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Themes of evolution in Creation Myths/Stories

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Hi all,

Let's explore the creation myth/sorty in anchient civlizations/religions and see if it could be explained in terms/in favor of evolution.

One story that has several evolution features is the Zuni (a Pueblo People, Red Indian in New Mexico) creation story.

According to Wiki:

In a version of the Zuni creation story told to anthropologist Ruth Benedict, people initially dwelt crowded tightly together in total darkness in a place deep in the earth known as the fourth world. The daylight world then had hills and streams but no people to live there or to present prayer sticks to Awonawilona, the Sun and creator. Awonawilona took pity on the people and his two sons were stirred to lead them to the daylight world. The sons, who have human features, located the opening to the fourth world in the southwest, but they were forced to pass through the progressively dimming first, second and third worlds before reaching the overcrowded and blackened fourth world. The people, blinded by the darkness, identified the two brothers as strangers by touch and called them their bow priests. The people expressed their eagerness to leave to the bow priests, and the priests of the north, west, south and east who were also consulted agreed.

To prepare for the journey, four seeds were planted by Awonawilona's sons, and four trees sprang from them: a pine, a spruce, a silver spruce and an aspen. The trees quickly grew to full size, and the bow priests broke branches from them and passed them to the people. Then the bow priests made a prayer stick from a branch of each tree. They plunged the first, the prayer stick made of pine, into the ground and lightning sounded as it quickly grew all the way to the third world. The people were told that the time had come and to gather all their belongings, and they climbed up it to a somewhat lighter world but were still blinded. They asked if this is where they were to live and the bow priests said, "Not yet". After staying four days, they traveled to the second world in similar fashion: the spruce prayer stick was planted in the earth and when it grew tall enough the people climbed it to the next world above them. And again, after four days they climbed the length of silver spruce prayer stick to the first world, but here they could see themselves for the first time because the sky glowed from a dawn-like red light. They saw they were each covered with filth and a green slime. Their hands and feet were webbed and they had horns and tails, but no mouths or anuses. But like each previous emergence, they were told this was not to be their final home.

On their fourth day in the first world, the bow priests planted the last prayer stick, the one made of aspen. Thunder again sounded, the prayer stick stretched through the hole to the daylight world, and the people climbed one last time. When they all had emerged, the bow priests pointed out the Sun, Awonawilona, and urged the people to look upon him despite his brightness. Unaccustomed to the intense light, the people cried and sunflowers sprang from the earth where their tears fell. After four days, the people traveled on, and the bow priests decided they needed to learn to eat so they planted corn fetishes in the fields and when these had multiplied and grown, harvested it and gave the harvest to the men to bring home to their wives. The bow priests were saddened to see the people were smelling the corn but were unable to eat it because they had no mouths. So when they were asleep, the bow priests sharpened a knife with a red whetstone and cut mouths in the people's faces. The next morning they were able to eat, but by evening they were uncomfortable because they could not defecate. That night when they were asleep the bow priests sharpened their knife on a soot whetstone and cut them all anuses. The next day the people felt better and tried new ways to eat their corn, grinding it, pounding, and molding it into porridge and corncakes. But they were unable to clean the corn from their webbed hands, so that evening as they slept the bow priests cut fingers and toes into their hands and feet. The people were pleased when they realized their hands and feet worked better, and the bow priests decided to make one last change. That night as they slept, the bow priests took a small knife and removed the people's horns and tails. When the people awoke, they were afraid of the change at first, but they lost their fear when sun came out and grew pleased that the bow priests were finally finished.

Do you know any other stories? Would you like to comment or share your remarks on the story above?

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A very interesting story. I have never read Zuni creation story.

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A very interesting story. I have never read Zuni creation story.

I too find it interesting, Wolfknight. Does it fit at all with your own idea or explanation of how we came to be?

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Posted (edited)

Another story is Kumulipo of the Hawaiian. According to Wikipedia:

The Kumulipo is a total of 2012 lines long, in honor of Lonoikamakahiki, who created peace for all when he was born. Out of the 2012 lines, it has 16 "wā" which means era or age. In each , something is born whether it is a human, plant, or creature.

The first eight fall under the section of (darkness), the age of spirit. The Earth may or may not exist, but the events described do not take place in a physical universe. The words show the development of life as it goes through similar stages as a human child. All plants and animals of sea and land, earth and sky, male and female are created. Eventually, it leads to early mammals.These are the first four lines of the Kumulipo:

Hawaiian language

O ke au i kahuli wela ka honua

O ke au i kahuli lole ka lani

O ke au i kukaʻiaka ka la

E hoʻomalamalama i ka malama


At the time when the earth became hot

At the time when the heavens turned about

At the time when the sun was darkened

To cause the moon to shine

The second section is ao and is signaled by the arrival of light and the gods, who watch over the changing of animals into the first humans. After that is the complex genealogy of Kalani‘īimamao that goes all the way to the late 18th century.

