Honors 101 October 3rd 2012 These Dang Creation Stories While both the Book of Genesis within the Bible and the seven tablets called the Enuma Elish (Enuma Elis) are both considered to be religious texts, their accounts for how the universe and humans came to be are both similar and contrasting. The Book of Genesis, which is believed to have been written sometime during the 13th century BCE, during the time of Moses. This book is one way of describing how the world, the universe, the plants, animals, and everything came to be through God’s mighty work in a time frame of seven days.
All aspects of life came from a single God, the “Creator of the universe, YHVH (Yahweh). Throughout the first 11 books of Genesis, the reader can imagine through imagery of how Earth was formed, as well as the first covenant and the first sin within the “Garden of Eden. ” The seven tablets called the “Enuma Elish,” are believed to have been written in the late 12th century BCE, with the author unknown. The Enuma Elish is the Babylonian account of how the Earth and the universe were created, along with the rest of the inhabitants of Earth over an unknown amount of time, through a clash with a big god and a goddess.
There is a specific way that the objects of Earth and the universe are created, which gives the tablets structure within the stories. To begin, both the Book of Genesis and the Enuma Elish are their own “religious historical” telling of how the universe was created. In the Book of Genesis, Earth and the universe are created by God (solo, no help) over a time period of seven days, with the seventh day acting as a day of rest.
In the Enuma Elish, the time period in which Earth and all the rest are created isn’t specified very well, although at the end of it, the God’s who create it all decide to have a huge celebration rather than having a day of rest. This shows how the god’s within the stories are very different than each other because the God from Genesis decides to take a rest and recover from all of his energy used as well as sanctify the Sabbath. Inversely, the gods from the Enuma Elish decide to rest, as well as celebrate and “party” for their creation has come to be.
God, from the Bible, is perceived to be a merciful and gentle, calm being, whilst the other gods from the Enuma Elish are taken to be overly excited for what they just created, for they know not what will come of their development as they haven’t taken into factor any of the sins or wrongful doings of the inhabitants. Although the Bible creation story is done through one god, versus the Enuma Elish which incorporates multiple gods into the creation of Earth, helps to split the responsibility of such a complex Earth to many gods, which is more reasonable than a singular God in the Bible creating Earth.
In the Enuma Elish, creation is accomplished through conflict and warfare with lots of noise and battle scenes. In the Genesis telling, however, we find a profound sense of peace and quiet. The opposite of warfare and conflict can be seen in the instance of God’s divine nature, “And God said…” “And it was so…” When one looks into the genre of both stories, it is quite easy to see that the Enuma Elish is clearly mythological, but Genesis is not only non-mythological, but anti-mythical.
Genesis shows that the things that mankind worships, the gods, the idols, and the symbols, are little more than the creation of the one God himself. This can sway the present-day audience one way or the other, most likely swaying them to believe that the stories shown in the Enuma Elish as fake or impossible because of the war between the gods and goddess and “splitting her like a shellfish. ” Humans now know through science that this is quite impossible to accomplish through any amount of strength, which would sway the reader to think that this story is clearly mythological.
However, in the account of Genesis, the creation of everything seems to be more plausible than not because of God’s calm sense of creating. It leads the writing away from being mythological since God does not introduce other far-staring creatures/gods such as Tiamat, as from her split body creates heaven and earth. From this, the mythological sense of the story comes about, and from there the reader can tell that the narrative is no longer true, but more a fairy tale like record of events; an easier and more entertaining way of telling the children and adults of a time when reading was a rare skill of life.
The imagery and adventure within the story were relevant at the time of its writing, but its attraction over the past 2000+ years has lost its pizazz, which is why the story of Genesis and the Bible has last, and the Enuma Elish is now considered as “dead. ” The most important aspect of these two parables is in Genesis, man is created from clay to rule over the creation and sadly, in the Enuma Elish, man is created from a god’s blood to be slaves of the gods. God in Genesis is now interpreted to be putting his own image into humans, giving them a good moral body.
In the Enuma Elish on the other hand, humans are created in the blood of Kingu, Tiamut’s second in command, where humanoids are created to sacrifice to the gods. This shows how humans are on two different pedestals between the two religions. In one, humans are seen as a creation of God to further cultivate his creation of earth, while in the other, humans are seen are a slave to the gods, as they’re simply sacrifices for the gods and everything that they stand for. Humans will look at this and think to themselves about how they would rather want to be seen as. Independent thinkers who are here on this planet to make it better and create more?
Or humans who were made from the blood of a wrongful doer and now are only seen as slaves to the gods above? The logical way of thinking would be to turn to the God who isn’t omnipresent to see you die as a slave and a sacrifice, but rather as a spiritual being who wants to view the humans and see their prosperity come about through the rightful doings of their actions and create a better planet for themselves through the works of their own self. Simply because of this, the story of Genesis has been able to outlast the sands of time, whereas the Enuma Elish has fallen and won’t be able to get back up.
After comparing the two accounts as similar and different stories, it becomes clear that if one is to base a comparison and conclusion off of the similarities alone, then some important differences are likely going to be ignored. In the Genesis telling, Moses purposefully portrays a monotheistic God who creates within the soulfulness of peace. The Enuma Elish is polytheistic and the gods operate within the realms of war, violence, and one without rest. Furthermore, Moses seems to choose his words carefully in describing God’s creation, which allows God’s ways to seem far calmer than that of the other creation story.
For example he writes that God created, “the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night,” as opposed to using “sun” (shemesh) and “moon” (sin), perhaps knowing that many may misinterpret the account as God creating lesser gods. Knowing that there are simply these differences between the two, it is easy to conclude that neither the Enuma Elish nor the Genesis account were borrowed or influenced by each other. Genesis is far different than the other Near Eastern creation myth and therefore cannot be considered close to the other.