The Mythic Dimension

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Myths, or sacred stories, are vital to our world, and even serve as a guide for life today. Genesis 1 and 2 present the myths of creation and God’s design for human life. The Mythic Dimension can be applied to these texts by analyzing their social, psychological, ritualistic, and cosmological functions. The social function of Genesis 1 and 2 focuses on establishing a sense of shared history within the Israelite community. Genesis 1 and 2 differ in a couple ways when explaining the origin of life on earth. Genesis 1 claims that man and woman are created simultaneously, while in Genesis 2, woman is created after and from man. Furthermore, in Genesis 1, plant life comes before humankind, yet Genesis 2 states that plant life came after humans.…show more content…
When God designed the cosmos, he rested after six days of creation and sanctified the seventh day, initiating a holy day. An explanation of the Sabbath is exemplified by Perdue who states, ”The Sabbath brought relief from toil to the household, including even its slaves and animals” (Perdue 226). This shows that the myths acted as an example for the people. God rested, so should his people. The day of the Sabbath helped give the Israelites a sense of self-identity. The psychological function of the texts can also validate the idea of humans being ”good”. When observing human creation and nature, there are two main conflicting views, the Hebrew creation story portrayed in Genesis and the Babylonian myth of Enuma Elish. While the creation story of Genesis and the story of Enuma Elish may have some similarities, they mainly differ in their views of human nature. Heidel belittles resemblance within the stories though with the claim, “Add to this the doctrine that man was created in the image of a holy and righteous God, to be the lord of the earth, the air, and the sea, and …that make all similarities shrink into utter insignificance” (Heidel 140). In the biblical account, mankind is made from dust by God…show more content…
“In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” (Gen 1:1). The opening line for the first chapter of Genesis sets the tone for these creation stories. The idea that God created us and the world in which we live in, out of nothing, helped to establish a sense of the numinous, which inspired awe and admiration in the people at the time. This can be reinforced by the repetition of phrases throughout Genesis 1 and 2 such as "God said,” and "God blessed," and "God saw.” These utterances are meant to execute something, “In Genesis 1 the divine speech is performative in character. It does not describe, but enacts what it says” (Janzen 230). This all-mighty power that God possessed compelled the Israelites to hold God and his word to the highest esteem. This can be exemplified in the statement, “The command to increase and multiply was taken very seriously in rabbinic Judaism. The rabbis even specified the number of children required to fulfill the commandment…”(Perdue 127). People respected God because they saw him as being supreme. Everything is the work of God and we can infer that the creation reflects the creator. God created order out of chaos, separating one thing from another, imposing a sense of order and dominance over his creation. This creation of the cosmos takes place in the time period known in Latin as “in

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