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From the beginning of time, many societies have come up with different creation stories that try to explain the mystery of their origin. In the text of Babylonians, Enuma Elish and the book of Genesis that originated from similar part of the world, one sees that there are similarities and differences in the stories of creation of man. This paper compares and contrasts this two creation stories that are, Genesis and Enuma Elish creation stories. Before pointing out the similarities and differences, the paper first gives a brief summary of both creation stories.
In the Enuma Elish creation story, it is arranged in seven tablets. In the first tablet, there is the presentation of the primitive scene. Here, Apsu, the fresh water god, and Tiamat, sea goddess gives birth to Kishar and Anshar. These are the gods that represented the horizon that forms the boundary between the sky and earth. Kishar and Anshar give birth to Anu, god of the sky who later bore Ea, the goddess that represented the earth. This family of gods was ill-behave, and Apsu decided to slay them. Unfortunately, Ea kills Apsu first and builds her abode on his body. Ea gives birth to Marduk, god of the city of Babylon. Tiamat revenges her slain husband Apsu by remarrying to Kingu and takes him to place where Apsu was slain.
In the second tablet, it shows how Tiamat reveals his chaos and evil. She is challenged first by Ea, but she fails. Later Anu challenges Tiamat and he also fails to do so. In the third tablet, they choose Marduk to fight Tiamat. He is chosen since he had the ability to recreate destroyed garment. They give him great authoritative word and power in order to face Tiamat. He succeeds by slaying Tiamat’s body into two. He uses one half to form the sky and the other to form the earth. The fifth tablet shows how Marduk puts the celestial luminaries in the sky, which establish days, months and years.
The sixth tablet explains how Kingu, Tiamat’s husband, is slain, and his blood is used to form mankind. They are later assigned the duty to perform tedious tasks for the other gods. The seventh tablet, which is also the last tablet, describes the elevation of Marduk to Babylonian pantheon and chief of Babylon. This was because of his great role in the creation. Lastly, the Babylonian gods rest and celebrate.
In the genesis creation found in the bible, on the other hand, begins with the words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). It says that at first the earth was formless, dark and empty. The spirit of God moved over the waters in order to prepare the act of creation by use of mouth. God began to speak into existence of creation. This creation story followed day by day.
On day one, God separated the light from darkness. He called the light, day and the darkness, night. On the second day, he separated waters calling it sky. On the third day, God separated dry ground from the gathered waters. He called the dry ground land and gathered waters seas. He also created vegetation. On day four, he created moon, stars and sun, which gave light to the earth in order to separate and govern the day and night. These also marked days, years and seasons.
On day five, god created all sea creatures and birds of the air and blessed them to multiply and fill the sky and waters. On the sixth day, he created animals. He also created man, Adam, and woman, Eve in his own image so that they would be able to communicate with him. He also blessed them and gave them the authority to rule the other creatures, take care of them and use them. They were to use the land for their cultivation. On the seventh day, god finished work of creation, and he rested. He blessed this day and made it holy.
In the differences of this two creation stories, Enuma Elish story contains many gods who are created the earth and mankind. Tiamat and Apsu are the original gods who then give birth to other gods. The story shows the interaction among the gods and how their drama in the struggle to gain power. Here, the world is created by god’s decisions and actions. Genesis, on the other hand, had one God who created the world without power struggles. He decides to create in six days and rests the seventh. He creates all creatures for the benefit of man.
In genesis creation story, God used the word of mouth to create. For instance, in Genesis 1:14, God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so” (Genesis 1:14). In Enuma Elish creation story, the gods used their hands to create. For instance, Marduk uses Tiamat’s body that was slain into two. He uses one half to form the sky and the other to form the earth. The fifth tablet shows how Marduk puts the celestial luminaries in the sky.
In genesis, creatures are created in days whereby God created in six days and rested on the seventh day. Enuma Elish accounts those gods were created following tablets one to seven. The genesis book explains how god created creatures in each day and later rested. On the other hand, Enuma Elish creation uses tablets in showing how the family of gods came in to being. They do not create just man and woman like in genesis, but creates whole mankind who did the tedious tasks for the gods. This is seen when Marduk says, “Blood I will mass and cause bones to be. I will establish a savage; ‘Man’ shall be his name. Verily, savage-man I will create. He shall be charged with the service of the gods. That they, the gods, might be at ease” (Paul 94). The tablets also describe the drama among the gods in the struggle for power as well as the death of other gods who betrayed them.
In Enuma Elish, there is no mention of Sabbath day when the gods completed their creation process. When they completed their creation, they made man their slave in order for them to rest and celebrate. This is because man is ordered to do the tedious task for the gods. Genesis, on the other hand, god created everything contained in the earth first and then created man and woman in his own image in the sixth day. He says in chapter one of genesis in verse 26, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness ...” (Genesis 1:26). He then placed them on earth in order to rule all the other creatures. He is to use for their benefit. Here, man has been provided all her needs in order to sustain him, unlike in Enuma Elish creation story where man is a slave. He also appreciates his work when he says, "It was very good." God then rests and makes the day of rest holy by blessing it. This day is also referred to as Sabbath day.
Under the similarities, in both the Enuma Elish and Genesis creation story, there were Supreme Beings. In Genesis, the single God was the Supreme Being who carried out the creation of all that existed on earth. In Genesis 1:1 to 2:3, God is seen creating heaven and earth, sea and air creatures, animals and finally man and woman. On the other hand, Enuma Elish also had supreme beings who were the gods and goddesses. These gods were Apsu, Tiamat, Anu, Kishar, Anshar, Ea and Marduk. These were the gods who were the creator of the mankind, celestial luminaries that governed and separated day and night.
In addition, in both creation stories, there is the creation of human beings, although their purpose of creation differs in these two creation stories. In Enuma Elish creation story, human beings are created from Kingu’s blood. This was after he was slain by Marduk who had the power to remake destroyed garment. Here, human beings are slaves of the gods; therefore, have no authority over the earth. Their purpose was to make the gods rest and celebrate after the creation process. In genesis, man and woman are created on the sixth day before God rested. They are made out of dust of the earth. They are to procreate and fill the earth. They also have the authority to rule the other creation and take care of them. They are also created in God’s image, so they can communicate with him.
In conclusion, it is apparent that Enuma Elish and genesis creation stories have both similarities and differences. This is seen in the act of creation that was performed by the gods. With the similarities and differences, one is able to see how many societies came up with different creation stories that try to explain the mystery of their origin.