Genesis And The Enuma Elish

It is written:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In 1870, an ancient document known as the Enuma Elish was discovered. This was an ancient account of the Creation, found in the remains of the city of Babylon. It dates back to around the seventh century B.C., and has some amazing corroboration of the Book of Genesis (which we will notice).

However, some are claiming that the Enuma Elish predates the Book of Genesis, and that this Babylonian document actually served as the template for the Book of Genesis!

Of course, the biggest problem with this theory is that archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Book of Genesis was composed by Moses in about 1450 B.C., nearly eight hundreds years before the Enuma Elish was created! One of many lines of the evidence of this antiquity may be found in the discovery of the famous Ebla Tablets:

“Sixteen thousand clay tablets from the third millennium B.C. were discovered at Ebla in modern Syria, beginning in 1974. Biovanni Pettinato dates them 2580–2450 B.C. and Paolo Matthiae suggests 2400–2250 B.C. Either period predates any other written material by hundreds of years. Apologetic Importance of the Tablets. The importance of the Ebla tablets is that they parallel and confirm early chapters of Genesis. Although clouded by subsequent political pressure and denials, the published reports in reputable journals offer several possible lines of support for the biblical record (see ARCHAEOLOGY, OLD TESTAMENT). Tablets reportedly contain names of the cities Ur, Sodom and Gomorrah, and such pagan gods mentioned in the Bible as Baal (see Ostling, 76–77). The Ebla tablets reportedly contain references to names found in the book of Genesis, including Adam, Eve, and Noah (Dahood, 55–56)….There are significant implications in the Ebla archives for Christian apologetics. They destroy the critical belief in the evolution of monotheism (see MONOTHEISM, PRIMITIVE) from supposed earlier polytheism and henotheism. This evolution of religion hypothesis has been popular from the time of Charles *Darwin (1809–1882) and Julius *Wellhausen (1844–1918). Now monotheism is known to be earlier. Also, the force of the Ebla evidence supports the view that the earliest chapters of Genesis are history, not mythology” (Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 208 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)

The fact is, the evidence clearly demonstrates that Genesis predates the Enuma Elish. Geisler and Holden have written:

“Besides this, there are several reasons why conservative scholars do not believe Moses was dependent upon these earlier creation myths. First, the critical scholars’ overemphasis on similarities has blinded their eyes to the many differences that set the accounts apart as unique. Unlike the mythic stories, the Genesis account offers one monotheistic God as the creator of all things. The Mesopotamian tamian epic speaks of a pantheon of gods involved in creation. Genesis offers a loving and all-powerful Lord as creator, unlike the Enuma Elish, which portrays the gods as conspiring, vengeful monsters who are seeking ill for one another. In the Enuma Elish, human beings are created from the blood of a rebel god and are seen as lowly slaves created to serve and feed the gods. This is in stark opposition to the Genesis account, which records that man was made in the image of God and meant to be like His creator-the highest of His creation. Moreover, in the epic, creation was made out of something evil (Tiamat’s body) and pre-existing (that is, ex deo or ex materia), whereas Genesis describes a creation from a good source (that is, God) and out of nothing (ex nihilo). Second, the similarities may be accounted for by the fact that different groups were writing about the same original historical event (creation). If the creation of the world actually occurred, and various civilizations later reinterpreted the story within the contexts texts of their polytheistic religions and purposes, it would account for the basic similarities in content. Moses would have received his monotheistic creation account directly from God or from oral tradition that was passed down through Noah and his descendants. Third, we now know the Genesis account is not dependent on or identified with any earlier Mesopotamian, Egyptian, or Assyrian creation tradition because of the recognized direction of myth. Near-Eastern scholar D.J.Wiseman and others familiar with myth literature (for example, C.S.Lewis) have understood that an early myth can become even more mythical over time, and that earlier historical events can become embellished with myth over time. But never do we see earlier myth traditions (such as these Mesopotamian and Egyptian creation accounts) become more historical-sounding, believable, and simpler over time. The Genesis record is more simple, historical, natural,, and believable than these early myth traditions, and therefore it cannot possibly be dependent on them or classified as just another Near-Eastern creation account. The mythical tone is obvious in the Enuma Elish, but it is absent in the Genesis account. The epic tells of Marduk killing Tiamat and splitting her in two parts like a “shellfish” and creating the sky from her body. However, Genesis simply opens with the statement: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). It continues with the simple and natural formula, “Then God said, `Let there be…..’ (Genesis 1:3,6,11,14). Fourth, some critical scholars forget that early creation myths are not necessarily concerned with creation per se; rather, they are attempts to justify or elevate the standing ing of particular deities or cities in the eyes of the people. For example, creation is not the main story of Enuma Elish; it is the relatively unknown Babylonian god Marduk. It appears now that the story is an effort by its author to elevate Marduk as the chief god of Babylon, though prior to this story he was not given prominence among the multitude of other deities. In the above example of the Egyptian account, most scholars recognize that the creation elements present are not the main theme, but the raising of the city of Memphis and its god (Ptah) to prominence in order to justify Memphis as the location of the capital city of Egypt. For these reasons, we must consider the Genesis account as an independent historical tradition, without dependency on the earlier Mesopotamian or Egyptian myth literature.” (Joseph M. Holden & Norman Geisler, The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible: Discoveries That Confirm the Reliability of Scripture, 2314-2355 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers)

