Chaos (Ancient Greek: χάος, khaos) refers to the void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, or to the initial "gap" created by the original separation of heaven and earth.
Greek χάος means "emptiness, vast void, chasm, abyss", from the verb χαίνω, "gape, be wide open, etc.", from Proto-Indo-European *ǵheh2n-, cognate to Old English geanian, "to gape", whence English yawn.
It may also mean space, the expanse of air, the nether abyss or infinite darkness. Pherecydes of Syros (fl. 6th century BC) interprets chaos as water, like something formless which can be differentiated.
Hesiod and the Pre-Socratics use the Greek term in the context of cosmogony. Hesiod's chaos has been interpreted as either "the gaping void above the Earth created when Earth and Sky are separated from their primordial unity" or "the gaping space below the Earth on which Earth rests".
In Hesiod's Theogony, Chaos was the first thing to exist: "at first Chaos came to be" (or was) but next (possibly out of Chaos) came Gaia, Tartarus and Eros (elsewhere the son of Aphrodite). Unambiguously "born" from Chaos were Erebus and Nyx. For Hesiod, Chaos, like Tartarus, though personified enough to have borne children, was also a place, far away, underground and "gloomy", beyond which lived the Titans. And, like the earth, the ocean, and the upper air, it was also capable of being affected by Zeus' thunderbolts.
Passages in Hesiod's Theogony suggest that Chaos was located below Earth but above Tartarus. Primal Chaos was sometimes said to be the true foundation of reality, particularly by philosophers such as Heraclitus.
The notion of the temporal infinity was familiar to the Greek mind from remote antiquity in the religious conception of immortality. This idea of the divine as an origin influenced the first Greek philosophers. The main object of the first efforts to explain the world remained the description of its growth, from a beginning. They believed that the world arose out from a primal unity, and that this substance was the permanent base of all its being. Anaximander claims that the origin is apeiron (the unlimited), a divine and perpetual substance less definite than the common elements. Everything is generated from apeiron, and must return there according to necessity. A conception of the nature of the world was that the earth below its surface stretches down indefinitely and has its roots on or above Tartarus, the lower part of the underworld. In a phrase of Xenophanes, "The upper limit of the earth borders on air, near our feet. The lower limit reaches down to the "apeiron" (i.e. the unlimited)." The sources and limits of the earth, the sea, the sky, Tartarus, and all things are located in a great windy-gap, which seems to be infinite, and is a later specification of "chaos".
At the beginning there was only Chaos, Night, dark Erebus, and deep Tartarus. Earth, the air and heaven had no existence. Firstly, blackwinged Night laid a germless egg in the bosom of the infinite deeps of Erebus, and from this, after the revolution of long ages, sprang the graceful Eros with his glittering golden wings, swift as the whirlwinds of the tempest. He mated in deep Tartarus with dark Chaos, winged like himself, and thus hatched forth our race, which was the first to see the light. That of the Immortals did not exist until Eros had brought together all the ingredients of the world, and from their marriage Heaven, Ocean, Earth and the imperishable race of blessed gods sprang into being. Thus our origin is very much older than that of the dwellers in Olympus. We [birds] are the offspring of Eros; there are a thousand proofs to show it. We have wings and we lend assistance to lovers. How many handsome youths, who had sworn to remain insensible, have opened their thighs because of our power and have yielded themselves to their lovers when almost at the end of their youth, being led away by the gift of a quail, a waterfowl, a goose, or a cock.
According to Hyginus: "From Mist (Caligine) came Chaos. From Chaos and Mist, came Night (Nox), Day (Dies), Darkness (Erebus), and Ether (Aether)." An Orphic tradition apparently had Chaos as the son of Chronus and Ananke.
The motif of Chaoskampf (German: [ˈkaːɔsˌkampf], "struggle against chaos") is ubiquitous in myth and legend, depicting a battle of a culture hero deity with a chaos monster, often in the shape of a serpent or dragon. The same term has also been extended to parallel concepts in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the abstract conflict of ideas in the Egyptian duality of Maat and Isfet or the battle of Horus and Set.
