Mythology

Exploring Types of Creation Myths: Deus Faber

The Deus Faber model, as outlined by Marta Weigle  in her book “Creation and Procreation: Feminist Reflections on Mythologies of Cosmogony and Parturition”and further described by Marie Louise von Franz in ”Creation Myths”  and David Leeming in…most of his work  portrays the creator deity a celestial craftsman, whose role is akin to that of an architect, carpenter, or smith in the act of world-building. Von Franz concisely describes this idea as “the technical term which characterizes God as the craftsman or artisan, who as an architect, carpenter, or smith creates the world on the analogy of some skill or craft” (133).

Table of Contents

Key Concepts

At its core, the Deus Faber model emphasizes the deliberate and purposeful nature of divine creation. As von Franz notes, it underscores the notion that creation is not an accident but a carefully orchestrated endeavor, suggesting that the universe is meticulously planned and executed with a specific goal in mind. This is the opposite of the idea of creation as a random occurrence that we see in some other models and instead posits it as a meaningful and directed process.As von Franz states, “creation has come about for a purpose, for some specific goal to be achieved, just as man has invented machines to achieve some specific goal” (138).

Creator’s Agency

Moreover, the Deus Faber model highlights the agency of the creator deity. By portraying the creator as a craftsman, it underscores not only the power but also the creativity and ingenuity inherent in the act of creation. This depiction of divine agency is in contrast to conceptions of a distant and aloof deity, for example, in the earth-diver model that has the creator-deity as a remote figure not directly involved, presenting instead a vision of the creator intimately involved in the process, actively shaping and molding the world.

An Example from Egyptian Mythology

A good example of this is the god Ptah from Egyptian mythology. It should be noted that Egyptian mythology is far from being a cohesive whole and several creation stories exist.One I’ve seen presents Ptah (who is the god of, among other things, craft) as being responsible for crafting the other gods, the world, etc). Another says that, rather than crafting them, he spoke creation into existence. Which we could argue is could still be considered Deus Faber since it’s an intentional act with a planned outcome. 

Furthermore, the Deus Faber model offers insights into the relationship between creator and creation. Just as a skilled artisan invests themselves in their work, pouring their knowledge, skill, and passion into every creation, so too does the divine craftsman infuse a bit of themselves into their creation. Again, Egyptian mythology is a great example. The Shabaka Stone, a stone from 700(ish) BCE inscribed with an ancient Egyptian religious text, shows an example of how Ptah was understood, in one branch of the theology at least    

Thus heart and tongue rule over all the limbs in accordance with the teaching that it (the heart, or: he, Ptah) is in every body and it (the tongue, or: he Ptah) is in every mouth of all gods, all men, all cattle, all creeping things, whatever lives, thinking whatever it (or:he) wishes and commanding whatever it (or:he) wishes.

Conclusion

In this model, the creator and the creator are linked, perhaps only loosely, but they are related. This relational aspect of creation underscores the interconnectedness of all things, suggesting that the universe is not a collection of disjointed elements but rather a cohesive and harmonious whole, bound together by the hand of a creator. Through this lens, creation is not simply an accident or a random occurrence but a purposeful and deliberate act, guided by skill, creativity, and divine wisdom.

Works Cited

http://attalus.org/egypt/shabaka_stone.html

von Franz, Marie Lousie(2001). Creation Myths. Shambhala

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