Clay creation myth

Clay Creation myth (overview) 2
A general overview of the clay creation myth, derived from the religio-mythology genealogy page (as summarized in more detail in the "Zerotheism for Kids" lecture), showning how, over time, Sumerian mythology (3500), Greek mythology (800BC), and Egyptian mythology (330BC) were added together, as polytheism morphed into monotheism, to make Hebrew mythology (c.100BC) to eventually form the basis of Christian mythology (400AD) and Islam mythology (800AD), in short, which is now morphing into something new, i.e. physicochemical periodic table synthesis, as monotheism morphs into zerotheism; note: 56% of Americans (2015) believe that Adam and Eve were real people.
In religio-mythology, clay creation myth, is a defunct scientific theory which argues that humans originated at a certain point in time in the past when a certain god, e.g. Enki (3500BC), Khnum (330BC), god the father of Jesus (200AD), Allah, etc., took clay from the ground, molded it into the shape of a human, then brought it to ‘life’, by giving the clay mold either the breath of life (see: Ankh), some type of imparted spirit, a soul, or by stealing fire from the heaven (see: Prometheus) to animate the clay, after which the clay-formed humans began to reproduce and grow.

Science | Debunking
In 1925, Alfred Lotka, in his Elements of Physical Biology, was to first to point out that, chemically-speaking, humans do not have the same elemental composition of clay, and that the clay creation origin of humans is but a poetical fancy; specifically:

“On the whole it may be said the living organisms are composed of comparatively rare elements. We are, indeed, earth-born, but yet not altogether common clay. Indeed, taken literally the expression "common clay," as applied to man, is an extreme case of poetic license; for aluminum and silicon the chief constituents of clay, and taking second and third place in rank of abundance among the components of the earth's crust, are both present only in traces in the human body.”

Lotka, in short, gave the first so-called “aluminum disproof”, of the various disproofs of the existence of god, i.e. in indirect reference to the clay creation myth of humans. This, in short, is indirect implicit Bible debunking, wherein he relegates the creation of humans according to Genesis (or Heliopolis creation myth) as being but a form of poetry.

In 2014, Libb Thims, independent of Lotka, began employing the aluminum disproof in dialogue with theists, as a tool to falter their "god complex" belief system, e.g. see: 7 Jul 2014 Beg-Thims dialogue (comment #10); then on 6 Jan 2015, by Libb Thims (V:5:40-6:05), as an effective disproof of the existence of god.

The substance called clay (Ѻ) is a naturally occurring aluminum silicate (Al2(SiO3)3,) composed primarily of fine-grained minerals, including: Andalusite (Al2SiO5), Sillimanite (Al2SiO5), and Kyanite (Al2SiO5). In this sense, early clay origin views would posit a human to be:

Human = f{Al, Si, O}

a type of 3-element chemical structure. Each of these elements are found in the modern human molecular formulas.

A latter aspect of the clay creation myth is that the the different races of the land, as distinguished between the colors white, yellow, and brown, resulted from differences in the color of the clay used to make the humans. Chinese people, for example, were said to have been made from yellow clay.

Adam and Eve
In circa 300BC, the Egyptian version of the creation of humans from clay on Khnum's potter's wheel, became monotheistically rewritten into the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden if Eden:
Clay creation myth (Hathor)
In the diagram, the Egyptian god Khnum (right) is creating two humans from clay, on his potter's wheel, seated next to the goddess Hathor (left), who is imparting the breath of life into the clay figures by pointing the ankh at their nostrils. Right: Khnum making the pharaoh out of clay on his potter's wheel at the Temple of Khnum at Esna (323-30BC). [12]

The following is the modern physicochemical understanding of human origins, via thermodynamically quantifiable chemical synthesis:

Adam and Eve (modern)

Original version | Heliopolis creation myth
The origin of the “creation by clay” theory of human origins, seems to have originated in 3100BC in the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis, where, in the framework of Ra theology, it was theorized that creator fire god Atum, was self-generated or rather born out of a mound of mud (or clay), after which he created the first two forms of life, Shu, his son, and Tefnut, his daughter, via "breath" and "spit", respectively.

Khnum (making human)
Clay creation myth (labeled)
The ram-headed god Khnum (center) fashions a man (left) from clay upon his potter’s wheel, while the ibis-headed god Thoth (right) stands behind and records the number of years (see: aging) allotted to the man. [13]
A latter spin-off off the Heliopolis creation model, held humans were said to have been formed in a similar manner, to the birth of the sun (Ra) out of the Nile soil (Nun), according to which ram-headed god Khnum made people from clay, on his potter’s wheel, in the waters of the Nile.

