Enuma Elish or “Epic of Creation” is regarded as a Babylonian/Mesopotamian philosophical myth of creation, which establishes the struggles and balances between cosmic or celestial order and chaos (Jacobsen 12). This myth dates back to the late second and early third millennium B.C.E., and it was categorically formulated to establish the origin of mankind and his relationship to the Supreme Beings or gods. Being a myth of seasons, the Enuma Elish was mainly recited during the Babylonian New Year’s festival to remind the wider public of role of the gods in establishing their existence (Heidel 21).
This philosophical myth exists in numerous versions, and the widely adopted version is the one that features Marduk, the supreme god of the city Babylon. This version establishes that initially the world consisted of two vast bodies of water, male fresh water body called Apsu and the female saltwater body called Tiamat. These water bodies regularly fused their waters together, which in turn created succeeding generation of gods. The younger gods not created by Apsu and Tiamat started a revolution questioning their rule and judgment, and their noises and ill behaviour disturbed their stillness in turn forcing Apsu and Tiamat to instigate a plan to wipe all of them out. A young god heard of the plan and killed Apsu, and in rage to revenge her husband’s death, Tiamat coined a plan to destroy all the gods (Jacobsen 65).
This version also asserts that god Marduk, originally the god of thunderstorms was created with the sole objective of defending celestial beings from attacks castigated by Tiamat, the goddess of the oceans. In order to fulfill his objective, god Marduk agreed to defend the gods if only they made him their supreme leader and if he was to remain immortal even after the attack ceases (Bandstra 1).The gods agreed to his request and enthroned him as their leader, and on his part he fought Tiamat splitting her into two parts with his bow and arrows into earth and skies. He also destroyed Kingu, Tiamat’s henchman and he used his blood to create human beings in order for them to work and serve the gods.
The success of battle made other gods pledge allegiance to his rule, and in turn he established Babylon as the terrestrial home or headquarters of his realm where he came to be acknowledged as the supreme creator of the universe and humankind (Heidel 65). With the view to create harmony, Marduk fashioned heaven and earth, created human race, established constellations, seasons, course of day and night, the calendar, and organized the planets in an orderly manner in turn controlling all the components in the world. This philosophical myth of the Babylonian relates to the version of creation established by the book of genesis, and it’s believed it brings into light the events that followed before the universe was created. It’s also believed that the bible borrowed the contents of Enuma Elish on its epics of creation. In context of the Enuma Elish, Tiamat is established to depict the forces of chaos and disorder in the world, while Marduk is pointed as the force of bringing balance between evil and good. This is established were Mardul is rewarded with supreme authority for defeating evil, meaning that good deeds are always rewarded with good things (Bandstra 1).
Bandstra, Barry. Enuma Elish. Retrieved from
< http://www.jcu.edu/Bible/200/Readings/EnumaElish.htm >.2012.Web
Heidel, Alexander, ed. and trans. The Babylonian Genesis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951.Print.
Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976.Print