Creation Stories; Facts, Or Myths? Essay, Research Paper
GonzalezProfessor English11 June 1999Creation Stories; Facts, or Myths? The different peoples of the world have their own stories about the existence of human beings and the world. Creation stories are not hard to find. Explanations of creation range from the strictly scientific “Big Bang” theory to the religious stories of creation from the book of Genesis. Furthermore, the symbolic and metaphorical “Iroquois Creation Story” and “The Pima Stories of the Beginning of the World” just complicate the matter further. All these stories differ greatly from one another and apparently they are not all, if any, correct. Is one of these creation stories true or are they all simply myths?Perhaps you are familiar with the biblical accounts in Genesis 1-2 in which God creates the world. There are, in fact, two individually distinct creation accounts in Genesis which differ in their presentations. The first creation story has a pattern number of seven. This is important because in the story God created the world in seven days. Is it merely coincidence that there are seven signs and seven sacraments in the Catholic religion based on this creation story? This shows that not only do people believe the stories of how their world came to be, but they also use them as a source of meaning or guidance. In this creation story God created objects and life by simply saying what he wanted to create. For example, God stated “let there be light”, and there was light. The second creation story found in Genesis is much like the “Iroquois Creation Story” because both talk of a divine being making man out of clay or dust and blowing into the nostrils the “breath of life” so that man could become a living being. Although the second story of creation from Genesis and the Iroquois have a similarity, they are very different. In the second creation story in Genesis God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden where he could eat fruits from any tree except the apple tree known as the “tree of knowledge of good and bad”. Adam eventually ate the apple dooming all mankind with original sin. In the Iroquois creation, the curiosity of a woman sets in motion a set of events, which leads to her grandchildren, Good-Mind and Bad-Mind. They create a world, which contains both harmony and competition. This creation story is dualistic since it tells us that in the world, and in ourselves, we find two competing principles, good-minded and bad-minded, and suggests the importance of the good mind overcoming the bad. However, the story also suggests that the world is in existence through the interaction of good and bad. For what is good if there is no bad?
In the Pima story, the earth doctor, Juh-wert-a-Mah-kai. Recreates the world several times. He is never happy with the outcome and something always goes wrong. The pattern number is four in the Pima story. There are four directions, four seasons, etc. He recreates the world because of cannibalism, the problem of smoking, and the idea that people became “gray” at younger and younger ages. I assume the “vices” or problems with the world are related to the Pimas’ daily lives and concerns in some way.These three creation stories have one similarity. The one similarity is the viewpoint that there is an ultimate being and source, existing before everything else, from which all creation receives the gift of life.Most cultures have a “creation” story, some explanation of how the world came to be and how man came to be. These creation stories provide some understanding and insight into how these peoples viewed the world, it’s beginnings, and their place in it. “Myth” is a term that has several meanings. Sometimes “myth” is used to simply mean something that is not “true”. It is sometimes used in a different way. A “myth” being a legendary narrative explaining a belief or phenomenon of nature. Therefore, whether or not these creation stories are true in scientific accounts of creation, they are certainly myths. In conclusion, I believe that every culture believes in the “truth” of their creation story. They believe that it really happened. Their belief in its truth gives it great force in their lives. Each of us makes his or her own world within, and sometimes against, “the beliefs” that our ancestors have passed us. These beliefs help us in shaping our human experiences and reassuring ourselves that they have meaning. These beliefs are so influential that most of the time we take them for granted.
“The Iroquois Creation Story” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym, et al. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989. 53-57.”Pima Stories of the Beginning of the World” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym, et al. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989. 57-67.