Who are we? How did we come to be upon the earth? It was once accepted as fact in the Western world that we came into being through a series of creative acts that took place over the course of just six days. In this particular narrative God placed the sun, moon, and stars in the sky and created the plants and animals; and then, on the sixth day, formed the first man and woman and placed them in a divine garden to live.
The belief that all life was fashioned by a benevolent creator deity, as portrayed in the Bible, remained unquestioned for millennia of Western history, yet in the mid nineteenth century the notion came under attack. Charles Darwin, in his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, introduced a theory that suggested that all life formed from a common ancestor and not through divine intervention.
While on a voyage to the Galapagos Islands, Darwin had studied indigenous wildlife. He noticed, as he traveled from island to island, distinct variations in animals of the same species. The animals, he observed, had transformed to meet the rigors of their specific, remote island homes. He speculated that the unique environment the animals lived in caused them to change until they had adapted to their new environment. He also concluded that these alterations took place naturally over vast periods of time.
With the publication of Darwin’s book, the modern Theory of Evolution was born, suggesting that organic life had arisen from inorganic compounds. The theory proposed that extremely early life forms, over the course of billions of years, experienced a series of genetic mutations. These slight variations caused organisms to alter their form until they developed into a variety of plant and animal species. Beneficial changes that aided survival, he conjectured, were preserved and then passed on to later generations. This supported the proliferation of the newly acquired advantageous trait—the so-called ‘survival of the fittest.’ The process came to be known as ‘natural selection.’
“Natural selection,” Darwin wrote, “acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap but must advance by short and sure, though slow, steps.” The small changes observed, he concluded, took place over extended periods, billions of years, in a slow and gradual process and ultimately resulted in entirely new organisms.
Darwin’s observations set off a debate that has been going on for over 150 years. Called the creation–evolution controversy, the creation vs. evolution debate, or the origins debate, a dispute between scientific and theological scholars about the origin of life quickly became heated. A schism quickly formed between the two groups. The once widely-held belief that God created us was challenged by a theory said to be “based in empirical scientific fact.” The science community denounced traditional views held by Christians as anti-science.
Today, individuals who hold to the belief that we were created supernaturally by God are called “Creationists.” The universe and all the life in it originated, they teach, “from specific acts of divine creation.” Creationists do not attempt to explain God, his motives nor his processes, but put their faith in the exact words that they find in the Bible. Advancements in science since Darwin have resulted in a number of competing models vying for leadership of the Creationist movement. Views include not only those who interpret the Bible literally but those of some whose ideas incorporate an extensive array of scientifically established facts.
The more literal group has been labeled by some as Young-Earth-Creationist. God created the earth in a process that lasted six days, they say, and that within the last ten thousand years. The exact date specified is based upon the so-called Ussher’s Chronology. Established by James Ussher in the seventeenth century, the Chronology was derived by adding the lifespan of early biblical characters and later biblical kings. The first day of creation, Ussher deduced, began at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, 4004 BC.
At about the same time as Ussher’s pronouncement, what some now call the ‘age of science’ was dawning. Arguments based on what was said to be the archaeological and geological record would claim the earth was tens, perhaps even hundreds of millions of years old. Such evidence-based notions brought Ussher’s Chronology under strong criticism and would eventually lead to the adoption by some of an alternative creationism—what might be called “Old Earth creationism.”
Old Earth creationists believe that the earth could be as old as the Darwinists maintain. These believe that God played an active role in the creation of the universe, the earth and all life within it. They go on to say that God has performed countless acts of creation throughout history where he acted directly or as a guiding force behind his creation.
Progressive creationists, like Old Earth creationists, accept much of the standard scientific timetable for the age of the world. They also give credence to the role evolution plays in the development of life on the earth. They believe that God created each kind of organism, not as the result of evolution, but as a series of separate acts of creation. They also believe that micro-evolution took place. Micro-evolution involves the gradual accumulation of mutations leading to new varieties within a species. Progressive creationists contend that evolution accounts for variations within a species but not for the creation and formation of a new species itself.
As early archaeologists, excavating in the mid-to-late 19th century, began to unearth and catalog the bones of early man, the fossils discovered seemed to show evidence of advancement from simpler to more complex hominid forms. The exemplars were said to reveal a series of distinct beneficial changes that precipitated the advent of modern man—what would eventually be called the “ascent of man”. These changes, based upon their relative dating, occurred over extended periods. These finds appeared to support the precepts associated with the Darwinian view of evolution.
Researchers, however, were, and still are, unable to explain how theses drastic changes occurred. They have scrambled for years hoping to discover the “missing link,” a set of archaic human bones that would provide conclusive evidence of our transition from ape to man. Despite their best efforts, this smoking gun has yet to be found. The inability to produce a missing link has fueled the Creationist argument that the universe and all life in it originated from specific acts of creation and not from a slow and random process. Creationists argue that the variation seen in our genetic make-up only goes to prove the hand of God at work.
Think of it as you may, the creation story as portrayed in the Bible does offer something that should not be ignored. No matter where you look, regardless of which culture you look at on the planet, all of the stories of how we came into being bear much resemblance. They state that God created all life on earth, including humanity, period. While creationists do not look outside the Bible to support their claims, cultures around the world support the fundamental beliefs held by creationists.
Tales that recount the creation of man include variations such as making him out of clay or creating him out of the blood, bones or other genetic materials of a god. Many cultures share stories of the gods making more than one attempt at creating humanity.
