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The Creation Myth in Different Cultures Essay


Myths can be discussed as the important elements of each culture because ancient people expressed their vision of the world and its laws in the form of mythological stories as the attempt to explain the unfamiliar objects and processes.

Thus, myths included the description of the processes which nature was rather difficult to be understood by the ancient people. That is why, a lot of myths which are presented in different cultures are based on the similar topics, but the details of the myth can be various.

From this point, the theme of the world creation is one of the most popular topics of myths, and the creation myth is typical for different cultures.

To understand the significance of the creation story for different cultures and explore the particular features of the myth, it is necessary to focus on the Mesopotamian myth known as the Enuma Elish, on the Pelasgian myth characteristic for the Greek culture, and on the Egyptian myth about Atum.

Although the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek cultures developed their own mythological stories based on the topic of the world creation, these myths have a lot of similarities which accentuate the common form of the creation myth and its significance for different cultures.

The problem of the world’s beginnings is one of the most controversial points for the discussion today. Furthermore, it is the central idea of many ancient myths. According to Murtagh, “at the foundation of nearly every culture is a creation myth that explains how the wonders of the earth came to be” (Murtagh).

The ancient people could not understand the world processes and explained them with the help of mythological imagery. Different cultures used their own approaches to explaining the birth of the Universe, but the basic aspects of the process are similar because they depend on the people’s beliefs, values, and expectations.

According to people’s visions, the world can have its origin from the chaos or water, and the myths where the earth emerges out of water are known as diver myths (Murtagh). For instance, the story of creating the world out of water as a result of the struggle with the chaos is depicted in the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish.

The role of the water and chaos is also significant for the Pelasgian creation myth. Furthermore, the watery chaos Nu is accentuated in the Egyptian creation myth as the roots of the Universe.

The role of water in the creation stories can be explained with references to the role of water in the ancient people’s everyday life as it was in Egypt or in the Mesopotamian territories.

Nevertheless, it is possible to determine various actors as the world creators in different cultures. It is stated in the Enuma Elish that the Universe was organized as a result of the struggle between the body of water Tiamat who lost her husband Apsu and the god Marduk (“The Babylonian Creation Story”).

The bodies of water have definite gender features, and they are perceived as the god and the goddess. When Marduk killed Tiamat in the struggle for superiority, the heavens and the earth were made from her body. Thus, it is possible to speak about the origin of the Universe from the water body of Tiamat.

In the Pelasgian creation myth, the main actors are Eurymone and Ophion, and the major symbol is the Cosmic Egg after breaking which the Universe was made (“Greek Creation Story”). The Egyptians focused on their sun-god Ra or Atum and his children as the gods creating the world (Hagin).

In spite of the fact different gods and creators of the world depicted in various creation myths have different names and characteristics, there are a lot of similar features in their portraying. The Enuma Elish and the Pelasgian creation myth are similar in depicting female powers of Tiamat and Eurymone known as the Goddess of All Things.

According to the Enuma Elish, the world was made out of Tiamat, and Eurymone who was born from the chaos divided the water and heavens to dance on the sea waves in the Pelasgian myth.

In the Egyptian creation myth, the accents are made on the role of male gods, but the goddess Tefnut as the daughter of Atum plays the important role in creating the other gods.

It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that those myths the central idea of which is to present the story of the Universe creation include definite elements which are typical for all the myths on the topic.

The creation myth should include not only the mentioned images of the world’s creators and describe the process of creating the earth and sky but also present the processes of creating the other gods and the man.

Moreover, the Universe can be created by the definite god who is alone as it is in the story about Atum, by the god with assistants or by the active and passive creators as it is in the myth about Eurynome, or as a result of the gods’ struggle as it is in the Enuma Elish. From this point, the processes of creating the earth and sky, the gods and the man can be discussed as the mythemes of creation stories.

The water and the chaos are two important symbols which are used in all the studied myths as the source for the other parts of the Universe. However, the birth of the man is the next important mytheme. According to the Mesopotamian myth Enuma Elish, people are created from the blood of Kingu, the henchman of Tiamat.

It is stated in the Pelasgian creation myth that the first man is made from the dust of Arcadia. The usage of dust or dirt as the source for creating the man is typical for many myths and religious traditions. Nevertheless, the Egyptians were inclined to think that the first man was made out of Atum’s tears of joy when the Universe was created.

However, there are similar stories about the birth of new gods. According to the Enuma Elish, there were several gods, and they fought with each other before the Universe was created, but the emergence of gods in the Egyptian and Greek traditions is a result of the main gods’ unions.

Thus, Shu and Tefnut became the parents of Geb and Nut who became the parents of the other gods in relation to the Egyptian myth. Moreover, Eurynome gave the birth to Eros, also known as Protagonus or ‘firstborn’, and then to the seven Powers which also became the gods (“Greek Creation Story”).

Those myths which are based on the topic of the world creation have a lot of specific details characteristic for different cultures, but there are many similarities in the basic symbols of these myths.

The specific details accentuate the uniqueness of the cultures and the particular features of the people’s interpretation of the world with references to the geographical and social characteristics. The similar aspects which are depicted in the myths with the help of certain symbols stress the importance of the topic for all the cultures and its universal character.

Works Cited

Greek Creation Story. n.d. Web.

Hagin, Stephen. Egyptian Creation Stories. n.d. Web.

Murtagh, Lindsey. Common Elements in Creation Myths. n.d. Web.

(Enuma Elish). n.d. Web.

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IvyPanda. "The Creation Myth in Different Cultures." August 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-creation-myth-in-different-cultures/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Creation Myth in Different Cultures." August 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-creation-myth-in-different-cultures/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Creation Myth in Different Cultures'. 1 August.

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