CREATION MYTHS: COMPARISON AND INVENTION 1
Creation Myths: Comparison and Invention
Creationmyths are symbolic narratives that give accounts of how the universecame into being, as well as how humanity emerged as its maininhabitants (Wilson, 2014). These narratives, whilst being followedby millions of people across the world, have significant similaritiesand differences, especially in terms of symbolic values for humanity.This paper compares two popular creation myths, The Golden Chaincreation myth (West African) and the Prometheus theory of creation(Greek). The particular points of discussion are the supernaturalcharacters, the natural forces or materials that are insisted in themyths, important events and how people were created.
Bothmyths tell of supernatural beings that controlled the beginning ofmankind. The Golden Chain myth tells of Obatala, assistant to Olorun(the highest Supreme Being) who lived in the sky (Singh & Shook,2015). As well, in the Greek myth, Prometheus was a supremebeing, son of Lapetus (Jennings, 2014). Both myths have closesimilarity, telling of a bigger supreme being that was more superiorto the others. As well, the subordinate superiors, Obatala andPrometheus respectively, were the ones that were directly responsiblefor the beginning of life on earth. The main difference is that inthe West African myth, there was no armed conflict between thesupreme beings, as there were in the Greek myth.
In the Greek myth, the unique materials that are emphasized areofferings. Prometheus made two offerings to trick his brother Zeus tomake a wrong decision, so that Prometheus would go ahead with hisplans for humans. On the other hand, the materials that areemphasized in the West African myth are the ocean, land and mostimportantly, the golden chain. The golden chain was the powerful toolthat enabled Obatala to travel onto the earth to create humans. On asimilarity note, both myths contain the element of fire, whose mainpurpose was to give life to the humans.
TheGreek myth has five major events. These were the war between theTitans and the Olympian gods, the tricking of Zeus, creation of manby Prometheus, jailing and freeing of Prometheus. Categorically, theevents describe how the decision to create man affected the gods, andhow humanity rose from the chaos. In the West African myth, there arethree key events. These are the decision by Obatala to come down todo something constructive (create humans), seeking consent from thefellow deities, and the creation of man itself.
Inthe myths, the most important of the above-discussed events were thecreation of man. In the Greek myth, Prometheus was given the task ofcreating man after the war with other Titans. Prometheus created manto stand upright as the other gods, and fought to give them life (bystealing fire for them). In the African mythology, Obatala createdman out of mad, and was assisted by Olorun to breathe life into them(Thomas, 2014). The main difference between the two myths is thatwhile other gods resisted the creation of man in the Greek myth, thegods cooperated with the creator of human beings in the African myth.
Thetwo myths teach that human life is supreme among all other forms oflife. They help to reflect on the mystery of the origin of man andhis purpose. The comparison also shows that all people have uniqueunderstanding about humanity, which is key to helping people toappreciate their existence. The comparison is interesting because itopens students’ minds to comprehending the universe and humanity.The main thing that the comparison helps students to understand isthat human life has been organized from the beginning. While themyths hold different explanations for different things, the mostimportant cultural contribution is understanding the sanctity oflife. The myths drive humans to understand, appreciate and protectthe universe, as they clearly put humans at the top of intelligentlife in the universe.
Part 2: Creation Myth
Atthe beginning, there was chaos and disorganization. Supreme entities,or gods, wandered through the universe. At the same time, there werenatural forces that facilitated the chaos. These included fire, wind,water, gravity and light, among many others. Having definedterritories across the disorganized universe, groups of gods learnedhow to control these forces. After hundreds of millions of years ofmastery of the forces, the gods came together and found out how tomanipulate these forces to institute order from the chaos. Theirefforts yielded an organized universe, with stars, planets and allother physical bodies in existence. They then came together to decidehow to maintain this order. In the long run, the gods createdhabitable places, which are the present-day habitable planets. One ofthis planet was earth. They created plant and animal life. They thencreated humans to rule over them. The key function of the humans wasto understand the gods’ creations and to maintain them. They alsocreated other living beings, albeit far away from the humans. Theseother beings are what humans know as “aliens”. Together, aliensand humans are custodians of the gods’ creations, with the mandateof controlling their habitats as the gods continue to control thenatural forces to stop the return of chaos.
Jennings, K. (2014). GreekMythology. New York, NY:Simon and Schuster.
Singh, P., & Shook, J.(2015). DiscoveringOur World: Humanity`s Epic Journey from Myth to Knowledge.Pitchstone Publishing (US&CA).
Thomas, R.M. (2014). Roots of Haiti’s Vodou-Christian faith:African and catholic origin. Santa-Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIOPublishers.
Wilson, J. A. (2014). The Nature ofthe Universe. H.Frankfort et al., The Intellectual Adventure 0fAncient1/inn(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946),32-33.