What are the similarities among these myths?
Many of the myths have a single over all beginning creature or thing, a large vastness from which a small group is created such as Atum-Kheper from the creation myth of the Egyptians. He/she is the force of creation, the thing that makes and he/she makes other gods and all things within the kingdom (and presumably the world.) From that group, more creatures or things are named and created. Also, there seems to be a thread that follows through a couple of the stories about man (humans) coming out of the earth or the ground itself, which can be seen in the Australian myths (Powell, pg. 469-470.) The creation myth from the Arunata tribe also shows the humans as “incomplete men” (pg 470) and “they had no distinct limbs or organs of sign, hearing, or smell, and did not eat food, and presented the appearance of human beings all doubled up..” (Powell, pg. 470) indicating that they were made of mud or earth instead of flesh. In order for them to be liberated, the air or sky gods had to come down and cut them lose with rock knives. Next, in Genesis, “man is formed out of dust of the ground and animated by a physical breathing into his nostrils of the “breath of life” rather than being created purely by a word…”(Franke, pg. 37) and “woman is made out of a rib taken from his [man’s] side”(Franke, pg. 36) signifying (in this version) that man was created first, and woman from man. Again, we see man or humans (or minor gods) coming from the ground and being made to reproduce in some way.
What do these similarities illuminate about the human condition regardless of time and setting?
I think that the similarities in the myths illuminate a loneliness in being human. We don’t wish to be alone. The great thing, the beginning god or creature or creator, was alone before it he/she made the gods and creatures that came after it. From there, those gods and creatures make more, searching for the perfect union and companion. It’s interesting to me that different groups of people can feel this same way when “human beings are many and diverse, and the significance of things can never be clearly abstracted from the concrete individuals and the particularities of their existence.” (Franke, pg 39.)
Sarah Ockershausen Delp
Franke, William. “From The Bible As Literature To Literature As Theology: A Theological Reading Of Genesis As A Humanities Text.” Interdisciplinary Humanities 29.2 (2012): 28-45. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 July 2015.