Original Research: Cross-cultural Religious Studies

Creation myths and generative ontology in ancient China

Paulos Z.Z. Huang
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 80, No 3 | a9497 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v80i3.9497 | © 2024 Paulos Z.Z. Huang | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 October 2023 | Published: 18 April 2024

About the author(s)

Paulos Z.Z. Huang, Department of History, School of Humanities, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China

Abstract

This article endeavours to prove that there were creation myths of human beings or certain things, but there were seldom creation myths of ontological cosmology in ancient China. This will be warranted through the distinction between the concepts of ‘to create’ and ‘to beget’, the distinction between ‘Cosmology I of creationism’ and ‘Cosmology II of begetting’, and the relationship between the One and Many. The only exception is the myth of Nüwa 女娲 as the creator of human beings, but not the creator of the cosmos. Therefore, in ancient Chinese tradition, there were mainly myths of begetting rather than myths of complete creation in the sense similar to creatio ex nihilo.

Contribution: Previous research frequently underscores the profound differences between ‘Cosmology I of creationism’ and ‘Cosmology II of begetting’. Based on the discussion of concepts of ‘to create’ [zao 造] and ‘to beget’ [sheng 生], this article argues that, there were mainly myths of begetting rather than myths of complete creation in the sense similar to creatio ex nihilo.


Keywords

creativity; external creator; create; give birth; cosmology; ontology; creationism; creation myth; creatio ex nihilo; creation from nothing; generative model; transformation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

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