Re: The Genesis Factor

Vernon Jenkins (
Sun, 30 May 1999 00:18:16 +0100

Hello Paul,

Thank you for pointing out the parallels between Genesis 1 and the Enuma

My question to David (24 May) was:

> << On what do you base your claim that the order described in Gn.1 may
> be lightly ignored? Is there a more valid reason beside that of
> satisfying the demands of the god Evolution? >>

You responded:

> It is not just evolution that tells us the order of events is scientifically
> wrong. In Gen 1, before the dry land appears on day 3, the earth is covered
> with a Deep ocean (Gen 1:2). There are reasons both from astronomy and
> geology to believe that when the earth was formed it began at temperatures
> too high to have an ocean, or indeed any water at all upon it.
> On the other hand, when you leave Gen 1 in its ancient Near Eastern context,
> it makes all the sense in the world that it began with a Deep ocean (a
> "Tehom", which is a proper noun not derived from but nevertheless related to
> "Tiamat", the watery goddess of a Babylonian creation account called Enuma
> elish). When you then run into the solid sky and the ocean above that sky
> (not a canopy) on day 2, you have even more reasons to see that the account
> is following the "science" of the day.
> In addition there is an important reason for believing that Gen 1 is related
> to Enuma elish. There is a parallel between Gen 1 and E.e., which is not
> generic, namely the splitting of the water. As W.G. Lambert pointed out in a
> paper which aimed at 'deBabylonizing" Gen 1 as much as possible, the parallel
> of splitting the water in a creation account is unique to Gen 1 and Enuma
> elish. Many creation stories around the world have the sky split off from
> the earth; but, only Gen 1 and Enuma elish have primeval water split in two.
> The significance of this for your question is simply this: Gen 1 follows the
> order of events in Enuma elish. As E. A. Speiser wrote in the Anchor Bible
> commentary, "the order of events is the same, which is enough to preclude any
> likelihood of coincidence." He went on to point out that the similarity of
> the order of events was recognized by conservatives as well as liberals, and
> he reprinted the chart given by the conservative Heidel. This chart notes
> eight consecutive events:
> 1. E.e. begins with divine spirit and cosmic matter being coexistent and
> coeternal. Gen 1 begins with divine spirit and cosmic matter, but the divine
> exists independently and creates the cosmic matter.
> 2. E.e. has primeval chaos: Ti'amat enveloped in darkness. Gen 1 has the
> earth a desolate waste, with darkness covering the deep (tehom).
> 3. E.e. has Light emanating from the gods. Gen 1 has Light created.
> [I want to add here that "day" and "night" in the sense of a 24-hour
> cycle are mentioned in E.e. before the creation of the sun.]
> 4. E.e. has the creation of the firmament. Gen 1 has the creation of the
> firmament.
> 5. E.e. has the creation of dry land. Gen 1 has the creation of dry land.
> 6. E.e. has the creation of the luminaries. Gen 1 has the creation of the
> luminaries.
> 7. E.e. has the creation of man. Gen 1 has the creation of man.
> 8. E.e. has the gods resting and celebrating. Gen 1 has God resting and
> sanctifying the seventh day.
> Although particular objections could be made at several points this basic
> similarity of order is so compelling that even Merrill Ungar, who was an
> arch-conservative and teacher at Dallas Theological Seminary for decades,
> said in his Archaeology of the Old Testament, "However, in one aspect the
> similarity is of such a nature that it could hardly be accidental. This is
> in the matter of the _the sequence of events_. The order might easily have
> been altered with regard to the creation of the firmament, the dry land, the
> luminaries and man. It seems certain that there is some connection between
> the two accounts."
> No one supposes that Enuma elish was following Genesis. But, the splitting
> of the water, the solid firmament, etc suggests that Genesis was following
> the tradition in Enuma elish (not the 7 tablets of E.e. per se. but the
> tradition behind them). Further, if the events in Gen 1 were the original
> revelation and pagan creation stories like Enuma elish were just corrupted
> versions (as "conservatives" like to rationalize) , there would be numerous
> examples of creation stories around the world with a splitting of the
> primeval waters and the order of events we see in Gen 1 and E.e. But, in
> fact, Gen1 and E.e. are the only creation stories with these similarities.
> The evidence from astronomy, geology, biology and even the Bible (when it is
> interpreted IN CONTEXT) indicates that God accommodated his revelation in Gen
> 1 to the science of the times and the tradition in Enuma elish in particular.
> It is the THEOLOGY in Gen 1, which stands in radical contrast to the
> polytheism, magic, myth, and animism in Enuma elish, that sets Genesis apart
> and marks it as inspired-- not the "science" and not the order of events.

You appear to suggest (a) that Enuma elish - as compared with other
creation stories around the world - follows a unique tradition, and (b)
that Genesis 1 is an edited version of Enuma elish - specifically
adapted to the requirements of God's Word. I don't believe this to be
so. For a more reasonable explanation, see my recent reply to George.

As I have pointed out to others, the Bible - and, I suggest, our own
experiences of life - make it abundantly clear that man's natural bent
is to oppose God, and line up with the forces of darkness. I say this
because it is particularly germane to our present discussion. What
Genesis 1 describes is a sequence of miraculous events; by definition, a
miracle defies scientific analysis, yet you and others appear to
recognize no truth unless it is 'scientific truth'! Your version of the
latter includes macroevolution - which, because no one has actually
observed it to occur, and because it is based upon evidence that is
equivocal, is clearly being accepted as an article of faith. So much for
'scientific truth'! In preferring the conclusions of men to the
Scriptures you are merely confirming our Creator's words through
Jeremiah, 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked...' (Jer.17:9). Christians have no excuse for neglecting to take
account of these truths - which filter through into every aspect of our

The Apostle Paul enjoins the Christian to ' out your own
salvation in fear and trembling.'(Ph.2:12). In the same vein, Peter
advises us '...give diligence to make your calling and election
sure;...'(2Pet.1:10). The purpose of this life, surely, is to allow the
Lord to lead the soul - for which we are each personally responsible -
into a condition of eternal fellowship with him. It is hardly
reasonable, then, to accept an unproven notion - essential to atheists -
which actively questions and clouds our understanding of God's