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Don Stewart :: Is the Genesis Creation Account Similar to Other Ancient Accounts?

Don Stewart
During the time of Moses, there were other traditions about the creation of the world which contained similar elements to the biblical account. Some see a parallel between the Genesis account of creation and these other accounts.

Babylonian Creation Story (The Enuma Elish)

One creation story that is often compared to Genesis is the Babylonian creation account called the Enuma Elish (meaning, when on high). The story of the Enuma Elish is found upon seven clay tablets.

Tablet One

The first tablet describes an age when the only thing that existed was uncreated world matter. The matter was personified by a male and female being - Apsu and Tiamat. Apsu, the male, represented the fresh water ocean while the female Tiamat, represented the salt water ocean. Their union produced other gods.

The gods Fight

Tablets two and three explain how Apsu became upset with his offspring and decided to kill them. His plans were discovered by the great god Ea who killed Apsu. Ea then had a son, Marduk, who became the main hero of the story.

Rise Of Marduk

The fourth tablet gives an account of Marduk's rise to supremacy over the other gods of Babylon. At the same time Tiamat was planning to avenge her husband's death by naming the god Kingu as her new commander. Marduk eventually killed Tiamat and divided her body in half; one half was used to create the sky while the other half was used to form the earth.

How Man Was Created

The fifth tablet describes how Marduk appointed the days and months of the Babylonian calendar. The sixth tablet relates how Kingu was executed for Tiamat's rebellion. It is from Kingu's blood that the god Ea created man. The purpose of man's creation was to serve the gods. The last tablet tells how Marduk became the chief god of Babylon.

Many Differences

As is obvious, there are many differences between the Genesis account of creation and the Enuma Elish. First of all the Enuma Elish is a political document, it is not primarily an account of creation but rather a hymn of praise to Marduk, Babylon's patron deity. It was written to advance the cause of Babylon by portraying Marduk as being preeminent among the gods. Creation is incidental to the account. This is in contrast to the Genesis record where the main emphasis is on the creation and the preparation of the earth.

No Parallel

To show how far some people will go, some biblical critics see a parallel between the seven tablets of the Enuma Elish and the seven days of creation in Genesis. But tablets two and three of the Enuma Elish have nothing to do with the original creation. There is no chronology of days in the Enuma Elish.

Polytheistic

Another obvious difference between the two accounts is that the Enuma Elish is polytheistic, it argues that many gods exist. Marduk, the chief deity, is brought into existence by means of another god. This is in direct contradiction to what the Bible has to say.

God Is The Source

In the Genesis account of creation, God is the ultimate source of power. The Enuma Elish teaches that magical incantations are the ultimate source of power (Tablet III. line 101).

God Not Subject To Creation

The Bible teaches that God is above His creation, He is not subject to anyone or anything. The Enuma Elish teaches that the gods are subject to nature (Tablet IV. 1-26, 91).

Image Of God

The Bible teaches that human beings were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) Adam, the first man, was created from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). The crude Enuma Elish had man created from the blood of Kingu, a murdered hero (Tablet VI. line 33).

Man To Have Dominion

The biblical account of creation records that man was made to have dominion over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:28). Human beings were created to know God and to have a relationship with Him. The Enuma Elish teaches that humanity was created to work for the gods in order that the gods did not have to work as hard (Tablet VI. line 8,34).

Matter Not Eternal

The Enuma Elish teaches the eternity of matter. Creation was accomplished through already existent material (Tablet IV. line 137-140; Tablet VI. 33) while the Bible teaches that only God is eternal and that He created the universe out of nothing (Genesis 1:3, Hebrews 11:3).

Vast Difference

Hence, anyone who compares the biblical account of creation as recorded in the Book of Genesis and the Enuma Elish will see they are vastly different. There is no comparison between the Genesis creation account and the polytheistic account found in the Enuma Elish.



CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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