Genesis and Enuma Elish
Genesis and 1 and 2 obviously are not the only early accounts of the creation of the world and of mankind. All people have wondered at where they came from. In this post I look at Enuma Elish – another early creation account and then look at similarities and differences between this account and that of Genesis.
Enuma Elish (This can be read http://king-of-heroes.co.uk/enuma-elish/)
This is an old Akkadian (an extinct language from ancient Mesopotamia) tale. According to this account at the beginning there was nothing but raging dark waters that were the personification of two deities: Apsu and Tiamat. They in turn produced other deities, each with a role connected with the universe. Then there is a big fight and the original two gods are killed and Marduk becomes the new leader of the gods. He creates the heavens and earth from the corpse of Tiamet and creates man. The other gods pay him homage by proclaiming 50 of his names. Men are also meant to do this.
There are some similarities with the Genesis account. There are dark waters at the beginning and there are many references to “the heavens and the earth”. Also similar to 7 days in Genesis there are 7 tablets on which the tale is told, with 7 different acts so to speak. The idea of a dome is similar.
The first major difference is the number of gods: one vs lots. Also the leader of the gods according to Enuma Elish is the grandson of the original gods. So he is created, not uncreated. The gods in the tale are quite malevolent having lots of quarrels and also seek revenge. The heavens and the earth are made from a god – Tiamet – whereas in Genesis God creates the heavens and the earth out of nothing. Also in Genesis man is made in God’s image – something that does not come across in the Akkadian tale. In the Enuma Elish men are created to be slaves to serve the God’s, there is no sense of dignity. Also the gods struggle in creating the world, whereas in Genesis God just speaks “and it was so”.
Drane, John Introducing the Old Testament