Creation Myth

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"And God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light."

A creation myth is a supernatural mytho-religious story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, the Earth (see Genesis Effect), life, and the universe (cosmogony), usually as a deliberate act of "creation" by one or more deities. It may also include the creation of one or more deities (theogony), either before or after the cosmogony.

Many creation myths share broadly similar themes. Common motifs include the fractionation of the things of the world from a Primordial Chaos; the separation of the mother and father gods; land emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean; everything coming from a Cosmic Egg, or creation ex nihilo (Latin: out of nothing).

Since this is a very common trope in ancient mythologies, it is Older Than Dirt.

Creation myths are often used by modern writers to help give depth to their fictional world or mythologies. Mythopoeia almost inevitably includes a creation myth.

Compare Creation Story, where characters of the story are involved as creators or witnesses.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 
  • An episode of Haibane Renmei involves restoring an ancient book that told of a Creation Myth. The characters end up writing of how God created the world and then created Winged Humanoids similar to Him. They were, however, too similar for His liking so He decided to erase them. God created humans afterwards. God fell asleep after creating everything, which caused the winged beings to escape from his dreams. After waking up, God decided keep the beings (who he named "Haibane") and gave them their own land in the sky to live on.

    Art 
  • The ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel detail how God separated light from darkness, set the stars in the sky, and created the first humans, Adam and Eve. All this follows the creation myth described in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis.

    Comics 
  • Strontium Dogs told the Gronks' creation myth while Gronk and Feral were looking for Johnny's corpse. In it, when God created the universe, He at first forgot to give the first gronk a heart. After taking care of the rest of creation, God saw that humanity was pretty much going to wreck the place, and so returned to Blas and gave the gronks four hearts, in order that they would embody love.
  • In the Smite Homer tells Nassa how many different gods from different pantheons all played a part in creating the human realm.

    Fanfics 
  • According to Lorwardian myth in the Kim Possible fanfic Empire, the Goddess (aka "the one above all") shaped the universe in her hands, and then the planet Lorwardia. Her hands gave form and life to the Lorwardians.
  • In Crossover Chaos, the omniverse was made by Xedra Colmare, who created the very first incarnation of the omniverse (the current one is the 152nd) in a fit of boredom. Xey created beings to take of it for xem, and later, xey mate with a bunch of beings from the first omniverse, starting the Colmare family. They live through many incarnations of the omniverse, as the cycle begins anew each time. The bloodline still exists in the current 152nd incarnation of the omniverse. This is important because Herobrine, Kyle, Jamie, Luke and Lindsay are all descendants of the Colmares.

    Literature 
  • The trope page quote comes from Book of Genesis, the Trope Codifier of creation story.
  • The prologue to The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë", is the creation story of Middle-Earth.
  • The Land from the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has several, mutually contradictory creation stories. Word of God indicates that there are elements of truth to all of them, and events in the final arc bear this outnote  but a complete, unbiased account is never given.
  • Narnia in The Magician's Nephew. It's one example of the characters not being told about creation of Narnia but rather witnessing the act of it.
  • Watership Down features a rabbit creation myth. The sun-god, Frith, originally created all animals as equals, but when the children of El-hrairah, the First Rabbit and a popular Folk Hero, began eating everything, Frith transformed many of the other species into rabbit-eating predators. Then, to ensure that rabbitkind wouldn't be wiped out entirely, the sun-god blessed El-hrairah's bottom with quick feet and a cotton tail to warn for danger.
  • The Discworld in Faust Eric.
    • The Discworld dwarf version of a Creation Myth is featured in Thud!.
    • The first Science of Discworld is, in part, a comedy version of our own universe's origin-story. The wizards compare the progression of events in Roundworld to several Disc creation myths, mostly while grousing that our world is doing it all wrong.
  • Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker provides a rare sci-fi version.
  • Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana starts with a creation myth.
  • The Dwarves' worldview in the Inheritance Cycle, which the main character converts to. The elves disagree with it.
  • The world is created in the first poem of The Kalevala. Later poems tell about the birth of iron and beer.
  • Enűma Eliš is possibly the oldest Creation Myth known to science.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, an Andorian creation myth referencing the sundering of their race into four genders is essential to the in-depth exploration of their culture. According to the myth, their race was split into four sexes to demonstate their lack of self-knowledge; they were missing a vital aspect of self-awareness that prevented them being Whole. To unite the four genders is to take a step towards reclaiming spiritual perfection - though the "missing piece" is also needed if Andorians are to truly grow as a people. See in particular the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch.
  • The Garden of Eden story pops up here and there in Dirge for Prester John, but each of the races of Pentexore have their own myths of how the world came to be. Later, John tries to rewrite Genesis to fit Pentexore in it, because he simply can't let it go.
  • Dave Barry in "Clan of the Cave Rhinoceros" presented varying conceptions of this developed by his son's kindergarten class:
    These concepts reveal a wide diversity of opinion about the Origins of Man, ranging from the traditional Judeo-Christian Biblical concept:
    "This is Adam and Eve. They ate the bad fruit. They went back to God. They didn't have any clothes."
    To the less-conventional Big Bird and Oak Tree concept:
    "In the beginning of the world there was a big bird and an oak tree. The big bird had a coconut, and the moon was out."
  • The Tygrine Cat: Te Bubas tells Mati that the Creators created a desert by crushing light into grains of sand and scattering it upon the dark and empty Earth. They then raised life from the desert's surface by sheer force of will.
  • In the first Wicked book, a few older myths are noted by Elphaba and Doctor Dillamond:
    • There is an early, Pagan Lurline Creation Myth that predates the Oziad. The Fairy Queen Lurline was flying a long voyage when she beckoned water from a desert to quench her thirst, causing Oz to spring up. Lurline rested on Mount Runcible and when she urinated she caused the Gillikin River to form. Animals were formed from clots of Earth lodged by all the plant growth. The animals mistook Lurline's urine for a disastrous flood and attempted to swim through it. The animals that turned back, or kept where they were, stayed animals while the ones that swam on to the far shore became sentient Animals.
    • Unionists watered down the initial myth to fit their beliefs. The flood was a sea of tears caused by the Unnamed God, who felt the sorrow that would overwhelm Oz with time. Animals were kept afloat by a large uprooted tree. The animals that swallowed enough of the Unnamed Gods tears began to sorrow as well and began to build rafts for their fellow kin. These sympathetic animals ended up becoming the first Animals.
  • Cats in Tailchaser's Song have their own mythology. It is believed that everything was created by a Goddess called "Meerclar Allmother". The world was originally populated with cats, children of the original Two: Harar Goldeneye and Fela Skydancer. One of the Two's children, Grizraz Hearteater, was driven by jealousy to create a Hell Hound to kill his siblings. His brother, Viror Whitewind, stopped it but died in the process. Their other brother, Tangaloor Firefoot, trapped Grizraz underneath a tree. After resurfacing later, Grizaz was blinded by the sun and dug a hole into the Earth, where it is said he still remains.

