The Garden of Eden Myth: Its Pre-biblical Origin In Mesopotamian Myths
Scholarly proposals are presented for the pre-biblical origin in Mesopotamian myths of the Garden of Eden story. Some Liberal PhD scholars (1854-2010) embracing an Anthropological viewpoint have proposed that the Hebrews have recast earlier motifs appearing in Mesopotamian myths. Eden's garden is understood to be a recast of the gods' city-gardens in the Sumerian Edin, the floodplain of Lower Mesopotamia. It is understood that the Hebrews in the book of Genesis are refuting the Mesopotamian account of why Man was created and his relationship with his Creators (the gods and goddesses). They deny that Man is a sinner and rebel because he was made in the image of gods and goddesses who were themselves sinners and rebels, who made man to be their agricultural slave to grow and harvest their food and feed it to them in temple sacrifices thereby ending the need of the gods to toil for their food in the city-gardens of Edin in ancient Sumer.
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Lulu.com (November 24, 2010)
"THE FALL" OF MAN
and its pre-biblical
origins in Mesopotamian Myths
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y d la Torre, M.A. Ed.
29 April 2006
Revisions through: 30 May 2009
This article in a nutshell:
It is argued that the Hebrews, employing "new twists" (inversions) denied, challenged and repudiated the Mesopotamian understanding that man's misfortunes were attributed to the unrighteous self-serving outrageous despicable behavior of the gods; man was an innocent victim of the capricious, immoral, gods.
The Hebrews claimed man's misfortunes are a consequence of his own sinful ways, thereby shifting blame from God to Man (God is righteous and is not to be blamed, Man is a rebel and sinner and is to blame).
There is _no_ fall from moral purity for primeval man in the Mesopotamian myths because man has been made in the image of the gods who are portrayed as immoral, untrustworthy, conniving, treacherous, unrighteous, and self-serving, putting their interests first above the welfare of man whom they have created to be their slave to thereby obtain for themselves an eternal sabbath-rest from earthly toil (man will provide life's necessities for the gods: food, shelter and clothing). Man (Adapa) is portrayed as noble, scrupulously obedient to his god; Man's (Adapa's) trust is cynically betrayed (he being lied to) by his god (Ea) who acts out of selfish self-interest, not wanting to lose man as a slave.
I understand that Genesis is _denying or refuting_ the Mesopotamian myths' explanation of how and why man came to made, what his purpose on earth is, and why his demise was sought in a flood. This "_denial_" is for me accomplished by taking motifs from a variety of contradicting myths and giving them "new twists" by changing the names of the characters, the locations, and sequences of events. It is my perception that the Hebrews are deliberately CHANGING _or_ RECASTING the earlier myths and their motifs inorder to REFUTE and DENY THEM, hence the "reason why" there are _no_ individuals called Adam, Eve, the Serpent, Yahweh, Noah, Shem, Japheth and Ham appearing in _any_ of the Mesopotamian pre-biblical myths.
I do _not_ understand that the Hebrews are "copying" the Mesopotamian myths, they are _recasting various motifs and concepts within them_ in order to _refute and deny them_ regarding why, when, where and how man came to be made, placed in a god's garden, denied immortality and his destruction sought in a Flood. Or, to put it another way, Genesis themes are simply "variations and transformations of earlier themes."
The Mesopotamians had no account of a primal man and woman "falling from a state of innocence" via an illegal acquisition of knowledge by eating of a forbidden fruit. There was _no_ "fall from innocence" because man was made in the image of the gods, some of whom, are portrayed as slaying each other in various conflicts (shedding each other's blood), murdering their fathers and mothers, engaging in incest with their own children, being unfaithful to their spouses by having extramarital sex with others and even propositioning humans for illicit sex too, as well as being sponsors or patrons of cultic acts of prostitution with male and female prostitutes in temples. In other words all the nefarious activities of humankind were, _before man's creation_ , engaged in by the gods, so there could be _no_ "fall from innocence" for primal man and woman for man cannot be "better" than his _immoral_creators_ in whose image he was made! That is to say in Mesopotamian myth man's immorality is because he was made in the image of immoral gods and goddesses. For all the sordid details please click here.
