World Creation stories
Published: 6 January 2011 (GMT+10)
Compilation of images from iStockphoto, NASA, Caleb Salisbury and Sarah Sercombe
People groups from around the world have their accounts of creation and they affect the way the societies work.
Beliefs about creation and their effects
People around the world believe in a ‘creation’ of some sort, and can be broadly categorised into two groups.1 Some would say that the universe was created (creationists) by an intelligent agent of some kind, and others that the universe created itself (materialistic evolutionists) and are atheists (from a-"without" theos-"god"). These two views are of course in complete opposition to one another. (Some try to blend the two views, see below).
Creationist stories from around the world
Whether examining the North or South American ‘Indian’ creation myths, the Australian aboriginal BIAMI Legends, China’s creation stories of the Miao people or New Zealand’s Maori people, or the Bible’s account, accounts of creation abound. Creation by a supernatural creator seems to be a natural way of thinking for most people as they ponder their origins.
These creation stories have many common elements, and typically speak of an original paradise, a fall from grace introducing corruption into the world, a global judgment by a flood etc. The obvious design in nature could lead various people groups to believe in a generic “creator”, however such similar accounts are hard to explain by chance and more obviously point to a shared history not long ago.
Studies have shown that children naturally see the world as “designed”, rather than having evolved (not because of religious training, contrary to the view that vocal atheist Richard Dawkins has long argued.)2
Rather, it is usually through the intense indoctrination in a state run school system (where often no other view other than evolution is offered/allowed) that youth start believing everything just made itself and that this belief equates with ‘science’. (Many of course never realize that empirical science can only test things in the present, not the past, making the question of origins in the past beyond the scope of anyone to prove using scientific experiment.)
Non-creationist ‘creation’ stories
Atheists must have a way of explaining their existence without an intelligent creator, and so all atheists are evolutionists by default. Whether Darwinian evolutionists, neo-Darwinian evolutionists, punctuated equilibrium supporters or chaos theory believers etc, all atheists believe in some form of self-creation or ‘evolution’, and western countries are universally teaching such atheistic creation stories as ‘scientific theory’ in their public education systems.
The majority of people on earth today would fall into the first group mentioned above, believing there is a creator God. Believers in a deity who tack on evolution as ‘the way that god created’ (theistic evolutionists) usually do so because they were educated in a school system that teaches evolution, and not from a plain reading/understanding of the source of their belief system (Bible, Koran, Popul Vuh, native legends etc). Many eventually become consistent thinkers and abandon their theistic position as they realize that there is no sense having two contradictory ways of explaining origins.
Theistic evolutionists may believe they have reached a pleasant compromise between the two major opposing world views, but as William Jennings Bryan once said “Theistic evolution may be defined as an anesthetic which deadens the patient’s pain while atheism removes his religion”.
Why creation stories?
Creation stories from around the world often attempt to explain what sociologist and a professor emeritus at Harvard University Daniel Bell once stated; “Culture … is the effort to provide a coherent set of answers to the existential predicaments that confront all human beings.”3
In seeking coherent answers about life the question of origins looms large. After all, the origin of something determines its meaning, its meaning determines its value and its value determines what you will do with it. (A person cleaning up their attic might throw away a painting thinking it’s worthless, created by an amateur, while an art collector might value it highly as a masterpiece because they know it was painted by an artistic genius. What would be the basis of the difference in opinion? The painting’s origin.)
Similarly, if you believe mankind was created by a warlike being that simply overpowers his opponents, then adherents to that system probably won’t have a problem subjugating other people by war. If you believe there is a loving God who created us, then you would probably believe we should treat others fairly. What we believe about origins determines the ‘rules’ or ‘laws’ that a culture is willing to live by, as that narrative reflects how we should conduct ourselves as we live our lives.
The results of creation stories
Many Christians and even conservative minded non-Christians in western countries have expressed shock and/or dissatisfaction with many of the rulings from certain court cases, and wonder what sort of reasoning could have been applied to result in such ‘unfair’ decisions when common sense should have dictated (what they believe should have been) a different result.
But common sense is only common when there is a commonality of thought between people. The Judeo-Christian foundations of these countries have been seriously eroded, leaving behind a mish-mash of differing beliefs. However, one common over-riding concept is being taught to all who are subjected to public education in the west: the theory of evolution. How is this ‘creation’ story affecting our culture?
