Comparing Creation Myths of Ancient Egypt and The Christian Bible
Creation in Ancient Egyptian religion can be much different than the creation account taken from The Bible. Genesis has a set description of “The Beginning” while there are several different versions and variations in Egyptian mythology. The versions range from a “one god” myth (Ptah; see picture) to the more common creator out of Nun, which in itself has several derivations.
The Ogdoad is a grouping of eight gods that existed before the creator and formed him. This version is taken from Middle Egypt at Hermopolis. The eight gods consisted of Amun, Huh, Kuk, and Nun and their counterparts (i.e. Nun and Naunet). They came together to create an egg that contains the creator (Baines, 1991). This is the point at which variations will occur. Inside the egg there could be gods (Re, Atum, or sometimes even Thoth) or a Blue Lotus. This Lotus would come forth from the egg and rise high into the darkness to a young god, Amen-Re. (The egg was surrounded by Nun which contained the Ogdoad. The Ogdoad consisted of four serpents and four frogs.)(Egyptian Creation Story, pg. 1) The child radiates light and banishes the darkness. He destroyed the silence with his Word and thus creation began. He then constructed a mound for which he could sit upon. (The Benben Stone, which was kept in Heliopolis, was said to have been the mound upon which the creator god, in this case Re, sat.(Redford)) In a different account the mound came forth from the waters of Nun bearing the egg and a falcon emerged. This falcon soared into the air and took its place as the sundisk (Redford). The falcon could also be represented by a winged insect such as a beetle or as a golden falcon. Another variation was that the Lotus emerged from Nun and open its pedals to an egg containing the creator god and here population began with the self-reproduction of the single deity (Redford). Creation began by a bodily function of the creator god. Either through ejaculation, sneezing, or spitting the creator began to produce others (Redford). The creator god had other gods come into being and they in turn began to create until the ancient Egyptians had a sufficient explanation for there being here.
The most popular creation myth, in present day is the “one god” myth. It existed yet, had a brief life and it was in the minority. Here Ptah was the closest thing to monotheism that the ancients had. This is a popular theme in Memphite theology, but it was present in parts of Egypt. Ptah supposedly had all that is manifest in thought and then created them with his Word (Baines, 1991). It is also said that the “one god” is and the other god names are used to personify an extension of the “one god” (Ancient Egyptian Religion pg. 2 and 3). Ptah creates the Ennead with thought and word. This monotheism was not very widespread and it did not last long.
In Genesis, the first book of The Bible the Christian and Jewish creation story is...