SMTIVF Eleventh Topic:The Birth of Humans and the Birth of Gods

Wow, a translation. Today’s topic talks about myths concerning the birth of mankind or the world in general and collects and compares several tales from all over the world, finding several interesting common points. The birth of gods is also touched upon.

First topic –  Monotheism and Polytheism

Second topic – Dagda and Celtic Mythology

Third topic – Krishna and the Mythology of India

Fourth topic – Mysticism and Satan

Fifth topic – Medusa and Greek Mythology

Sixth topic – Miroku and the Concept of Salvation in Buddhism

Seventh topic – Odin and Germanic Deities

Eighth topic – Sukunahikona and the Mythology of the Powers in Ancient Japan

Ninth topic – Taotie and the Myths of China

Tenth topic – Chironnup and Ainu Mythology

ELEVENTH TOPIC – THE BIRTH OF HUMANS AND THE BIRTH OF GODS

  • the first human, Adam, was created from dust by God in his own image, while Eve was created from Adam’s rib, taken by God when the man was asleep
  • the two lived in the Garden of Eden until evil, embodied as a snake, tempted them to eat the ‘fruit of knowledge’, which led to their expulsion
  • even though the two had to leave Eden and lost their immortality, acquiring knowledge was not necessarily a bad thing, since Adam gave his partner the name of Eve and they had children
  • their children were Cain and Abel, but after Cain killed his younger brother, he was punished by God to become a wanderer; a third son was Set
  • after his banishment, Cain married and had a son Enoch, becoming thus the forefather of nomadic tribes, musicians and smiths
  • it is not usually written in the Scriptures who Cain’s wife is; it is supposed she belonged to a different tribe, but since Adam and Eve were said to be the first humans, it is theorised she was either their eldest daughter or an angel
  • members of both Set’s and Cain’s clans could live for hundreds of years, something not considered out of the ordinary in the Bible, so after centuries God could not overlook mankind’s evil ways anymore and decided to destroy it and start everything anew
  • the one entrusted with this task was a descendant of Set, Noah, who built an ark which housed only his wife, his three sons (Shem, Ham, Japheth) and their wives and pairs of all animals
  • it can be argued that this moment represented the second birth of mankind
  • there are several legends similar to the ones which inspired the Bible; one of them is the Japanese myth of creation, where Izanagi and Izanami who stirred the sea with theAmenonuboko and created the Japanese islands were the only ones to survive the heavy floods and show themselves on the newly created lands
  • it is however believed that these legends too was inspired by the Chinese and Indonesian flood myths where a pair of brother-sister survivors marry and have children
  • even so, Japan’s primordial legends are not concerned with the birth of humans, but mostly with the birth of the gods and the forming of the land
  • the birth of the gods in the astral plane of Takamagahara is described in the beginning, and when Susanoo is banished from Takamagahara and arrives in the land of Izumo, thekunitsukami are already there; Susanoo and Ookuninushi proceed with the forming of the land, but the humans had been there since before their arrival *
  • these legends are from the point of view of the ‘outsiders’, the descendants of Amaterasu, so the myths about the creation of the world told from the point of view of the natives have been lost
  • Ainu, for example, say that the kamui born earlier were the ones to create humans and animals, but the myths differ from region to region and most of them were influenced by Japanese mythology
  • even though details might vary, China has Fuxi and Nuwa, the brother and sister who survived the great flood, got married and had children
  • there are many versions in which the two have snake bodies, but as a goddess, Nuwa is considered to be the creator of mankind; in the beginning she made humans figures out of mud one by one, but later she got bored and used a rope which she dipped in the mud, then swung around, each drop turning into humans
  • stratified society in China thus has its origins in myths, since it is said that the first human forms Nuwa created properly became the nobles, while the drops of mud became the poor
  • there are myths of floods that almost destroyed humanity all over the world; traces of floods that might have spawned all this mythology have been found indeed, but it is difficult to point to one certain date or cause
  • the first myth concerned with the flood emerged in the Mesopotamian civilisation, being traced to the Sumerian culture, 3500 BCE, centered around the city of Uruk (currently in the south of Iraq); its most famous writing is the Epic of Gilgamesh where the eponymous hero, based on a real life king, ascended to the throne after a great flood as the fifth ruler of the first dynasty of the revived Uruk
  • around the year 2350 BCE Sumer fell under the control of the Akkadian Empire, located in the north, but most of the Sumerian literature was kept and written in cuneiform on clay tablets
  • Sumerian myths also survived in the Akkadian language, the Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, being part of one story from a compilation of praises brought to Gilgamesh in the Sumerian period
