Why the Bible Parallels the Myths
Many scholars believe the Genesis seven day creation story borrowed freely from the Babylonian Enuma Elish, written on seven tablets several centuries earlier. This Sky Eden@Bedok Price article will claim they have missed two very significant parallels and will suggest why the parallels exist.
Tablet 1 of Enuma Elish tells us that the god Apsu mated with the goddess Tiamat to produce numerous young gods who later produced more gods. Like young humans these young gods annoyed the original parents by their riotous behaviour. Soon a young god murdered Apsu for complaining so much. Tiamat was furious and urged her supporters to prepare for war against the trouble makers. She produced vipers, dragons and monsters for the battle.
Tablets 2 and 3 describe the preparations for war. Tablet 4 describes how Marduk, a young god, killed the dragon Tiamat and slit her body in two. One half became the sky and the other half the earth. For his efforts he was hailed king of the gods.
War was not unique to Enuma Elish. Virtually every ancient nation had myths about gods of war who fought each other.
The biblical creation narrative doesn’t mention war or procreative gods. It does mention the creation of sky and earth as does Enuma Elish, but the carcase of a goddess does not feature in it. Nor does it say that mountains rose out of the dead Tiamat’s breasts as in Enuma Elish. Incidentally, that idea may still be with us. There are unverified claims that Canberra, the name of the Federal capital of Australia, derives from an aboriginal word for the cleavage between women’s breasts. Canberra city lies between twin peaks, Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain.
While Genesis 1 does not mention war Genesis 3 clearly hints at spiritual conflict between a serpent and God. The serpent, (called a dragon, “the ancient serpent”, and Satan in Revelation 20:2) virtually told the first humans that God was a liar. Revelation says there is war in heaven. (12:7)
Earthly powers, presumably motivated by Satan, make war on the saints. (Daniel 7:21; Revelation 13:7) The war was at its most vicious when Satan inspired Judas to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3-6), leading to His crucifixion on a cross. The sacrifice of the son of God on a cross exposed clearly to unfallen angels the absolutely venomous hostility and sheer brutality of Satan, his angelic supporters, and their human minions.
Thus war was not just a part of the Enuma Elish story; it is an essential component of the overall biblical message.