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Creation Myths - Essay Example

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In their attempt to understand the world and its beginnings, stories of creation were devised by people in ancient times. To the people of Mesopotamia, this beginning of the world is explained in the seven tablets of the Enuma Elish, which literally means "when (enuma) on high (elish)." The Egyptians and the Greeks also have their versions of the creation of the world…
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Creation Myths

Download file to see previous pages... One of the common elements is the presence of a god or gods that brought about the creation of the elements of the sky and the earth and the first humans. This provides insight to the beliefs of people in ancient times that no physical environment or beings came from nothing. They were created by a supreme being in the same way that people create things from the materials present in the environment.
In so many ways, the myths are a representation of the story of beginnings and creations in the human setting. For instance, the three creation myths include a theme of birth. In the Egyptian creation myth, "Ra (the sun) came out of an egg that appeared on the surface of the water" (Aldokkan). Ra also gave birth to other gods. In the Greek myth, Chaos, the void that encompasses the entire universe, gave birth to Gaia, called Earth, and Uranus, the sky (Elliot). The Enuma Elish tells of the union of Apsu (fresh water) and Tiamat (salt water) giving birth to gods. The first part of the first tablet talks of "their waters commingling as a single body" ("The Enuma Elish").
Another similarity among the three myths is the allusion to water and chaos when there was nothing yet that existed. In the Egyptian myth, this is represented by Nu, the watery chaos. In the Enuma Elish, everything began with Apsu and Tiamat, who represent the waters. In the Greek story, an unending stream of water, dominated by the god Oceanus, surrounded Chaos. The use of the water theme should not be surprising, as it would have been very much influenced by the fact that in the past, a large part of the earth was covered by huge amounts of water. There were also many tales of floods and inundation in ancient times, pointing to how the physical environment would have been like during those times.
All of the creation myths also contain the themes of wars, revenge, and quest for power among gods that eventually led to the creation of various parts of the universe. With the creation myths, the gods possess immense powers that brought them in conflict with other gods. In all the myths, there is also the common theme wherein a sole supreme being emerges through all the chaos. In the Greek myth, this is represented by Zeus, who triumphed over his father, Cronus. This victorious being in the Babylonian myth is Marduk, who defeats Tiamat, splits her body into two to form the heaven and the earth ("The Enuma Elish"). The Egyptian myth has two versions, but in those two versions, it was either Osiris or Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris in one version, that emerged as the supreme being.
In all the depictions of the behaviors and actions of the gods, one can see how much people in the past were amazed and acted under the mercy of the gods. Most of the ancient beliefs and religions attribute godlike attributes to elements and forces of nature. Nature is the one uncontrollable force for man that he believed that their outbursts manifested by earthquakes, strong storms, or volcanic eruptions, must have been due to the anger and temper of the gods, or the mischief of man. In any case, man is dependent on the gods of nature, who may wage war against other gods with little or no thought of the creatures, including men, on earth. Man is dependent on nature to grow his crops and produce food, and he would have to rely on faith in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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