For perhaps reasons which seem at first obvious, it is the creation stories which are most readily accepted as mythological when we look at the religions of the world. The obvious reasons are those around scientific discovery and the nature of explanation: that we have seen the remains of animal and human bones and know a process of slow species development and adaptation to environment has happened; in other words the basic Darwinian paradigm is the creation story which outexplains all the others.
The switch to the Darwinian paradigm does not mean that we now know for sure the truth of the processes of creation. There are gaps in knowledge and our knowledge must always be put into a perspective or theoretical system: and it is in understanding that we have a perspective that one day it may changed again. Witness in cosmology the move from Newtonian to Einsteinian physics: here the same facts were put into a new framework and a new story.
Now it is from the standpoint of our newer story that we see the quaintness, even the laughableness, of the Garden of Eden story. It is a story which has somewhat decayed in its power. We do not need to say that it is scientific nonsense; although that at one time had to be said.
By the nineteenth century the idea of facts as facts was very strong, and we all then knew what we meant by the word truth. Truth was real, sure, certain, a proper discovery, always there and out there. And all you had to do was discover truth: close the gaps in knowledge. And it was believed that truth was good, so as we moved on finding out all the facts the world would get better. Machines were all the age, and technology was based on science, and as machines were reliable therefore science was true. So we thought we had sure foundations on which to act and and that had to be what was good and moral. And surely good was stronger than evil. Victorians in particular believed in facts.
And it was in this world of facts that a disjuncture between truth and meaning took place. The Bible, instead of being accepted as a world of meaning, became an argument like as if it was scientific fact. And so as perceptions changed such stories as the Garden of Eden were defended by some people as facts. And thus it had to be said that it was wrong and untrue. But it is a story and there is meaning in it, and perhaps now when we realise that science also is about packages of meaning that we can let religious meaning come back again. Let us look at this.
And how lovely is the Chandogya Upanishad story of the cosmic egg. What a nice idea, that the earth started as an egg. You can just imagine the writers reflecting on all the parts of an egg and then seeing how aspects of the planet can relate to the egg. The egg is of course an item of birth, the simply but profoundly shaped container of the next generation. It is like the story of the garden: a dream that once the earth was like a beautiful garden and that one day it might be like a garden again. It must have been a garden, says the imagination, and the garden and the egg are such obvious creatures of the imaginative mind.
But what of Paul to the Romans and the groaning of the creation? Is this any more factual? Some would say it is. Well, I do not think so. Clearly we have again the observation that creation and in particular humanity (which is the prime part of creation) is not all right. And there is the hope that Jesus had of the rapid coming of the Kingdom of God which would end the groaning.  Paul was waiting and his followers were waiting, and of course that parousia, the return of Christ in some glorified way, never took place.
So here we have another New Testament world view, all about the active supernatural and hope of a new reality. It is a completely different way of seeing our surroundings than we have today. It might be called rubbish, and that perhaps today might be said. But again it is a mythology.
Some, like most in the Federation at which I am training, give a sense of factual content to this material. They say that it is not just a mythology but is also with a base of truth, a revelation, real guidance: that there is a real sense in which we are on a line of history that begins in the mists of the Old Testament past and shows development to a high point of Christ by which all might be judged and all might be done.
But I say what we have here is a mythology as mythological as any other. Jesus of Nazareth understood his world from his surroundings and the environment: a belief in a supernatural God who was the ruler, but because the Romans were ruling had God also to be a ruler some time in the future: something better to come. And Jesus was one of many such individualist type prophets roaming around the place, acting as a prophet, moralist and faith healer. That is what we had and from it a charismatic experience grew that institutionalised itself. It was a rolling mythology that came, adapted and changed, that - as in so much human activity - needed a hero, found a hero and raised him high and experienced him.
We will, I think, never see a Kingdom of God, because it is a myth; creation will never stop groaning and there will never be sons of God. Jesus lived in a world of the imagination but it was also a mistake of the Victorians standing at the end of the mythology of progress to believe such might be achieved. They stood at the end of the process in that they turned the mythology into facts and the facts would not hold. And, of course, the onward and upward forever ended for sure with the First World War. Now, however, we have mythology again. But what in fact do we have?
What we do not have is the old power of mythology, the power of it that was full of the supernatural, that made stories of life and turned life into a story with a happy ending. The problem is now that we have seen mythology for what it is and in so doing it is like as if we see how the magician does his tricks. The power of the old magic trick has gone.
And so as we see mythology for what it is we see the death of the old mythology. It may be difficult to comprehend but we have both rediscovered mythology and seen it die. This is the postmodern world we live in. And there has in this sense been the death of God too because God was always contained within mythologies, but the God thus revealed is not a creator, not a being beyond us but the language of self-examination and change. No longer is it onward and upward forever but mythology now simply helps our personal struggle. In other words because we have a world full of meanings and are self-conscious that all meanings just come and go: we have to make our own.
The supposed almighty power of God was a belief of the hymn we just do not have anymore: the real responsibility comes in recognising that it is we who have the almighty power, and that it is the work of myth to channel that power to become responsible. In nature, it is we who must solve the problems of the world. Of course myth will always be ironic, in that any traditional language now no longer points to what traditional society believed. And we must add new stories too based on our environment and experience. The realism of the old mythology, of all the old supernatural world we once believed we lived under, has been broken upon its own cross, a God died into humanity, giving an awesome responsibility that really is ours.
And so it is that we must try to remake myth, meaning and morals. We, now like sand, realise that our meaning and morals will come and go. But we must say welcome to the new church, the new remythology, the old mythology that has deconstructed itself, to try and give shape and direction to ourselves. The garden and the egg are stories which we must use again knowing that the hope for recreation is in our hands.
So when we sing, as we do, such hymns as the one we are about to, we do it aware that we are only expressing deconstructed myth.