Enuma Elish (aka The Babylonian Creation Myth)
The “Enuma Elish” is one of the oldest creation myths. It was discovered in Ninevah on 7 tablets. It has many parallels to the Bible. The most significant gods in this story are:
Tiamat: mother of the gods; associated with salt water
Apsu: father of the gods; associated with fresh water in the abyss underneath the earth
Marduk: sky god that was created in Apsu’s waters; creator of men
Ea: associated with wisdom
In the beginning, there was only chaos. Out of the chaos, the waters were divided into fresh water and salt water, which were known as the gods Apsu and Tiamat. Apsu and Tiamat were the father and mother of the younger gods.
Apsu + Tiamat -> Lahmu, Lahamu, Anshar
Anshar + Kishar -> Anu
Anu -> Ea (Nudimmud)
Ea + Damkina -> Marduk
Over time, the mother and father became troubled by the partying of their children. They were annoyed by the noise and could not sleep because of it. Therefore, Apsu declared his intention to kill all of his children in an effort to regain the peace. Ea and the other gods heard about Apsu’s plan, and not wanting to die, Ea devised his own plan to subdue Apsu. Ea killed the father of the gods, Apsu, and ruled all of the gods in heaven. Consequently, at the death of her husband, Tiamat became very angry and agitated with Ea and the other gods. Therefore, Tiamat infused her demon supporters with poison and prepared to rebel against Ea.
Tiamat enlisted many of the gods to help her fight against Ea, and she set Kingu as the chief god among them all.
Ea approached Anshar and expressed his concern about Tiamat’s army and her might. Anshar encouraged Ea that since Ea started the conflict by killing Tiamat’s husband, he is also responsible for handling the consequences. He gave Ea words of encouragement, speaking about Ea’s wisdom, prudence, and strength. Twice, Ea went out to seek Tiamat with the intent of battling her demon army, and twice Ea returned to Anshar, expressing that the mother’s power was too great and he was too weak to defeat her. Ea asked Anshar to dispense another god against Tiamat, because surely somebody must be able to defeat her. Then, Ea asked his son, Marduk, to ask Anshar for permission to fight Tiamat. Anshar gave his blessing to Marduk, and Marduk, with his mighty actions, was declared the defender and ruler of the gods.
Anshar sent his trusted officer, Kakka, to deliver a message to Lahmu and Lahamu. Kakka was instructed to tell Lahmu and Lahamu about Tiamat’s intentions and Marduk’s bravery. Anshar wanted all of the gods to gather in order to eat and rink and to declare Marduk’s destiny. So, Kakka told Lahmu and Lahamu the situation, and the all the gods gathered to feast on bread drink wine together, and they united to declare Marduk’s destiny.
A royal palace was constructed by the gods to worship Marduk. To prepare for his fight against Tiamat, Marduk prepared a bow, arrows, lightning, flames, net, and mastery of the winds. Using his weapons, Marduk defeated Tiamat and her army, including the war leader, Kingu. Then, Marduk pulverized and mutilated Tiamat’s corpse.
Using Tiamat’s mutilated corpse, Marduk created earth. He created the stars, the planets, the northern and southern hemispheres, and he divided the east from the west. He also created the moon and the yearly calendar. He made the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which flowed from Tiamat’s eyes, and he separated the earth from heaven. The gods, including Anu, Ellil, Ea, and Marduk’s mother, Damkina, all praised him and showered him with gifts. The Igigi and Anunnaki all worshipped him. Marduk became the ruler of all the gods. On the earth, Marduk established Babylon as the center of all worship and religious practice, and to serve as an abode for the other gods.
Marduk had an idea to create mankind. When he consulted the other gods, they all agreed with his idea. Thus, Marduk used the blood of the rebellious one, that is the one who encouraged Tiamat’s schemes, the one whose name was Kingu, to create mankind. Thus, mankind was created to perform the toils of the gods. Marduk placed 300 gods to guard the heavens and 300 gods to guard the earth, so that all of the gods had a role. Next, Marduk created temples in Babylon, including the Tower of Babel. A temple was created for each god. Marduk was worshiped by all of the gods. Originally the son of the gods, Marduk became the king of the gods. He was the Son and the King. As their King, Marduk was given many different names to praise all of his accomplishments and victories.
This table includes the many names that Marduk was given, including “Lord,” to worship and praise his might.