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Japanese creation myth and the accuracy of the Quranic description

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Atheists are right in exposing the irrationality of the Christian dogma.  However, the Christians are right in as far as their claim that there needs to be a Creator of this universe, Who employed natural means to do His work.  However, both parties in their self-conceit are not listening to how Islam resolves their conflict; Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

The Quranic description of the Big Bang when contrasted with myths in different religions and cultures should teach us respect and awe of the Holy Quran.

For a quick review of the Quranic Cosmology, read a chapter titled, the Quran and Cosmology of a book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth.


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.

  • Izanagi-no-Mikoto (male) and Izanami-no-Mikoto (female) were called by all the myriad gods and asked to help each other to create a new land which was to become Japan.
  • They were given a spear with which they stirred the water, and when removed water dripped from the end, an island was created in the great nothingness.
  • They lived on this island, and created a palace and within was a large pole.
  • When they wished to bear offspring, they performed a ritual each rounding a pole, male to the left and female to the right, the female greeting the male first.
  • They had 2 children (islands) which turned out badly and they cast them out. They decided that the ritual had been done incorrectly the first time.
  • They repeated the ritual but according to the correct laws of nature, the male spoke first.
  • They then gave birth to the 8 perfect islands of the Japanese archipelago.
  • After the islands, they gave birth to the other Kami, Izanami-no-Mikoto dies and Izanagi-no-Mikoto tries to revive her.
  • His attempts to deny the laws of life and death have bad consequences.

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.[1]

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.[2]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia under the title: Japanese creation myth
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Table illustrating the kami that appeared during the creation of Heaven and Earth according to Japanese mythology.

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.

Story

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.[1]

When Takamagahara was formed, the first three gods of Japanese mythology appeared:[2]

  • Amenominakanushi (天之御中主神?, “Master of the August Centre of Heaven”)
  • Taka-mi-musuhi-no-kami (高御産巣日神?, “August Producer” or “High August Producing Wondrous Deity”) and
  • Kami-musuhi-no-kami ( 神産巣日神?, “Divine Producer” or “Divine Producing Wondrous Deity”).

Subsequently two gods emerged in Takamagahara from an object similar to a reed-shoot:[2]

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.[2]

Kamiyonanayo

Main article: Kamiyonanayo

Subsequently two other gods arose:[3]

These gods also emerged spontaneously, did not have a defined sex and nor partner and hid at birth.[3]

Then, five pairs of gods were born (total of ten deities), each pair consisting of a male deity and a female deity:[3]

  • U-hiji-ni ( 宇比地邇神?, ”Deity Mud Earth Lord”) and his younger sister (and wive) Su-hiji-ni ( 須比智邇神?, ”Deity Mud Earth Lady”),
  • Tsunu-guhi ( 角杙神?, ”Germ Integrating Deity”) and his younger sister (and wive) Iku-guhi ( 活杙神?, ”Life Integrating Deity”),
  • Ō-to-no-ji ( 意富斗能地神?, ”Deity Elder of the Great Place”) and his younger sister (and wive) Ō-to-no-be ( 大斗乃弁神?, ”Deity Elder Lady of the Great Place”),
  • Omo-daru ( 於母陀流神?, ”Deity Perfect Exterior”) and his younger sister (and wive) Aya-kashiko-ne ( 阿夜訶志古泥神?, ”Oh Venerable Lady”) and
  • Izanagi ( 伊邪那岐神?, ”Male who Invites”) and his younger sister (and wive) Izanami ( 伊邪那美神?, ”Female who Invites”)

All deities from Kuni-no-koto-tachi to Izanami, are collectively called as Kamiyonanayo (神世七代?, “Seven Divine Generations”).[3]

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).[4]

References

This article incorporates information from this version of the equivalent article on the Spanish Wikipedia.
  1. ^ Chamberlain 2008, pp. 67–70
  2. ^ a b c Chamberlain 2008, p. 71
  3. ^ a b c d Chamberlain 2008, p. 72
  4. ^ Chamberlain 2008, pp. 73–86

Bibliography

References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinto_religion
  2. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. The Grand Design. Bantam Books, New York, 2010. Pages 87, 123, 149 and 163.
Posted by on December 5, 2011. Filed under Highlight,Religion & Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

5 Responses to Japanese creation myth and the accuracy of the Quranic description

  1. Zia H. Shah

    December 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    ‘Primal Myths: Creation Myths Around the World’ by Barbara C. Sproul
    I just ordered this book. What the Holy Quran describes is above and beyond Creation Myths!

  2. Zia H. Shah

    December 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Contrasting Genesis 1 and Genesis 2
    If my Christian readers here read the creation account of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 side by side in terms of details and sequence of creation, they may be inspired to move to better and more accurate accounts of the Holy Quran. The vulnerabilities of Genesis 1 are more well known and once you compare the two accounts, additional contradictions pop up. Additionally, it is interesting to know that according to Genesis 2, plants and animals were created after mankind and grand mother Eve was created from grand pa Adam’s rib.

    Genesis 1:
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

    6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

    9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

    14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

    Genesis 2:

    4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
    5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth[a] and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 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.

    8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

    15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

    18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

    19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

    But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

    This is from New International Version

  3. Zia H. Shah

    December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Creation Myth page from Wikipedia
    A creation myth or creation story is a symbolic account of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it.[1][2][3] They develop in oral traditions[2] and are the most common form of myth, found throughout human culture.[4][5] In the society in which it is told, a creation myth is usually regarded as conveying profound truths, metaphorically, symbolically and sometimes even in a historical or literal sense.[4][6] They are commonly, although not always, considered cosmogonical myths—that is they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness.[7] They often are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions.[8]

    Several features are found in all creation myths. They are all stories with a plot and characters who are either deities, human-like figures, or animals, who often speak and transform easily.[9] They are often set in a dim and nonspecific past, what historian of religion Mircea Eliade termed in illo tempore (English: at that time).[8][10] Also, all creation myths speak to deeply meaningful questions held by the society that shares them, revealing of their central worldview and the framework for the self-identity of the culture and individual in a universal context.[11]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_myth

  4. Pingback: Religion and Science: A Collection of My Articles on This Theme | The Muslim Times: A Blog to Foster Universal Brotherhood

  5. Pingback: Religion and Science: A Collection of Articles by Zia Shah on This Theme – For Christians, To be Born Again in Islam!

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