The origins of the Chaoskampf myth most likely lie in the Proto-Indo-European religion whose descendants almost all feature some variation of the story of a storm god fighting a sea serpent representing the clash between the forces of order and chaos. Early work by German academics such as Gunkel and Bousset in comparative mythology popularized translating the mythological sea serpent as a "dragon." Examples of this myth include:
Chaos has been linked with the term abyss/tohu wa-bohu of Genesis 1:2. The term may refer to a state of non-being prior to creation or to a formless state. In the Book of Genesis, the spirit of God is moving upon the face of the waters, displacing the earlier state of the universe which is likened to a "watery chaos" upon which there is choshek (which translated from the Hebrew is darkness/confusion).
The Septuagint makes no use of χάος in the context of creation, instead using the term for גיא, "cleft, gorge, chasm", in Micah 1:6 and Zacharia 14:4. The Vulgate, however, renders the χάσμα μέγα or "great gulf" between heaven and hell in Luke 16:26 as chaos magnum.
In modern biblical studies, the term chaos is commonly used in the context of the Torah and their cognate narratives in Ancient Near Eastern mythology more generally. Parallels between the Hebrew Genesis and the Babylonian Enuma Elish were established by Hermann Gunkel in 1910. Besides Genesis, other books of the Old Testament, especially a number of Psalms, some passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah and the Book of Job are relevant.
The Greco-Roman tradition of Prima Materia, notably including the 5th and 6th century Orphic cosmogony, was merged with biblical notions (Tehom) in Christianity and inherited by alchemy and Renaissance magic.
The cosmic egg of Orphism was taken as the raw material for the alchemical magnum opus in early Greek alchemy. The first stage of the process of producing the philosopher's stone, i.e., nigredo, was identified with chaos. Because of association with the Genesis creation narrative, where "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2), Chaos was further identified with the classical element of Water.
Ramon Llull (1232–1315) wrote a Liber Chaos, in which he identifies Chaos as the primal form or matter created by God. Swiss alchemist Paracelsus (1493–1541) uses chaos synonymously with "classical element" (because the primeval chaos is imagined as a formless congestion of all elements). Paracelsus thus identifies Earth as "the chaos of the gnomi", i.e., the element of the gnomes, through which these spirits move unobstructed as fish do through water, or birds through air. An alchemical treatise by Heinrich Khunrath, printed in Frankfurt in 1708, was entitled Chaos. The 1708 introduction to the treatise states that the treatise was written in 1597 in Magdeburg, in the author's 23rd year of practicing alchemy. The treatise purports to quote Paracelsus on the point that "The light of the soul, by the will of the Triune God, made all earthly things appear from the primal Chaos." Martin Ruland the Younger, in his 1612 Lexicon Alchemiae, states, "A crude mixture of matter or another name for Materia Prima is Chaos, as it is in the Beginning."
The term gas in chemistry was coined by Dutch chemist Jan Baptist van Helmont in the 17th century directly based on the Paracelsian notion of chaos. The g in gas is due to the Dutch pronunciation of this letter as a spirant, also employed to pronounce Greek χ.
The term chaos has been adopted in modern comparative mythology and religious studies as referring to the primordial state before creation, strictly combining two separate notions of primordial waters or a primordial darkness from which a new order emerges and a primordial state as a merging of opposites, such as heaven and earth, which must be separated by a creator deity in an act of cosmogony. In both cases, chaos referring to a notion of a primordial state contains the cosmos in potentia but needs to be formed by a demiurge before the world can begin its existence.
Use of chaos in the derived sense of "complete disorder or confusion" first appears in Elizabethan Early Modern English, originally implying satirical exaggeration. "Chaos" in the well-defined sense of chaotic complex system is in turn derived from this usage.
In religion, an abyss is a bottomless pit, or also a chasm that may lead to the underworld or hell.
In the Septuagint, or Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the word represents both the original unfinished creation (Genesis 1:2) and the Hebrew tehom ("a surging water-deep"), which is used also in apocalyptic and kabbalistic literature and in the New Testament for hell; the place of punishment; in the Revised version of the Bible "abyss" is generally used for this idea. Primarily in the Septuagint cosmography the word is applied both to the waters under the earth which originally covered it, and from which the springs and rivers are supplied and to the waters of the firmament which were regarded as closely connected with those below.