One of the earliest mentions of Khnum associates him with the Nile flood: namely a third dynasty (2686-2613BC) inscription by King Zoser, per guidance of Egyptian polymath Imhotep, on the rocks at Sehel Island, near Elephantine (his main cult center), records a seven-year famine and states that Khnum would let the Nile flood once again if his temple was renovated. His height of power came in the years 332BC-395AD, during the Greek and Roman periods, centered at Elephantine Island, where rams sacred to Khnum were mummified, elaborately wrapped, decorated with gilded masks, and placed in stone sarcophagi. [13]

Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, he was thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter's wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers' wombs. [1]

God made the first woman from Adam's rib
In the Biblical version of the Heliopolis creation myth, the first woman was made from Adam's rib. This is a re-write of the original Egyptian version of how Shu, the sky-air god, son of Atum (Re) and father of Geb (earth), "pulled Nut (sky) from Geb's body" and separated heaven and earth. In short, the Biblical story of god creating Adam from clay and Eve from Adam's body, and their three sons (Cain, Abel, and Seth), and the murder that occurs (see: Cain and Abel), is de-deification re-write of the story of Atum-Re self-generating out of the Nun or formless water of beginning to create Geb and Nut and their three offspring sons (Osiris, Horus, and Set), wherein Set murders Osiris. [9]

In Surah 4:1 of the Quran, this "creation of women" story is re-stated as such:

"O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kink) and spread from these two, many men and women"
The diverse forms of Khnum (a)
The diverse forms of Khnum (b)
The diverse forms of Khnum (c)
The Hymn of "The Diverse Forms of Khnum", as carved onto the walls of the Temple of Esna, which was built during the Ptolemaic period (323-30BC), following the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332BC, outlining the essential points of the monotheism-model that would later be crafted into the description of the God of Christianity and of Islam. [10]


The original Egyptian creation by clay prototype yielded may spinoffs derivative theories in the centuries to follow: [2]

In 1700BC Sumerian mythology, the birth goddess Nammu, of the watery depths, was said to have molding clay into the shapes of humans and bringing the molds to life to be a workforce replacement for the gods in the maintenance of the land.

In the 1500BC Babylonian creation epic Enuma Elish, the goddess Ninhursag was said to have created humans from clay. Made from clay, a living being in this version is said to be possessed of a breath-life-force called napistu, cognate with the Hebrew word nefesh. [7]

In 800BC Greek mythology, it is said that Prometheus made man of clay and stole fire from the heaven to animate them, a type of animation fire which came to be known as Promethean heat. [3]

According to 500BC book of Genesis. [6]

"And the lord god formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

The first human was called "Adam", the Hebrew word for ‘clay’. The part about the living soul is a re-write of the various Hymns of Khnum centered around the annual festival in the ancient city of Esna as carved into the walls of the Temple of Esna. The Morning Hymn, in particular, associates Khnum with Amun, Re, and Shu (the breath of life god).

The Great Hymn to Khnum (built during the Ptolemaic period 323-30BC), as inscribed in the Esna temple, which was sung at the feast of installing the potter’s wheel, celebrated on the first day of the month of Phamenot, Khnum is described as being born of the Nun and the creator of all life; and in the section entitled The Diverse Forms of Khnum, Khnum is described as “in first of towns, he is Ba-of-Re, fashioning people throughout the land; at lunyt, he is Ba-of-Shu, modelling people on his wheel; in Shas-hotep, he is Ba-of-Osiris; he is Horus-Metenu in Semenhor, etc.”, created “all beings since god’s time, there are alive and abiding, like Re rising and setting” and their “ka (spirit) will not perish.” This model seems to be essentially starting point for the model of the God of Christianity and later Islam.

Alexander the great
The conquest of Egypt by Alexander the great in 332BC seems to have been the start of what would eventually become, seven centuries later, Christianity or the new state religion of Egypt, an edict made official by Roman emperor Theodosius I’s 391 decree that made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire.

When Alexander was thirteen years old, Philip began to search for a tutor. Many people were passed over including Isocrates and Speusippus, the latter of whom was Plato's successor at the Academy and who offered to resign to take up the post. In the end, Philip offered the job to Aristotle, who accepted, and Philip provided the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza as a classroom. In return for teaching Alexander, Philip agreed to rebuild Aristotle's hometown of Stageira, which Philip had razed, and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile.

