Introduction: Creation (02:02)
At his home in Mississippi, Morgan Freeman says that to understand him, you must understand where he was created. He will explore religious creation stories to understand humankind and if science can co-exist with religion.
Searching for Beginnings (04:42)
Morgan Freeman visits Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is connected to both Adam and Jesus, to find origins of religion. Professor Jodi Magness says that in Jewish belief, the Temple Mount is where God lives, connecting it directly to Eden. She explains that Adam in Hebrew means “man” and variations on his name refer to blood and land.
First Farmers (06:26)
Freeman wonders if the story of Adam and Eve could be a metaphor for the beginnings of agriculture. He visits archaeologist Amy Bogaard in Çatalhöyük, one of the first farming settlements where people ritually buried their ancestors. He asks of religion allowed humans to live together or if civilization gave rise to belief in God.
Place of Ritual (03:37)
The Stone Age site of Göbekli Tepe has circles of T-shaped pillars carved with animal and human forms. It is speculated that as hunter/gatherer communities grew larger, religious rituals developed here to minimize conflicts, giving rise to civilization.
Science and Religion (05:20)
Freeman ponders the similarities between Genesis and the big bang theory. Visiting Cairo, he concludes that the Islamic concept of creation, along with many creation myths, is consistent with science.
Aboriginal Myth and Science (04:30)
Warren Williams tells Freeman an aboriginal creation myth of a baby falling to Earth, creating a crater. Cultural astronomer Duane Hamacher says that evidence of a meteor landing on Earth gives validity to the myth.
Catholic View of Science (04:39)
Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo says that the Bible is not a scientific, but a theological idea of creation. The Catholic Church no longer sees Genesis as a literal description of creation. Giuseppe Tanzella-Niti says that the biblical idea of creation is compatible with the big bang theory, and that it is an everlasting act.
Creation as a Continuum (06:52)
Freeman says the idea that creation is ongoing is not new. In Guatemala, Richard Hansen has found a carving depicting the Mayan creation myth. The story involves death and rebirth tied to corn, a crop the Mayans depended on every year.
Mayan Cosmology (03:21)
Mayan architecture focused on creation. In Tikal, the arrangement of temples echoed a triangle of stars in the constellation Orion representing a hearth. Even though the Mayan civilization collapsed, Mayan people still do rituals that connect them with their creation myths.
Hindu Cosmology (03:55)
For Hinduism, the Ganges River is a manifestation of the goddess Ganga. Binda Paranjape tells her creation myth, which identifies her with the Milky Way. Hindus believe in cycles of creation, not in a single moment of it.
Gratitude for Being (04:38)
Hindu philosophy is not to understand the riddle of creation, but to give thanks for being here, which is celebrated at the aarti, a nightly ritual that has been happening for centuries. Freeman says that the Hindu creation story is beyond intellect and comprehension, which appeals to him.
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