I consider Genesis to be more than a creation myth, but find no harm in examining it as only a creation myth for purpose of discussion and understanding. An interesting parallel exists between the story of Prometheus and Genesis. Pandora is told not to open the box, a similar story to the forbidding of the eating of the fruit of a single tree in Eden. The fruit is eaten, the box opened, and all the evil of the world results. The other characters in Pandora’s story are Prometheus and Epimetheus – forethought and afterthought. Which are the two things necessary for the knowledge of good and evil. Think about it. Unless one can imagine events being different than they are, one cannot know good and evil, cannot know choice. Animals at higher levels can know conflict, whether to obey the command or eat the food, but can only react to the stronger stimulus. Only when one can imagine how things might be otherwise can there be moral choices.
There are lots of similarities of creation myths worldwide – people being formed out of clay, an original god forming land, sky, and water out of chaos. Floods, eggs, and light figure prominently. Lots of them have gods or animals mating to create the various aspects of the world. Multiple gods and goddesses come onto the scene shortly after. Those are interesting in that they all seem to preserve some greatly similar original story of our origins, but that’s not what I am interested in here. The most philosophically sophisticated in terms of how good and evil came into the world boil down to two, the Greek and the Hebrew, and they are similar.
If you add in the bit about Prometheus, after stealing the fire, symbol of intelligence, being chained to a rock and having his liver torn out every day, there is an additional similarity. The liver was thought to be the seat of contentment – not very far from the idea of being cast out of the garden and having to work by the sweat of the brow thereafter. There’s a beginning of philosophy here, not just a story about how objects came into being. I recently heard a pastor say he could make almost a whole career out of preaching from the first three chapters of Genesis.