On Creation Stories: A Book

I first heard about this book at least twenty years ago, but for whatever reason, my memory kept bringing it forward. I also recall hearing that it was a children’s book, which raised both concern and wonder. Not that long ago, I checked my local library – and there it was – so I had to get it.

In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World (Virginia Hamilton, 1988) is a children’s book – I would say fifth or sixth graders – but it is also a wonderful book for adults. It contains 25 short, easy-to-read creation stories from all inhabited continents and Oceania. Stories about origins, gods, humans, animals, plants, and all creation.

Reads may find it interesting to compare and contrast the stories, which can be done many ways. The stories will provide key roles for ravens, turtles, chameleon, and serpents while introducing us to gods and creators as Alatangana, Elohim, Karora, Marduk, Phan Ku, Quat, Ra, Ulgen, Wulbari, and Yahweh. These stories will also enlighten us about the roles of light, soul, water, moon, stars, sun, eggs, and oceans.

Regardless of the culture, people have wondered about the mystical questions as “How did we get here? Why are we here?” Most (if not ever) early cultures have a creation story, and who knows how many early cultures existed across the globe. Creation stories take us back to an unrecorded time with a sense of wonder and glory – or as the author writes about creation stories, “Go back beyond anything that ever was and begin before anything has happened.”

These stories are about human thinking and cultural perception. Whichever is your creation story, this book may be one to expand your understanding of that story.