creation myths of the world an encyclopedia

In the long history of human beings, the ancient people found the origin and evolution of human as well as the formation of universe of uncanny mysteriousness. Thereupon, people all over the world created various myths regarding the origin of human.

Norse mythology: everything was created as a result of the death of primitive giant Ymir
In Norse mythology, two primeval worlds existed before earth: Muspelheim, a continent of fire; and Niflheim, a frozen continent. When the cold air from Niflheim encountered the hot fire from Muspelheim, the primitive giant Ymir and a huge cow Audhumla were unfrozen and resurrected. Audhumla fed god Buri and his wife with its milk, and this couple gave birth to Borr, who had three sons. The three sons later slew Ymir. After the death of Ymir, the fresh from his corpse became lands; bones became mountains; hair, the trees; blood, the rivers and lakes; and his hollowed skull, the starry sky.

Ancient Persian religion: Zoroastrian mythology
In ancient Persian mythology, it was the supreme God Ahura Mazda who created the world. The Elburz Mountains grew for years and finally touched the sky; while the rain drops which flowed down from the Elburz Mountains formed the Voura-kasa Ocean and two main rivers. The first animal in the world was a white bull living by the River Veh-rod, but it was slain by an evil spirit named Angra Mainyu. After that, the sun purified the seed of human for as long as 40 years. After being sowed, this seed grew into a large yellow rest-harrow, from which grew the first human couple, Mashya and Mashyana. In Zoroastrian mythology, the battle between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu lasted 12,000 years. And in the first three millennia, Ahura’s bright world and Angra’s dark world co-existed, but the earliest human also underwent the lure and misleading of evil darkness. Angra did not kill Mashya and Mashyana as how he did that to the white bull; instead, he misled them and tempted them to worship him. 50 years later, Mashya and Mashyana gave birth to a pair of children, but this couple ate their own children under the misleading of Angra. In the end, supreme God Ahura Mazda restored the good nature of Mashya and Mashyana. After that, more and more children were born, and they became the early human.

Ancient Babylonian mythology: sky and earth were created after the death of creator goddess
Sea goddess Tiamat and water god Abzu gave birth to generations of deities, among which Ea was the eldest. These young deities were so noisy that Abzu and Tiamat could not sleep. Abzu thereupon plotted to kill them. However, his secret got out; Ea made the first move and killed Abzu. Tiamat vowed revenge after learning the grievous news, whereupon he created many monsters including mad dog, scorpion man, half-ox man and huge dragon. Ea and goddess Damkina gave birth to Marduk (which had four eyes and four ears), who became their guardian. In the fierce battle between Marduk and Tiamat, Marduk hit Tiamat’s heart with an arrow. Then he tore Tiamat’s body into two parts, and thus created sky and earth. Later he created human and let them do the hard work that deities did not want to do, such as farming and trading.

Ancient Egyptian mythology: the world began with a chaos

In ancient Egyptian mythology, the primeval world was in chaos. Atum, an Egyptian deity, wished to have soul and body. He/she created a hill so that he would have a foothold in this chaotic world. Atum was a genderless (or hermaphrodite) deity who could see everything. Out of the mouth, he/she spit a son, the god of air Shu; and then a daughter, the goddess of moisture Tefnut. Shu and Tefnut were responsible for changing the chaotic state of universe, whereupon they gave birth to the god of earth Geb and goddess of sky Nut. At first, Geb and Nut were intertwined with each other, later Geb lifted Nut up. The new order of universe was thus established, but Geb and Nut disappeared in the darkness. Atum gouged out his/her eyes to look for Shu and Tefnut, who in the end returned. He/she was so happy that he/she shed tears, and each tear became a human when falling on the earth.

Aztec mythology: a bloody story in ancient Mexico
The primordial earth goddess in Aztec mythology was named Coatlicue (“skirt of snakes”). She is described as a very horrible woman wearing a skirt of writhing snakes and a necklace made of human hearts, hands and skulls. Coatlicue was impregnated after sticking a knife made from obsidian into her body, and gave birth to the goddess of moon Coyolxauhqui. She also had 400 sons which became stars in the southern sky. Later Coatlicue discovered a feathered ball falling from the sky and strapped it to her waist, only to find herself pregnant again. The accidental pregnancy made Coyolxauhqui and her 400 sons shocked and angered. However, the fetus in Coatlicue’s abdomen was Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and sun. He sprung out of his mother’s womb in full armor and soon grew up. To comfort his mother, Huitzilopochtli attacked Coyolxauhqui and killed her with the help of fire snakes. He also struck off Coyolxauhqui’s head and tossed it into the sky where it became the moon.

