In our quest to find the Origin of Man, thus far, we have stumbled down a Creationist’s line, specifically that which would find the Origin of Man through some major flood or similar catastrophe. As this reasoning goes, regardless of what came before this flood, all of us are descendants of the survivors of this flood. In the cases we are studying, these survivors are often thought to be very few, in fact most flood myths accept a destruction of all human beings save the ark-builders and his ken. We see this in the Sumerian myths, in the Egyptian tales, and we see this also in the American native lore. An extensive summarization, although not always correct or properly substantiated, can be found at talk.origins also, here.
While all these American aboriginal stories are important, we can concentrate one moment on the Mayans, a very popular study these days, and look into their “sacred book” the Popul Vuh. A story eerily similar to the Mesopotamian and Egyptian versions of a devastating flood by gods can be found there, in fact, at least two different versions:
1. “The Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, contains within its creation story a tale of the destruction of the first beings by a flood. This flood differs from others in that it is not a punishment, but rather a remedy for a faulty creation. The Feathered Serpent first created man from mud. These creatures were a failure; they couldn’t see, they dissolved when it rained, etc. So the god broke them up and tried again. “This time he made men out of wood. They were better than the mud-men. They could walk and talk; they had many children, built many houses, but they had no minds nor souls nor hearts. The Feathered Serpent – Quetzalcoatl was disappointed with what he had created, so he sent a great flood to cleanse the earth of his mistake.”
2. “In the beginning was only Tepeu and Gucumatz another name for Quetzalcoatl. These two sat together and thought, and whatever they thought came into being. They thought earth, and there it was. They thought mountains, and so there were. They thought trees, and sky, and animals etc, and each came into being. But none of these things could praise them, so they formed more advanced beings of clay. But these beings fell apart when they got wet, so they made beings out of wood, but they proved unsatisfactory and caused trouble on the earth. The gods sent a great flood to wipe out these beings, so that they could start over. With the help of Mountain Lion, Coyote, Parrot, and Crow they fashioned four new beings. These four beings performed well and are the ancestors of the Quich…” (source here, read the Popol Vuh yourself here, very nice .pdf file).
The Olmecs, about whom we are still very much in the dark, and who are, as a civilization, ancient even by Mayan standards, also have a flood myth involved with their understanding of creation. More profound in these Meso-American myths is the explicit mention that these floods and world-wide destructions were to correct mistakes of prior creation. This “gods learn as they go” approach is prevalent in fact everywhere except in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, where it is under-emphasized. However you look at it, destruction myths of any kind, under the watchful mind of the creator(s), at least all imply if not mistakes early on by these creative forces, then a series of halfway-points in the progression that is the flowering of the world, mankind included. We are incomplete, as a planet, as a species, as individuals, perhaps, and we will continue being destroyed so long as we are still becoming, still perfecting ourselves, as perhaps Gurdjieff would have said. Here now the Olmec version of this progression:
“The first sun was ‘Jaguar,’ it lasted 676 years, and finally the people were eaten by jaguars; the second was ‘Wind,’ it lasted 364 years, and finally the people were torn up by wind and turned into monkeys; the third was “Fire-rain,” it lasted 312 years, and finally it rained fire all day and the people were turned into hens; the fourth was “Water,” it lasted 52 years, and finally water covered all the mountains and the people were turned into fish ” (Lehmann, 1938: 323-27, #l400-1403).
The Aztecs also had a flood myth more in align with the conventional iteration of the story:
“When the Sun Age came, there had passed 400 years. Then came 200 years, then 76. Then all mankind was lost and drowned and turned to fishes. The water and the sky drew near each other. In a single day all was lost, and Four Flower consumed all that there was of our flesh. The very mountains were swallowed up in the flood, and the waters remained, lying tranquil during fifty and two springs. But before the flood began, Titlachahuan had warned the man Nota and his wife Nena, saying, ‘Make no more pulque, but hollow a great cypress, into which you shall enter the month Tozoztli. The waters shall near the sky.’ They entered, and when Titlacahuan had shut them in he said to the man, ‘Thou shalt eat but a single ear of maize, and thy wife but one also’. And when they had each eaten one ear of maize, they prepared to go forth, for the water was tranquil” (Ancient Aztec document Codex Chimalpopoca, translated by Abbé Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg).
