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Word Count: 1,348
As is the case with most ancient mythologies the Egyptians created myths to try to explain their place in the cosmos Their understanding of the cosmic order was from direct observation of nature Therefore their creation myths concern themselves with gods of nature the earth the sky the sun the moon the stars and of course the Nile river Since the Nile river with its annual floods played a critical role in this cosmic order It should come as no surprise to find water the fundamental element in the Egyptians ideas of creation For the Egyptians to watch the inundation of their land would have been like watching a earthly model of their ideas of a watery creation Allow me to explain In the beginning there was only water a chaos of churning bubbling water this the Egyptians called Nu or Nun It was out of Nu that everything began As with the Nile each year the inundation no doubt caused chaos to all creatures living on the land so this represents Nu eventually the floods would recede and out of the chaos of water would emerge a hill of dry land one at first then more On this first dry hilltop on the first day came the first sunrise So that is how the Egyptians explain the beginning of all things Not surprisingly the sun was also among the most important elements in the Egyptians lives and therefore had an important role as a creator god His names and attributes varied greatly As the rising sun his name was Khepri the great scarab beetle or Ra-Harakhte who was seen as a winged solar-disk or as the youthful sun of the eastern horizon As the sun climbed toward mid-day it was called Ra great and strong When the sun set in the west it was known as Atum the old
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