What a Definition Can Share
As an undergraduate, I started to learn the myths of creation in the Western cultures from primary sources. It was research into the depths of the ancient texts left by the first civilizations to record their own histories in the Western world. I was taught to use a standard method for this kind of research. It is very similar to the scientific method. But, I am not going to dive into that can of worms. I am touching on the simple fact that the closer a primary source is to the events then there is a higher degree of accuracy.
In relation to this, I have added a new background to this blog. It is a picture called Cosmogony by a great digital artist, Ryan Bliss, at www.digitalblasphemy.com. I have been following his work for years; recently a friend gifted me a year membership to his site. Each one of his pieces has a way of being quite evocative and this one did not miss the mark. As with its title, I turned my thoughts to the definition of cosmogony; in addition, what it means to me.
At www.merriam-webster.com, cosmogony has a pair of meanings. 1. : a theory of the origin of the universe; 2. : the creation or origin of the world or universe. Now, to some, this might be a contradiction as it brings the idea that the first definition is related to the scientific theory of the origin of the universe and the second would be related to the creation of the world or universe. If you unwrap that further, it could be that the word has the ability to be used in both senses. It can be part of the theory of the Big Bang, which in turn becomes connected to the Evolutionary Theory, or it can play a role within the explanation of Creationism. I find it fascinating to say the least and explored my thoughts even further.
Recently, as is my usual tendency on a regular basis, I returned to the writings of the ancient world of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Near East, and the Mediterranean. I enjoy keeping the information fresh in my mind. One of the texts that I have been looking at is a creation story originally written in cuneiform. It is the myth of Tiamat as the feminine, chaotic Ocean and Apsu as the masculine Fresh Water or River. In it, these two primeval entities mingle together and create offspring that become gods. However, these gods begin to disturb Apsu, so he plots to destroy them. However, one of the gods, Ea, stops and kills Apsu to save the others.
This story set me on a course to read the next creation story and the next. It all starts to have the same thematic elements with separation or defining of the primeval elements of the world. Each may be personified or mentioned as part of the creation of world. The creation story of Genesis speaks of God separating the light from the dark; the land from the water; and man from the animals. Each becomes a role in the story. From the simplest parts, the elements become more complex until they achieve a level when they must even separate from the eternal force that created them.
Now, if we draw forth the pieces of the creation stories and set them aside, we can examine the theory that the universe was once the simple elements brought together and an unexplained event set these elements into a violent separation. From this spreading out of the particles, the universe and its galaxies are brought into existence. Our understanding of it is a very small piece of that vast timeline, but we have the capacity to extrapolate the evidence that supports this theory.
It is this point that brings me back to cosmogony. It is a word that helps to define the origin of the universe and how we interpret that word is in the context and from our relative position to it. One side of the argument finds its support through a faith while the other side explores the possibilities through evidence. However, with one word, we have cosmogony to describe both.
Where do I stand on this? Well, that has been a long road to a simple answer. I prefer to have some form of evidence before me. As a student, I dug into the past texts of the creation stories of cultures that would have been an influence on the ones that wrote the book of Genesis. It is all about context of the text because that is where the truth lies. For me, it is difficult to accept blindly that a story shared and altered to their preferences by several civilizations over a period of a thousand years to be the true answer to the origins. Of course, without having the ability to see the Big Bang with my own eyes, the evidence of this will remain questionable until proven. However the evidence is strong with the theory.
Don’t follow blindly and find your own opinion.