Myths about Gods and Spirits in Different Cultures Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

Supreme Being Myth

Myth: Alla Religion or culture of origin: Islam

What are the characteristics of the Supreme Being?

God in Islam can be described as an omnipotent and all-knowing being that created the universe. Moreover, mercy is another attribute of this Supreme Being. In Islam, God is outside or above nature. This is one of the aspects that distinguish it from pagan deities. Furthermore, one should mention that Allah is an indivisible entity that does not have various representations. Furthermore, one should mention that the actions of this Supreme Being cannot be understood by a human being. Moreover, Allah should not be judged according to anthropomorphic standards. This is one of the reasons why the depictions of god are prohibited by the norms of the Quran (Shah, 2012, p. 400). These are the main details that can be distinguished.

How did the Supreme Being create humanity?

According to Islamic tradition, Allah created a human being out of wet earth or clay. Moreover, the Supreme Being did not create people within an instant. In particular, he did not simply breathe life into inanimate matter. More likely, human beings were the result of gradual and long-term development. This is one of the peculiarities that should be taken into account.

Great Mother Myth

Myth: Gaia Religion or culture of origin: Ancient Greece

What are the characteristics of the Great Mother?

In the myths of Ancient Greece, Gaia is depicted as the entity that gave birth to the Earth as well as heavenly gods. Overall, Gaia can be viewed as the representation of nature that sustains human life. To a great extent, she can be viewed as the creator of material reality. Nevertheless, Gaia is not the Supreme Being because her powers are limited. Apart from that, she is not omniscient. These are some of the traits that can be singled out.

How did the Great Mother protect or look after humanity?

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that Gaia is not a protective figure, especially if one speaks about humanity. She can care about her own children, such as heavenly gods or Titans. Nevertheless, she is not concerned about the existence of human beings or the hardships that they can encounter. This is one of the issues that should be considered because Gaia cannot be viewed as a caring deity.

Dying God Myth

Myth: Adonis Religion or culture of origin: Ancient Greece

How did the god die?

It should be noted that Adonis was killed by a boar (Detienne, 1977, p. 67). According to different versions, this boar could have been sent by Artemis, who envied Adonis for his prodigious hunting skills (Detienne).

How did the god come back to life?

One should keep in mind that at the beginning, Adonis was a human being, but he was resurrected by Zeus on the bequest of Aphrodite. Moreover, he was given the status of a deity. Later, Adonis became the god of desire and beauty (Detienne,1977). He is traditionally associated with Aphrodite (Detienne,1977).

Trickster Myth

Myth: Coyote Religion or culture of origin: The folk culture of Native Americans

What tricks does the trickster pull?

Overall, Coyote uses his skills and knowledge to disobey the established rules. For instance, this fictional character steals water from the so-called Frog people and gives it to other living beings. Similarly, he is credited for stealing fire from gods and giving it to people (Moncrieffe, 2012, p. 128). To some degree, he can be compared to Prometheus (Moncrieffe, 2012). The main difference is that Coyote was not punished for this action. However, at the same time, this character can play practical jokes which are not beneficial to anyone.

Do these tricks help humanity? If so, how do these tricks help humanity? If not, what is the purpose of the trickster? ‘

Overall, these tricks help humanity; to some degree, they are critical for the survival of people. This argument is particularly relevant about his theft of fire from deities. However, this trickster also poses challenges for people and creates obstacles that they need to overcome. Thus, Coyote prompts the development of human beings. These are some of the functions that this character performs.

Deities and Spirits

What are the general characteristics of deities and spirits?

Characteristic Example of deity and spirit
It should be mentioned that deities and lesser spirits have some behavioral characteristics of a human being. To some degree, they are anthropomorphic. In particular, these deities can become vindictive. For instance, one can mention that Athena turned Arachne into a spider for her disrespectful depiction of gods. Thus, one can say that these deities do not seem to be morally superior to humans. This is one of the points that can be made because it is important for understanding the way in which myths portray supernatural beings.
Deities tend to come in conflict with one another. They do not share common goals. For instance, according to Greek mythology, the Trojan War divided the Olympic gods. They supported different sides; moreover, they could even fight one another. Thus, one cannot say that these deities always act unanimously.
These entities are not omnipotent or all-knowing, even though their abilities are superior to those ones of human beings. For example, it is possible to mention that Apollo cannot resurrect his friend who dies in the course of an accident. Furthermore, Apollo cannot predict or avert this disaster. Thus, one can say that these entities differ significantly from the so-called Supreme Being that has unlimited powers.
Deities and lesser spirits can develop attachments to human beings. In particular, one can mention Calypso, a nymph who falls in love with Odysseus and uses her magic to prevent him from leaving. However, Odysseus eventually escapes her, even despite her pleas.

Reference List

Detienne, M. (1977). The Gardens of Adonis: Spices in Greek Mythology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Moncrieffe, K. (2012). Understanding Myths and Legends. New York, NY: Brilliant Publications.

Shah, Z. (2012). Anthromorphic Depictions of God: The Concept of God in Judaic, Christian and Islamic Traditions: Representing the Unrepresentable. Boston, MA: MIT.

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