How does An Earth-Diver Narrative from Siberia (Siberian-Altaic) creation story compares/contrasts to the Genesis one. The following questions should give you some ideas to think about. They are “thought” questions. Do not try to answer each one individually. The point of the essay is to show the similarities and differences between the story you selected and the creation story in the Bible. I have included these questions only for the first essay to give you some guidelines.
•What is the main point of the selection you chose?
•What does the story say about how the world or how humans were created?
•What is the God/creator like?
•What method of creation was used (Methods described on 338)?
•What does this story tell about the kind of world the people of the time believed in?
Sacred Narrative 7
An Earth-Diver Narrative from Siberia (Siberian-Altaic)
This sacred narrative illustrates the motif of creation with the aid of the earth-diver. These narratives are quite extensive, appearing among circumpolar peoples, in Eastern Europe and in North America. The standard elements in the narrative are that the gods are situated above a primordial body of water himself, and must use the services of another figure, the diver. The diver, here the “First Man’, gathers the earth, but always tries to conceal a small amount for himself. These sacred narratives always suggest some tension or dualism between the competing creators, with the diver’s creation always turning out flawed. Here, the ‘First Man’ is forced to spit the earth out and in so doing creates the boggy places on the earth.
In the beginning when there was nothing but water, God and the First Man moved about in the shape of two black geese over the waters of the primordial ocean. The devil, however, could not hide his nature, but endeavored ever to rise higher, until he finally sank down into the depths. Nearly suffocating, he was forced to call to God for help, and God raised him again into the air with the power of his word. God then spoke: “Let a stone rise from the bottom of the ocean!’ When the stone appeared, ‘Man’ seated himself upon it but God asked him to dive under the water and bring land. Man brought earth in his hand and God scattered it on the surface of the water saying; ‘Let the world take shape!’ Once more God asked Man to fetch earth. But Man then decided to take some for himself and broght a morsel in each hand. One handful he gave to God but the other he hid in his mouth, intending to create a world of his own. God threw the earth which the devil had brought him beside the rest of the water, and the world at once began to expand and grow harder, but with the growing of the world the piece of earth in Man’s mouth also swelled until he was about to suffocate, so that he was again compelled to seek God’s help. God inquired: “What was they intention? Didst thou think thou couldst hide earth from me in thy mouth?’ Man now told his secret intentions and at God request spat the earth out of his mouth. Thus were formed the boggy places upon the earth.