The Genesis Creation Story
The Genesis creation story elicits many interesting lessons. Chapters 1-3 of Genesis convey these lessons by incorporating many key notions and concepts. This essay will consecutively analyze what the narrative conveys about the following concepts:
The nature of the Deity and the forces of nature
Human nature (freedom and responsibility)
The presence of evil in the world and the nature of sin
This paper will analyze these key concepts by comparing and contrasting the Genesis story to the Babylonian creation story, Enuma Elish, and by simultaneously using biblical criticism toward the Jewish Study Bible.
The first comparison between the concepts in the Genesis creation story and Enuma Elish is the nature of the Deity(s). Genesis focuses on a single Deity with no birth story or offspring that teaches against past pagan and polytheistic religions. This means that humans cannot "climb the ladder" to a god status, such as in many polytheistic religions. Since He portrays the one and only God, there is no conflict at the divine level. For example, every time that God creates something in the first chapter of Genesis, he says, "and it was so," which demonstrates the lack of conflict between gods.
In Enuma Elish, the gods are constantly in conflict, especially Marduk, Kingu, and Tiamat. When Marduk defeats Tiamat, it signifies order instead of chaos in the world. The death of Kingu spurred the birth of humankind; therefore, humans were created from chaos. Instead of this fight between order and chaos, God has a plan, and that plan demonstrates his complete control of history. He creates what He determines is "good" in a very structured order, much like a checklist. The author(s) illustrated the creation story as being very methodical, so it is very clear that God had a divine plan.
God also holds a different position on the concept of nature. While pagan gods are merely personifications of nature, the Christian God creates nature. Therefore, nature is not holy in the book of Genesis. Since it is one of God's creations, He is above it and can supernaturally violate the laws of nature.
Unlike the pagan gods, God does not have needs, such as food or shelter. This shows that He is not dependent on humans to survive, and God does not provide magic for humans in return. The Bible is very simple, and very different than complex magic texts in this way. Therefore, the relationship between God and humans is not reciprocal, such as in Enuma Elish, but more mutual. Nobody can be certain as to why God decided to create humans in the beginning of Genesis.
Enuma Elish resulted in a festival that is performed every new year. This allows people to remember and celebrate how they were created from Marduk's victory and Kingu's demise. The meaning of God's pattern of six days of creation plus one day of rest in Genesis is very similar to...