Religion 121 Reed
Comparative Essay on Creation Stories
The Mysterious Relation between Dao and God:
The Power and Philosophy of Creation
“Dao called Dao is not Dao. Names can name no lasting name. Nameless: the origin of heaven and earth. Naming: the mother of the ten thousand things.” Beginning with this baffling paradox, the Daode Jing unravels Dao in an unspeakable manner, which interestingly coincides with the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Unlike the creation myths from other cultures, God in Genesis does not possess a name. He is immortal, infinite, and eternal beyond understanding. Anyone trying to define, name, or understand God will inevitably fail. Indeed, the world’s two most translated scriptures of the ancient times, the Bible and the Daode Jing, the foundations of Western and Eastern cultures, have much in common. As many western scholars consider that Dao was God in ancient China, Dao and God possess similar power in and philosophy of creation.
The ways in which Dao and God create the world echo each other around the theme of the creator’s limitless power. Daode Jing Chapter 4 states:
“The Dao is based on harmony between emptiness and abundance. It is the deep source of the myriad creatures.
It softens their sharpness. It releases their confusion.
It harmonizes the light. It merges the dust of earth.
The Dao is so clear and so transparent that it is nearly invisible, Nearly formless; no one can know its origin, for it came before all creation.” Surprisingly Chapter 4 in Daode Jing resembles the first chapter in Genesis. Genesis describes at first, “earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep,” and God then creates everything (Genesis Chapter 1). Therefore, God can be regarded as the “harmony between emptiness and abundance,” which is the important characteristic of Dao, as well. Dao “softens their sharpness,” “releases their confusion,” and “merges...