The source here is Wikipedia, which offers also a very good summary of these deluge myths, if but to show the extent to which they form an essential elements of world mythology, so much so that we have to wonder whether this mythology is more true legend than religious fancy.
I encourage everyone to read a bit more on these myths. What we will accept, for speculative purposes at least, is that there was indeed, a long time ago, a very catastrophic flood, or perhaps many floods, and other catastrophes, which did indeed, as Velikovsky painstakingly asserted, and much strange archaeological evidence seems to prove, that destroyed nearly completely every living thing on the Earth, man included. We cannot be good researchers, scientists, or historians, if we do not accept the evidence staring us in the face, and extant literature that nearly covers every region of the globe attesting to such catastrophe, we would be ignoring obvious evidence, evidence at least as voluminous as the alternative, and failing in any of these important academic tasks. In short, if we do not accept that there was at least one flood, we are blindfolding ourselves to the truth.
But let us not forget the devil, and so give the advocate his say as well on this matter. First of all, the only possible explanation for such catastrophes perpetrated by omniscient gods is that human beings, like the globe and, perhaps, the universe, is merely in a state of BECOMING. We are not quite complete, us, the earth, or the universe. We are all coming-to-be.
We can, furthermore, ask some meta-questions about the old propositions. Suppose, some ten thousand years ago, an unsuspecting wandering human being came upon some object, some technology, or even some type of writing or even bug or plant, that he could not account for by his own wit. Let’s say he could not determine what the object was more because of its oddity than the limit of his intelligence. He takes it to his friend/tribal chief/wife who confirm to him that the object is amazing, unknown. How can they account for such an object? Where could it have come from? How could they account for it?
The answers to these questions, the unbeknownst-to-them fossil discoveries by the ancients for instance, I dare say, probably led such people logically to something like a flood myth or some other idea of catastrophe. Stories about what can only be giant fossils being discovered by ancients and reported by men like Herodotus and Thucydides talk about even human giants, and would be examples of such discoveries. I have some question about the sources of some of these skeletons below, but it is on point here:
B. 15-foot human skeleton found in southeast Turkey in late 1950’s in the Euphrates valley during road construction. Many tombs containing giants were uncovered here.
C. Maximinus Thrax Caesar of Rome 235-238 A.D.
D. Goliath 9 feet. I Samuel 17:4 late 11th century.
E. King Og spoken of in Deuteronomy 3:11 whose iron bedstead was approximately 14-feet by 6-feet wide. King Og was at least 12-feet tall…
F. A 19’6″ human skeleton found in 1577 A.D. under an overturned oak tree in the Canton of Lucerne.
G. 23-foot tall skeleton found in 1456 A.D. beside a river in Valence, France.
H. A 25′ 6 ” skeleton found in 1613 A.D. near the castle of Chaumont in France. This was claimed to be a nearly complete find.
I. Almost beyond comprehension or believability was the find of the two separate 36-foot human remains uncovered by Carthaginians somewhere between 200-600 B.C. (Source Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum).
It could be claimed that this unknown object—or skeleton— came from outer space, it could be it came from a flooding (say if the object were an unknown seashell, or a seashell at all in a desert, as in Africa today…), or it could be from a lost people. It is somewhat logical to assume catastrophic disasters in these circumstances: perhaps the people were destroyed by a wrathful god, perhaps the elements took them out, maybe the gods sent it. One could write a good thesis upon the speculation about cause that has driven religion and science alike. Technically, there may not have been any flood at all, and there may not have been any collaboration amongst peoples remote from one another, on the subject. It may simply have been that such a deluge idea solved many riddles.
Furthermore, for our purposes here, I think we will have to say, if we all are descendants of the Flood survivors, we still have blood in us, namely that of the survivors, which PREDATES the flooding itself. ALL the legends attest to the fact that we were here, in some form, giant or half-beast, but we were here. Noah survived his flood, and with him the blood of his forefathers who may not have. Thus the Origin of Man, we must tell the literal Creationists, came PRIOR to the flood. The Origin of Man is not to be found AFTER it.
Next chapter we move on finally to Roman numeral III, where we will attempt to begin a universal summary of the various global traditions regarding the Origin of Man. We will be looking for common denominators, and we will be spending some time checking out the dates we have attributed to each of these legends.
(thanks to NWCreation for this image).