Free Essay About Ancient Creation Accounts: Mesopotamia, Israel And Greece
Much has been said with regard to ancient accounts of creation from different cultures around the world. Their emergence and advent are attributed to several cultures and communities that spearheaded civilization in different fields. It is essential to look at these accounts from a critical and analytical point of view to come up with a theory on how cultures perceive creation. The Enuma Elish account from Mesopotamia, the Genesis from Israel and the Greek creation account recorded in the Theogony are among the most common and widely accepted as well as acknowledged sources of faith and history in reference to origin of things and past accounts of events especially in creation. This paper will therefore attempt to compare and contrast these creation accounts as recorded in ancient history. In so doing, the essay will explain what the differences and similarities signify. The paper will first give a short detailed account of every recording in the order presented above as the key points are presented. The next section will show how these creation stories relate to each other in terms of similarities, organization, concept application and detail presentation. The next section will present the difference in the same order as in the similarities and then the paper will finish off with a summary of the analysis, findings and conclusions. The paper will show how each creation account explains its presentations in the same conclusion section and finally, my own reaction will be offered.
Enuma Elish, a Babylonian poem from the 2nd Millennium describes the creation story explaining the process of how the universe was established (López-Ruiz 38). It allows the world to view the creation account from the point of view f the Babylonians. It tells of the struggles amongst the gods, how humanity came into existence and creation of the world. Fundamentally, the Enuma Elish is comprised of two accounts; the cosmology and the theogony. The cosmology describes the birth or beginning of the world and the universe as it is today while thogony describes the beginning of the deity world (the gods). The accounts then go on to describe the severe battle between Tiamat, a chaos dragon, and the god Marduk. This made him the supreme ruler of the deities. The account begins with a formless universe covered in water only. There are only two unformed creations in the form of fresh waters and salt water. These are called Apsu and Tiamat respectively. From this union, the universe began to take form through bearing children and plants growing.
The Israelites creation account is recorded in Genesis in the Holy book, the Bible (López-Ruiz 37). This account tells of how the universe and its inhabitants came into existence. From the account narrated in the bible, the author gives an account in a chronological manner. Before the creation process began, the genesis creation story provides that the earth was desolate and formless. It was void. However, the Superior form of God was in existence at the time. Darkness and water covered the universe as the Spirit of God moved through this void and formlessness. Then God made light through a command, the sky, the earth and the sea, the plants, the sun and the moon as well as the stars, aquatic life and birds of the air, animal life on earth, and finally God made humans. This whole creation was done in six days as God rested on the seventh day according to this creation account.
The Greece creation account (Theogony) begins with a world that is full of chaos. The world is a void without order. Erebus appears and love is born bringing forth order. Light and day were born. The earth (Gaea) appeared since there was light. The union between Erebus and the Night produced Ether (heavenly light) and Day. Night then bore Fate, Doom, Sleep, Nemesis, Death and Sleep as well as other products of darkness. Gaea produced the heavens. In a mixture of events that are not in specific order, the creation account as advanced by the Greeks saw a number of conflicts between the deities that led to the rise of Zeus. The narrative is organized in a manner that is unclear. There seems to be a narrative of the deities and the supernatural like Life, Fate and Death.
The above creation stories have a number of differences as well as similarities. In all of the accounts, the world begins as a void. It os filled with chaos and there is no life. Additionally, all of the creation accounts seem to have a superior being or beings that introduces life. The events that begin and bring forth life in the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish and the Greece Theogony begin with the battles of the gods. In contrast, the Genesis presents a singular Superior being that is unrivaled in power and His kingdom is in order. In all of the accounts, it is unclear how life came into being. The genesis provides an account of how God spoke things into being, the Enuma Elish offers a theory of how chaos and calm united to bring life and the Greek theogony offers a narration of how deities brought forth life. All in all, the three creation accounts present a detailed account that explains existence with the general idea being of a superior force that brought forth other forms of life.
Despite the above mentioned similarities, the three accounts have a number of differences. Chief among these differences is the fact that each account has a different superior being. While the Enuma Elish and the Greek’s theogony provides a multitude of gods, the genesis offers only one God. Additionally, the God in genesis is unmatched in power and has no rivals. In contrast the Enuma Elish narrates of a power struggle between the superiors as well as the Greek theogony. While the Enuma Elish and the genesis stories of creation are systematic in order, the Greece theogony lacks cohesion and the story is scattered.
In conclusion, the three creation accounts present a detailed account that explains existence with the general idea being of a superior force that brought forth other forms of life. Despite the differences, the creation accounts agree on the issue of life having no scientific explanation of how it came to be. The theories are unclear on the real process of creation and present a narrative that only describes supernatural occurrences. In my own opinion, the three theories are only an attempt by the humans of the time to explain things that are beyond their understanding. It is clear that the origin of life is hard to explain. In light of this, the human race made up superior beings and supernatural processes to explain life.
López-Ruiz, Carolina. "How To Start A Cosmogony: On The Poetics Of Beginnings In
Greece And The Near East." Journal Of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 12.1 (2012): 30-48. Religion and Philosophy Collection. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.