32597 a balancing act

Some 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians of Mesopotamia left accounts of their creation myths inscribed on cuneiform tablets. The Sumerians conceived of the earth as flat and the sky as a canopy of clouds and stars. They believed earth and sky were created by two gods: An, the male sky god, and Ki, the female earth god. These two gave birth to a multitude of other gods, each with a particular power and responsibility over some aspect of the created realm (such as lightning, trees, mountains, illness, etc.). They lived in a kingly court in heaven, with An, the supreme god, surrounded by four subordinate creator gods. Below them were a council of seven gods and, finally, the 50 remaining minor gods.

The priests could interpret all physical occurrences as the result of the particular mood or whim of one of these gods. They could be placated by offerings and sacrifices. Although these deities were considered immortal, their supposed conduct was anything but divine. They were depicted as often fighting among themselves, full of petty envies and lusts and subject to hunger and even death.

A few centuries later the Babylonians conquered the Sumerians and modified these myths to exalt their own civilization. Now it was the Babylonian god Marduk who was in charge; he formed the heavens and earth by slaying a sea monster goddess, Tiamat. According to the Babylonian creation account:

The god Apsu and the goddess Tiamat made other gods. Later Apsu became distressed with these gods and tried to kill them, but instead he was killed by the god Ea. Tiamat sought revenge and tried to kill Ea, but instead she was killed by Ea's son Marduk. Marduk split her body in half, and from one half he made the sky and from the other half he made the earth. Then Marduk, with Ea's aid, made humankind from the blood of another god, Kingu.

Does this kind of bizarre tale bear any resemblance to the biblical account of creation? In basics it does. The first civilizations of the Fertile Crescent had similar creation accounts, but the only one of those created myths although still outrageous is the biblical version as it is the only one with One God.

In contrast to the crude polytheistic deities found in ancient myths, the Genesis account is based on the one God but the Genesis account is a collection of irrational occurrences, in which from the early beginning the story did not make any sense. Why having a garden to live in in peace and then created a tree in which an evil snake already has made his home. And when they were removed, no not the snake of the tree of evil but the people, their eldest son found direct a wife and her family, while Genesis is adamant that Adam and Eva were the first people on earth. A rather disorientated story with no explanation for the sudden appearance of Cain’s wife and family. The bible as a story is simple; it portrays a picture of something that in the same Genesis is exposed as a almost impossibility. Details are missing, and people appearing who by the genesis account should not have existed. A novel written that way would not pass the first viewing by a printer.

Later it get worse when the characters taken on the names of existing countries and cities. Every unexplainable situation was done off with; God told us so. "It took me a whole evening just to investigate the first chapter. Instead one after another bizarre creation myth popped up, created as a journal-like record of the earth's initial conditions, of which we do not have a record and cannot be explained from the standpoint of astrophysics and geophysics. This story was followed all in a week time while the notion of a week in that time was not known and followed by a summary of the sequence of changes through which Earth came to be inhabited by living things and ultimately by humans.

It is natural to conclude, that the fantasy which did see the Garden of Eden and the large family of Cain’s wife that the more realistic and more science orientated people gradually distanced themselves from the creator story and went their normal way as people do. The Political form took precedent over the religion in many places in the world, Kings and Emperors were appointed God’s and prayed to as being eventually was used to prop up their political, social, philosophical and religious outlooks.

Today the difference between Genesis and the Babylonian account is evident. The first speaks of one God creating around the year 600BC to pull the population of what was left of the Hebrew tribe, together, and almost instantly went to war again, the Babylonian used the many Gods under which they conquered many tribes including the Hebrews, and their one God could do nothing to stop the Babylonians from doing so. The lack of spiritual depth and dignity of Genesis makes it a difficult to read story in which many gabs and repeats are added. Yet until the complete story had been reconstructed, it will be obvious that the Babylonian story, but also the Greek and Roman stories both with many Gods clearly outclassed the One God story of the Hebrews. As such Genesis should be filed in the same myth category as the Babylonian, the Greek and the Roman Gods, a legend written less than 2600 years ago.

"Much of nineteenth-century liberalism has now been shown as excessive. The Old Testament is not a poor reflection of more ancient Babylonian or Hebrew stories, however, the opening chapters of Genesis stand unique even as a myth without a single source of verification.



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