Creation (potter's wheel)
Left: creation of a human, a person named Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BC), the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, in particular, shown at the Temple of Deir el Bahari (1475 BC), depicting a mixture of the "creation by clay" and "creation by breath" theories, defining creation as the work or power of two Gods (Khnum and Heket). Right: a depiction of the “synthesis” of human, according to chemical thermodynamics, as depicted in Daniel Schroeder’s 2000 Thermal Physics textbook, defining creation of an animated molecule or animate matter (such as a rabbit) as being the product of chemical synthesis, quantified by a standard Gibbs free energy of formation (as described historically on affinity tables or free energy tables in modern terms).
In terminology, creation refers to the method by which things of the universe, in particular water, land, animals, and humans, the stars, etc., came about, arose, or were formed, via the power of a god or gods.

The history of “creation theory” is a long and intricate subject, but one with a discernible thread of borrowed continuity, particularly in regards to the Anunian theologies (Ab-ra-ham-ic / B-ra-hma-ic theologies) as these frame out 72% of the belief systems of the modern world.

Heliopolis cosmology | 3100 BC
See main: Heliopolis creation myth
The pyramid texts describe the first dominate creation theories, which were developed in the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis, in circa 3100 BC. In this model, there were four distinct creation theories:

Self-generated creation | Atum (creator god) born out of the Nun (land mound), which itself arises or rather is self-generated out of the primordial waters or chaos of beginning.

Creation by masturbation | Atum, according to one version of the theory, masturbates to bring forth eight other gods (Shu, Tefēnet, Gēb, Nūt, Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys) to assist him in creation.

Creation by sneeze or spit | Atum, according to alternative version of the theory, “sneezes” out Shu and “spits” out Tefnut, the first two gods, who in turn, copulate to make the next two gods: Geb (earth) and Nut (heaven), who in turn copulate to make the next four gods: Osiris and Isis (sibling-mate pair) and Seth and Nephthys (sibling mate pair).

Memphis cosmology | 2800 BC
See main: Memphis creation myth
In the centuries to follow the city of Memphis (c.2800BC) came to power, becoming the religious epicenter of the Egypt. Here, building on Heliopolis creation theory, the introduced creation by spoken word:

Creation by word | Creator god brings things into being by pronouncing the necessary command for it to be.

Hermopolis cosmology | 2400 BC
See main: Hermopolis creation myth

Theban cosmology | 2040 BC

Isis (breath of life)
Isis is receiving the breath of life from Ra and transferring it to Horus via her breast. Standing before her, ankh or Key of Life in hand, is Amon-Ra the Egyptian ‘Lord of Eternal Light’. Standing behind her is Thoth. The second chapter of Genesis offers a similar description of the Key in use: “And Yahweh, Elohim (Shining One), fashioned the Adam of the clay of the soil; and He blew in his nostril the breath of life, and the Adam turned into a living Soul.”

Creation by breath | Breath of life | Humans
The creation of humans as clay formations, embedded with the ba (soul), into which the ka (spirit) and or breath of life is imparted (using the ankh) to bring about animation was centered around the god Khnum whose chief cult center was situated on the island of Elephantine. [1]

It is difficult to say exactly where the creation by breath or rather God putting the “breath of life” into humans theory as it came to be known (particularly in Christianity), in regards to the origins of humans, originated, but at least by the time of the rule of Hatshepsut (1508-1458) the theory was in full swing. In the Temple of Deir el Bahari, for example, Hatshepsut had a relief carved on one of the walls depicting Khnum fashioning her and her ka (spirit) out of clay on his potter’s turntable. Khnum creates humans and animals on his potter’s wheel using the silt of the Nile, i.e., clay. After fashioning a person, his consort Heket offers the “breath of life,” symbolized by the ankh, to the nose of the clay figure. This animates the clay effigy and the person receives an allotted life-span, personified as Shay meaning “That-which-is-ordained.” [2] As carved onto the walls of Hatsheput’s mortuary temple:

“Amen-Ra called for Khnum, the creator, the fashioner of the bodies of men. Fashion for me the body of my daughter and the body of her ka," said Amen-Ra, "A great queen shall I make of her, and honour and power shall be worthy of her dignity and glory. O Amen-Ra," answered Khnum, "It shall be done as you have said. The beauty of your daughter shall surpass that of the gods and shall be worthy of her dignity and glory." So Khnum fashioned the body of Amen-Ra's daughter and the body of her ka, the two forms exactly alike and more beautiful than the daughters of men. He fashioned them of clay with the air of his potter's wheel and Heqet, goddess of birth, knelt by his side holding the sign of life towards the clay that the bodies of Hatshepsut and her ka might be filled with the breath of life.”

The creation by clay theory, itself, is older than this, dating back at least to 1700BC in Sumerian mythology, where 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. The addition of the “ankh” (or “cross”, as it came to be in Christianity) as being able to impart the “breath of life” as an addition theory counterpart is something unique to Egypt and to the god Khnum.

Creation by breath | Creator god brings things into animation by breathing life into them.

This “breath of life” theory, in turn, was incorporated into Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, and hence into the vernacular of the modern world.

1. Oakes, Lorna and Gahlin, Lucia. (2002). Ancient Egypt (pg. 287) Hermes House.
2. Watterson, Barbara. (1996). Gods of Ancient Egypt (pgs. 189, 191). Godalming, Surrey: Bramley Books Limited.

See also

External links
● Shetter, Tony L. (c.2010). “Genesis 1-2 in Light of Ancient Egyptian Creation Myths”,

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