    Multiple Media 
  • BIONICLE had the legend of Mata Nui, describing the backstory of the brand's early years. It was recounted in the comics, on promo CDs, online content, the novels and in the first Direct-to-Video movie. After the first major arc, the legend (at least apart from its beginning lines) was revealed to be a lie crafted by the village elders to hide their people's forgotten past, until it was time to reveal it to them. Way after that, the rest turned out to have been bogus as well, when they uncovered Mata Nui's true nature.
  • In the Beavis and Butt-Head Ensucklopedia book, there's a page talking about "The Story of Creation".
    So [God] said, "This sucks." Then he said, "Let there be stuff." And like there was the Earth and stuff.

     Video Games 
  • The Zelda series has one that's told in detail in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, assigning the three Goddesses of the Triforce their own important attribute, which they use to create the land and creatures as well as the mythical Triforce itself. Like many ancient creation stories, the Hyrulian creation story is regional. There's no mention of the countries outside of Hyrule. Interestingly, this creation myth only partially agrees with the creation myth presented in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. However, Word of God states that Ocarina came first chronologically (at least until Minish Cap and then Skyward Sword came along), suggesting that the Link to the Past story may be the same one but details became distorted over time.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has one of these involving a Goddess of Order and a Goddess of Chaos. However, the majority of the story was mixed up to the point where everyone believed the opposite of what was actually true.
  • Brütal Legend, in keeping with it's general theme, gives us the most metal creation myth ever. In the beginning, the world was dark, and populated by a race of incredibly ugly demons known only as the First Ones. Then one day Ormagöden, The Great Firebeast arose, and began careening across the sky. The First Ones hated Ormagöden, because his fire lit up the world and exposed their ugliness, so they tried to drown The Great Firebeast and quench his flames with mud. Rather than die that way, Ormagöden let out a massive roar and tore his body to shreds to keep it from the First Ones, granting the world the elements of Metal, Blood, Fire and Noise. His metal flesh sank into the earth, seeding it with veins of ore. His blood poured out and filled the seas. His burning heart was flung into the sky, and became the sun. Finally, whenever truly badass music is played or a huge engine revved, you are hearing the echo of the death-roar of Ormagöden, and reminded of how he sacrificed himself to create the world as we know it.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduces three powerful Legendary Pokémon; two of them, Groudon and Kyogre, are said to be involved with the forming of the continents and the seas, respectively, with the third, Rayquaza, being there to calm them down if they get hostile to each other. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, introduces a different creation myth: Arceus, the Original One, was born from chaos. It created an egg from which hatched three other Pokemon: Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina. These three formed the foundations of the universe (Time, Space, and Antimatter). It then created a second egg which hatched into Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit, who begat intelligent life into the new universe by introducing the concepts of Memory, Willpower, and Emotion.
  • A book available in the first Suikoden gives the origin of the world (and the True Runes) as the result of an unstoppable force striking an immovable object.
  • Glitch has the world created by eleven giants.
  • The Elder Scrolls has two covering different events - the creation of "creation" itself and then then the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. To note:note 
    • Anu and Padomay are the anthropomorphized primordial forces of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. Their interplay in the great "Void" led to Nir, "creation". Nir loved Anu, which Padomay hated. Padomay killed Nir and the 12 worlds she gave birth to. Anu wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the 12 world to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever". From the intermingling of their spilled blood came the "et'Ada", or "original spirits", who would go on to become either the Aedra or the Daedra depending on their actions during the creation of Mundus. (Some myths state that the Aedra come from the mixed blood of Anu and Padomay, while the Daedra come purely from the blood of Padomay).
