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Week 2 Hum 105

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Comparison of Creation Myths
Carin M. Valencia
HUM / 105
February 11, 2013
Gerald Grudzen PhD.

Comparison of Creation Myths
In the Chinese creation myth of Yin and Yang, it is taught that in the beginning, before the existence heaven and earth there was nothing but chaos. It is this chaos that eventually gave birth to one God and one Goddess and they would create Heaven and Earth and come to be known as Yin and Yang. “Yin gathered into herself all that was dark and heavy. And, like a thick, plodding mass, Yin sank downward into the earth and became one with it. And earth became square.” (Rosenberg, 2006, p.345) “Yang gathered into himself all that was bright and light. And, like a mist, Yang drifted upward into Heaven and became one with it. And Heaven became round.” (Rosenberg, 2006, p.345) It is also said, that Yang’s breath became hot and made fire and the sun, while Yin’s was cool and created water and the moon. From these came celestial bodies as well as different bodies of water, settling with their creators in Heaven and on Earth. The sheer essence of the Goddess Yin and the God Yang become the four seasons and from that comes all that is in existence, plants, trees, insects, humans etc. In this myth we see the two become separate entities that together form all of existence. The celestial beings and water together help to create all living things upon the earth that has been created. We see no destruction caused by the previous chaos, but the opposite, it is from the chaos that the God and Goddess are created and allowed to create life in many forms. In the Babylonian myth of the Enuma Elish it is taught that in the beginning only water and mist existed. Father Apsu ruled the sweet waters and Mother Tiamat ruled the salt waters. These bodies of water flowed together as one unit and the mist that resulted was their son Mummu. The blending of these waters resulted in the creation of Anshar and Kishar, who eventually parented the God of heavens Anu. Anu produced God of Earth, Ea, who was stronger and wiser than his father and grandfather. The young gods however caused quite the disturbance with their rowdy behavior and this caused resentment among the Mother and Father Gods as well as Mummu. They held a meeting to discuss the best way to deal with the disturbance and Apsu announced he would destroy them as this was the only solution he knew of, as he had already tried speaking to them about their behavior and was ignored. Tiamat was against this idea, they were after all their children, he must find another way. Mummu however was in agreement and Apsu began. The younger Gods hearing of their fate cried and didn’t know what they would do to thwart their killers. Ea the smartest of the Gods came up with a plan to use his magic to save them and this he did. “First he created a magic circle to protect the gods and placed them safely within it. Then he recited a sacred spell upon the deep waters of Apsu, causing Apsu to fall into a sound sleep and Mummu to remain powerless.” (Rosenberg, 2006, p.21) After conquering Tiamat and Mummu, Ea and his wife Damkina settled on Apsu’s sweet waters. The two eventually bore a new God, Marduke, the wisest and most powerful of Gods. “Ea made Marduk a double god so that he would surpass all the other gods in form and in strength. Four sparkling eyes shone forth from Marduk’s face, enabling him to see everything, and four large ears extended outward, enabling him to hear everything. Whenever Marduk moved his lips, fire blazed forth from his mouth.” (Rosenberg, 2006, p.23)
Anu another of Apsu and Tiamatu’s children creates wind, this wind is violent and disturbs the waters of Tiamatu. Still more of her children, led by Kingu come to her, complain of the wrath of Anu and encourage her to attack the Gods and promise to help. She is willing and says that she will create monsters to help them in their fight, the God’s begin to develop a plan.
Tiamutu created 11 monsters and chose Kingu as their leader. This army of Gods and monsters was met with fear by many, until finally it was decided that Marduk should be the one to win this battle. Armed with a handmade bow, mace, a plant to destroy poison, a net that he created to hold Tiamat, and lightning he filled his body with flames and set the winds around him so that she could not escape. “Marduk then brought forth the evil wind, the whirlwind, the hurricane, the fourfold wind, the sevenfold wind, the cyclone, and the matchless wind and sent all seven winds to stir up the inside of Tiamat, goddess of the salt waters.” (Rosenberg, 2006, p.25). He gathered his four beasts and they boarded his storm chariot, which all that saw it feared and finally dressed in his coat of armor and placed his halos upon his head. “Marduk then raised his mighty weapon, the flooding rainstorm, against the enraged Tiamat and said, “Why have you begun such an evil conflict? You are attacking your own children! Do you not love them? Sons are fighting against their fathers, and you have no cause to hate them! You have conferred upon Kingu a rank to which he is not rightfully entitled. Although you are armed with weapons and surrounded by your forces, I ask you to stand against me in single combat!” (Rosenberg, 2006, p.25)
With these words, Tiamat became saddened, crying aloud, and when she opened her mouth to consume Marduk, he let loose the mighty winds, stabbed her with his arrow in her heart and won the war. After killing his mother and subduing her army he went back to her lifeless body and tore it in half. One half he sent to the sky and the other he used to create Earth. Her saliva was used to create clouds and fill them with water, her head became mountains, he himself kept control of the winds and caused the Euphrates and Tigris to flow from her eyes. Once order was created he appointed different Gods for the various needs, he handed the shrines of which he created over to Ea, the Tablet of Destinies to Anu, and restored the Gods he had bound in his battle to their fathers and turned the monsters to statues to warn others of the consequences of revolt. Now he needed workers, slaves of sort to build upon the Earth and care for the Gods. “ I will collect blood and create bones and from them I will create a savage and call him man.” Ea replied, “Call the gods to assembly. Tell them to give us the god who led Tiamat to rebel. Let that god perish so that human beings can be formed out of his blood.” (Rosenberg, 2006, p.25)
The rebel army of Gods revealed that their leader had been Kingu, and for that they were freed but first they worked for two years to construct Babylon, their new home. Ea fashioned the first humans with Kingu’s blood and explained to them that it was their destiny to serve the Gods will.

In these two myths we see many differences and few similarities. The Yin and Yang is really a quite simple story, with no violence or war in creation. The story of Babylon however shows that their Gods had to fight a righteous war against their mother to secure freedom, control and happiness. In the story of Babylon we see female as rather emotional and unable to discipline her children, and this is one of the causes of the war that saw her killed by the hands of one. Yin and Yang, are more equal, you can’t have true inner peace without equal acceptance of both. I find both of them very interesting, but can relate best to the Yin and Yang.

Reference:
Rosenberg, D. (2006). World mythology: An anthology of great myths and epics (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: McGraw Hill.

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