Order from Chaos:
Analyzing and Evaluating the Hellenic Creation Myth through the Lens of Biblical Tradition
Greek mythology is often understood through the lens of analyzing a dead religion; it is assumed that the influence of such myths is passive and fixed, only effecting the lives of those already long gone, whereas the very nature of such myths is to be active, dynamic, and illuminative. I, like many others with Greek heritage, rarely engage actively with the ancient Hellenic myths. Despite this, it is valuable to understand their place in the broader western culture as a counterpoint to the now ubiquitous Biblical narrative of creation.
While attempting to achieve the same goals of revealing the natural world and the nature of man, the two traditions show drastically different perspectives on the nature of the divine. While the creation myth found in Genesis stressed the ordered creation of the world, the Greek tradition is inherently chaotic. The myth begins with the god Chaos, himself, living for centuries alone in the void until he “grew tired of living alone” and created the goddess Earth and the underworld of Tartarus (Stephanides). Through this segment alone, it is clear the divergence of perspective within the traditions. Whereas in the Biblical myth, God creates only what is good and evilness comes later through only corruption of God’s creation, in the Greek tradition there is a clear understanding of good and evil being a direct duality of each other.