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There is a tremendous amount of religion encompassing the world we live in today. Everyone, no matter what they say, is looking for something. A reason why this world exists, what we are all doing here, inner peace maybe? This searching for answers breeds alternate religions, philosophies and beliefs of all types. It’s important to educate ourselves on other religions so that we as Christians can effectively witness to all of the lost people in the world. This is a comparative essay on three creation stories; the biblical Genesis account, The Walam Olum of the Delaware Indians, and the Navaho Origin Legend of the Navaho Indians. These three stories have some similarities along with many differences. This paper will illustrate these points and discuss these accounts.
First there is Genesis, the first book of the bible. Christians claim Genesis as the true account of the creation of the world and the universe that surrounds it. Genesis speaks of beginnings: of the
heavens and the earth; of light and darkness; of the seas and the skies; of land and vegetation; of the sun, moon and stars; of sea, air and land
animals; of human beings ( made in Gods’ image, the high point in His creativity); of sin and redemption; of blessing and cursing; of society and civilization; of marriage and family; of art craft and industry. The list could go on and on. The book of Genesis is the foundation to the understanding of the rest of the Bible. The message is rich and
complex. It is thoroughly monotheistic, taking as fact that there is only one god worthy of the name. Genesis opposes polytheism (the idea of many gods), atheism (there is no God at all) or pantheism (everything is divine). Genesis clearly teaches that God is all powerful and is over all that exists.
Genesis, along with the next four books of the bible, is believed to have been written by Moses. These five books are known as the Pentateuch, or “five-volume book.”
The second creation story is the Walam Olum. The Walam Olum is the myth of the origin of the Delaware Indian people who lived in parts of what is now Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey long before the first Europeans arrived in North America. This story originally consisted of a long series of pictographs explaining the beginning of the Delaware Indians as a result of the direction of a
manito, or spirit. Since like most Indians, the Delaware were closely in tune with nature they sought answers to natural phenomena and other
things they observed in daily life. At traditional ceremonies within the tribe, a person who had inherited the right to keep The Walum Olum would interpret its meaning for others.
Today there are fewer than three thousand Delaware, living primarily in Oklahoma, Wisconsin and southern Canada.
Thirdly there is the Navaho Origin Legend. The Navaho Origin Legend is also a myth. The Navaho legend is an important part of the Navaho Indians culture and belief system. It explains the origin of life as the appearance of four gods who then created the First Man and First Woman through a ceremony. Winds coming from both east and west gave them life and changed them into human form: First Man (Atse Hastin) from an ear of white corn and a white eagle feather, and First Woman (Atse Estsan) from an ear of yellow corn and a yellow eagle feather. It explains our life force as being the wind, and when that wind stops blowing, we die. An interesting twist is the explanation of fingerprints as trails of the wind which blew and created human ancestors. It is unclear from the resource material, but the number four may be sacred to the Navaho religion because of the four gods of their creation story.
The Genesis account and Walam Olum have some things in common. For instance, the Trinity of the Bible has God the Father,
Jesus the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. The Walum Olum describes a great Manito as singular, but later speaking to a plural Manitos. This is very interesting to me in the fact that they are so similar. Another similarity is that of the Manito making the land, sky, sun, moon,
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Book of Genesis, Bereshit, Creation myths, Abrahamic mythology, Walam Olum, Genesis creation narrative, Adam and Eve, Lenape, Navajo, Eve
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