The births in each age include:

  1. In the first , the sea urchins and limu (seaweed) were born. The limu was connected through its name to the land ferns. Some of these limu and fern pairs include: ʻEkaha and ʻEkahakaha, Limu ʻAʻalaʻula and ʻalaʻalawainui mint, Limu Manauea and Kalo Maunauea upland taro, Limu Kala and ʻAkala strawberry. These plants were born to protect their sea cousins.
  2. In the second , 73 types of fish. Some deep sea fish include Naiʻa (porpoise) and the Mano (shark). Also reef fish, including Moi and Weke. Certain plants that have similar names are related to these fish and are born as protectors of the fish.
  3. In the third , 52 types of flying creatures, which include birds of the sea such as ʻIwa (frigate or man-of-war bird), the Lupe, and the Noio (Hawaiian noddy tern). These sea birds have land relatives, such as Io (hawk), Nene (goose), and Pueo (owl). In this wā, insects were also born, such as Peʻelua (caterpillar) and the Pulelehua (butterfly).
  4. In the fourth , the creepy and crawly creatures are born. These include Honu (sea turtle), Ula (lobster), Moʻo (lizards), and Opeopeo (jellyfish). Their cousins on land include Kuhonua (maile vine) and ʻOheʻohe bamboo.
  5. In the fifth , Kalo (taro) is born.
  6. In the sixth , Uka (flea) and the ʻIole (rat) are born.
  7. In the seventh , ʻĪlio (dog) and the Peʻapeʻa (bat) are born.
  8. In the eighth , the four divinities are born: Laʻilaʻi (Female), Kiʻi (Male), Kane (God), Kanaloa (Octopus), respectively.
  9. In the ninth , Laʻilaʻi takes her eldest brother Kiʻi as a mate and the first humans are born from her brain.
  10. In the tenth , Laʻilaʻi takes her next brother Kane as a mate after losing interest in Kiʻi, she then had four of Kane's children: Laʻiʻoloʻolo, Kamahaʻina (Male), Kamamule (Male), Kamakalua (Female). Laʻilaʻi soon returned to Kiʻi and three children are born: Haʻi(F), Haliʻa(F), and Hākea(M). Having been born during their mothers being with two men they become "Poʻolua" and claim the lineage of both fathers.
  11. The eleventh pays homage to the Moa.
  12. The twelfth is very important to Hawaiians because it honors the lineage of Wākea, whose son Hāloa is the ancestor of all people.
  13. The thirteenth is also very important to Hawaiians because it honors the lineage of Hāloa's mother Papa.
  14. In the fourteenth Liʻaikūhonua mates with Keakahulihonua, and have their child Laka.
  15. The fifteenth refers to Haumeanuiʻāiwaiwa and her lineage, it also explains Māui's adventures and siblings.
  16. The sixteenth recounts all of Maui's lineage for forty-four generations, all the way down to the Moʻi of Maui, Piʻilani.

According to Sacred-texts:

Wakea or his equivalent is god of light and of the heavens who "opens the door of the sun"; Papa is a goddess of earth and the underworld and mother of gods

According to Hawaii Alive:

As the hiapo (first-born child) of the deities Wākea and Ho‘ohōkūkalani, Hāloa-naka, the kalo plant, holds important kuleana (responsibility/privilege) in the relationship between Kānaka Maoli and the land that surrounds them. The second born to these gods, named Hāloa in honor of his elder brother, is ancestor to all Hawaiian people. In Hawaiian knowledge, it is the duty of this younger sibling to honor and serve the elder and in turn the elder sibling will provide for them. This inter-dependant relationship between man and the land serves to connect the fate of both.
Edited by goodconversations

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In Kenya:

Wikipedia says:

the origin of humanity to be fashioned by the Creator Enkai from a single tree or leg which split into three pieces.

Everyculture says:

the Maasai believe that one high god (Enkai) created the world, forming three groups of people. The first were the Torrobo (Okiek pygmies), a hunting and gathering people of small stature to whom God gave honey and wild animals as a food source. The second were the neighboring Kikuyu, farmers to whom God gave seed and grain. The third were the Maasai, to whom God gave cattle, which came to earth sliding down a long rope linking heaven and Earth. While the Torrobo were destined to endure bee stings, and the Kikuyu famines and floods, the Maasai received the noble gift of raising cattle. A Torrobo, jealous of the Maasai's gift of cattle, cut the "umbilical cord" between heaven and Earth. For many Maasai, the center of their world remains their cattle, which furnish food, clothing, and shelter.

Another myth says:

n the beginning there was the Maasai God called Enkai. Enkai created Naiteru-Kop, the

first man, and a woman partner. The two were sent to earth with a hundred heads of cattle,

goats and sheep to begin a new life. Naiteru-Kop and his partner found earth beautiful and

abounding in natural resources – rivers, lakes, oceans, minerals, forests, plains and wildlife.

They were given control over all these resources on condition that they be good custodians and

hold all creation in trust for coming generations. If they failed to keep this promise, they would

bear the full consequences of their irresponsible actions (Olol-Dapash

From Wikipedia:

According to some sources Neiterkob/Naiteru-kop ("that which began the earth") may also be a reference to Enkai. Neiterkob is a minor deity, known as the mediator between God and man.
Olapa is the goddess of the moon, married to Ngai.
These great deities fought one day, and Olapa, being a short-tempered woman, inflicted Enkai with a wound. To cover up his wound, he took to shining so bright, that no one could look straight at him and see his shame. In revenge, Enkai hit Olapa back and struck out one of her eyes. This can be seen today, when the moon is full.

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