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Cosmic Creation Myths Across Cultures




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Cosmic Creation Myths Across Cultures
Creation Myths Across Cultures
Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper about two creation myths that address the following:
Pick at least two creation myths from two different cultures. For ideas, refer to this week’s
readings and the myths section of the Big Myths website for animated presentations of many
creation myths. Which world or worlds, such as sky, earth, and underworld, are represented in
the myths you chose? What are the elements of these worlds? Describe the creators. Are the
creators male or female, and of what significance is gender? Describe what they created,
including the steps or cycles of creation. Also, include descriptions of any destroyers or
destruction if applicable. Include the role of cosmic occurrences or natural phenomena, such as
celestial bodies, floods, rain, wind, and fire. Compare the creators, creations, the steps or cycle
of creation, and the cosmic elements of the two myths. What are the similarities and differences?
University of Phoenix Online
Comparing and contrasting creation myths
The two creation myths chosen to compare and contrast focuses on the Norse
culture of Iceland Vikings and the Genesis creation of the Hebrew origin of
Christian culture. Both creation myths begin with an empty void where chaos or
conflict develops. The Norse myth narrates a conflict between the fiery realm of
Muspell and the dark, cold realm of Niflheim within the emptiness called
ginnungagap and where nothing could grow. The Genesis conflict was between
God and nothing, loneliness, and the need to create something beautiful.
There are specifically nine classifications of creation myths and many employ
more than one motif. Genesis cosmogonies apply both the deus faber and ex
nihilo motifs. The story often considered the ex nihilo myth, meaning "out of
nothing" is the account in the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, of God's
creation in six days by speaking into existence light and darkness, sun and
moon, stars and earth, plants and animals, and birds and fish. God then
generates Adam in His image from the dust and breathes life into him and Eve
was formed from one of Adam's ribs, therefore combining deus faber (the
"maker-God") with ex nihilo motifs.

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The Nordic creation myths tend to combine accretion/conjunction, secretion,
and sacrifice motifs. It features the blending of fire and ice in a random joining
of elements. When the warm breath of Muspell meets the frost of arctic
Nieflheim, ice melts and the resulting water drops come to life, creating the evil
giant Ymir. As the giant sleeps, sweat from his armpits creates the first man and
woman. These other giants grow to despise Ymir and the creation story
continues with the slaying and mutilation of the vile giant.
Worlds and elements represented in these myths
The Norse culture is made up of what we call Vikings. They had a pantheon of
14 major gods and conceived the cosmos as divided into three levels: Asgard,
Aesir, is the upper level and land of the major gods, fertility gods, and where
light elves also lived. 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 similar in that the earth was formless and void,
and darkness was over the surface of the deep. The Spirit of God was moving
over the surface of waters when, in the beginning, God created the heavens and
the earth. The biblical authors conceived the cosmos as a flat disc-shaped earth
in the centre, an underworld for the dead below, and heaven above. Below the
earth were the "waters of chaos", the cosmic sea, and home to mythic monsters
defeated and slain by God. There were also waters above the earth, and so the
firmament, a solid bowl, was necessary to keep them from flooding the world.
Creators and creation cycles of these myths
From the text 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 then began speaking his creation into existence. On day
1, God created light and separated it from the darkness, calling light "day" and
darkness "night." On day 2, God created the "sky" to separate the waters. On
day 3, God created the dry ground, called "land", and gathered the waters,
calling them "seas". God also created plants and trees 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 day (Fairchild, 2013). These elements
would also serve to establish days, seasons, and years. On the fifth day, God
created every living creature of the seas and of the skies, sanctifying them to
flourish. God created the animals to fill the earth on the sixth day. Adam and

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