This web site was completed for a high school Latin course. The asssignment was to explore some asset of classical culture and compare it to another culture, either modern of historic. It was done for Brian McCarthy's Latin II class.

Common Elements in Creation Myths

Lindsey Murtagh
It is in the nature of humans to wonder about the unknown and search for answers. At the foundation of nearly every culture is a creation myth that explains how the wonders of the earth came to be. These myths have an immense influence on people's frame of reference. They influence the way people think about the world and their place in relation to their surroundings. Despite being separated by numerous geographical barriers many cultures have developed creation myths with the same basic elements.

Many creation myths begin with the theme of birth. This may be because birth represent new life and the beginning of life on earth may have been imagined as being similar to the beginning of a child's life. This is closely related to the idea of a mother and father existing in the creation of the world. The mother and father are not always the figures which create life on earth. Sometimes the creation doesn't occur until generations after the first god came into being.

A supreme being appears in almost every myth. He or she is what triggers the train of events that create the world. Sometimes there are two beings, a passive and active creator.

Not all cultures imagine life starting on earth . Some believe that it originated either above or below where we live now. Still other myths claim the earth was once covered with water and the earth was brought to the surface. These are called diver-myths.

According to some cultures humans and animals once lived together peacefully. However because of a sin caused by the humans they are split up. This sin is often brought on by darkness and is represented as fire. Other times the innocence of humans is taken away by a god.

We continue to wonder. Even now, as the 21st century approaches we continue to make theories on how earth was created. They are our new creation myths. We base our ideas on scientific evidence. However the creation myths were based on what people saw - their observations.

To reach any page on this document click on the link you want from the list below.

  • Birth
  • Mother-Father
  • Geneology
  • Supreme Beings
  • An Active and a Passive Creator
  • Creation from Above or Below
  • Diver-Myths
  • The Relationship of Animals and Humans
  • An Instruction, a Sin and the Consequence
  • Night, Fear, Fire and Sin
  • Gods Creating Suffering
  • Iroquois Creation Myth
  • Australian Aborigine Creation Myth
  • African Bushmen Creation Myth
  • Hebrew/Christian Creation Myth
  • Greek Creation Myth
  • Japanese Creation Myth
  • Bibliography
  • Other Interesting Sites