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The Elohim Creation Myth - How good is the Creator?

 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:53 pm    Post subject: The Elohim Creation Myth - How good is the Creator? Reply with quote

The story has ended and we've been told all there was to tell about how the Land universe was created. To summarize this Elohim creation myth, the Creator made intelligent beings called stars and than had them eaten by another being he created, the Worm to transform them into fertilizer for other intelligent species he came up with. This is something the Creator planned and was responsible for, unlike the Banes and ill creatures Foul added.

Can we say the Creator is good when he did this? Maybe he's a Utilitarian and for him many mortals with potential for further growth are better than a finite number of stars but all in all this attitude feels hard hearted.

(There are also his words from the end of TPTP. He says there that the sufferings of the Land denizens aren't all that important. He can always create another, happier creation.)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that's the Elohim creation myth as recounted by Pitchwife. To what extent it is a literal account of the creation and the cosmology is one of the things SRD has obligingly left for us to wonder about. As for hard-heartedness - well, it is the Elohim creation myth, after all, and in the second half of The Second Chronicles and in The Last Chronicles we learned that they could be prize bastards when their Wyrd required it (or when they thought it did).

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in DrPaul's camp as well. The creation myth's are myths.

Donaldson has made this extremely complex by combining two myths in the Last Chronicles - Worm and Arch at the same time. I'm not really sure what to make of that yet. It does seem to make people take the myth's more literally, though.

Of course, the appearance of the Worm also has us wanting to take the myths more literally. And yet I could not help but notice that Donaldson left a lot of wiggle room ... we never actually see it AFAICT. The closest we get is "a dark form", shrouded by fog.

But, to answer the original question:

I don't think we should draw implications from the myths beyond their bare stories. They're metaphors, and you can go astray by taking metaphors too far beyond what they are intended to convey. They're stories about creation - the gist is that creation preserves and nurtures life, destruction is inherent in creation, and all things can come to an end. Worrying about things like, where are the ends of the Arch, or how thick is the skin of the Worm, or where is the rain that created the Rainbow, might be interesting but there's no real answer, and you shouldn't try to draw substantial conclusions.

I think wondering of the Creator was some sort of mass-star-slaughterer-by-proxy is in this category of things. That said: if he created the stars to be destroyed, then it's hopefully not a cruel fate for the stars - it's what they were meant to be.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I'm stretching metaphoric stories far beyond their original forms here. The tale of the slaughter of the stars which resulted in the current form of the world is explicitly described in the books. The existence of worm, stars and the Creator (and his role in creating the world) are also indisputable.

Now my understanding of the stories is that the stars are part of the creation ie they didn't predate the creation of this universe, and that the Elohim are the souls of the stars who were not eaten yet by the Worm. The stars the Worm ate lost their individuality and became the world's Earthpower in its various forms. The reasons for that are:

1. When the Worm starts hunting down the Elohim the stars also begin to disappear. All illumination is gone from the world by TLD and yet the Worm still haven't left the earth.

2. The Elohim that were eaten in the LC remained gone when the Worm returned to its slumber. They didn't sprout out again as Elohim as they would have if Elohim are digested stars.

3. The trio had to use some new raw materials to make the new world. The digested stars/Elohim fit the bill.

4. We see the Elohim turn into stars at the Elohim-fest. At the time I thought it was just a remembrance of times gone by they had. Now I'm guessing it was more literal. They turn into stars in the sky at night (and it fits Donadlson's world where the metaphorical takes literal shape.)


All this doesn't change the question all that much. We know that there are intelligent beings that were eaten at the world's beginning. We were told about it and we practically see it happening in the last chronicles. The Creator was responsible for creating this world. If the stars were part of the creation, he had to first create them, then the Worm so he'd have a world with some low-level inanimate percipience and a destruction force. Basically, the world is built out of the corpses of powerful beings. Donaldson didn't invent this idea. It features in many myths. But he chose to put this in his story and he chose to give his stars/Elohim intelligence and feelings.

wayfriend wrote:

I think wondering of the Creator was some sort of mass-star-slaughterer-by-proxy is in this category of things. That said: if he created the stars to be destroyed, then it's hopefully not a cruel fate for the stars - it's what they were meant to be.


I really dislike this line of reasoning. Do children who were intended from birth to be temple sacrifices not suffer a cruel fate just because they were taught this was their purpose in life? To take an example from more recent times, are children conceived for the purpose of donating their organs to their sickly siblings or parents really automatically supposed to placidly accept their lot in life?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are all very excellent points.

Some other points to consider, though (and this isn't disagreement, just clue-piling.)

In TOT, the Elohim basically said, "We are the Worm". (The said "We are the Würd", after making it clear that the Würd and the Worm are essentially the same things.) They also said that "we are the direct offspring of the creation of the Earth; from it we arose, and in it we have our being." I think the best interpretation of that is that the Elohim arose as part of the Worm's giving birth to the World in it's rest. The Worm created the Earthpower. The newly roused Worm would be, essentially, devouring its own creation.

The Rainbow myth also suggests that Stars were captured in the creation of the Arch. It could very well be that the stars the Worm fed on originally were part of the cosmos and outside the Earth, while the stars that are visible from Earth are the ones trapped in the Arch (and linked to Elohim). Or, rather, excreted by the Worm, and so part of the Earth rather than of the cosmos.

I don't know. I still wonder how far all of this should be stretched. There may not be one single, logical, scientific explanation that fits.

When I was speaking of the stars being created for their fate, I was thinking more along the lines of the American Indian notions of animal spirits who understand their role as food for men. Even the Elohim in the Last Chronicles seem to understand that they destined to be Worm food in the end, even if they desire to resist being eaten.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Or, rather, excreted by the Worm, and so part of the Earth rather than of the cosmos.


I don't think I'll ever be able to view the Elohim with the same eye again. Shocked Wormcrap...now that will dull Infelice's luster.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"We are the Worm"

We are the Worm
We are the Elohim
We are the ones to break the Arch of Time
So let's get eaten!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly being worm food is like being Appointed, it's a constraint on the freedom that the Elohim crave which obliges them to become something less edifying but more necessary for the world to exist. The Elohim might not like that but it would be necessary. It's like asking what's the point of souls having to manifest on Earth where they have to face all the problems there.
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