The notion of multiple creations may also be found in the Bible. The Book of Genesis, as we explored earlier, tells of humanity being created in God’s image. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Then in the second chapter of Genesis the story of the creation of man is revisited. In this section, God creates Adam from the dust of the earth and breathes life into his nostrils. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) The narrative then goes on to describe how Eve was formed from one of Adam’s ribs.
In Sumerian myths we learn that numerous attempts were made to fashion the perfect man. The goddess Ninmah made the six attempts, each with poor results. The fertility god Ea worked on the seventh. He did this by putting semen into a woman’s womb. Ultimately, the woman brought forth Umul. Umul was also afflicted with a number of physical disorders. In yet another trial, the god Nuntu mixed clay with the blood of a sacrificed god. She then had the Igigi spit upon the clay. It is unclear what the exact combination was that finally created a fully functional man, but the gods did eventually succeed.
The Mayan text, the Popol Vuh, informs us that the gods made three attempts to form humanity. The earth, once complete, was covered with trees and flowers. The gods decided that they should fashion guardians to watch over their creation and decided to create a new race of beings. The new beings would have the ability to speak and would be able to venerate their creators in the manner they desired. They began to mold clay into a form they had imagined—man. The first people quickly proved unsatisfactory as they kept falling apart. Their heads would not turn and their faces were lopsided. Since they were made of mud, they fell apart when they were exposed to water.
The gods, realizing their mistake, set about making yet another version. This time they used wood. The new beings could walk upright, but their creation seemed heartless and devoid of feelings. Its legs were not agile. It was not strong and it had problems with its digestive tract. The gods, frustrated with the outcome of their work, condemned their new creation to death, and a rain of ash wiped them out of existence.
The gods tried again to create the perfect being. In their third attempt, the gods decided to make four new beings out of ground corn. Their bodies were reinforced with reeds, which added strength. They also created an elixir that would prolong their lives. These new beings, to the god’s surprise, demonstrated intelligence and an understanding of the world around them.
World myth, in my view, does not recount stories of a slow and gradual process. What we find are multiple accounts of the gods “creating” humanity. These stories also reflect the concept that several different methodologies were used until the perfect man was formed. Is it possible that the earlier versions of man, Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis may actually be a record of these earlier versions of man as portrayed in myth?
Questions concerning the origin of humanity do not end there. A new theory into this mystery has presented itself over the last few decades. This theory postulates that an extraterrestrial presence inserted itself into the natural development of life on earth, including human evolution. Our ancestors, according to author and ancient alien proponent Erich von Däniken, saw the advanced technology of these other worldly visitors and took it to be a supernatural occurrence. In their awe and wonder, they acclaimed these celestial visitors as their gods.
Ancient Alien theorists, like von Däniken and Zecharia Sitchin, suggest that the stories that come from mythic records should be taken as reasonably factual accounts and not dismissed as a flight of fantasy. These ancient stories, instead of being the conjured up tales of a backward and primitive people, tell of the life and times of the gods on Earth. The theory goes on to state that the gods, including the God of the Bible, were not omnipotent beings, as is suggested by our current religious traditions, but were instead extraterrestrial beings. These extraterrestrials possessed weapons and technology that far exceeded our ancestor’s worldview.
Who were these extraterrestrials? They were, according to this line of thinking, the Gods of old. We know them as Zeus, Quazicoatal, Enki, Thor or FuXi. Ancient Alien theory goes on to propose that if you change the name God, Zeus, Enki, Thor, Quetzalcoatl, Pangu or FuXi to alien or extraterrestrial then the stories that have come down to us of their amazing lives, their incredible weapons and their flying crafts would all make sense. Thus, if a text states that the gods were directly responsible for the creation and education of humanity, then what the text is inferring is that we were created by an advanced race of beings that, according to these same texts, came from the stars.
This brings us to a very interesting and often overlooked point. Creationists claim that our world, and all life in it, was formed by God in one or several acts of creation. Ancient Alien theorists claim that the gods created us as well. The point of difference seems to be their interpretation of god. Creationists view God, as they find him literally described in the Bible, as a kind and omnipotent being that is outside of our realm of understanding. Ancient Alien theorists argue that the gods, including the God of the Bible, was an alien who interacted with humanity from its earliest times. Does that mean that Ancient Alien theorists are Creationists by default?
Regardless of the theory provided—Evolution, Creationism, or Ancient Alien—each has flaws. There is no hard tangible evidence to support Creationism. We have yet to find a spaceship, a ray gun, or a piece of advanced technology left behind by a group of extraterrestrials. Likewise, the elusive missing link has yet to be found. But, I believe, if you heed the hundreds of stories coming from cultures around the globe it seems clear that life on Earth was formed by a group of “gods” who came down to the Earth from the sky. Alien or not? You decide.
[While on this topic, one important school of thought that should not be neglected might be called ‘catastrophist.’ Though accepting the clear scientific evidence regarding natural history, the catastrophists see human evolution as a process punctuated many times by cataclysmic events—some as recently as in the last few thousand years—with a powerful and destructive impact on Earth’s history. Russian scientist Immanuel Velikovsky, the leading exponent of catastrophism, believed that mankind today lives in a state of amnesia resulting from a traumatic history, and still suffers from deep spiritual wounds blocking proper understanding of the past. From this perspective, mythologies are best seen as a kind of dream record of immense archetypal events that we still must struggle to fully comprehend. —ED]
© Copyright Rita Louise, Inc., www.SoulHealer.com, 2017. All rights reserved. The author is the host of Just Energy Radio and author of ET Chronicles: What Myth & Legend Have To Say About Human Origin, and other books. Visit her website at RitaLouise.com or listen to JustEnergyRadio.com.