Although the Mesopotamian myths do _not_ record "a fall from moral innocence by man into sin resulting in death for all of mankind" they do preserve in a _somewhat different form_ notions of a "fall" of sorts involving naive innocence to some degree on man's part. I understand that the Hebrews have reworked these Mesopotamian motifs (naive innocence and a "fall") and recast them into a new story. Two Mesopotamian accounts make mention of a "fall" of sorts for a naive, innocent, trusting man: (1) Adapa of the Adapa and the Southwind myth and (2) Enkidu of the Epic of Gilgamesh. I understand that motifs originally associated with these two fictional characters (their naive innocence and "fall") were fused together, recast, and ascribed to Adam and Eve. Both Adapa and Enkidu die, but it is clear from the storylines that they were "victims" of the gods and they did _not_ deserve to die. The Hebrews have inverted the storylines: man is _not_ a victim of the gods, he deserves to die for his actions, blame for death is shifted from God to man. The Mesopotamian myths do acknowledge man is a sinner, a rebel, and an untrustworthy liar at times but the reasons given for this are that man was created this way by the gods. Man is then, a victim, having had these attitudes implanted within his soul from the moment of creation by the gods (who also have the same attitudes).
Below, my attempted _alignment_ of motifs in Genesis' Eden myth about Adam's "Fall" (Ge 3:1-24) and its principal characters, Yahweh, the Serpent, Adam, Eve, and the Cherubim, with similar motifs appearing in the Adapa and the Southwind myth. The Southwind myth was a Mesopotamian explanation for how, once upon a time, man in the form of Adapa had a chance to obtain immortality by consuming "bread and water of life" but by failing to do so, he condemned the rest of mankind to a lifetime of disease and death for all eternity. Adapa refused to consume the "bread and water of life" offered him by Anu in his heavenly abode because his god whom he served on the earth, Ea (Sumerian Enki) had warned him NOT to eat the "bread of death" or "drink the water of death" for he would surely die. Technically speaking Ea didn't tell Adapa not to eat the "bread of life"or not to drink the "water of life," it was "bread of death" and "water of death" that he wasn't to consume. An apparently "confused" and "beguiled" Adapa thought the "bread of life" was the "bread of death."
For the Mesopotamians then, man lost out on a chance to obtain immortality because the god who had created him and who he served, Ea (Enki) of Eridu in Sumer did not want him to obtain immortality. Anu (Sumerian An) on the otherhand was willing to let Adapa become immortal and like a god. Ea had successfully thwarted Anu's offer. So the Mesopotamians did not envison man's lost chance at immortality as occurring because he DISOBEYED his god, but because he OBEYED his god (Ea/Enki). The Hebrews are then, in the book of Genesis refuting and denying the Mesopotamian presentation of how man came to looseout on a chance to obtain immortality.
The Adapa and the Southwind myth also deals with man's obtaining of forbidden knowledge reserved for the gods. Genesis presents Adam and Eve obtaining forbidden knowledge. Ea apparently against Anu's wishes, has given Adapa the knowledge of powerful spells and incantations to overpower the lesser gods, in this case Adapa via a curse breaks the wing of the southwind stopping breezes. Anu summons Adapa to his heavenly abode wanting to know where he has obtained this knowledge. Realizing Adapa has godly knowledge Anu resolves he might as well make the human into a full-fledged god by bestowing immortality on him by allowing him to consume the bread and water of life. In Genesis man is presented as ILLEGALLY OBTAINING KNOWLEDGE, whereas the Mesopotamians understand that the ILLEGAL KNOWLEDGE was given by Ea to man who he has created to be his servant in Eridu. Again, Genesis is refuting and denying the Mesopotamian presentation of how man OBTAINED KNOWLEDGE INTENDED TO BE RESTRICTED TO THE GODS.
Please note I understand the Hebrews have introduced major modifications, employing reversals/inversions and fusing of characters, with new names and different locations and rearranged sequences of events in their _recasting_ of the Mesopotamian Adapa and the Southwind myth.
I am in agreement with Gordon Wenham and W. G. Lambert that Genesis is a polemic _challenging, refuting and denying_ the Mesopotamain notions as to why man was created and his demise being sought in a flood by putting "new twists" to old ideas or motifs.
I understand with other scholars that Genesis 1-3 is combining motifs from several different Mesopotamian myths, thus the reason (below) I have added commentary on some of these motifs which do NOT appear in the Southwind myth.
Christian Apologists, understandably, _deny any borrowing of religious concepts_ by the Hebrews from the peoples about them. The Bible is presented by the Apologists as a direct revelation from God to man. Accordingly "any" parallels were in earlier ages explained away as corrupted pagan notions of Holy Writ under the influence of Satan and his Demons (nowadays many Apologists tend to skip the "Satanic corruption" argument and just cite "differences").
