Cosmic Creation Myths Across Cultures
Cosmic Creation Myths Across Cultures
The two creation myths selected to compare and contrast centers on the Norse culture of Iceland Vikings and the Genesis creation of the Hebrew origin of Christian culture. Both creation myths originate with a hollow abyss where anarchy or war cultivates. The Norse myth relates a struggle in the middle of the blistering realm of Muspell and the murky, icy realm of Niflheim inside the hollowness named ginnungagap and where nothing could cultivate. The Genesis struggle was involving God and nothing, seclusion, and the craving to generate something wonderful. There are exactly nine categorizations of creation myths and numerous utilize more than one notion. Genesis cosmogonies utilizes both the deus faber and ex nihilo ideas. The account frequently deemed the ex nihilo myth, implying “out of nothing” is the story in the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, of God’s creation in six days by communicating into existence light and blackness, moon and sun, animals and plants, birds and fish, stars and earth, God then creates Adam in His image from the dust and inhales life into him and Eve was molded from one of Adam’s ribs, consequently joining deus faber (the “maker-God”) with ex nihilo motifs.
The Nordic creation myths incline to merge accretion/conjunction, exudation, and sacrifice ideas. It introduces the combining of fire and ice in an arbitrary linking of components. When the tepid breath of Muspell encounters the chill of glacial Nieflheim, ice dissolves and the subsequent water droplets come to life, generating the wicked gigantic Ymir. As the titan slumbers, perspiration from his armpits produces the first man and woman. These added titans mature to loathe Ymir and the creation story goes on with the slaughter and disfigurement of the dreadful giant. The Norse culture consist what we call Vikings. They had a pantheon of 14 main gods and conceived the cosmos as separated into three levels: Asgard, Aesir, is the higher level and land of the main gods, fertility gods, and where light elves also existed. Midgard is the middle level where men, giants, dwarves, and dark elves lived. Niflheim is the lower level, better known as the underworld, where the evil dead died a second time in the fortress city of Hel. Running through and ultimately reaching above heaven is Yggdrasil, the enormous ash tree that apparently existed before the beginning.
The Genesis creation myth is comparable in that the world was shapeless also emptiness, and obscurity laid in the deep. God soul was touching above the top of the seawaters when, he generated the skies and the planet. The scriptural writers considered the universe as a horizontal round formed planet in the axis, an illicit world for the lifeless underneath, and paradise overhead. Underneath the planet stood the “waters of chaos”, the intergalactic ocean, and nest to mythological ogres conquered and killed by means of God. In Genesis, “the earth was formless, empty, and dark, and God’s Spirit moved over the waters preparing to perform God’s creative Word” (Fairchild, 2013). God initiated speaking his creation into existence. The first day, he generated luminosity and parted it from the blackness, calling sunlit “day” and obscurity “night.”
The second day, God made the “sky” to detached the seawaters. The third day, he formed the waterless earth, called “land”, and congregated the seawaters, naming them “seas”. The Divinity as well formed flowers and plants on this day. “God created the sun, moon, and the stars to give light to the earth and to govern and separate the day and the night” on the fourth diurnal (Fairchild, 2013). These elements would also serve to establish days, seasons, and years. On the fifth day, he formed each existing organism of the oceans and of the skies, sanctifying them to flourish. Also formed the creatures to saturate the world on the sixth diurnal. Adam and Eve, believed to be the first man and woman, were also created in his reflection on this day to communicate. “He blessed them and gave them every creature and the whole earth to rule over, care for, and cultivate” (Fairchild, 2013).
Finally, on the seventh diurnal, he completed his labor of conception and relaxed, consecration it and formulating it consecrated. The Norse story did not have one maker of good, but multiple elements and events that emerged from one evil giant in this creation myth. The cattle stroked off whole Alps of rime, gradually licking rime of other two additional existences, the god Buri and his spouse. “They had a son named Bor, and his son was named Odin, who became the king of all the gods” (Distant Train, Inc., 2011). Ymir was malicious and wicked and when Odin along with the divinities may well no more endure Ymir’s wicked deeds, they united to kill the giant. “Ymir’s huge body formed the earth, his blood became the sea, his flesh became the land, his bones the mountains and his hair the trees” (Distant Train, Inc., 2011). He and the additional deities shaped the heavens with his cranium, sustained up by four immense columns.
He created the sun and moon from flashes from the blistering pits of Muspell and placed them in the sky. The ice began to melt in the new world of Ginnungagap from the illumination of the sun and moon and vegetation began to grow. The largest tree, called Yggdrasil, grew from the center of the world and became known as “The Tree of Life”. “Its roots penetrated into the bottom of creation and its leaves reached the very top of the sky” (Distant Train, Inc., 2011). To his satisfaction of the newborn earth, Odin baptized it Midgard, meaning ‘The Middle Land’. However, Midgard needed tending to while the gods ascend to Asgard. Odin discovered two collapsed trees, an elm and an ash, which Odin removed from the dirt and shaped the incipient male and female. “Odin breathed life into the beings, gave them reason and feelings, hearing and sight” (Distant Train, Inc., 2011). Similar to the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, Odin called the male Ask and the female Embla and from them, launched the whole humankind. In summary, the Genesis creation story identifies God as the writer of conception.
“In Genesis 1 we are presented with the beginning of a divine drama that can only be examined and understood from the standpoint of faith. How long did it take? How did it happen, exactly?” (Fairchild, 2013). It is impossible to definitively answer these questions, but these inscrutabilities are not the emphasis of the conception account. The point, is for ethical and religious epiphany. Verse 26, God states, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness …” The story goes that a serpent tricked Eve into eating the fruit from the forbidden tree and she offered it to Adam and he also ate from it. As a result, Eve and Adam were expelled from the Garden of Eden, men will labor over the earth, women will experience excruciating pain bearing children, and all humans will die.
Readers from Western cultures tend to rank “metaphysical or spiritual” cosmogonies like the account of Elohim-God speaking the world into existence in Genesis higher than “physical, natural, or elemental accounts of creation by accretion, excretion, copulation, division, dismemberment, or parturition” (Leonard & McClure, 2004). If, however, we are self-conscious about our culture’s assumptions about what is “normal,” we see that at least as many cosmogonic myths have presented creation as part of a natural process as have conceived it as an exercise of divine and creative will. Ranking one kind of myth as lower or more primitive and our own myths as higher or more cultured derives from a cultural bias. To study myth effectively, we need to free ourselves as much as possible from the prejudices we inherit from our cultural surroundings.
Distant Train, Inc. (2011). Norse Creation. Retrieved from http://bigmyth.com/download/NORSE_CREATION.pdf Fairchild, M. (2013, January 4). The Creation Story – Bible StoryÂ Summary. About.com Christianity. Retrieved from http://christianity.about.com/od/biblestorysummaries/p/ creationstory.htm Gill, N. S. (2012, April 13). Creation of the World – Norse Mythology on the Creation of the World. About.com Ancient / Classical History. Retrieved from http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/creationmyths/a/11083199Norse.htm Ginzberg, L. (2012, April 13). Legends of the Jews, By Louis Ginzberg. Legends of the Jews. Retrieved from http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_jewslegends1a.htm Leonard, S., & McClure, M. (2004). Myth & Knowing: An introduction to world mythology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008).The Myth of Norse Creation Myth. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from http://www.shmoop.com/norse-creation-myth/
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 23 September 2016
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