Mieza was like a boarding school for Alexander and the children of Macedonian nobles, such as Ptolemy, Hephaistion, and Cassander. Many of those studying by Alexander's side would become his friends and future generals, and are often known as the 'Companions'. At Mieza, Aristotle taught Alexander and his companions about medicine, philosophy, morals, religion, logic, and art. Under Aristotle's tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer, and in particular the Iliad; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander was to take on his campaigns.

In 332 BC, Alexander conquered Egypt with little resistance from the Persians. He was welcomed by the Egyptians as a deliverer. He visited Memphis, and went on pilgrimage to the oracle of Amun at the Oasis of Siwa. The oracle declared him to be the son of Amun-Re (Ra). He conciliated the Egyptians by the respect which he showed for their religion. While Macedonians commanded military garrisons, including at Memphis and Pelusium, Alexander left the civil administration in local control; initially there were two, later one governor. Alexander founded a new Greek city, Alexandria, to be a major commercial port. This city, where Alexander was buried, grew, quickly becoming as well Egypt's administrative capital and an intellectual centre.
Human not equal clay + higher power 4
A rendition of discernment, first pointed out by Alfred Lotka (1925), that chemically speaking, according to elemental composition, humans, as CHNOPS+20 entities, are not made of "clay", which is a AlSiO+6 type of matter, and that the clay creation myth of humans is but ancient mythological "poetry", i.e. religio-mythology.

In 642, Alexandria was captured by the Muslims, who were given militant instructions, by order of the Caliph Omar, in regards to the ‘books in the royal library’, namely those scrolls that survived the first burning, that ‘if those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them.’ In some way or another the, during this period of Muslim-run Alexandria, the Khnum creation of humans from clay theory found its way in to the Qur'an as the standard explanation for human origins.

According to 630AD Qur'an , the god Allah created man from clay by shaping clay into human form and breathing a spirit into him: [5]

“We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape [altered black mud].”
— Surah 15:26 (Ѻ)(Ѻ)

“We created man from the ‘essence’ (Ѻ) [سُلَالَةٍ] [strain, quintessence, extract, parentage] of clay; we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature [woman].”
— Surah 23:12-14 (Ѻ)(Ѻ)(Ѻ)

“Who perfected everything which He created and began the creation of man from clay.”
— Surah 32:7 (Ѻ)

“Then inquire of them: Is it they who are stronger in structure or other things We have created? We created them from sticky clay.”
— Surah 37:11 (Ѻ)

“I am going to create a human being out of clay. When I have formed him and breathed My Spirit into him, fall down in prostration to him!”
— Surah 38:71-72 (Ѻ)

“He it is who created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a leech-like clot, then brings you forth as a child.”
— Surah 40:67 (Ѻ)

A number (Ѻ) of confusions and contradictions in the Quran, as pertains to what man was created out of (congealed blood [§96:1-2], water [§25:45], clay [§15:26], mud [§15:26], dust [§30:20], sperm drop [§40:67], drop of clot [§23:12-14]). The following is a general recipe on how to make a human according to the Quran:

1. Add: blood, clay, sperm, water, mud, and dust
2. Shake well
3. Mold into shape of human [§15:26]
4. Place it as in a safe lodging [§23:12-14]
5. Breath a created soul into it [§38:72]

(add discussion)

In Hinduism, Brahma, the Hindu version of Abraham, creates human beings and all life. All different species come out from different parts of Brahma’s body. He created man as the first of the animals and the strongest. He created him from his own soul. One of the stories mentions that Brahma splits himself (see: soul mate) into two to create male and female. In other texts the Prajapati (a group of deities), the sons of Brahma, are said to be creating all living beings, both gods and mortal creatures. (Ѻ) As Brahma, an accordingly Abraham, are clay-based (or earth-based) conceptions, i.e. Ra (sun) born out of the Nun (land mound) following the flood (water), the clay-creation of humans is implicit in this version of creation.