A recent online article4 from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, by evolutionist A.R. Cashmore, argued that the justice system is flawed because it assumes people have free will, something he argues doesn’t exist if all we are is the result of chance chemical-physical processes. Cashmore wrote, “In Anglo-American law, for a person to be found guilty of a crime, he must be aware of his wrongdoing at the time of the crime—he must display mens rea: that is, the mind must be guilty. In certain circumstances, a defendant can be found not guilty by reason of insanity.”4
He then gives an example where such a defense was not successful; “ … the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, who was found guilty … for the death of seventeen young men from 1978 to 1991. Dahmer was a necrophiliac, performing gross sexual acts on the dead bodies, as well as performing frontal lobotomies and boiling their skulls in acid.”4
“The rationale for the guilty verdict was that it was claimed that he knew what he was doing was wrong, as evidenced by the fact that he lied to the police about his activities. I raise this case to illustrate two points: First, the legal system assumes a capacity for individuals not only to distinguish between right and wrong, but to act according to those distinctions—that is, an integral component of the legal system is a belief in free will. Furthermore, the legal system assumes that it is possible to distinguish those individuals who have this capacity of free will from those who lack it.”4
But according to Cashmore; “The reality is, not only do we have no more free will than a fly or a bacterium, in actuality we have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.”
What is his (and other like minded people’s) conclusion?
“As noted by Lady Barbara Wootton, the British criminologist, ‘If mental health and ill health cannot be defined in objective scientific terms that are free of subjective moral judgments, it follows that we have no reliable criterion by which to distinguish the sick from the healthy mind. The road is then wide open … to dispense with the concept of responsibility altogether.’”4
In this atheistic evolutionary view, Jeffrey Dahmer was not responsible for his actions. He simply reacted the way he did because of the way his biochemical make up dictated. It wasn’t right or wrong, good or evil. And what did Dahmer himself believe about origins?
“If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s—what’s the point of—of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought, anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing … ”5
So despite Cashmore’s claims that free will is a myth, Dahmer stated he actually thought through his actions logically and decided on a course of action based on these beliefs. Apparently thoughts do have consequences.
Cashmore also admits that; “Darwin was aware of the implications of his theories concerning evolution in reference to free will as indicated in these notes: “This view should teach one profound humility, one deserves no credit for anything. Nor ought one to blame others.”
This view has born much fruit in our modern age. Consider this Cornell University professor’s statement; “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposeful forces of any kind, no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be completely dead. That’s just all—that’s gonna be the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.”6
So according to evolutionists who have thought through the implications of their ‘creation’ story, our actions are simply the result of a stimulus/response mechanism that we are not responsible for, and this outlook has deep roots back to Darwin himself. But perhaps this view is not simply a ‘logical and rational’ outlook based solely on the ‘facts’.
Motives for choosing a creation story
Aldous Huxley commented, “I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do … ”7
When atheist Aldous Huxley wrote this, he clearly understood that the only reason for true meaning in life was to believe in a creator-God, but that he didn’t want that to be true because then there would be rules regarding what was right and wrong, so he willfully chose not to believe. But how could he have chosen something based on such motivation if he did not have free will?
After all, Cashmore said; “A belief in free will is akin to religious beliefs. Indeed, I would argue that free will makes ‘logical sense,’ as long as one has the luxury of the ‘causal magic’ of religion. Neither religious beliefs, nor a belief in free will, comply with the laws of the physical world.”3 So according to his own beliefs, Cashmore and his atheistic kin have no real choice but to be atheists! Every decision he thinks he has made thinking atheism to be a rational, logical worldview is really nothing but biochemical predestination.
Picking up the baton, modern day champion of atheism Richard Dawkins said that he thinks we live in a universe that looks like it has “ … no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference”8 , so he concurs with his predecessor (Huxley) regarding meaning in the world apparently.
Self-proclaimed “Godless liberal” P.Z. Myers put it this way:
“First, there is no moral law: the universe is a nasty, heartless place where most things wouldn’t mind killing you if you let them. No one is compelled to be nice; you or anyone could go on a murder spree, and all that is stopping you is your self-interest …
“There is nothing ‘out there’ that imposes morality on you, other than local, temporary conditions, a lot of social enculturation, and probably a bit of genetic hardwiring that you’ve inherited from ancestors who lived under similar conditions.”9
All of these people believe the same ‘creation’ story, evolution, and being consistent thinkers, they all believe there is no such thing as an absolute moral law.
Moral and ethical results of creation stories
Many people argue over social issues—like abortion for example, as to whether any, 1st , 2nd or 3rd trimester terminations are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (i.e. Where is the moral ‘line’?), trying to determine laws for their society. But they seem to have forgotten that in the atheistic world view there is no right or wrong. Concerning abortion and infanticide, atheistic ‘bioethicist’ John Harris from Manchester University says:
“I don’t think infanticide is always unjustifiable. I don’t think it is plausible to think that there is any moral change that occurs during the journey down the birth canal.”10
So if you can kill a child one second before he/she is born, why not 1 second, 1 hour, 1 day/year afterwards? Consistent atheists know there is no absolute moral line and they want it that way because it suits their purposes!