  • the Epic introduces one character, Utnapishtim, who survived the great flood; his story is remarkably similar to Noah’s and he is believed to be the prototype of the Biblical personage
  • in the Akkadian creation myth Enuma Elish, it is said that the god Marduk, worshipped in Babylon, fought and killed the goddess Tiamat from whose remains appeared Heaven and Earth; her son, Kingu, was also killed some time later and his blood was used to create humans
  • Mesopotamia has inspired not only the Bible, but also Roman and Greek mythology, especially since a great flood is also mentioned in the latter
  • the myth about the birth of humans is also tightly linked to the Great Flood in Greek mythology; before the appearance of humans there were four tribes: the golden tribe was close to the gods, but Zeus changed its members into spirits, then killed the silver tribe who had angered him; the bronze tribe, born of an ash tree, loved war and brought about its own destruction; members of the fourth tribe were Deucalion, the son of Prometheus, and Pyrrha, daughter of Pandora
  • the bronze tribe’s continuous fighting enraged Zeus, who sent heavy rains, causing a great flood; Deucalion and Pyrrha managed to escape, becoming the ancestors of the great heroes of the fourth tribe
  • current humanity belongs to the fifth tribe, born after the flood, when listening to Zeus’s teachings, Deucalion and Pyrrha threw rocks over their shoulder, creating men and women
  • Norse mythology attributes the creation of the world to Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve; before them, a giant called Ymir was born out of nothingness and from him was born a tribe of frost giants; Odin and his brothers, however, killed Ymir whose blood started a great flood, nearly causing the extinction of the frost giants
  • different parts of the world were created out of Ymir’s body, similar to Pangu of Chinese mythology or Tiamat of Mesopotamia **
  • moreover, there was a couple of frost giants who survived the flood and found a new home in Jotunheim where they built a new country for their kind
  • in the end, Odin created the first man, Ask, from a floating ash tree, while his companion, Embla, was born from an elm tree
  • since both Norse and Celtic mythology are rooted in Germanic mythology, it is believed they have common elements, but there is no trace of a creation myth in Celtic mythology; a very fragmented version is all that remains from Egyptian mythology as well
  • the last of the four great civilisations, the Indus, has scarcely any records left, but we can compare it to the Vedas and Hinduism, where a common creation myth pattern emerges, centered on Vishnu and the Churning of the Ocean of Milk
  • originally there was a normal sea, but in order to make the elixir that granted the gods eternal life and youth, Amrita, Shesha, or better said, Ananta, removed the Mandala Mountain and used it as a rod to churn the water
  • the turtle Kurma, an avatar of Vishnu, bore the mountain on its back and used it and the naga Vasuki to stir the sea; the gods pulled Vasuki’s tail, while his head was being pulled in this opposite direction by the asura, leading to the crushing of the animals and plants on the mountain and them flowing into what was now the sea of milk
  • as the stirring continued, the Sun, the Moon, all kinds of gods and animals started coming out of the sea, leading to the creation of the world
  • the flood is again related to the birth of mankind, this time in Hinduism, where a man named Manu receives a warning from the fish avatar of Vishnu, Matsya, builds a boat and is the only survivor; after one year of penance and rituals for the gods, Manu meets a woman who comes out of the water
  • creation myths were most likely born out of the need of people of old to know where they had come from, but also out of the need of country or religious rulers who had to place themselves on the same position as the ones who had created the world
  • it is certain the various myths were used to strengthen the position of kings, emphasize the importance of the heroic ancestors of a tribe or exaggerate events that had happened in reality
  • on the other hand, it can be said that humans are the ones who created the gods and mythology, since the strength of the faith in a god will keep him in or remove him from people’s minds
  • in the two SMT4 games it is emphasized that humans were the ones who created the gods and without humans gods would not have existed in the first place
image

* mentioned here and here

** Pangu is mentioned here

Source.

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About dijeh

I translate things, mainly almost everything that has to do with gods screwing with humans' lives and getting their asses kicked in return.
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3 Responses to SMTIVF Eleventh Topic:The Birth of Humans and the Birth of Gods

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  2. Pingback: TWELFTH TOPIC – NAPAEA AND FAIRY TALES | dijehtranslations

  3. Pingback: THIRTEENTH TOPIC: INANNA AND MYTHS OF THE ORIENT | dijehtranslations

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