Babylon, 3,200 B.C.E.
An, the god of the sky and Nanna, the god of the moon give birth to a great daughter Inanna. She was the Queen of Heaven and Earth and the most powerful of all the gods and goddesses. She was endowed by Enki, the god of wisdom and water, with fourteen me or blessings of power. The blessings included but were not limited to truth, the art of lovemaking, descent into the underworld and ascent from it and the art of fellatio.
Inanna with her new powers decides that she will descend into the underworld. Unfortunately, once she arrives, she is sentenced to death by her sister Ereshkigal in an apparent act of the ultimate sibling rivalry. The devastating effect of Inanna’s untimely death is all of nature dies and the cycle of rebirth ceases. Fortunately, the wise god Enki brokers an arrangement whereby Inanna’s life can be saved if another is sacrificed. Inanna’s male consort, Dumuzi fulfills this function and is whisked away to the underworld. To commemorate this tale, life on earth passes each winter into the sleep of the underworld and is reborn every spring.
Babylonian rituals also depicted natural cycles. The high priestess of the temple of Inanna would every year take a young male consort. After serving as her king for a year, he would be ritually sacrificed only to be reborn or resurrected again the following spring in the form of a new young male consort. Interestingly, these rituals took place at the first full moon following the spring equinox. Today Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the first Sunday following the full moon which follows the spring equinox.
In Anatolia and Rome, the Great Earth Mother also known as Mistress of the Animals Cybele gives birth to a son Attis. In an ecstatic frenzy, Attis castrates himself and dies. Cybele mourns his death and on the third day, he is resurrected bringing with him the promise of salvation and new life.
There are many other creation myths most of which date up to about 3,000 years ago in which the creator is a Great Mother, who gives birth to all the creatures of the earth. She is earth herself. In fact, in no known myths from the same era is there any suggestion that the world was created by a male deity acting alone without a divine feminine counterpart. Such a concept would have defied logic and the laws of nature.
Last Rewriting of the Hebrew Bible, 400 B.C.E.
The Old Testament says in the beginning a divine male creator made the earth and all of the species it supports in a period of six days. Humans were created on the 6th day and were created ‘man and woman’ in God’s image. On the seventh day He rested.
Biblical theologians have used a number of analytical devices to interpret the Old Testament and largely agree based on a biblical day being the equivalent to a normal 24 hour day, the universe, earth and every living thing upon the earth were created approximately 6,000 years ago ± 2,000 years according to biblical scripture.
Fossil, historical and archaeological evidence suggest a slightly different model with the earth being approximately 4.5 billion years old. 6,000 years ago, approximately 4,000 C.E., by most estimates, there were around 4-5 million humans living on planet earth (perhaps it was one of these people that Cain betrothed to populate the earth, since Adam and Eve did not have any daughters according to the Old Testament). At the same time, the cradle of human civilization, as it is known today, was located in the area currently marked out by the countries of modern day Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Israel and other countries of the Middle East. The rest of the world including the Americas was also populated by humans.
The British Isles were inhabited by tribes of Celtic persons. Unfortunately, these people did not have a written language at the time, so they left us no myths of their pagan spiritual beliefs; however, archaeological evidence offers some keys into their worship of nature and religious practices.
The Americas were heavily colonized by peoples with diverse cultural traditions. It is theorized the Americans were originally of Asian ancestry and made their way across the Bering Straight during the Great Ice Ages migrating inland to fill up the continents of North and South America. Over millennia, these people developed myriad cultures including the diverse tribes of North America and the Mayan, Incan and aboriginal cultures of South America.
In Asia, societies developed throughout China, Japan and Korea. In Korea, agriculture in the form of rice cultivation began. Aboriginal peoples established themselves in Australia, New Zealand and the islands of Polynesia and New Guinea.
The world at that time was a very different place. The great forests of the Indian subcontinent, North America and Amazonia supported towering old growth trees.
Toxic manmade chemicals did not exist. Pollution of land air and water was limited to what the earth herself produced, and it was easily eliminated by natural processes. Human garbage consisted of waste materials not consumed during a meal or those eliminated afterwards. It was all recycled naturally back into the ecosystem.
In many ways, the world at that time was an idealistic place. Apart from nature and all of her unspoiled bounty, the human species had just begun to move away from hunter gatherer societies to form agriculturally-based civilizations. The same time period which the Bible cites as the beginning of creation is actually the dawn of civilization.