Meanings of Cosmogony

Cosmogony is a term derived from the Greek word kosmogony. The concept refers to the various myths that explain the origin of life and the world. Also, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), it can refer to the theory of science that is centered on the birth and evolution of the universe.

The most common use of the notion, however, is linked to a mythical story. There are numerous cosmogonies, developed throughout history by various cultures. In general, all cosmogonies start from an original chaos whose elements are later grouped and ordered thanks to the intervention of supernatural forces or divinities.

From the cosmogony, the human being perceives in a certain way what surrounds him, forges his identity and minimizes the uncertainty that occurs when he conceives something chaotic. Cosmogonic stories are usually transmitted from generation to generation among members of the same community.

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As a myth, cosmogony can be contradictory or ambiguous since its message is not unique and exclusive. It is a mode of explanation that the human develops in the face of what he does not understand: with the passage of time and with changes in context, the cosmogony can be readjusted to facilitate its interpretation.

The cosmogony of Christianity, for example, is detailed in the first book of the Bible, known as Genesis. According to this cosmogony, God created the universe from nothing: “in the beginning” the earth and the sky were created and then light appeared, dividing day and night.

On a scientific level, the big bang theory can be understood as a central part of contemporary cosmogony, stipulating that the universe was created from an immense explosion.

Greek cosmogony

In Greek mythology we find endless stories in which the rites and beliefs of the Hellenic people about the origin of man and the universe itself are collected. These legends show us a fundamental part of the history of the human being, which extends over more than a millennium beginning with 2000 BC. C. and reached its fullness with the creation of Iliad, Odyssey and Hesiod’s Theogony.

The story entitled Theogony of Heiod, precisely, is the best known of all those that comprise the Greek cosmogony. It was written towards the beginning of the 7th century BC. C. and it is an incalculable source of inspiration for the mythology of the Hellenic people.

Hesiod was a Greek poet born around 700 BC. C., considered the first philosopher of Ancient Greece, given the characteristics of his writings. In this work you can see a compilation of religious myths and the organization of the genealogy of the gods, while addressing the issue of the formation of the universe itself. Hesiod’s main interest was the study of “the race of the immortals”, rather than the rise of the cosmos.

A Romanian writer named Mircea Eliade, a Romanian philosopher and writer who specialized in mythology, distinguished four phases in this essential work for Greek cosmogony:

* the first mentions the existence of Chaos, Gaia, Eros and the first generation of the gods;

* the second focuses on the story according to which Cronos castrated Uranus;

* in the third, Rhea’s attempts to prevent Cronos from devouring Zeus, his son, are described;

* the last one contains the narrative of the battle that pitted the Titans against Zeus and the gods, which is known as Titanomachy.


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