Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Same and not the same

What is the relationship between the Genesis creation account and Babylonian creation myths? I found the following discussion in the book by Carlson and Longman insightful:
...correspondences exist for individual events, symbols, conceptions and even technical terminology. Even though these similarities exist, the overall teaching differs radically. The biblical author draws from the same circle of topics in order to speak against the worldview presented in the other ancient Near Eastern literature. For example these pagan writings present a world view steeped in polytheism. The Mesopotamian gods personify natural forces and know no moral principles. Humankind plays no special role as the highest created earthly being, made in God's image. Instead humans, the lowly servants of the divine overlord, relieve the gods of the drudgery of work and provide them with food and offerings. The biblical accounts proclaim the one true, holy God as the Creator, independent of the world. In the Mesopotamian accounts, creation results from conflict and struggle as the gods war against each other. In contrast, in Genesis creation occurs in a harmonious way and results from God's careful plan as he simply speaks creation into being.
Carlson and Longman, Science, Creation, and the Bible, p. 113.

An earlier post considers Karl Barth's view on the differences between the two accounts.

This post title is stolen from a wonderful book about chemistry by Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann.

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