CREATION STORIES OF MANKIND
If creationism is to be taught in public schools, equal treatment must be given to the cosmologies and creation accounts of all religions. The ones provided here represent the primary religions of the world, but the stories of lesser religions should be considered as well.
The eternal God made the universe (in six days per Genesis 1, in one day per Genesis 2) and made man from dust or clay in His physical image. The spirit of man was bestowed as God breathed into his nostrils. A plurality in the Godhead was evidenced by the plural name Elohim and the use of plural pronouns (“Let us make man in our image”). Evil came into the world either through the rebellion of the first human couple (per Genesis 3) or the sinful intercourse of fallen angels with human women (per Genesis 6).
The triune Godhead (Jewish Creator God plus Savior-“Messiah” God plus Spirit God) made the universe through the agency of the Word, the per-sonified second Member of the Trinity. The world was made ex nihilo (out of nothing). By a fore-ordained plan, the Word was later incarnated in order to cleanse the world of its Evil element, which is personified as a rebellious Demon. The incarnated Word is not a mythical Being but an actual historical person, Jesus Christ, who lived contemporary with the first Roman emperors.
God made the earth and the animals in four days, and then He took a cloud of vapor and made the flawless heavens in two days. They are divided into seven levels and supported by invisible pillars. He adorned the sky with stars that serve as lamps or as missiles for pelting devils. Then He ascended to His throne in the sky and commanded the sun and moon to keep to their courses. He created man from a clot of blood and made both life and death as a means of testing mankind. He created Hell for unbelievers, predestined for its fires. Evil is personified as a rebellious Demon.
The great God above all gods alternately wakes and sleeps, and when He awakens a new universe is born. When He sleeps again, the universe becomes non-existent. These cosmic cycles go on in endless succession. At the beginning of this universe the cosmic cow produced a sea of milk and the creator god was born from a lotus blossom (or a cosmic egg) on this primordial ocean. Another god turned himself into a pillar, around which was wrapped the cosmic serpent. The gods took hold of the serpent’s head, and the demons grasped the serpent’s tail, and then pulling back and forth, they rotated the pillar and churned the sea of milk until the world arose to the surface like a lump of butter. This lump was placed on the back of four elephants that, in turn, stand on the back of a turtle. The existence of the world is also tied to the dance of a god, and it will end when he stops dancing.
Cosmic cycles resemble those of the parent Hindu religion. It is a material process without deities (according to Theravada Buddhists) or with gods called “buddhas” (according to Mahayana Buddhists). When this world comes to an end, everything will be covered in water and darkness. After a long time, earth will form on the waters as skim forms on cooling milk. Then some greedy souls from former births will leave Nirvana (the heavenly radiance of soul-life) to experience the pleasures of the body. As the light of Nirvana fades, the sun, moon, and stars will appear. Gradually mankind will develop sexual characteristics, selfishness, and other evils. Then this world will come to its end. Souls will continue to cycle through rebirths until they are all purified and are content to remain in Nirvana.
JAIN (HINDU SECT)
The uncreated world has existed as long as time. It has no beginning and no end. It is divided into heaven, earth, and hell. There are no gods. Veneration is given to deceased saints. A saint is called a “victor” (jina) over worldly attachments, hence the name “Jain.”
The universe was created in six periods, each being two months in duration, thus making a year. In the beginning the great Wise Spirit had desired to make the world, but for a brief instant He doubted that it would be good. From this doubt sprang an Evil Deity that continually strives for mastery. Cosmic history is therefore divided into alternately good and evil periods in which one Divinity or the other rules. The present time is an evil period. The divine Spirit was shattered when the Evil One appeared, and he imprisoned pieces of spirit in clay vessels that are the bodies of mankind. At the end of time, all pieces of the heavenly Light will be reunited with Godhead.
MITHRAIST (very influential, but now extinct)
In the beginning the great Wise Spirit was born from Father Time, and after the world was created, these two ruled it. But the world was corrupted by an Evil Spirit. Then was born a hero god (Mithras) from a rock after it was struck by a ray of light. This deity lived on the fruit of a fig tree and water he produced by shooting an arrow at a rocky cliff. A raven sent from heaven advised the hero that he must hunt and kill the cosmic bull. From this sacred animal’s body came flowers, herbs, and grain, from its blood wine, and from its seed mankind.
