Genesis 1:10, Genesis vs. the Babylonians

And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

//I’m sure I’ve written about this before, comparing chapter 1 of the Bible to the Babylonian creation myth. In both, god(s) bring order and form to chaos, shaping the world we live in. But the Enuma elish, the Babylonian version, predates the Hebrew version by a millennium or so. It’s dated to 1500-1900 BCE.

The Enuma elish is polytheistic. In its story, one god (Marduk) rips another (Tiamat) apart and from her corpse he fashions the earth and skies. He then kills her husband and uses his blood to create humankind as slaves to the gods. The creation is hardly considered friendly, and the gods are to be feared.

Contrast this with the story in Genesis, in which the Hebrew supreme being (Yahweh) creates from scratch, pausing after each day’s work to pronounce his work “good.” Many scholars see in the Genesis story a challenge to the traditional Babylonian myth, insisting on a single all-powerful being shaping a friendly, positive living environment for a creation that he loves.

I’d say religion took a step forward with the Hebrew version, wouldn’t you?

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