Does both the creation story in the Book of Genesis and the Seneca Indian creation story "The Woman Who Fell From the Sky" leave much to the imagination and interpretation? How?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Seneca Indian creation story "The Woman Who Fell From the Sky" certainly does leave much to the imagination and requires a great deal of interpretation. For one thing, the myth is presented in more of a form of a fable rather than a typical myth. Fables are short stories containing animal characters with human characteristics and are used to illustrate deeper points, like the truth about human nature. The Seneca creation myth contains talking waterfowl, as well as a thinking turtle and toad, giving it the attributes of a fable. What's more, it appears that it was the waterfowl, turtle, and toad who created landmass on earth as opposed to any greater creator being. A myth in which the sea creatures create landmass certainly raises a lot of questions, such as how can animals really create a landmass? It also leads to the interpretation that these fabled animals were not real animals but rather animals possessing supernatural powers. But the question why sea creatures need supernatural powers is left unanswered.

Another way in which the creation myth leaves much to the imagination concerns the way in which the chief's daughter would have "lived quite contentedly on the newly created landmass." If the world before was nothing but water and landmass had just been created, then there would have been nothing for the chief's daughter to eat, except for possibly the sea creatures that had just rescued her. A question also arises when the story states, "In the course of time she brought forth a girl baby." She is the only human inhabitant on earth, so how did she become pregnant? Through the turtle? other sea creatures? Or perhaps through that same pesky West Wind that later impregnated her daughter? Plus, what mythical purpose does the West Wind's ability to impregnate serve?

There are of course many other logical fallacies contained in the myth that require a lot of imaginative interpretation, such as the method through which the first twin son was born and the fact that he survived after having been abandoned in a tree. Plus, once the two brothers set out making the earth inhabitable for humans to come and Othagwenda was prone to making things very difficult while Djuskaha made things as nice as possible, if Othagwenda was eventually killed by Djuskaha, then what is the explanation for how difficult it is to live in this world? If the world continued to be created and run by Djuskaha, then it stands to reason that the world would be a wonderful place but that's not the case, so the creation story doesn't quite serve to explain all things about how the world was created.