Article by Emma Bowles
Artwork Indira Falle
I look down on you as you launch yourselves into my skies, wondering how you forgot me, why you say the truth of the Olympians is all legend?
My name is Zeus, God of thunder and the skies. For sixty six million years I have ruled over this universe alongside my siblings and fellow Olympians. We have seen great empires rise and fall, we have morphed the lands and seas, and we have watched generations of humans try to explain their purpose and existence. I have no doubt that we will continue to watch you create and destroy but maybe once you have read this your creations will be for a better future.
There is only one logical place to start. The beginning. At first there was Chaos and from him erupted Night, Erebus and Love; this was what you now call ‘the big bang’ and, as you correctly estimated, took place about 13.8 billion years ago. Love then created Light and Day, and from Light came Gaea, the Earth. Gaea made Uranus, the sky, and they had several children 3.8 billion years ago, creating life on earth.
It is possible that you know the rest of this story; Cronus, the son of Gaea and Uranus, overthrew his parents and the reign of the Titans began. I then overthrew Cronos, my father, and the Age of the Olympians started. But this is more than just a story, it’s the truth. When I defeated my father and banished him to Tartarus, I also had to get rid of the monstrosities he had roaming your Earth: dinosaurs. I plucked a meteorite from my skies and hurled it towards the Earth at 10,000 miles per hour; you can ask Google if you want to, but this happened sixty six million years ago and I was there.
Your existence started when I asked Prometheus and Epimetheus to repopulate the planet with living creatures. By the time Prometheus moulded you from the clay I gave him, Epimetheus had given away all of the good abilities and qualities. So, Prometheus made you stand upright like us and he stole fire to give to you, two million years ago. He was punished for this as we Olympians thought it was a mistake to give you such a powerful tool; just look where it got you.
We have watched your civilisations grow. Only two thousand years ago you were worshipping us, sacrificing animals and asking us to bless your crops and families. Today you would be laughed at if you worshipped us publicly; we are nothing but bedtime stories for your children. But why are we no longer a plausible explanation? Why have you turned to new religions?
Most of your creation stories start in the same way. There was nothing, and then light. Which is similar to The Big Bang. Then the earth and skies are created, then plants and animals. And then humans.
You are the Gods’ finest creations and you are marching towards the death of your planet. When Prometheus gave you fire and Athena breathed life into you, we knew you would be different to other species. But we never meant for you to destroy them. The destruction of Earth has gone too far for us to do anything about it; it’s up to you. Global warming, racism, deforestation and so many more are all things that are killing your planet; you have sat back and watched for too long as the planet, animals and other people are treated as if they are yours to abuse.
Maybe the Earth is yours to abuse, but for how long? How long can the Earth keep heating up before it is irreversible and you cause your own extinction? How long until there is another uprising, not against the Gods but against each other?
It doesn’t really matter if you believe me or not. I created you and you have forgotten me, but I have not forgotten you. You are aware of what is going on around you and you know that some things need to stop. It doesn’t matter what story you believe to explain how you are here but you know that this planet is dying and it is the only one you have.
I am writing this to you to say that there is still a chance. Maybe the reason that the creation myths and the scientific theories are so similar is because the truth is a mixture of them all. But it shouldn’t matter. For all of your existence you have had a fixation with the past that I have never understood, asking ‘how did you get here?’ and ‘why are you here?’ But these aren’t the questions you should be asking. It is true that you can learn from the past but it shouldn’t be your focus. Creation myths and theories are, to you, exactly that - just myths and theories; it is likely you will never know the universe’s definite origin or even humanity’s origin. This is why you have to look to your future. You should ask yourselves ‘where are you going?’, ‘how will you get there?’ and ‘how can you escape the mess you have put yourselves in?’ Because you are the only ones with the real power to do anything to save yourselves.