And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
— Genesis 1:3
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.
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- 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.
- The prologue to The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë", is the creation story of Middle-Earth.
- The Land from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
- 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, he differentiated them, including blessing El-hrairah's bottom with quick feet and a cotton tail to warn for danger.
- The Discworld in
- 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.
- Enuma Elish 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Brütal Legend, after the ancient lightless world was
destroyed cremated by the dying Creator Deity-slash-Eldritch Abomination Ormagoden, a new world was created, mainly from the remains of Ormagoden himself.
- 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 one, the "Convention", where several gods were brought together by one in particular who wanted to try something different. Depending on a mortal's opinion on this one particular god, he is either Lorkhan, the Doom Drum, who tricked the other gods into weakening or sacrificing themselves to create the Mundus (world of mortals), and was punished with his own death and binding to the world, or he is Shor/Shezarr, someone who wished to break everyone out out of the boring pre-creation state by taking a necessary but arduous interim step in creating mortality and was killed for it (and planned for this, with his failure being a cautionary tale of what not to do to achieve his goal). Elven religions tend to be more of the former, while religions of the races of men tend to be more the latter.
- 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.