WARNING! This may be a long post. Just thought you should know before you start reading and get really into it and then find that you have to step away to go eat dinner or go to class, etc.
Classic round-about question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
That’s not really the question I’m asking (though if you want an answer to that one, you might try asking a science major. They might actually give you a reasoned answer. Whether you agree with them though…[The ancestor to the chicken, before eggs were even laid, if you were wondering, says Casey]).
I’m asking something a little more complicated: which came first, the gods or the humans? Now go think about it! Mwa-ha-ha, I’m giving you a headache, aren’t I?
First, let me clarify. By “gods” and the divine beings, I don’t mean the divine force of the Universe that created life itself and created the universe. By “gods,” I mean the gods of the pantheons, the divine beings of religion. Not the source behind the gods.
Most religions seem to contend that their particular gods created humans. Man (and woman, but that’s a separate issue) was brought into being by the gods. For the Greeks, there are different versions of this myth. At one point the mythology said Man was created by Prometheus’ descendants Deucalion and Pyrrha by throwing rocks over their shoulders and the gods allowed Man to grow from the Earth. Zeus and Prometheus made various versions of man as well, and Pandora is considered by some myths to be the first woman (yeah, gives us a great reputation, thanks Greek gods).
I’m not an expert on Norse mythology, but as far as I can understand the god Thrudgelmir fathered humans, and that was how the human race came to be.
Christianity believes that God created man in His image. The Greeks had a similar approach in their contention that Man was created in the image of the gods, who had human forms.
Humans created these myths. Humans spoke the words in an oral tradition from human mouths until human hands wrote them down in human language. It’s not just the Bible and the Torah that were written by men, it’s every story and every myth that we have today that were in some way written by men.
In thinking and speaking we are creating. The source behind the gods we work with is not only “out there” but within us. That’s how the myths were created– through the humans who wrote them down. Yes, there is a source in the Universe that created life, but did it create the gods, who then created us? It is more like the Source created life and then Man created the gods from the depths of our souls and imaginations. We as humans have an amazing ability to create, and we see this not only in the miscrocosms of individual lives but in the macrocosm of world religions. Gods didn’t create Man, Man is the gods. The divine within us all is the sum of the Source, and this is how energetically we are all connected. God didn’t create us in His/Her image, we created the god(s) in our image as a more tangible connection to the Source that we can see, if not touch.
We are the divine beings we celebrate. We just don’t usually ackowledge this fact, sometimes even within paganism.
*Thanks to Casey for guest contributing to this post* =D