Genesis vs. Iroquois Creation Myth Essay
Genesis vs. Iroquois Creation Myth
All different cultures have their own creation stories, mostly all containing the elements of a Higher Power of some sort, how the power created the world, and the creation a human man. The Christian belief in the Genesis story has these key elements , as does the Iroquois creation myth, The World on the Turtle’s Back. Although these two creation stories share similarities, they also have some stark contrasts. These contrasts include, how the two cultures of the Native American Iroquois tribe and then Christians view life and aspects of good and evil, the way each culture views nature and the impact that has on their culture, and finally the way the Christian God and the Iroquois gods are portrayed to humans. First, the Iroquois culture and the Christian faith view good and evil very differently, but there is one similarity, both the cultures show that the concept of freewill creates the beginnings of a sort good and evil, a differentiation of two people.(Iroquois 28; Genesis 3:1-24)
For the differences, the Iroquois myth has the belief that everyone is born with good and evil in them. Whereas, in the Genesis story, man is immaculate and perfect, until the woman is tempted by the serpent and the the man eats also of the forbidden tree, through his wife’s consent. One other difference is that the Iroquois didn’t necessarily believe in a good and evil, but a left and a right as it is put in the myth, and the Left and Right together ruled the days.(Iroquois 29), While in the Genesis story, God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, showing His perfection and that while He is a merciful God, He can also be a God of judgment to show the people the errors of their ways. Additionally, the two cultures view nature very differently and it impacts each individual culture.
The Iroquois culture believes that man and nature are equal as represented in the creation myth. One can find this true as the Native Americans were very respectful of the territories they were inhibiting and developing relations with animals, like the buffalo, instead of hunting them for food. In contrast, in the story of Genesis God gave man dominion over all the creatures of the Earth. (Genesis 1:28) The man to this day, hunts animals of all kinds and disrespects nature, with clear-cutting of forestry and pollution. Finally, the Christian God and the Iroquois gods are viewed differently in the eyes of a standard human. First off, the God of Christianity, is the only God. But, in the Iroquois culture there are multiple gods, who become the elements, and then the Iroquois praise these elements.(Iroquois 30) In Genesis, man is created in the likeness of God,(Genesis 1:27) but in the Iroquois myth man is created by another man.
The Genesis God is thought of as more of a paternal God who loves His children but reprimands them when the children disobey, where the gods of the Iroquois is just revered and respected, no mention of punishment for humans is mentioned in the Iroquois myth. One similarity is the belief that the gods or God dwell in a place above the rest of the world, the Sky-World in Iroquois, or Heaven in the story of Genesis. To conclude, the two stories of The World on the Turtle’s Back and Genesis are very similar but, they also have their individual differences that really separate the two cultures. The way the two cultures view life and aspects of good and evil. The aspect each culture views nature and the impact that has on their culture. Finally, the way the Christian God and the Iroquois gods are portrayed to humans. Two completely different races , but similar beliefs in the development and creation of the planet Earth.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 December 2016
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