The Creation Explanation
|Man in His World|
Then God said, "Let Us make man
in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping
thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of
God He created him; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them, and God said
to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over
the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on
Man Is Different1
Man is different from all other creatures because he asks questions about his world and the things in that world. He uses language to ask these questions and also to find and express the answers. Man is the only cultural creature, for he alone depends upon the transmitted wisdom gained by past generations to guide and help him in the present. He alone preserves his present intellectual accomplishments and uses them in planning for the future, purposefully transmitting knowledge in verbal form to future generations. In all activities which characterize and distinguish man as man, he uses symbols in thinking, writing, and speaking. This special ability which separates man from the animal world is referred to by anthropologists as the ability to symbolize.
A symbol is an observable form--sound, visual, touch, written--that expresses meaning arbitrarily attached to it by a number of individuals. Thus, when a child's father makes the sound of "no," both father and child know what he means, for they speak the same language. A Dakota Indian father would use the sounds "sni" to express a similar negative meaning to his son, but both would understand what he meant. Only human beings communicate with each other using names to indicate specific objects and other types of words to represent actions and ideas.
All peoples use language and other symbols to understand their world. But since all people do not live in the same place, and their ancestors neither shared the same experiences nor spoke the same languages, they have developed different understandings of the world in which they live. Anthropologists would say that they possess different cultures. The Yir Yoront people in Australia feel they understand correctly the meaning of events occurring in their society because they believe these are reoccurrences of similar events experienced in the world of their ancestors a long, long time ago. Thus a man whose name is "Dog-chases-iguana-up-a-tree-and barks-at-him-all-night" and is a member of the Sunlit Cloud Iguana Clan believes that his ancestor had that name and belonged to that clan. In addition, everything that happens in his life does so because it occurred in the life of his ancestor.
It seems that man has always had a curiosity about himself and his world, and for many groups such as the Yir Yoront their mythological world view serves to satisfy this human need. It provides them with an a priori perspective by which they interpret the objects and events which they observe around them. They believe that their whole world is living and that it is understood by becoming a living part of it. Like many others, the Yir Yoront find that their roles in life, their values and goals for the present and the future are started clearly in the teachings, both formal and informal, which stem from their religion.
1. The material on culture is adapted from McCone, R. Clyde and Everett W. Purcell, Man and His World, Science and Creation Series, Book 5 (Creation-Science Research Center, San Diego, 1971).