Sunday, October 19, 2008

Symbolism and Creation, Part 8

Now, that we have a better perspective of the Earth’s ancient heavens, let’s take a good look at the many creation accounts themselves. But, before we do, let me give you the lay of the land at this point in our quest so you will not enter this phase without your spiritual and temporal bearings.

After a lifetime of struggling to interpret the creation accounts in terms of our present views of cosmology and cosmogony — a frustrating exercise that often left us scratching our heads and wondering what the scriptures meant — we now have the promise that the concepts of the Polar Configuration of planets and the Saturn traditions will allow a much clearer, comprehensible and reasonable interpretation that virtually eliminates the questions we once had.

If true, this would be a monumentally positive development, especially if the basis of this new interpretation easily and informatively integrated with the rest of the restored gospel. This would be wonderful news for Latter-day Saints and a vital key to understanding our religion, our founding prophet, the ancient prophets and the scriptures.

Thus, what we are about to examine and explore has the potential to expand our gospel comprehension far beyond anything we may have heretofore considered. Moreover, it puts the lie to the argument that this information is peripheral and therefore inconsequential. Rather, it goes to the very core of our gospel understanding, to enlighten our minds and lift our spirits. This promises to be the most exciting bit of gospel study you have ever done.

As with the universal flood stories, all ancient cultures have creation stories. At first blush, they seem to have little to do with the creation stories we find in the scriptures. But, upon closer inspection and with the aid of our knowledge of the ancient polar configuration of planets and the Saturn traditions, we begin to see fascinating similarities that escaped us before.

For example, from accounts written by other ancient cultures, we learn that they all considered the creation to be the act of a god or gods. The Egyptian creator god was a solitary being called Atum or Ra. As we have seen, this was the planet Saturn.

Ra was seen by the Egyptians as a solitary god, and ancient sun that had no companions. “I am Atum, when I was alone in Nun,” he is made to say. He also declares himself to be “The God One,” or the “Only God” — “except who at the beginning none other existed.”

As in the Old Testament account, Atum is the uncreated creator. “I was the maker of myself,” or “I came into being of myself.”

In Genesis we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Reading the scriptural accounts of the creation leaves one with the impression that God related those events to Moses and Abraham who lived long after the actual event. That is, Genesis begins with the creation because the assumption is that it was the first thing to happen, long before Adam and Eve were placed on the Earth, which was the last act of God in the creation accounts.

But, upon reading the creation accounts from other ancient cultures, one cannot assume that they came by that information via revelation, as in the scriptures. So, where did the creation accounts told by other cultures come from if God revealed this information to only his prophets?

Here we come face to face with the concept that ancient man was a spectator to the events as the “One God” created the “heavens” and the “earth.” Unlike the Hebrew prophets Abraham and Moses, who leave the impression that God revealed the events of the creation, other cultures unabashedly assert that their ancestors observed the creation. In fact, many accounts recall a time before the creation. These are most intriguing, and further emphasize that the event that all cultures recall as the ‘creation’ was not the actual creation at all.

This concept cannot be overemphasized in our discussion here. That is, the creation that mankind observed and remembered was not the creation of this Earth at all. Rather, it was the creation of the heavens, God’s habitation, they recall, even though they consistently referred to it as “earth.”

Furthermore, if that is true, then the Genesis account may fall into the same category as the creation accounts from other cultures. That is, our assumption that it is a re-telling of the creation events by the Creator himself to his prophets may be incorrect.

In fact, when we compare Genesis with those other accounts, it becomes apparent that it is simply another version of one event, another telling of those things remembered by all cultures as the ‘creation.’

Did each invent its own story? The answer is: Yes and no. Each account from separate cultures has its own, curious take on that creative event, but they are remarkably similar in the story they tell. In fact, by taking a larger view of all these accounts, we come to the conclusion that it is the “One Story told ‘round the world.” While they differ in many respects from the Genesis, Abraham and Moses accounts, they have remarkable similarities — so much so that by comparing our scriptural accounts to those from other cultures, a more accurate and complete picture of the event known as the ‘creation’ emerges.

© Anthony E. Larson, 2008

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