What is Cosmogony?

Meaning of Cosmogony

Cosmogony are stories or myths about the creation of the universe , the meaning of human life, and relationships with supernatural , divine, or simply non-human entities.

In the most diverse human societies, it is possible to find stories and myths about the origin and meaning of the universe .

In the history of philosophy, this topic is treated from cosmogony .

The term ” cosmos ” refers to the universe, and ” -gonia ” to an idea of ​​generation or creation . Therefore, along with cosmogony , there is also the theogony , which aims to explain the origin or birth of the gods .

Cosmogony in Philosophy

Cosmogony is important to the history of Western philosophy because it refers to the time before the rise of philosophical thought.

That is, before the sixth century BC. C., in Greece, the philosophers had not yet emerged, and what prevailed was the mythical or cosmogonic thought .

Thus, cosmogony explained the universe in terms of the creation of some divine entity. In this way, the meaning of human existence was also based on the myths of the generation.

This cosmogonic thought was losing its place as a result of the growth of philosophy , which proposed to be more rational and not to resort to divine beings.


In the sixth century a. C., the first Greek philosopher would be the Tales of Miletus, who thought of the universe no longer from the cosmogonies.

Ancient Cosmogonies

To understand the matter more concretely, check out some cosmogonies or origin and creation myths from the ancient universe below . In this list, only some of its most general aspects will be presented:


The Greek origin myth posited Chaos as the beginning of creation, following Earth (Gaia) and Heaven (Uranus). From these gods, a variety of others are generated, as well as the elements of the universe.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian cosmogony , is also known for positing various gods for the creation of the world; for example, the Aenads, which are nine divine entities created by the gods Atum and Nun.


The Mayans, according to their origin myth, the world emerged from the ocean where divine entities lived, which, in turn, created everything that exists.

These are some of the ancient creation myths of the universe . Therefore, some cosmogonies may have roots in these mythologies.

In this variety of stories, it is important to cultivate respect and curiosity about human diversity.

examples of cosmogony

At this point, it is already possible to notice how diverse cosmogonies exist everywhere. The following are some examples of origin myths formulated throughout human history:

Myth of Chronos

Hesiod’s Theogony, written around the 8th century BC. C., describes Greek mythology. In his narrative, Kronos is the son of Heaven and Earth, but becomes a Titan due to a conflict between his parents.

Pan Ku and Nu Wa

Part of Chinese mythologies , Pan Ku is the entity that created the world. He slept in Chaos, which was an egg, for millennia. When he woke up, he split the egg in two, forming heaven (Yang) and earth (Yin). Therefore, his mission was to maintain a balance between both parties.

Nü Wa is the goddess who created mankind . She had a human face and a snake body and, being alone, she creates humans from the earth.

Yoruba Myth: Olorum

According to his myth of origin, Olorun is the only God and creator, who has authority over the Orixás, which is why he inspires religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda.

Therefore, Olorun and other deities created the earth and its elements , which was previously just a swamp. From mud and the breath of life, human beings were also made.


In Judeo-Christian culture , the myth of the origin of the universe is based on the writings of Genesis, the Bible. According to the narration, there is a creator and supreme God who decided to generate the universe, the earth and the beings that inhabit it.

A Contemporary Cosmogony: Silmarillion

The Silmarillion play was created by the famous writer JRR Tolkien. In his various books, the author drew inspiration from mythologies from different regions of the world and created a world with its own culture, beings, and language.

Cosmogony and Cosmology

Cosmogony refers to a thought that dominated before philosophy in Greece , based on myths and the divine creation of the universe.

On the other hand, from the sixth century B.C. C., with philosophy, cosmology emerges : a vision of the world that is no longer based on gods, but on reason and earthly elements .

Therefore, according to these definitions, the two words have opposite meanings and also mark different moments in the history of Greek or Western philosophy.

However, it is important to note that mythical thinking is not inferior or opposed to the philosophical way of thinking.

In fact, mythologies are present everywhere and offer examples of the richness of human thoughts and cultures.

Consequently, it is also necessary to respect the different ways of thinking, remembering their effects for social groups.

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