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World Creation Myths (PIOG by me)

Posted by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 12:07 AM
  • 1 Replies


The Bible's similarities with Egyptian, Greek and Babylonian mythology are too close to be a coincidence. The writers weren’t isolated from other cultures and they didn’t get their ideas by sitting on some mountaintop meditating with God; they borrowed ideas from their neighbor's creation myths. The technical term is called called syncretism.


To show a common scholarly awareness of the Bible’s mythological legacy, I quote from Encarta encyclopedia.

Leviathan, in the Bible, one of the names of the primeval dragon subdued by Yahweh at the outset of creation: “You crushed Leviathan’s heads, gave him as food to the wild animals” (Psalm 74:14; see also Isaiah 27:1; Job 3:8; Amos 9:3). Biblical writers also refer to the dragon as Rahab (Job 9:13; Psalm 89:10) or simply as the Abyss (Habakkuk 3:10).

The biblical references to the battle between Yahweh and Leviathan reflect the Syro-Palestinian version of a myth found throughout the ancient Near East. In this myth, creation is represented as the victory of the creator-god over a monster of chaos.

The closest parallel to the biblical versions of the story appears in the Canaanite texts from Ra’s Shamrah (14th century BC), in which Baal defeats a dragonlike monster: “You will crush Leviathan the fleeing serpent; you will consume the twisting serpent, the mighty one with seven heads.” (The wording of Isaiah 27:1 draws directly on this text.)

A more ancient version of the myth occurs in the Babylonian Creation Epic, in which the storm god Marduk defeats the sea monster Tiamat and creates the earth and sky by cleaving her corpse in two. The latter motif is reflected in a few biblical passages that extol Yahweh’s military valor: “Was it not you who split Rahab in half, who pierced the dragon through?” (Isaiah 51:9; see also Job 26:12; Psalm 74:13, 89:10).

Enuma Elish

Between 1792-1750 BCE, the empire building Hammurabi made Babylon the most important city in Mesopotamia and enthroned Marduk, Babylon’s divine patron, as head of the divine assembly of gods. Somewhere around 1100 BCE, the story of creation was compiled from Sumerian and Amorite traditions to celebrate the military and political accomplishments of the city and its rulers. The clay tablets on which the Enuma Elish stories were written on were recovered in 1849.

Israel’s creation stories are not directly copy their neighbors, but they come awfully close. The first four lines of the Amorite epic, Enuma Elish, might be too similar to be a coincidence. The God, Apsu is identified with sweet water and the goddess, Tiamet, with the sea. Their son Mummu symbolizes the mist that rises from the waters.

When above the heavens were not named
Below the earth was not called by name
Apsu, the primeval, was their progenitor
Mummi-Tiamat was the bearer of all of them…
Their waters had been gathered together
Dry ground was not formed, grass was not seen,
When the gods, not one had been fashioned,
A name was not called, destinies were not fixed,
(Then) were created the gods in their midst.

Sumerian Paradise Myth

The Sumerian Eden was located in Dilmun, modern day Bahrain. Eden contained the Tigris and Euphrates rivers associated with Sumeria. The word Eden was derived from an old Babylonian name for Mesopotamia, Gan-Eden, the garden of the Middle East. Because those great two rivers watered the rich plains between them, the word Mesopotamia means between the waters.

Enki, the Sumerian water-God and God of wisdom, impregnates Ninhursag, his half-sister. Enki desires a son, but receives a daughter. He them impregnates his daughter, who in turn gives him a daughter. Ninhursag decides to put an end to this immoral procession by sowing eight poisonous plants in the garden. Enki eats of all eight plants and becomes deathly ill. On of Enki's sick organs is the rib. Nin-ti is created to heal Enki. Nin-ti means "she who makes live." It is approximately what Eve means. Nin-ti can also be translated as "the lady of the rib." "Ti" means rib and "to make live."


The word "Adam," as the proper name for the first man can be misleading. It comes from ha-adam in Hebrew, which translates to "the man"—Hebrew has no capital letters. The word adam is extracted from adamah, meaning country, earth, ground, husband, earth, or land. This suggests the context in Genesis 3:19, when God says "you are dust, and to dust you shall return." The name represents the material from which he was made. He wasn't an actual person.

Likewise, "Eve" is translated from the Hebrew chavvaòh, for lifegiver, as in "the mother of all living." Its root, Chaya, means "serpent" in Aramaic. Eve and serpent are taken to be synonymous.

The word, Eden, has been traced to the Sumerian language, meaning fertile land. To the Hebrews who later settled in the region, the word eden came to mean "delight" or "enjoyment." In a sense, it is a garden of delight.

In sum, the words Adam and Eve describe nobody in particular, and Eden describes no place in particular. It belongs with all the pagan mythologies of its type.


by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 12:07 AM
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by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 12:24 AM


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