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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ancient Egyptian Creation Myths

I'm always fascinated while studying early civilizations to find "pieces" of Truth buried in their myths. Creation myths are of particular interest. Some of you may be familiar with the Mesopotamian 'Enuma Elish'. The Greeks, btw, incorporated Mesopotamian mythology when developing their own. [I know that may come as a shock to the Greeks, who have a national belief in Hellas being the source for ALL civilizations, a POV reaching back to the time of Herodotus! ;) The world DID receive much from the Greeks...but not everything originated with them.] None of these creation myths, btw, hold a candle to the presentation in Genesis. While there are similarities, the differences are absolutely GLARING! I attribute the similarities to their having had an original knowledge of the Truth. [Romans, Chapter 1] And I find it's a universal phenomona - even reaching to the Americas.

When considering Ancient Egypt we sometimes lose sight of the variations of beliefs over their 3000 years of existance- it varied according to regions and time periods. So I thought I would tell you about four of their creation myths.

Heliopolis: The self-created Atum-Ra (the sun) emerged from the primeval ocean, Nun, and produced the divine pair Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture) [2nd Day Division of Firmament & waters?]. They, in turn, became the parents of Geb (earth) and Nut (sky), who were in turn the parents of the four primary gods: Osiris and his wife Isis, Seth and his wife Nephthys. This system of nine gods ["The Ennead"] became the dominant view, and was centered in Heliopolis [Biblical "On"; "Heliopolois" is its Greek name...there go those Greeks again ;)], just north of modern Cairo].

Hermopolis: Eight shadowy gods (including Amon, "The Hidden One") produced out of the formless watery waste an egg, from which the sun (Atum-Ra) emerged.

Memphis [So. of Modern Cairo; residence of the Pharaohs during time of Abraham]: All things originated as thought in the heart of Ptah and issued through the commands of his tongue. [Sound familiar?]

Elephatine: Mankind was shaped by the ram god, Khnum, on his potter's wheel.

Next Post I'll tell you a few of the Mesopotamian Creation myths.