Consistent atheism, founded in a belief in evolution, is destined to cause a collapse in moral law in any society, as the standard by which to judge right and wrong has been removed. Even atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett alludes to this in his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.11
He compared Darwin’s ideas to a “universal acid”, so corrosive nothing can contain it. Darwinism “eats through virtually every traditional concept”12 (beliefs about God, value, meaning, purpose, culture, morality—everything!).
Slowly but surely there is one all encompassing creation story that is entrenching itself into the consciousness of each successive generation more firmly, the atheists’ creation story of evolution. As globalization continues, this concept may eventually be taught all over the world as ‘science’. But this story can clearly be traced to a mindset that is destructive to civilized societies, while Christianity was the seedbed of law and order in arguably the greatest countries in the world.
Christians need to prepare themselves and their children to face this onslaught or they may eventually be removed by this relentless universal acid that affects all levels of society. For those who aren’t concerned because of their own personal convictions, perhaps they should heed the words of Adolph Hitler (who applied evolutionary reasoning to German society):
“When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side’, I calmly say, ‘your child belongs to us already … What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community.’”
One only has to look at the experiments in running a society according to the atheists’ ‘creation’ story (evolution) in the 20th century to see the dire consequences of abandoning the biblical account of creation—see The blood-stained ‘century of evolution’.
All worldviews must answer the ultimate questions life posits satisfactorily if they are to be taken seriously, and obviously not all of the different creation stories (versions of history) claimed by various groups around the world can be true (truth by definition is exclusive).
Any worldview that claims there is no Creator-God can be defeated on purely scientific grounds, so atheism makes no sense. Likewise any worldview claiming there is no such thing as truth or that all truth claims are equal is also self-refuting/false.
All remaining worldviews also collapse eventually under close inspection due to inconsistency scientifically, historically and/or morally. Only Christianity provides a person with the knowledge of the past, present and future, makes sense of the design and beauty in the world and answers life’s dilemma’s like the problem of evil.
Most importantly it offers the only solution to the grim reality each of us must face; the problem of our sin and guilt before our Creator. The creation account (including the fall of man) in Genesis explains every person’s greatest need, the need for the only saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ.
- There has never been a logical third option proposed. For those who want to quibble that there may be a third option, the onus is on them to articulate it, otherwise it is simply an anti-intellectual proposition with no basis in logic. Note that theistic evolution is not a real third option. It is a logical contradiction where God is supposed to have ‘created’ things by a mechanism that was concocted to explain how things came to be purely naturalistically, that is, without God. Return to text.
- Dawkins has in fact verged on equating religious education with child abuse, arguing there is a case for “protecting” children from the faith of their parents/teachers. Return to text.
- Bell, D., The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, New York: Basic Books (Paperback edition with new preface published in 1979; twentieth anniversary edition with a new 50-page afterward by the author was published in 1996), p. xii, xiv, xv, 1979. Return to text.
- Cashmore, A.R.,The Lucretian swerve: The biological basis of human behavior and the criminal justice system. Return to text.
- Dahmer, J., in an interview with Stone Phillips on Dateline NBC, Nov. 29, 1994; creation.com/mass-murderers-testimony. Return to text.
- Provine, W.B., Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy? The Debate at Stanford University, William B. Provine (Cornell University) and Phillip E. Johnson (University of California, Berkeley), videorecording © 1994 Regents of the University of California (see also Origins Research 16(1):9, 1994; arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161main.htm), quoted in Journal of Creation 10(1):22, 1996; creation.com/provine. Return to text.
- Huxley, A., Ends and Means, London: Chatto & Windus, pp. 270 ff, 1937. Return to text.
- Dawkins, R., River out of Eden, Chapter 4, see review. Return to text.
- Myers, P.Z. (University of Minnesota–Morris professor), “Morality Doesn’t Equal God”, Pharyngula, August 24, 2009. Return to text.
- Harris, J. (bioethicist, Manchester University), Sunday Telegraph, London, 25 January, 2004. Return to text.
- Dennett, D., Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, Simon & Schuster, 1995; see review: creation.com/universal-acid. Return to text.
- Dennett, D. ‘Darwin’s dangerous idea’, The Sciences, pp. 34–40, May–June, 1995. Dennett is director of the Centre for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, Massachusetts. Return to text.