    • One of these spirits, said to have been "begat" by Padomay, was Lorkhan (aka Shor, Shezarr, Sep, etc.). Depending on the version of the myth, he convinced/tricked some of the other et'Ada into helping him create the mortal plane, known as Mundus. (The races of Mer, or Elves, who believe they descend from the Aedra, generally believe this was a cruel trick that robbed their ancestors of their pre-creation divinity while the races of Men believe it was a good thing which broke the spirits out of a state of boring pre-creation stasis.) Those et'Ada who sacrificed large parts of their being to create Mundus became known as the Aedra ("Our Ancestors" in the Classical Tongue of Aldmeris), while those that did not participate became the Daedra ("Not Our Ancestors"). For his treachery, the Aedra "killed" Lorkhan and tore out his "divine center" (heart), which they cast down into the mortal world he helped to create. (Some tellings, particularly those of Men, state that this was part of Lorkhan's plan all the long, with his spirit then "impregnating" Nirn.)
  • Successful completion of the Sand People sidequest and Krayt hunt in Knights of the Old Republic concludes with the Sand People telling you their creation myth. They were once a technologically advanced race who were enslaved by the Rakata. When the Infinite Empire was hit with a plague, the slaves revolted, and hid underground when the Rakata bombed the planet's surface to glass. The story also implies that the Sand People may be the ancestors of, or at least related to, the Star Wars universe humans. Be careful, though, as questioning too many aspects of the myth will cause all the tribe to turn hostile.
  • As the player progresses through Super Mario Galaxy he unlocks chapters in Rosalina's Storybook, the tale of a girl and her Luma as they travel the cosmos in search of their respective mothers. It becomes clear very soon that the tale is autobiographical: the girl in the book is Rosalina's younger self, and the story tells how she came to leave her homeworld and become the immortal overseer of the Comet Observatory. She may not have created the universe, but she's essential in maintaining its cycle of death and rebirth.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the God of Creation created the Sky World which had the various races slowly grow on the many islands that were created. Eventually his creations rebelled against the god, splitting him into two beings, one with the power of creation and the other wielding the power of destruction and regeneration. The former left, creating a stagnant world, being unable to destroy anything. The latter stayed in the Sky World, making it undergo a cycle of destruction and regeneration all the way up to the present day. It's only brought up in the game when the player character, Lyria, and Vyrn reach the depths of Pandemonium, The Alcatraz for Primal Beasts and wonder whether Pandemonium reaches down to the world of the god of creation. It's later hinted several times that the denizens of the Crimson Horizon, the world created by that god, have been trying to use Pandemonium as a bridge into the Sky World.

    Visual Novels 
  • Her Tears Were My Light is a creation myth told through godlike, lesbian anthropomorphisms of time and space, as well as nothingness.

    Webcomics 
  • MS Paint Adventures, in its constant pursuit of epicness, has explored this trope.
    "I thought the concept of our universe being created by a bunch of cantankerous internet trolls was a funny idea." — Andrew
  • In Digger, Ed the hyena relates the creation myth of his people. Since the author has a degree in anthropology Ed's tale feels very authentic.
  • The catalyst for the plot of Forming, which uses a similar story to that of Kabbalah: the universe was not created by God, but rather by Lucifer, who was the first being to come into existence after separating himself from God.
  • Poppy O'Possum opens with one being told by the title character to her daughter, which explains why opossums can't use magic, as well as why they're the victims of Fantastic Racism.
  • Children of Eldair begins with a telling of how the God and Goddess created Eldair and planted their children on it. Later another one is heard from the Elves perspective.

     Web Original 
  • The Graystone Saga includes its own Fantasy Pantheon who are a huge part of the world's Creation Myth. The creation and religion of the continent which houses the story are an integral part of the plot.
  • Many in The Wanderer's Library. How Grandmother Triode Stole Binary from the Sun is one told by a computer program.
  • Volume 4 of RWBY tells one of Remnant's creation myths: the Tale of the Two Brothers. Two brother gods, one of Light and one of Dark, created the world but were opposed to each other. Whatever Light made, Dark tried to destroy. Dark is also credited with being the creator of the Grimm. Eventually, however, they put aside their differences and together created something that had the potential to be either Light or Dark based on its own choice: humanity. They then left four powerful "Relics" representing the metaphysical gifts they'd left humanity, and departed for realms unknown. Whether the story is entirely true or not, the Relics themselves seem to be real, and are the things the Big Bad is after.

    Western Animation 


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CreationMyth