Ancient Chinese mythology: Pangu separated sky and earth; Nüwa created human
The Cosmic Egg floated in the infinite space with two opposite forces: yin and yang. Pangu was born after countless transmigration. Thereupon, the heavier part of cosmic egg, yin, fell and became the earth; while the lighter part rose and became the sky. Out of the concern that sky and earth would combine again, Pangu supported them with both hands and feet. With each day, Pangu became ten feet higher, and 18,000 years later the sky was 30,000 feet high. He died after getting his job done; his body became the primary substance of universe. Goddess Nüwa was very lonely, whereupon she created human with mud from the Yellow River. Thus the first human being appeared. After that, she put some mud on a tree branch and made a swing with it, creating numberless small mud spots which later became human too.

Japanese mythology: earth was an island
The God created a brother and sister: Izanagi and Izanami. They stood on a floating bridge above the primitive ocean, used a jewel encrusted spear to stir the ocean, and thus created the Island Onogoro. Later, they married and lived on this island. As the God blamed them for breaking the rule, so the couple continued to create Japanese islands and many deities with the jewel encrusted spear. However, Izanami died when creating the fire god. Grieved Izanagi followed Izanami’s soul to the hell, which was ruled by Yomi. There Izanami ate Yomi’s food and could not be reincarnated any more. Izanagi was terrified to see Izanami’s rotten corpse and began to run away. Izanami’s angry soul was chasing after him. In the end, Izanagi escaped from the cave of hell, and firmly placed a stone over the aperture to the underworld. Izanagi did not want to go to hell any more and this couple was parted forever.

Indian mythology: cosmology and Brahma
According to the ancient Indian myths recorded in the earliest Sanskrit Vedas, ginormous deity Purusa had thousands of heads, eyes and feet. He wrapped the ground, and space extended as his ten fingers stretched out. When the deities offered sacrifices to Purusa, on his body there appeared clear grease, which became birds and animals at last. Later Purusa’s body turned into the basis of all things, as well as deities like fire god Agni, and Indra who controlled thunder, rain and war. Meanwhile, four social classes were also created from his body: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. According to the historical development later, Brahma, the supreme eternal entity and the Universal Father appeared as one of the Hindu Trimurti. The deities among Hindu Trimurti also include the god of protection Vishnu and god of destruction Shiva. Brahma created all things in universe which lasted 4.32 billion years. After that, the god of destruction Shiva destroyed the universal order, started a new circle, and relaxed everybody. The current state of our universe in the circle would last billions of years.

Greek mythology: the battle between deities
In the mythic epics recorded by Greek poet Hesiod in 8th BC (the Theogony), the chaotic state of primitive universe started from the primordial deities, including the goddess of earth Gaia who created Uranus (the primal god personifying sky, son and consort of Gaia). Uranus governed the sky, and acted as the protector of Gaia. He and Gaia gave birth to many deities and monsters, including Hekatonkheires who had 50 heads and 100 hands, as well as Cyclops who had an eye as big as carriage axle. Gaia and Uranus had 6 sons and 6 daughters, but Uranus did not like their weird-looking children very much, and imprisoned them in Tartarus (an abyss under Hades). Gaia was so enraged that she gave a huge sickle to her youngest son Cronus, and told him of a plan to slay Uranus. When Uranus tried to mate with Gaia, Cronus rushed out and castrated Uranus. From the blood that spilled from Uranus onto the earth came forth the Giants and Erinyes.

The common myth of both Judaism and Christianity: Adam and Eva
The Old Testament in Judaism, the Koran in Islamism and the Bible in Christianity all contained two creation myths, which are recognized and believed in by Judaists and Christians today. In the first myth, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. In the following six days, God created sky, earth, planets, sun and moon, as well as all the animals including human. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. In the second myth, God created the first human on the earth, Adam; and the Eden where he could live happily. But God forbade Adam to eat the fruits in the Eden, as these fruits were from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam lived alone and lonely, so God took a rib from Adam and created the first woman, Eva. A serpent able to speak tempted and persuaded Eva to eat the forbidden fruit, and then Eva did the same to Adam. Upon learning this, God drove Adam and Eva out of Eden and made them mortal.