Finding Where We Came From

Finding Where We Came From

Though we may never truly know the facts of humanity's origin, we can turn to ancient cultures to reflect upon our genesis.
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It is human nature to ask questions with the hope of retrieving answers; we have an ingrained urge to know. Man desires a complete understanding of the mysteries of the universe. For thousands of years, humans have attempted to fathom the unfathomable. Some still have faith in the tales, and others don’t. Regardless of belief, it’s important to reflect upon where we came from and how we originated, and we can turn to the ancient stories to help us do so. Creation myths reveal significant truths about the very origin of Earth, who created it, and the fall of man.

The Earth began without form or shape. In many different stories the word used for the dark abyss that existed before existence itself is simply “void." The Greeks described the void as chaos and darkness. They attempted to make something that is completely intangible tangible. The Mayans believed that nothing at all existed before creation. No animals roamed the Earth, for there was no land for them to roam. Humans strove to describe what there was when there was nothing, but that was an extremely difficult concept to grasp, especially before the scientific advances of today. Even now, what other word might be used to explain the nothingness? Humans have been attempting to infer what might have existed before tangible existence for thousands of years, but after many millennia, the abyss continues to be called a void. In Genesis, the “earth was a formless wasteland,” and God created out of nothing (Gen 1:1). Not only did humans strive to explain nonexistence, but they also showed reverence towards the authority of a higher being.

The creation of the universe is a far too complicated task for any human to accomplish. Humans may ask, “Where did it all come from?” Answers today will differ from endless scientific theories to simply God. In any situation, the answer will not be that a mere human created the Earth. Humans have sought to explain the creation of the world since the beginning of history. Both today and thousands of years ago, many would say the world came to be through a creator. Whether one designer or multiple architects, various stories involve a higher being willing the world into existence.

Genesis describes a single God as perfect and transcendent. In contrast, the multiple gods of the Popul Vuh and the Greek creation story had many imperfections. In both polytheistic cultures, the gods had to go through multiple trials to find the perfect human, while Genesis tells of God creating the first human, Adam, and immediately finding his work pleasing. The creators may differ between various stories, but creation myths often speak of a powerful being that exists beyond the power of humans and science. Is this naturally because humans need an explanation for the seemingly unexplainable, or is it truly because they believe a higher being wished humanity to be? We can’t know now, but we do know that humans provided themselves with an explanation: they worship the higher being. The gods gave ancient civilizations not only an answer but also a purpose.

Humans attempted to answer the question of how man was created and how he came to have flaws. People desire to be perfect, but because they cannot accomplish true perfection, humans attempt to explain the error of their ways that led to the flaws in mankind. Humans are not perfect. People make mistakes. People get sick. People die. Humans are mortal. Mankind has been left upon this Earth constantly asking the question, “Why?” When “because I said so” ceases to suffice, humans seek an answer, and creation stories attempt explain the origin of these flaws. In many stories humans first existed without imperfections. Whether because of the will of humanity or his Creator, the myths tell of the fall of man.

The first mistake in some civilizations is explained not to be the fault of man but rather of the gods who rule over him. In numerous stories, such as Popol Vuh, the gods feel threatened or unloved. In other stories, such as in Genesis, man's own shortcomings cause his fall. The human beings wished to be better than God and disobeyed Him. The humans did not give God all their love; in turn, God gave them death. African culture also describes the fall of man as due to his immense pride. Blindness defeats pride, but blindness, too, is defeated, and only death can conquer the pride of humanity. Similarly, the Greek creation story describes the fall of mankind as a punishment, yet the fall is not because of the human’s own doing; rather, the cause of imperfection was the wrath of Zeus after Prometheus provided mankind with fire. Fire gave man strength and power. Zeus, too, began to feel threatened, so he caused mankind to become imperfect. In any case, the stories explain that people are not perfect and never will be.

Mankind constantly yearns for answers and explanations. Through creation myths, humans have attempted to answer the professedly unanswerable questions. One might assert that myths are figments of past civilizations’ imaginations and simply cannot be true; however, despite the various failings of creation myths, truth can be found within each story. These stories tell of past civilizations and their beliefs about how the world came to be. The myths are still relevant though they were composed long, long ago.

Do we believe these origin stories or regard them as mere fiction? You can choose. No matter what you decide, there’s a history lesson, a cultural understanding, and a moral about the nature of humanity within each of the stories. Humans have never known all, but we've always wished to discover, always wished to know. Throughout civilizations, man has sought and found. Humanity continues to change and progress and regress, but some aspects of human nature never fade.

Cover Image Credit: Creation Day

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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If Shonda Can Do A Year Of Yes, Then So Can I

Yes.

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A few years ago, Shonda Rimes decided to do a year of saying yes, after her sister told her she says "No" to everything. It ended up changing her life.

So, I've decided to embark on my own year of yes.

Sure, it may be easy to say yes to everything when you're a millionaire with a bunch of record-setting televisions shows, but the rest of us can do it too.

Say yes to treating yourself.

Say yes to taking care of yourself.

Say yes to saying no, don't stretch yourself too thin.

Say yes to new opportunities

The year of yes is about taking better care of yourself.

My year of yes starts right now.

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