A golem, the Hebrew-Kabbalah version of the clay creation myth; the golem legend held sway up through the Holocaust (1945), many believing in the golem as the guardian of the Jews in the ghetto. [11]
A artistic rendition of a golem, by Philippe Semeria (1999), shown adjacent, the Hebrew version of human origins according to the mystical book Kabbalah, according to which a living human is made by shaping clay into the form a human, putting the word emeth (truth) on its forehead, and hovering the shem-ha-mephorash (YHWH) over it; to reverse the process, and return the golem to lifeless clay, the first character of emeth is erased to leave meth, Hebrew for ‘dead’. [11]

Other derivatives
● Mayan myth holds that Tepeu and Kukulkán (Quetzalcoatl) made the first humans from clay, but they were unsatisfactory.
● The Māori people of New Zealand believe that Tāne Mahuta, god of the forest, created the first woman out of clay and breathed life into her.
● In Akkadian literature, the creation from clay model is the dominant image of the origin of man.
● In Africa, the Yoruba culture holds that the god Obatala likewise created the human race.
● In Chinese myth, the goddess Nuwa created the first humans from mud and clay.

Philosophical implications
The premise of humans deriving from clay, dirt, dust, and or mud, depending on description, has deep philosophical implications, particularly when it comes to questions of purpose or meaning. The following, below (left), shows a 2010 tattoo saying “lucky me, lucky mud”, on a young women’s back, which is a truncated meaning of the a discussion between God and mud, below (right), in American writer Kurt Vonnegut’s 1963 Cat’s Cradle, on purpose in the context of the creation by clay myth as it is known to most Abrahamic faiths as the Adam and Eve story as told in the story of Genesis; a section of which is shown below: [14]

Lucky me, lucky mud (2010)

(add discussion)

See also
Soul mate

creation from clayClay creation cartoon
Left: A 1999 artistic rendition of the creation from clay theory of the origin of humans. [4] Right:
A creation science conference cartoon, making a parody of the clay creation myth, i.e. that god created man from clay, dust, or dirt, and breathed life (or spirit) into it, and the, god created woman from Adam’s rib, which has its origins in a mixture (a) Egyptian god Khnum’s circa 2600BC making man and women from splitting a ball of clay in two and (b) Plato’s circa 380 story, voice of Aristophanes, in his Symposium, of Zeus splitting the once joined (at the back) paired human in two, thereafter becoming soul mates.
1. Khnum – Wikipedia.
2. The creation of man from clay (Prometheus section) – Wikipedia.
3. Ubbelohde, Alfred René. (1954). Man and Energy. Illustrated (ch. 8: life and thermodynamics, pgs. 183-200). Hutchinson's Scientific & Technical Publications.
4. Human clay – Wikipedia.
5. Muhammad. (630AD). Qur'an (38:71-72) (37:11) (23:12-15). Publisher.
6. Five Authors. (500BC). Five Books of Moses (Genesis 2:7). Publisher.
7. Segal, Alan F. (2004). Life after Death: a History of the Afterlife in the Religions of the West (pg. 73). Random House.
8. Fenkl, Heinz I. (1997). “Of Men and Mud”, Realms of Fantasy.
9. Greenberg, Gary. (2000). 101 Myths of the Bible (Myth #18: Adam and Eve were the first Humans, pgs. 43-45). Source Books, Inc.
10. (a) Lichtheim, Miriam. (1980). Ancient Egyptian Literature: the Late Period (Hymns to Khnum, pgs. 109-15). University of California Press.
(b) History of Ptolemaic Egypt – Wikipedia.
11. (a) Golem – Wikipedia.
(b) Ball, Philip. (2011). Unnatural: the Heretical Idea of Making People (pg. 148-50). Vintage Books.
12. (a) Walton, John H., Cornelius, Izak., et. al. (2009). (pg. 266). Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. Zondervan.
(b) Khnum, at the Temple of Khnum, Esna, forming the pharaoh from clay on his potter’s wheel (photos: by Brian J. McMorrow).
13. Remler, Pat. (2010). Egyptian Mythology, A to Z (pgs. 104-05). Infobase Publishing.
14. (a) Vonnegut, Kurt. (1963). Cat’s Cradle (pg. 265). RosettaBooks, 2002.
(b) Lucky me, luck mud (2010) –

Further reading
● Leeming, David A, and Leeming, Margaret A. (1994). Encyclopedia of Creation Myths (creation by clay, 40+ pgs). ABC-CLIO.
● Pinch, Geraldine. (2004). Egyptian Mythology: a Guide to the Gods, Goddess, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt (§:Creation of Humanity, pgs. 66-68). Oxford University Press.

External links
Creation of man from clay – Wikipedia.
Creation of humans from clay – WikiIslam.
Esna Temple –
● Cameron, Kirk. (2013). “Creation of Humans from Dirt” (clay creation myth), in: “Unstoppable” (clip), YouTube.

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