, is the deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ...


Joseph Campbell wrote extensively on the subject and considered creative mythology a means to reconcile the waking consciousness to the mysterium tremendum et fascinans of this universe as it is. In his book The Masks of God: Creative Mythology he explains that the retelling of the creation myth would render an interpretive total image of creation to be known to contemporary culture. Renewing the act of the experience of creation the existence of adventure is renewed, “at once shattering and reintegrating the fixed already known, in the sacrificial creative fire of the becoming thing that is no thing at all but life, not as it will be or as it shouldn't be, as it wasn't or as it never will be, but as it is, in depth, in process, here and now, inside and out. Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 31, 1987) was an American professor, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative mythology and comparative religion. ...


Hindu creationism


A Hindu creation account is recorded in the sacred texts, the Vedas, according to which the universe, the Earth, along with humans and other creatures undergo repeated cycles of creation and destruction (pralaya). A variety of myths exist regarding the specifics of the process, but in general the Hindu view of the cosmos is as eternal and cyclic. Vedic texts teach that humans have lived in unchanged form on the earth for many millions of years. Within the diverse traditions of Hinduism, creation of the universe and life itself is generally believed to have occurred due to the will of a supreme consciousness or intelligence, often referred to as Brahman[1]. The accounts of the emergence of life within the universe vary in description, but classically... Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... The Vedas (Sanskrit: वेद) are a large corpus of texts originating in Ancient India. ... Pralaya , in Hindu theosophy , is a period of time of the cycle of existence of the planets where activity does not occur. ...


In the Vedas

The Rig Veda describes the origin of the universe as: The Rig Veda ऋग्वेद (Sanskrit ṛc praise + veda knowledge) is the earliest of the four Hindu religious scriptures known as the Vedas. ...

"Then was not non-existence nor existence: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it. What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water? Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day's and night's divider. That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever. Darkness there was at first concealed in darkness this. All was indiscriminated chaos. All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit. Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit. Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent. Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it? There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder. Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The devas are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being? He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not" - (Rig Veda 10.129.1-7) A Deva, in Hinduism, is a deity, controlling forces of nature such as fire, air, etc. ...


But the Rig Veda's view of the cosmos also sees one true divine principle self-projecting as the divine word, Vaak, 'birthing' the cosmos that we know, from the monistic Hiranyagarbha or Golden Womb. The Hiranyagarbha is alternatively viewed as Brahma, the creator who was in turn created by God, or as God (Brahman) himself. Monism is the metaphysical position that all is of one essential essence, substance or energy. ... According to an account of the Hindu mythology, Hiranyagarbha, meaning the golden womb, is the source of the creation of the universe. ... Brahma (IAST: Brahmā) (Devanagari ब्रह्मा, pronounced as ) is the Hindu god (deva) of creation, and one of the Hindu Trinity - Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...


In The Puranas

The later puranic view asserts that the universe is created, destroyed, and re-created in an eternally repetitive series of cycles. In Hindu cosmology, a universe endures for about 4,320,000,000 years (one day of Brahma, the creator or kalpa) and is then destroyed by fire or water elements. At this point, Brahma rests for one night, just as long as the day. This process, named pralaya (Cataclysm), repeats for 100 Brahma years (311 trillion human years) that represents Brahma's lifespan. It must be noted that Brahma is the creator but not necessarily regarded as God in Hinduism. He is mostly regarded as a creation of God / Brahman. The Puranas are part of Hindu Smriti; these religious scriptures discuss devotion and mythology. ... Brahma (IAST: Brahmā) (Devanagari ब्रह्मा, pronounced as ) is the Hindu god (deva) of creation, and one of the Hindu Trinity - Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. ... Kalevan Pallo is a professional Finnish ice hockey team. ... Pralaya , in Hindu theosophy , is a period of time of the cycle of existence of the planets where activity does not occur. ... Brahman (nominative ) is the concept of the supreme spirit found in Hinduism. ...


We are currently believed to be in the 51st year of the present Brahma and so about 155 trillion years have elapsed since He was born as Brahma. After Brahma's "death", it is necessary that another 100 Brahma years pass until he is reborn and the whole creation begins anew. This process is repeated again and again, forever.


Brahma's life is divided in one thousand cycles (Maha Yuga, or the Great Year). Maha Yuga, during which life, including the human race appears and then disappears, has 71 divisions, each made of 14 Manvantara (1000) years. Each Maha Yuga lasts for 4,320,000 years. Manvantara is Manu's cycle, the one who gives birth and governs the human race. Yuga (Devnāgari: युग) in Hindu philosophy refers to an epoch or era within a cycle of four ages: the Satya Yuga (or Krita Yuga), the Treta Yuga, the Dvapara Yuga and finally the Kali Yuga. ... In Hinduism, Manu is a title accorded the progenitor of humankind, first king to rule this earth, who saves mankind from the universal flood. ...


Each Maha Yuga consists of a series of four shorter yugas, or ages. The yugas get progressively worse from a moral point of view as one proceeds from one yuga to another. As a result each yuga is of shorter duration than the age that preceded it. The current Kali Yuga (Iron Age) began at midnight 17 February / 18 February in 3102 BC in the proleptic Julian calendar.

See also: Hindu units of measurement, Hinduism and creationism, and Hindu Cycle Of The Universe

This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Within the diverse traditions of Hinduism, creation of the universe and life itself is generally believed to have occurred due to the will of a supreme consciousness or intelligence, often referred to as Brahman[1]. The accounts of the emergence of life within the universe vary in description, but classically... According to Hindu Philosophy, the universe (or multiverse) never came to be at some particular point, but always has been, always will be, but is perpetually in flux. ...

Indigenous Australian

Main article: Dreamtime

The traditional beliefs of Indigenous Australians, hold that the universe was, still is being, created in a reality parallel to the physical world, generally translated in english as 'The Dreaming'. Representation of the Rainbow serpent, the Waugal For other uses, see Dreamtime (disambiguation). ... Indigenous Australians or Aborigines[1][2] are the first human inhabitants of the Australian continent and its nearby islands. ...


See also

Elohim (אֱלוֹהִים , אלהים) is a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of divinity. ... Enûma Elish is the creation epic of Babylonian mythology. ... Genesis (Hebrew: , Greek: Γένεσις, meaning birth, creation, cause, beginning, source or origin) is the first book of the Torah, the Tanakh, and the Old Testament. ... Poimandres (Poemandres, also known as Poemander or Pimander) is a chapter in the Corpus Hermeticum. ...

References

  • Seleem,Dr. Ramses The Egyptian Book of Life Watkins Publishing, London (1998), ISBN 1-84293-066-4.
  • Rouvière, Jean-Marc, Brèves méditations sur la création du monde L'Harmattan, Paris (2006), ISBN 2-7475-9922-1.
  • Leeming, David Adams, and Margaret Adams Leeming, A Dictionary of Creation Myths. Oxford University Press (1995), ISBN 0-19-510275-4.
  • Rev. Klees, WIlliam H. Mythology and Religion: Fall Session 2 Susque, Trout Run (2006)

 
 

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