God is Light and Purity, but the Creation is dark and impure. This is explained as follows. In the beginning God emanated a lesser Being for companionship. Then this Deity emanated a still lesser Being, and the process continued until a line (or chain) of divinities was produced. The last Deity was so much inferior that what he created was an evil cosmos. This world runs on the principle of dualism: light versus darkness, good versus evil, spirit versus matter, male versus female, sexuality versus celibacy. Emanated Beings are called by various names: Æons, Sephiroth, Shekinahs, or Angels. These include some females, Wisdom (Sophia) being the most prominent. Christian gnostics believed that the heavenly Christ was the son of Sophia. There were many forms of gnosticism, including: Egyptian Ophism, Persian Manicheism, and Jewish Cabalism - the last being the only one of these faiths that still survives.
Cosmic Man, a hairy giant, was congealed from a dust cloud, and when he thrashed about with his arms in the cloud it became fragments of yang and yin. The yang - light, bright, and hot - flew up and made the sky, while the yin - dark, cold, and heavy - sank down to form the earth. Three cosmic animals - a dragon, a phœnix, and a tortoise - assisted in the creation of things on the earth. After it was all complete, the giant lay down to an eternal sleep, and then the gods came down to view the marvels of the new world. A dragon-goddess decided to make people for the world out of clay, and she also taught them how to procreate themselves. Her brother-husband then brought mankind the knowledge and skills needed for living.
A teal laid the cosmic egg on the primordial waters (or on the body of a goddess floating in the waters), and when the egg broke open, its upper shell formed the sky, while its lower shell was the earth. Its yolk became the sun, and the egg white became the moon and stars.
The moon and a cosmic serpent were in the beginning. The moon was the mother of all and she rode on the back of the rainbow serpent. It is now the task of the serpent to encircle the earth and hold it together, but when it grows tired and shifts the weight of the world, this causes an earthquake.
The Ancient One, the Creator, came into being by breaking off from a reed sticking out of the primordial ocean. He then formed the earth and populated it by breaking off people and cattle from other reeds.
In the beginning was Grandfather and Dog. As Grandfather made the earth, Dog assisted. After the work was done, Grandfather had to go away, but before he left he made man to be a companion to Dog. Man was taught to walk and talk, but when man learned to laugh, this made Dog jump and wag his tail.
In the beginning there was water, and it was filled with aquatic creatures. Into this void there dropped a goddess from the sky. Two loons caught her and called out to the other animals for help. The giant Tortoise came and offered Sky Woman his back upon which to sit. Then Tortoise commanded the other animals to dive into the water and find earth. Only a frog was successful, and he brought up a lump of earth to place on Tortoise’s back. Sky Woman had been pregnant when she fell, and she gave birth to twins, one good and one evil. The evil twin refused to be born properly, and he burst through his mother’s side, thereby killing her. From the buried goddess came the fruits of the earth. The evil brother made all the bad things in the world, and the good brother made helpful and beautiful things. Eventually, the good twin killed his evil brother and made a place for the good dead in the west.
Raven and his wife brought light from the sky, and they also brought a bladder out of which to make the world. Then they made features on the world out of pieces of clothing they wore.
Darkness and void were in the beginning, but then light appeared. And from the light came several divine brothers. One brother made the islands by fishing them up from the bottom of the sea. One noosed the sun and made it go slower. Another stole fire and brought it to earth. Still another brother made mankind, first molding a woman out of sand. She was then married to a sand man to produce the Polynesian people.
Creative Intelligence is evident in the design of the universe. This divine Mind is a Spirit Being without beginning or end and encompassing all space and time. Analysis of the cosmos indicates that it was created at some point in time and that it has evolved from simple origins to complex and diverse forms. Trends of development show an obvious purpose and direction to cosmic evolution. Cosmic purpose and historical evidence of supernatural occurrences (miracles) show that the divine Mind is a personal Deity Who cares for His creation. Since the holy writings of the world’s religions originated in pre-scientific antiquity, none of them provide the true sequence of events in the Creation.
Richard L. Atkins