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Night, Fear, Fire and Sin

In the creation myths of many cultures darkness represented fear. After everything was created the animals and people did not expect the sun to set. When it did fear reigned. Sometimes this fear resulted in sin, which was sometimes represented as fire.

The Aborigines of Australia believed that after the Sun Mother created all the plants and animals on Earth, she rose to the sky. As the animals watched her sink beneath the horizon they encountered incredible fear. They thought their mother had deserted them. She rose again the next morning and relieved them of their fear.

In the creation myth of the African Bushmen the Great Master and Lord of All Life, Kaang (Käng), gave the people and animals the earth he had created with the order never to build a fire. If they followed his advice they would continue to live together happily. Otherwise evil would befall them. The people vowed not to. However when darkness fell they became frightened and cold. Finally one man suggested that they build a fire. Forgetting Kaang's advice the people built a fire. Their fear eased. They could see each other again and get warm. However the animals feared the fire. They left and the evil Kaang had warned against came true; people and animals no longer live together peacefully. In this myth the fear of darkness drove the humans to commit the sin of fire.

The Greeks have one of these two elements in their creation myths. The people Prometheus creates never become afraid of darkness because he gives them the sin which bestows Zeus' anger upon them. In giving the people fire to which only the gods were supposed to have access he had caused Zeus' wrath to fall on both him and them.

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