Posted by Zia H. Shah MD - Twitter: @ZiahShah1
The creation myth of Shinto is recorded in the ca. 712 Kojiki. It is a depiction of the events leading up to and including the creation of the Japanese Islands. There are many translations of the story with variations of complexity.
The Japanese islands are to be considered a paradise as they were directly created by the gods for the Japanese people, and were ordained by the higher spirits to be created into the Japanese empire. Shinto is the fundamental connection between the power and beauty of nature (the land) and the Japanese people. It is the manifestation of a path to understanding the institution of divine power.
Stephen Hawking describes different creation legends in different cultures and at least one reference from the Bible, which grossly violate the laws of nature:
According to the Boshongo people of central Africa, in the beginning there was only darkness, water, and the great god Bumba. One day Bumba, in pain from a stomachache, vomited up the sun. In time the sun dried up some of the water, leaving land. But Bumba was still in pain, and vomited some more. Up came the moon, the stars, and then some animals: the leopard, the crocodile, the turtle, and finally man. The Mayans of Mexico and Central America tell of a similar time before creation when all that existed were the sea, the sky, and the Maker. In the Mayan legend the Maker, unhappy because there was no one to praise him, created the earth, mountains, trees, and most animals. But the animals could not speak, and so he decided to create humans. First he made them of mud and earth, but they only spoke nonsense. He let them dissolve away and tried again, this time fashioning people from wood. Those people were dull. He decided to destroy them, but they escaped into the forest, sustaining damage along the way that altered them slightly, creating what we today know as monkeys. After that fiasco, the Maker finally came upon a formula that worked, and constructed the first humans from white and yellow corn. Today we make ethanol from corn, but so far haven’t matched the Maker’s feat of constructing the people who drink it.The Chinese tell of a time during the Hsia dynasty (ca. 2205 – ca. 1782 BC) when our cosmic environment suddenly changed. Ten suns appeared in the sky. The people on earth suffered greatly from the heat, so the emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the extra suns. The archer was rewarded with a pill that had the power to make him immortal, but his wife stole it. For that offense she was banished to the moon.The Chinese were right to think that a solar system with ten suns is not friendly to human life. Today we know that, while perhaps offering great tanning opportunities, any solar system with multiple suns would probably never allow life to develop. The reasons are not quite as simple as the searing heat imagined in the Chinese legend. In fact, a planet could experience a pleasant temperature while orbiting multiple stars, at least for a while. But uniform heating over long periods of time, a situation that seems necessary for life, would be unlikely.The idea that the universe was designed to accommodate mankind appears in theologies and mythologies dating from thousands of years ago right up to the present. In the Mayan Popol Vuh mythohistorical narratives the gods proclaim, “We shall receive neither glory nor honor from all that we have created and formed until human beings exist, endowed with sentience:’ A typical Egyptian text dated 2000 BC states, “Men, the cattle of God, have been well provided for. He [the sun god] made the sky and earth for their benefit?’ In China the Taoist philosopher Lieh Yu-K’ou (c. 400 BC) expressed the idea through a character in a tale who says, “Heaven makes the five kinds of grain to grow, and brings forth the finny and the feathered tribes, especially for our benefit?’
Joshua praying for the sun and moon to stop in their trajectories so he would have extra daylight to finish fighting the Amorites in Canaan. According to the book of Joshua, the sun stood still for about a day. Today we know that that would have meant that the earth stopped rotating. If the earth stopped, according to Newton’s laws anything not tied down would have remained in motion at the earth’s original speed (1,100 miles per hour at the equator)a high price to pay for a delayed sunset. None of this bothered Newton himself, for as we’ve said, Newton believed that God could and did intervene in the workings of the universe.
In Japanese mythology, the Japanese creation myth (天地開闢, Tenchikaibyaku, lit. “creation of heaven and earth”?), is the story that describes the legendary birth of the celestial and earthly world, the birth of the first gods and the birth of the Japanese archipelago.
This story is described first hand at the beginning of the Kojiki, the first book written in Japan (712), and in the Nihon Shoki (720). Both form the literary basis of Japanese mythology and Shinto. However the story differs in some aspects between these works with the most accepted for the Japanese being the one of the Kojiki.
At the beginning the universe was immersed in a beaten and shapeless kind of matter, sunk in silence. Later there were sounds indicating the movement of particles. With this movement, the light and the lightest particles rose but the particles were not as fast as the light and could not go higher. Thus, the light was at the top of the Universe, and below it, the particles formed first the clouds and then Heaven, which was to be called Takamagahara (高天原?, “High Plain of Heaven”). The rest of the particles that had not risen formed a huge mass, dense and dark, to be called Earth.
When Takamagahara was formed, the first three gods of Japanese mythology appeared:
Subsequently two gods emerged in Takamagahara from an object similar to a reed-shoot:
These five deities are known as Kotoamatsukami appeared spontaneously, did not have a definite sex, did not have a partner (hitorigami) and went into hiding after their emergence. These gods are not mentioned in the rest of the mythology.
Subsequently two other gods arose:
These gods also emerged spontaneously, did not have a defined sex and nor partner and hid at birth.
Then, five pairs of gods were born (total of ten deities), each pair consisting of a male deity and a female deity:
Following the creation of Heaven and Earth and the appearance of these primordial gods, Izanagi and Izanami went on to create the Japanese archipelago (Kuniumi) and gave birth to a large number of gods (Kamiumi).