In Psalm 42 verse 7, "Deep calls to deep" (referring to the waters) renders the Latin "Abyssus abyssum invocat", developing the theme of the longing of the soul for God. Cassiodorus relates this passage to the mutual witness of the two Testaments, the Old Testament foretelling the New, and the New Testament fulfilling the Old.A discussion of the Biblical Abyss, as the Tehom-Rabba, and its relation to the Deluge formed part of the Sacred Theory of Thomas Burnet.In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus there is an abyss between the righteous dead and the wicked dead in Sheol.In the Book of Revelation, Abaddon is called "the angel of the abyss".Cosmic ocean
A cosmic ocean or celestial river is a mythological motif found in the mythology of many cultures and civilizations, representing the world or cosmos as enveloped by primordial waters.
In creation myths, the primordial waters are often represented as originally having filled the entire universe, being the first source of the gods cosmos with the act of creation corresponding to the establishment of an inhabitable space separate from the enveloping waters.Frāxkard (Middle Persian: plʾhwklt, Avestan: Vourukaša; also called Warkaš in Middle Persian) is the name of the cosmic ocean.In the first creation story in the Bible, there is only earth and water in a disorganized state: "Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters." (...). (Genesis 1:2.) The world is also created as a space inside of the water, and is hence surrounded of it, "And God saith, `Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' " (Genesis 1:6).Cosmological argument
In natural theology and philosophy, a cosmological argument is an argument in which the existence of a unique being, generally seen as some kind of god, is deduced or inferred from facts or alleged facts concerning causation, change, motion, contingency, or finitude in respect of the universe as a whole or processes within it. It is traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, or the causal argument, and is more precisely a cosmogonical argument (about the origin). Whichever term is employed, there are three basic variants of the argument, each with subtle yet important distinctions: the arguments from in causa (causality), in esse (essentiality), and in fieri (becoming).
The basic premises of all of these are the concept of causality. The conclusion of these arguments is first cause, subsequently deemed to be God. The history of this argument goes back to Aristotle or earlier, was developed in Neoplatonism and early Christianity and later in medieval Islamic theology during the 9th to 12th centuries, and re-introduced to medieval Christian theology in the 13th century by Thomas Aquinas. The cosmological argument is closely related to the principle of sufficient reason as addressed by Gottfried Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, itself a modern exposition of the claim that "nothing comes from nothing" attributed to Parmenides.
Contemporary defenders of cosmological arguments include William Lane Craig, Robert Koons, Alexander Pruss, and William L. Rowe.Formlessness
Formlessness may refer to:
The lack of form
Chaos (cosmogony), the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe in the Greek creation myths
Trailokya, world of formlessness, a noncorporeal realm populated with four heavens, possible rebirth destination for practitioners of the four formlessness stages
Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness) in Borobudur
Tohu wa-bohu (redirect from Formless and void), Genesis before creation
Formless, book by Rosalind E. Krauss
Formless, the 2nd album from progressive metal band Aghora, released in December, 2006
Formlessness, album by The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to DieHundun
Hundun (Chinese: 混沌; pinyin: Hùndùn; Wade–Giles: Hun-tun; literally: 'muddled confusion') is both a "legendary faceless being" in Chinese mythology and the "primordial and central chaos" in Chinese cosmogony, comparable with the World egg.The Void (philosophy)
The Void is the philosophical concept of nothingness manifested. The notion of the Void is relevant to several realms of metaphysics. The Void is also prevalent in numerous facets of psychology, notably logotherapy.The manifestation of nothingness is closely associated with the contemplation of emptiness, and with human attempts to identify and personify it. As such, the concept of the Void, and ideas similar to it, have a significant and historically evolving presence in artistic and creative expression, as well as in academic, scientific and philosophical debate surrounding the nature of the human condition.
In this sense, knowledge or experience of the Void could be said to actually be unknowing, given its inherent ineffability. In Western mystical traditions, it was often argued that the transcendent 'Ground of Being' could therefore be approached through aphairesis, a form of negation.Tohu wa-bohu
Tohu wa-bohu (תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ), is a Biblical Hebrew phrase found in the Genesis creation narrative (Genesis 1:2) that describes the condition of the earth (eretz)
immediately before the creation of light in Genesis 1:3.
Numerous interpretations of this phrase are made by various theological sources.
The KJV translation of the phrase is "without form, and void", corresponding to LXX
ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος, "unseen and unformed".
Ancient Greek deities by affiliation