A comparison of creation of universe in genesis and in the story of the enuma elish

Upon careful examination and analysis it is not unusual to discover commonalities and irregularities in the given subject matter. This assertion can be used to asses the similarities and differences between the creation stories in the Enuma Elish and Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Comparing the Babylonian and Hebrew creation stories one gets the impression that the portrayal of the deities influences societal expectations.

A comparison of creation of universe in genesis and in the story of the enuma elish

September 14, at 8: To ask this question, we do not need to decide in advance whether the authors of Genesis deliberately produced a counter-narrative that took Enuma Elish as its negative foil or Vorlage.

The story about the tower of Babel alone indicates that those authors served a community impressed by, as well as skeptical of, Babylonian achievements.

How did they do it? What is it in the language of Genesis that achieves these results? These results could not have been achieved had the authors of Genesis been entirely ignorant or completely silent on Babylonian matters.

Only by responding in their own idiom to the ancient and well-known Akkadian creation myth and, in the flood story, also to elements of Gilgamesh, were they able to create a story of creation that was to substitute for that of their more powerful Babylonian hosts.

In the long term, the creation of Genesis rather than the ancient Akkadian epic served as the touchstone of civilizations that inherited the Bible and disseminated it across the globe.

Gensis & Babylonian Creation Myths Compared

The ancient myths that prompted the authors of Genesis to write as they did never vanished completely. One might even say that it was Genesis itself, with its subtle allusions to alternate ways of conceiving of the beginning, which prepared the ground for the eventual retrieval of its intertextual other.

Just as we now know, thanks to the archaeological and epigraphic retrieval of Ancient Near Eastern texts and traditions, that Genesis did not appear in splendid isolation but was shaped out of its preconditions and from within particular contexts, we can also observe that Genesis did not act in splendid isolation when it advanced to the status of the foundational story of other communities, even nations and empires, who read those ancient Israelite and Judahite texts in new situations and with new eyes, for they also read these texts with their old eyes.

It seems to me that these later readers of Genesis, themselves steeped in Babylonian, Egyptian, Syriac, Greek, and Roman traditions approached the text from contexts and with connotations that resembled those represented in Enuma Elish.

Theirs was a much more colorful universe than what we might imagine if we approach the Bible with the mental asceticism and puritan austerity of Calvinists.

The ancient readers were hardly iconoclasts. Theirs was a world of divine beings, messengers, powers ruling the air, and a Supreme Being ruling all. That Supreme Being, the God hidden to the eyes of men, was not residing in splendid isolation but surrounded by a court and happy in that he had a son created in his likeness who was obedient to the point of sacrificing his own happiness to please his father.

In other words, theirs was the world of Enuma Elish, or one very much like it. So let us ask ourselves that one question. What is the role of the human being in Enuma Elish and what is the role of the human being in Genesis ? When it comes to the answer to this question, the difference between these texts could not be more pronounced.

To answer briefly, while in Enuma Elish the creation of human beings is an afterthought and their purpose is to serve as an accouterment to the lifestyle of the gods, the creation of Genesis puts human beings in the place of the gods.

Genesis 1 barely conceals the existence of the divine retinue, of lesser gods and angels, but it reduces them to spectators and a silent chorus.

Option 1: Relationship Between Genesis and Enuma Elish | Anna Lei's Blog

So the difference of Genesis is not that there are no lesser gods or divine beings but that it is almost completely silent about them. This includes a barely acknowledged silence, a may-he-who-has-ears-to-hear-get-the-hint of something barely remembered, or rather well remembered but now barely alluded to, namely, the great combat myth that was indelibly linked with the reputation of Marduk, god of cities, that is meant to be ignored, though not entirely forgotten.

This, too, later readers remembered well. Not only those mindful of the vanquished saltwater chaos dragon, that monstrous goddess Tiamat slain in the beginning to save the gods and from whose carcass the habitable world was created, but others, too, who believed that YHWH Elohim slew Rahab and captured the Leviathan whose flesh will be the feast of the righteous at the end of days.

Again, the creation of Genesis contains all this but barely hints to it. Instead it trains its spotlight on the human being. All other questions are rendered irrelevant: Why and for what purpose did he fashion what he spoke into being? Did not Ea fashion Marduk after his likeness? In Enuma Elish, on the other hand, humans are created from the blood of Kingu, an evil figure, and hence their eternal enslavement to the gods is more than skin-deep.

It is a condition that cannot be shed. It is their fate to serve the gods.

A comparison of creation of universe in genesis and in the story of the enuma elish

The story that the Babylonians read and reenact every fall during the season of the New Year is about divine kingship, the kingship of Marduk and the kingship and priesthood of few, their right to rule over the many:Aug 28,  · There are many similarities between the Enuma Elish stories and the beginning of Genesis.

Of course, they both describe creation.

A comparison of creation of universe in genesis and in the story of the enuma elish

They also seem to have some parallel characters, most notably Marduk (Enuma Elish) and God (Genesis). Compare and Contrast Genesis and Enuma Elish Words Feb 26th, 4 Pages Dependent on one’s religion, different beliefs about how the world we live in was created may arise.

The Enuma Elish tells the tale of the creation of the universe, and of man himself. Often compared to the biblical creation account in Genesis, the earliest tablets date from around b.c., although scholars feel that it was an ancient oral tradition before then.

The Enuma Elish is often compared to the creation account in Genesis. Creation Myths of the ancient Mediterranean Fromm Life-Long Learning Instructor: Dr. Douglas Kenning ENUMA ELISH AN EPIC OF CREATION Enuma Elish, "when the skies above", is one of the oldest written creation myths in existence, written principally in .

View Essay - Genesis Paper from ENG at SUNY New Paltz. 2/7/14 ProfessorLink ENG Genesis and Enuma Elish. Sep 14,  · One of my favorite days in my introduction to Christianity class is the day we compare Genesis and the Enuma Elish.

The idea is not mine–I got it from my advisor at Marquette who teaches the texts in tandem.

The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of the Creation by Alexander Heidel