This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.
― Henry David Thoreau
“The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day.”
― Samuel Beckett, Proust
“It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu lila, lila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt”
― Alan W. Watts, Zen and the Beat Way
“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a ‘what’ created the universe; the theist believes a ‘who’ created the universe.”
― Criss Jami, Killosophy
“This was the scientific age, and people wanted to believe that their traditions were in line with the new era, but this was impossible if you thought that these myths should be understood literally. Hence the furor occasioned by The Origin of Species, published by Charles Darwin. The book was not intended as an attack on religion, but was a sober exploration of a scientific hypothesis. But because by this time people were reading the cosmogonies of Genesis as though they were factual, many Christians felt–and still feel–that the whole edifice of faith was in jeopardy. Creation stories had never been regarded as historically accurate; their purpose was therapeutic. But once you start reading Genesis as scientifically valid, you have bad science and bad religion.”
― Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth
To explore three creation stories and reflect on deeper truths found in myth
To consider our first source, transcendent mystery and wonder, in relationship to the scientific explanation of creation
Taking It Home
Explore more about the Anishinabe people and their myths at http://www.bigorrin.org/anishinabe_kids.htm
Read more about Australian Aboriginal culture at http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-indigenous-cultural-heritage.
Watch a brief video about the big bang theory and evolution here. If you want to go further there are many resources available online.
Search the Internet or library for information on creation myths. Read about them and discuss what truths might be hidden in the story and what they tell us about the people and places they came from.
Ask your children what they think happened to create this world. What questions do they have about it? Are any of the questions unanswerable? Hold up the value of our first source – transcendent mystery and wonder. It is okay to not know the answer to a question. Sometimes it is enough just to appreciate the wonder of things.
Can you as an adult find meaning and value in the creation myths that are told? Where does truth occur in these stories?
Our RE Stories for April
Turtle Island – this version is from the Ojibway (Ashinaabe) people, there are several versions that vary slightly from the Northeastern part of North America.
“Creation from the Dreamtime,” as told in Sing to the Power, Tapestry of Faith, UUA
“A Garden is Born,” as told in Riddle and Mystery, Tapestry of Faith, UUA