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Whenever one takes time to contemplate about creation, there are some questions that always come to mind. These questions are based on the curiosity to understand when life began, where man came from, when time began, and who or what brought about these creations. From the beginning of existence, humankind has always sought answers to these questions. As a result, may fables have been formulated and different stories adopted as the true explanation of the beginning of life and creation. In this paper, these two accounts will be analyzed on the basis of their similarities and differences.
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The Biblical account of creation in the book of Genesis was written in 1500BC by Moses by the creation and flood story in Metamorphosis was written around 17 AD. Between the two creation accounts, the most prominent is the Genesis account may be because it was written earlier than Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The drastic difference between the two creation accounts is that in Ovid’s Metamorphosis, the creation story has in depth explanation of creation which is given in Ovid’s opinion as it happened (Ovid, 1987). However, the Genesis account deviates from this form of explanation but emphasizes the world’s existence is the responsibility of God who created it and makes it be (Genesis, 2016). Ovid gives the account of creation in detailed manner by metaphorically explaining the creation of land, waters, and the earth from a formless mass. The Biblical account is seemingly organized, simple, and plain without intricate details of how it took place.
On the other hand, creation account in the Ovid’s Metamorphosis does not give a specific time frame but in the Bible, God’s creation takes place in six day to come to a completion; allowing God to rest on the seventh day. The creation story as written in Ovid’s Metamorphosis has seven stanzas which are compiled in eighty lines. However, the creation account in Genesis which was written by Moses has been compiled in thirty-one verses to complete the creation story. In terms of details, Ovid’s Metamorphosis states that water holds in and up the land (Ovid, 1987). This is different in Genesis which states that in the earth, there are waters which have been separated by land (Genesis, 2016). On the same vein, water, light, land, and air in Metamorphosis is all settled by the kindlier Nature or God and are thus formed at one instant. In the Biblical creation account, however, it takes God separate days to create animals and man, sun, stars, and moon, land and vegetation, heaven, and light.
Despite these overarching differences between the two prominent creation stories, there are also some similarities between them. Both of these stories are beautiful and great poems that have continued to stand criticism across generation thus surviving to become the most acceptable fables of creation. Most importantly, the two accounts serve the purpose of answering and explaining some questions regarding creation and the origin of the universe, life, and who created the universe as we know it today. The two creation accounts as explained in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and the Biblical account as written in Genesis explain that supernatural beings or a supreme being is responsible for the creation. The Biblical account affirms, “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth” (Genesis, 2016: 1:2). This confirms that credit for creation and existence of the universe can only be given to a supreme being.
It can also be appreciated that the two creation accounts explain the creation of the earth from a void, formless, and shapeless form. In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, the universe is lightless as there is no sun (Ovid, 1987). The same explanation is seen in Genesis which explains that to the depth of the surface there is darkness (Genesis, 2016). Most importantly, both stories show the formation of the universe from an original chaos to an orderly state by a creator through different stages whose culmination is the use of clay to make man. Despite this similarity, Ovid’s account does not name or individualize the created man, but in Genesis, the first creation of man is individualized to Adam. Both accounts also show the presence of water before the existence of creation but while Ovid states that man cannot swim in the water, Genesis states that the water surface is where God’s spirit is moving.
The Biblical account of creation given in the book of Genesis and Ovid’s Metamorphosis are the most famous stories which explain the account of creation. The difference between the two creation accounts is that in Ovid’s Metamorphosis, the creation story has in depth explanation of creation given in Ovid’s opinion as it happened. However, the Genesis account emphasizes the world’s existence as the responsibility of God. The two creation accounts, however, explain that supernatural beings or a supreme being is responsible for the creation.
- Genesis, (2016) Genesis 7, Bible Gateway Passage, New International Version.
- Ovid, (1987) Metamorphoses: The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Ed. Maynard Mack. 5th edition. New York: Norton. 549- 560.