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Since we developed the ability to communicate in complex and abstract ways, we have struggled with the question of how Earth, and the rest of the universe, came to be. Creation stories are common to all cultures. The details of these stories often vary, but they are still archetypal

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Creation stories are common to all cultures. The details of these stories

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Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

Since we developed the ability to communicate in complex and abstract ways, we have struggled with the question of how Earth, and the rest of the universe, came to be.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

Creation stories are common to all

cultures. The details of these stories

often vary, but they are still archetypal

interpretations attempting to make

sense of existence, even though the

details of these stories differ in some

ways, they are attempts to understand

how the observable universe formed.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

With the advent of science came a more empirical approach to addressing the question of how Earth (and the rest of the universe) first formed.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

A result has been that

science and

technological

advances have

disconnected us in

some ways from the

old myths of the

universe in regard to

both space and time.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

The old creation

myths still retain

archetypal insights

that highlight the

decreasing connection

humans have with

“something greater.”


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

Examples of creation stories

Vishnu and the

cosmic egg.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

Hopi Creation Story (Northern Arizona)

The world at first was endless space in which existed only the Creator, Taiowa.

This world had no time, no shape, and no life, except in the mind of the Creator.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • Sotuknang, the Creator’s nephew gathered together matter from the endless space to make the nine solid worlds through which the Hopi people would ascend.

  • Then the Creator instructed him to gather together the waters from the endless space and place them on these worlds to make land and sea and to gather together air to make winds and breezes on these worlds.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

A Chinese Creation Story

(about 1st century B.C.)

Long, long ago, when heaven and earth were still one, the entire universe was contained in an egg-shaped cloud.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • All the matter of the universe swirled chaotically in that egg within which, Pan Gu, a huge giant, grew for 18,000 years.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • Finally one day, Pan Gu awoke and stretched, and the egg broke to release the matter of the universe.

  • The lighter purer elements drifted upwards to make the sky and heavens, and the heavier impure elements settled downwards to make the earth.     


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

In the midst of this new world, Pan Gu worried that heaven and earth might mix again; so he resolved to hold them apart, with the heavens on his head and the earth under his feet.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • As the two continued to separate, Pan Gu grew to hold them apart. For 18,000 years he continued to grow, until the heavens were high above the earth.

  • For much longer he continued to hold the two apart, fearing the return of the chaos of his youth. Finally he realized they were stable, and soon after that he died.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

With the giant's death, Earth was transformed.

His arms and legs

became the mountains.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • His blood became the rivers, and his sweat became the rain and dew.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • His voice became the thunder, and his breath became the winds.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • His hair became the grass

  • His teeth and bones became the minerals and rocks

  • His flesh became the soil of the fields.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • Up above, his left eye became the sun, and his right eye became the moon. Thus in death, as in life, Pan Gu made the world as it is today.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

Shinto Creation Story

(Japan, about 700 A.D )

In the earliest days, Heaven and Earth were not yet separated.

They formed a chaotic mass like an egg which was of obscurely defined limits and contained germs.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • The purer and clearer part was thinly drawn out, and formed Heaven, while the heavier and more solid part settled down and became Earth.

  • Heaven easily became a united body (and therefore formed first), but the consolidation of the heavy/solid part was accomplished with difficulty (so Earth formed later).


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

Judeo-Christian Creation Story

First Chapter of Genesis

Thought to be a composite account of writings from 950, 750 and 539 B.C.

(but each derived from even older stories)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 

  • God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night."  And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day.

And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas”…


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

The Modern Scientific Account

The actual origin of the universe has yet to be unraveled by modern scientists. Even in the present day, we must break the conventional “laws” of physics to make sense of the ultimate origin of the universe.

Most scientists generally agree with a “Big Bang” scenario (although there are a few opponents).

A highly simplified account of the “Big Bang” scenario is as follows…


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

In the beginning…

In the beginning, the universe existed as a singularity (a point at which the laws of the present-day universe break down).

The singularity contained infinite mass, infinite density and no volume.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

For reasons still unknown, the singularity “exploded” about 13-15 billion years ago.

The universe cooled as its expansion continued.


Galaxies eventually formed

Galaxies Eventually Formed


The sun and then matter condensed to form the solar system

The Sun and then matter condensed to form the solar system


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • Whether a narrative imaginative account, or a scientific theory, a myth or mythos

  • attempts to explain ultimate origins.


Creation stories are common to all cultures the details of these stories

  • So, here we are today, staring upward and outward at the stars, and inward into our

  • own psyche and psychology, a babe in the darkness, seeking an answer to ultimate questions.


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