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The Canaanite Creation Story

By Benel


“Before highest heaven had its name, before the earth below was called into being, and the primeval Arapel, the cloudy darkness; and chaos, Baad, the wind which blew; they were mingling together with no limit. And Baad produced Ruach, from him Ruach emerged, and was moving over the deep.”

This is the beginning of all things according to the Canaanite creation story. The entire world was once only Arapel and Baad. Arapel is a word meaning ‘cloudy darkness’, while Baad means ‘wind’. These things were for many ages with no limit and mingling together. Darkness in Near Eastern cosmologies is not the absense of light. Darkness is a type of thick black cloud which covers all things. There is a ‘place’ or celestial treasure-room for darkness just like there is for snow and hail. The gods can release this darkness from the storerooms and it will cover the earth. But now Baad has produced Ruach, which is another type of wind. But this wind is different. It does not mix with the darkness, but instead blows it all away, revealing light.

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