Why are we here? [a religious perspective]

The subjects and themes that fall in the religious sphere are vast and diverse. This article does not even come close to scratching the wealth of knowledge and thought that lies in the sacred texts of world belief systems, instead it tries to concentrate on the main monotheistic religions that originated in the Middle East region, more exactly Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All this religions have many basic principles in common but our interest now is the creation of Man.

In Zoroastrianism the main religious writings are the Old Avesta and the Young Avesta. The Young Avesta contains among others the Videvdad in which a creation story is described. Belonging to the Middle Persian period, or Pahlavi, we have the Bundahishn (Creation), this is not considered as being part of the main canon, although it is believed that it has roots in Avesta texts that did not survive. Coming back to the Videvdad we must know that this "nosk" contains 22 chapters or "Fargards" that focus mainly on moral laws, the creation story is only present in the first chapter, while in the second we find the legend of Yima; a destructive winter, on the lines of a deluge story is also described. Ahura Mazda created sixteen lands, one by one, with the people's happiness in consideration. Then came Angra Mainyu, the destructive spirit which introduced plague and sin as counter-creations. In this case man is just a player who must take sides before the final battle. How was the human race created is not revealed to us (or maybe that part was lost), and the question why found an answer but not an explanation.
”I have made every land dear to its dwellers, even though it had no charms whatever in it, had I not made every land dear to its dwellers, even though it had no charms whatever in it, then the whole living world would have invaded the Airyana Vaêgô” - 1:2

In Judaism and Christianity (Genesis 1:1 - 2:25) there is a more detailed creation story which tells us that man was created on the sixth day in the image of God, from the dust of the ground:
"the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (2:7)
He prepares a garden of Eden for him to live in without knowing mortality and suffering. The only thing Adam and Eve were not permitted to do was to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Lucifer told them that if they will eat from that tree they will become like God.
"(...) when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (3:5) 
This was a test, putting the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life in the middle ("In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" 2:9) indicate to us that these two were not hidden and God wanted to see if Adam and Eve will follow His wish/command. This thing can be clearly seen, but the reason I brought it up was that God is "behind" or conscious of Lucifer's actions, which is not the case of the Zoroastrian belief.

The Islamic faith is an Abrahamic religion just like Judaism and Christianity and many things are common.
"Indeed, your Lord is Allah , who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. (...)" (7:54 Sahih International version)
As we see, the concept of six days of creation is also present in Islam, but there is a major difference in this sentence, there is no seventh day of rest. The creation of man is described in the following verse:
"And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud." (15:26)
And Eve came to existence as follows:
"It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her. And when he covers her, she carries a light burden and continues therein. And when it becomes heavy, they both invoke Allah , their Lord, "If You should give us a good [child], we will surely be among the grateful." (7:189)

Religion tried to answer most of the questions man had using his limited knowledge of the world. It tell us that we have an important part to play, in Zoroastrianism, man needs to chose on what side he will fight at the final battle between good and evil. The Judeo-Christian and Islamic belief systems also tell us about a day when our species will mature, so to speak. In short we are born to take care of the world and sometime in the future some of us will be strong enough to be accepted back by God. Some may argue that the phrase "accepted back by God" is inappropriat, the reason it was used is because our time on this level of existence is intended for us to chose between two opposing forces in what could be described as a microbial part of time in our wider spiritual existence. 


Alexandra said...

A very good article and that sentence "sometime in the future some of us will be strong enough to be accepted back by Go" make me think that our reborn fallows an idea of recover a way to be, that man lost when he trust the evil. To be able to have again that right or power we have to understand who we are and the meaning of our creation, because one thing is shore: God only wanted us to live, no to enter in this battle of knowledge, where the good and evil are our desires to achieve power. Man has to understand that everything is useless when we aren't able to share with other life and try to dominate and rule something that"someone" gave us. I want to ask: what you mean by "strong enough"? What make us strong in your opinion? And why do you think that we need to be accepted again by God? And most important: how you imagine this Eden that we left and someday we can be able to reenter?

Florin Cosma said...

"strong enough to be accepted back by God" refers, from a Christian perspective, to "the end of times" when God will triumph against evil. The dead will be born again and all will be judged, in this way, the strong, the ones that remained close to God, will be united with Him in His divine realm. I used the term strong because, as we all know, doing bad things is a peace of cake, but spreading good is something harder.

Alexandra said...

Thank for clarifying things for me!

Robert Hagedorn said...

The exegesis for the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Genesis causes nervousness, especially among mystics. Why? Because the real sin Adam and Eve committed was anal sex--the mystery Saint Augustine almost solved 1600 years ago. (He thought their sin was normal penile/vaginal sex.) For more information google "WikiAnswers-What is wrong with Robert Hagedorn's Blogs"

Florin Cosma said...

I must admit your theory is really something special...