The creation of the world has been told and re-told, written and studied about in many dead and living languages. Creation stories have been studied and discussed on county courthouse steps and front porches of farm houses, as well as by scholars and philosophers, real and self-made, for as far back as I can remember.
I do not remember of talk of “where did all this come from?” being a matter of concern in Dad’s barbershop. He seldom brought up what was cussed and discussed in his shop on Fisk in Brownwood. But the creation story was bound to have come up sometime during his 60 years of keeping the hair trimmed for lawyers, teachers, preachers, even little kids like Jim Johnson here in San Angelo, and a variety of local mom and pop shop owners.
I’m sure if the creation was a topic in the barbershop, someone would have voiced the words of Alfonso the Wise, Spanish monarch: “Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better on studying of the universe.” We, all too often, have suggestions to God’s works and ways.
The number of creation stories are as many as the tribes of the earth. Some are on the order of Gary Larson’s comic strip, “On the Far Side.” (Remember Larson’s talking animals and weird “off the wall” doings back in the 1980s?) Consider the world beginning with a cosmic egg!
According to Japanese Cosmogony, one Japanese creation story says everything came from a divine egg. In pre-historic China, Pan Gu took an ax to break forth from his cosmic egg. When Pan Gu died, he became the wind, mountains, land and rushing waters.
And the ancient Jewish people of faith and later the Christians turned to the opening book of the Torah and the Christian Bible, which relate a seven-day creation story. The Oxford English Dictionary says the word Genesis comes from the Greek language and means “the beginning of something, generations or creation.”
Exact locations are not in abundance in creation stories. This is also true of the Genesis Garden of Eden epic. (The Bible creation story is also found in two passages of the Psalms.) The story is similar to other ancient eastern-Mediterranean creation records. Of all the world’s creation stories, none is even close to being as beautifully poetic and enticing as the one in Genesis.
The study of older Mediterranean stories of creation are a special field by themselves. One tradition that came into being after the Jewish Torah and Christian Bible (Old Testament) is the Qur’an (Arabic spelling for Koran), the holy book of Islam. I read of the Muslim creation story from Sam Shamoun who quotes from Abu Huraira. (I know nothing about either of these two men.)
Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (Allah is the Arabic word for God) took hold of my hand and said: “Allah the Exalted and Glorious, created the clay on Saturday. He created the mountains on Sunday and the trees on Monday. He created things relating to labor on Tuesday and light on Wednesday. He caused animals to spread out on Thursday. Friday Allah created Adam, between afternoon and night.”
From the biblical creation story grew the seven-day week and special days for worship. For Muslims, the Islamic sacred day is Friday. The Jews, holy day begins at sundown on Friday and runs until sundown on Saturday (the Sabbath, or seventh day, when God rested from his work). Christians worship on the first day of the week in memory of Christ’s resurrection.
All three faiths – Christian, Muslims and Jews – claim Abraham as their progenitor. Within these religions there are myriads beliefs about the creation story and this man Abraham, who was born in Ur of the Chaldees, a 9th century B.C. market town. The best guess is Ur was somewhere in modern-day Iraq.
Worship and faith are vital to life. They have been with us since the Creation. If Christian worship has not been a priority, make it one this Easter Sunday morning.
Britt Towery is a former missionary, freelance writer and published author of “Carey Daniel’s China Jewell, story of the Gal from Buffalo Gap.” His columns are published in the Bulletin on Fridays. He welcomes reader feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other columns are available on his Web site, www.britt-