Board index Creation and Evolution

Evolution and Creation. Where did we come from? How did we get here? What is life all about?

Re: Genesis 1 is mythological, not factual

Postby Penny Lane » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:42 pm

> Ancient Cosmology is function-oriented, not material-oriented

It's both. You haven't showed me why it must only be function-oriented.
Penny Lane
 

Re: Genesis 1 is mythological, not factual

Postby jimwalton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:59 am

> You haven't showed me why it must only be function-oriented.

It's not both. It's not that it must be only function-oriented, but only that it is. In the ancient world, something was considered to exist not when it had materiality, but by virtue of its having a function in an ordered system (in relation to society and culture). In this system, the sun doesn't exist by virtue of its material properties, but by the way it functions for humankind and the life around us.

By way of analogy, let's think of a computer. Certain the casing, keyboard, and electronics, etc. have to be manufactured. That's the material phase of production. In our minds, that computer exists. But it doesn't work. Someone must write software, but still it cannot function—it's existence is meaningless. Then we install the software. Now it is theoretically functional. But without a power supply, it still doesn't function. So we add a power supply, and we might think its existence is complete. But if no one sits at the computer who knows how to use it or does use it? At what point does the computer "exist"? All of these aspects are important in its "existence" as an actual computer.

In our modern world, we say something exists when it has material presence (the computer sitting there on the desk). In the ancient world something existed when it had a function contributing to order. We have a number of ancient texts giving cosmological information: Memphite theology, Papyrus Leiden I 350, pyramid texts, the Book of the Dead, the Atrahasis Epic, and the Enuma Elish.

- Nearly all of the ancient creation accounts start with no operational system in place. Material things were there, but there was no orderly function. In their minds, the cosmos didn't yet exist.
- the primeval water are designated as "nonexistent" because they were associated with non-order.
- giving something a name was considered an act of creation, because naming in the ancient world was associated with identity, role, and function.
- separating material objects for functionality was considered to be an act of creation (Egyptian and Mesopotamian literature).
- in the Enuma Elish, Marduk organized the celestial sphere, which was considered his "creation" of them.
- in the Enuma Elish, Marduk set it up so that night and day share an equal amount of light and darkness over the course of a year. This was considered an act of creation.
- in the Enuma Elish, when Marduk gives order to the could, wind, rain, and fog, and appointed himself to control them, the functions that concern the weather are "created".

Analysts of the ancient Near Eastern creation literature have often observed that nothing material is actually made in these accounts. Something was considered to exist when it had a role and a function.


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