It is a sad fact that so many evidence exist which demonstrate the antiquity of Genesis, and yet many of these evidences are suppressed by a corrupt academia. Cooper has noted:

“When we read the modernist claim that the kings of Genesis 14 are unknown to us from the historical record, and then see (as in Appendix Two of this book) that all four names of the Mesopotamian kings mentioned in that chapter are contained on a single clay tablet, and that they are also contained severally on other tablets of the time, then we have to ask what is really going on here. These tablets, though kept from the public eye, have been catalogued and translated, and have been lodged at the British Museum since the late 19th century. Their existence is well known to any enquiring scholar who cares to look into the subject. Yet the clear testimony that they bear to the truth of the Genesis 14 record is hidden away. But not only that. Their very existence goes unmentioned, and a deliberate and calculated lie is inserted in their place, the lie that the names of these kings are unknown to us from the historical record, and that the writer of the Book of Genesis either errs in his ignorance, or blatantly deceives those who read him. The information that we have been considering is not just withheld from the public, of course. It is also withheld from all those students who are busy pursuing their degrees in modernist colleges and universities. Entirely unaware of the fact that they are learning and then propagating a lie, they go on to teach their own students and to write in their own publications the lie that they in turn have been taught. The education systems of the western world are geared to suppress independent thought, and open enquiry is discouraged at all levels. Let a student’s dissertation once range beyond the lecture notes that he has been fed, and let his conclusions raise but the smallest question mark over what he has been taught, and he will be severely marked down for it-even failed altogether if the question mark is big enough to embarrass his tutors. The much-vaunted ‘scientific method’ in all this, is a sham. This has always been the way of things, just as it always will be the way of things. No amount of evidence or persuasive argument will ever change that. The system is too big, too powerful, and is too firmly entrenched to offer the hope of ever being changed. Moreover, because the world itself rejects the Word of God out of hand, it welcomes a system which tells it how false that Word is, and will protect and nourish that system to the defiance of all logic and common sense. It therefore falls to conservative Bible scholars and teachers to do something which should have been done in the first place–enquire into the many evidences for the Truth of God’s Word, and make sure that these evidences reach Bible believers and the general public everywhere. As we have seen, the available evidence–of which there is a great deal–comes in several forms; archaeological, literary, philological, palaeolinguistic, ethnological, and so on. The great advantage for the conservative Bible scholar is that modernism has concentrated all these years almost wholly (and often inexpertly) upon the philological, making not only an appalling hash of things in the process, but ignoring the existence of the archaeological and other evidences to an astonishing and blatant degree–and to the great hurt and weakening of its own nefarious cause. The field is still to be won therefore, the critics’ boasts of having already won that field in any ‘scientific’ sense being seen to be empty indeed. Modernism has won no such thing. It has spun a most deceitful web around the Bible and its integrity as an historical record-but that is all it has done. Pluck just once at the strings of this web with an enquiring mind, and it simply unravels and falls away. It cannot withstand, and never has withstood, the test. The Bible has withstood it, all of it, and, because it is the eternal Word of an eternal God-a God who cannot lie!-then we may safely rest assured that it always will.” (Bill Cooper, The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis, 2039-2064 (Kindle Edition))

While these Babylonian documents are much later than the Book of Genesis, it is interesting that they contain some traces of influence from Moses’ writing.

“Nevertheless, in its account of creation there are similarities to the biblical account. ■ Both accounts view the creation of heaven, earth, and its inhabitants (human and animal) as a divine act. ■ Both view mankind’s creation from the ground (clay . . . dust) and see the work of humans as tending the land (either as a representative of the creator, as in the biblical account, or by contrast, to work for the creator god in place of the lesser gods, as in the Babylonian account). ■ In addition, there are seven tablets in Enuma Elish and seven days in the Genesis account. Furthermore, the creation of mankind is in the sixth tablet of the Babylonian account and takes place on the sixth day of the biblical account.” (Randall Price, Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology: A Book by Book Guide to Archaeological Discoveries Related to the Bible, 48 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)

While the Enuma Elish helps to provide some interesting confirmation of the Book of Genesis, it is helpful to remember that the Book of Genesis is much older and is continually confirmed by science and archaeology.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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