Themes of Genesis

Essay by djdanjones23College, UndergraduateA, September 2014

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Focus on God

(Genesis and Enuma Elish)

Enuma Elish means "when above"

The first chapter of Genesis exists as the first account of creation in the Bible. This account details the beginning, in a Biblical sense, as it describes God's process of creation. God starts with light, and moves in a sequential manner until his work is manifested in the creation of human beings and land animals on day 6, followed by his seventh day of rest. The passages in Genesis are so important to the Old Testament because they set the groundwork for mankind, animals, and all living things as being created by God Himself. The Enuma Elish, texts discovered by Austin Henry Layard in 1849, were created in Ancient Babylon, and when compiled, give a creation account that contains many parallels to the story presented in Genesis. However, there are several important distinctions that are also made.

One of the most important aspects of the the Enuma Elish that raised questions about the Genesis account of creation is that it is also a Near Eastern creation myth that shares many similarities with the Genesis story. Therefore, many scholars argue that this text was in fact used as a foundation that Genesis was created from, which brings into question whether the book of Genesis is merely another ancient myth, albeit one that many current religions are largely based upon. Several important variations in these two texts mark the fundamental differences between the Hebrew God's creation story, and the story revealed through the Enuma Elish tablets. In the Enuma Elish, creation is derived from violent struggles and rivalry, which is in essence a creation story based on violence and the struggle for power. In contrast, the monotheistic interpretation as evidenced by the creation story in Genesis depicts...