Ever wondered how or why humans were created and placed on this Earth? Ever wondered why humans exist and what purpose do humans serve? Today, we would be exploring two different creation myths to aim to find out why humans were created.
The first creation myth being discussed would be the story of Adam & Eve. This story is being linked to one of the secret religion which was then being accepted as a public religion in 313 CE when they won a war with a cross painted on their shields; Christianity. However, Adam & Eve’s story is actually a creation myth from the Abrahamic religion which is being then passed on all the way to Rome. The story of Adam & Eve talks about how God first created humankind (in his image) to enjoy in the paradise of the Earth. Adam was allowed in Garden of Eden & allowed to eat anything within the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil (the forbidden tree). Eva was then created from Adam’s ribs to be his companion. A serpent then tricks Eve into eating fruits from the forbidden tree and then bringing the fruit for Adam. This act done has shown that he has disobeyed God. As a punishment, they were then forced out of the garden. Later on, they gave birth to 3 children.
The second creation myth being discussed would be one which we have already talked about in our first few lectures; Pan Gu & Nu Wa. Pan Gu was a giant that lived within an egg-shaped cloud filled with the entire universe. The egg broke and Pan Gu released everything within the egg. He then grew to hold the Heavens on his head and Earth on his feet so that the 2 would always be separated. After his death, every part of his body became immersed into the Earth. Centuries later, a goddess (Nu Wa) came and roamed the Earth that Pan Gu left. She grew to be lonely and she saw her own reflection which she then decided to make something like herself out of mud for company. After creating, she realises that she would have to continuously create more as they die off which made her realise that she would separate humans into 2 different sexes so that they can reproduce. Nu Wa died of exhaustion when the heaven collapsed as she tries to heal the Earth. Parts of her like Pan Gu became the elements of the Earth.
You must then be wondering, these 2 stories have either been talked about in class or through the mouths of people within your social circle and, so what is so interesting about them?
The similarities that this two story has would shed some light in why the humans are created. In the story of Adam and Eve, God created Adam out of dust and breathe life into his nostrils for him to come alive, whereas Eve was created out of Adam’s ribs. God created Adam and Eve on the sixth day of creation and allowed them to stay with him. In the story of Pan Gu and Nü Wa, Nü Wa created humans out of mud to accompany her. Both the creation myths portray that the Gods are lonely and thus creating human kind for companionship. Creation myths from different part of the world and yet having a striking resemblance in the way that humans are created by dust or mud, something that looks lifeless until the Gods gave the humans a lease of life.
Another similarity is that both the creation myths talks about the two different sexes. In Adam and Eve, Adam was first created and Eve created out of Adam’s ribs. In Pan Gu and Nü Wa, humans were created out of mud and made to reproduce so as to ease Nü Wa’s burden of constantly creating new humans out of mud to accompany her.
There are of course differences in the two creation myths as well. In the bible, there was an account on how to Earth was created and how Adam and Eve came into existence. However, In Pan Gu and Nü Wa’s story, Earth is being created out of an egg-shaped cloud which contains the universe. Pan Gu’s death made the Earth separated from the Heavens. It was then said that Nu Wa was roaming the world that Pan Gu has left.
In the bible story of Adam and Eve, there was not really a class system that was present and Adam and Eve were the first two humans on Earth although they went on to reproduce to have children. In Pan Gu and Nü Wa, Nü Wa made humans and spread them through out the world, however, those that she made by hand become the upper classes of aristocrats, and the ones she made with the vine became the poor common people. This shows the different class systems that both the origins of the creation myth has. The bible did not really emphasise on a class system in the creation story where as in Pan Gu and Nü Wa, after creations, there is already a distinction of class.
By looking at these two myths, it shows that companionship is craved even within godly figures. If not for these creation myths, how would we then know that Gods have a humanistic character traits in them too?