The idea will sound weird to manier ear, and many religious people will think that it is denigrating the Supreme Being. After all, the word "myth", in modern linguistics, is held to be synonymous with a fiction or a lie. But this is not the definition of myth. Far from it.
In fact, the word "myth" derives from the ancient Greek word "muthos", which meant simply an "utterance" or a "traditional tale". And these utterances, or traditional tales - usually concerning Gods and heroes - were generally considered to be true stories.
But in what sense can a myth be true?
For the past two centuries, mythologists have been fixated by the idea of historical truth. They have sought to understand ancient myths as poetic portrayals of events in human history. But this is a fundamental mistake.
Prior to Greek times, ancient civilisations had very little interest in history as we understand that term. Rather than seeing the past in terms of a linear history, they saw it as a repeating pattern of cycles - the day, the month, the year, the reign of the king, and the periods of the planets and stars. At the beginning of each of these cycles, the creation was renewed and time began again.
As for human beings, their machinations served only to validate this great cosmic mystery play. As Mircea Eliade writes in "The Myth of the Eternal Return":
"The past is but a prefiguration of the future. No event is irreversible and no transformation is final. In a certain sense, it is even possible to say that nothing new happens in the world, for everything is but the repetition of the same primordial archetypes; this repetition, by actualizing the mythical moment when the archetypal gesture was revealed, constantly maintains the world in the same auroral instant of the beginnings."
History and historical truth were thus alien concepts to the ancient mind. For the ancient myth-makers, truth lay rather in the primordial cosmic drama in which the Universe had been created and brought to life. The only true story in town was the myth of the genesis of the earth, the heavens, and all living things. In short, the myth of creation.
All ancient civilisations had their creation myths. The stories in the Old Testament Book of Genesis are mere reflection of much older myths that were told in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia from at least 3000 BC. Indeed, the further back we go, the more dominant the creation myth becomes - to an extent that has yet to be fully apprehended by scholars.
Behind the creation myth lies the Supreme Being, who was worshipped by the ancients under a variety of names and guises. This Great God - or indeed Goddess - was the Creator of all things, and thus the cognate of Religion in the sense that He/She bound mankind back to its origins (the word "religion" derives from the Latin religare "to bind back").
Who, or what, was this Supreme Being? In what sense was He/She the Creator of the Universe and mankind?
Put out of your mind all those images of God as an old man with a beard. Consider instead the evidence from the worlds oldest civilisations - Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Here, in the creation myths, the Great God, or Goddess, personifies the formative cosmos. He, or She, is identified with the death of the old cosmos; with the fall of the sky and the seeding of the earth; with the chaos of the primeval earth and waters; with the separation of the heavens from the earth; and with the new-born Sun, Moon, and stars. In short, the God and Goddess personify the entire myth of creation and the entire created Universe.
Here lies the key to the modern concept of God.
rejected and denied by many, accepted and embraced by few : incontrovertibility
- it is not what we (think we) know that matters, it is what we can show true that does
as the maxim demands; truth is demonstrably fact and fact is demonstrably true
everything else ... mere BS -
New!! Improved!! Now With CD-Formula!!
CD: short for incontrovertible