The Bible _must always_ be free of pagan "borrowings" for the Apologists. Apologists devote a great deal of time noting the "differences" between the pagan concepts and the Bible, claiming these differences are "proof" there is no borrowing.
Apologists deny the differences in the Bible are because the Hebrews are deliberately challenging pagan beliefs and _recasting them_ with different details, locations, and sequences of events. Please click here for an interesting Christian analysis (1981) of the parallels bewteen Adam and Adapa by a Conservative 7th-Day Adventist scholar, Professor Niels-Erik Andreasen, who notes the "differences."
Professor Ziolkowski (Professor Emeritus, Princeton University) understands that Adam is a recast of Adapa and Enkidu:
"...biblical scholars have long been aware that the Genesis account is based on cosmological legends and mythological elements known to various peoples of the ancient Near East—in particular the image of a garden of the gods containing trees with mysterious powers. The anthropomorphic conception of a god strolling in his garden, as alien to the Hebrew tradition as is the walking and talking serpent, probably also came from another source. Notably, most of the characteristic motifs of the Genesis account are to be found, albeit in wholly different configurations, in the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh." (p.13. "Near Eastern Sources." Theodore Ziolkowski. The Sin of Knowledge. Princeton University Press. 2000)
"...the harlot tells him, in words anticipating the biblical serpent's, "Thou art wise, Enkidu, art become like a god!" Clothing him with half of her garment, she leads him to Uruk..." (p.14. Ziolkowski)
"...the epic contains virtually all the elements of the biblical account of the Creation, Temptation, and Fall..." (p.15. Ziolkowski)
"Like Adam, Enkidu is created by a deity from the clay of the earth and spends his early days in naked innocence among the beasts of the field. Then, succumbing to a woman's temptation, he loses his innocence and acquires godlike knowledge. The motifs of a plant of life and the serpent that tricks Adam and Eve out of immortality occur after Enkidu's death in connection with Gilgamesh, who obtains the plant but is prevented from eating of it. Several of these common Mesopotamian elements occur also in the later (fourteenth-century B.C.E.) Akkadian tale of Adapa, who is created by the culture-god Ea as "the model of men," and to whom is given wisdom but not eternal life." (p.16. Ziolkowski)
Eden as Eridu (Where Adapa lived):
Genesis presents God's Garden in Eden as a "magical" place for at this location there exists a tree whose fruit if eaten will make man WISE possessing KNOWLEDGE:
Eve, representing mankind, understands the tree will make her WISE, possessing WISDOM:
Genesis 3:6 RSV
"So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired TO MAKE ONE WISE, she took of its fruit and ate..."
The serpent advising Eve she will possess KNOWLEDGE if she eats of the forbidden fruit:
Genesis 3:5 RSV
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, KNOWING good and evil."
Several scholars have suggested Adapa is a prototype of Adam. What is "missed" is that Adapa dwells _on the earth_ at Eridu (in ancient Sumer, modern Iraq). The god of wisdom and knowledge Enki/Ea dwells at Eridu in a watery abyss called in Sumerian the ab-zu (Semitic: ap-su). Professor Contenau (1954) translates ab-zu to mean the "dwelling of knowledge" and I note that Adam and Eve's dwelling is in a garden in Eden and at thier "dwelling" can be obtained wisdom and knowledge. Mesopotamian myths understand man in the beginning was without wisdom and knowledge. He is portrayed at first as being an ignorant naked animal who dwelt with the beasts of edin/eden (Sumer's uncultivated land), then the God Enki/Ea of Eridu changes all this and bestows knowledge on mankind enabling him to serve the gods, to provide them with food from their city gardens in the edin. Several scholars have rightly noted that Eridu appears to be the Mesopotamian equivalent of the Garden of Eden (Sayce, Leick) and I agree (however I understand other locations have been fused to Eridu for Eden's garden).
Contenau on the ab-zu as the "source" of wisdom and knowledge where dwells Enki/Ea the god of Wisdom and Knowledge, who created man of the clay from the ab-zu, and placed him in his city-garden to care for it releasing the Igigi gods from their grievous toil in maintaing the irrigation canals that provide water for the crops:
"...Ea (Enki in Sumerian). He was the lord of ...the abyss of waters upon which the terrestial world floated...Ea's very name, with its meaning of 'house of water', is itself descriptive of his realm. The Babylonians believed that wisdom and knowledge resided in this abyss, which they knew by the name of apsu, which is simply the Semitic form of the Sumerian ab-zu, meaning 'dwelling of knowledge;. Ea's wife was Damkina...certain theological traditions make him a creator of mankind...which he formed... of clay...he ruled the domain which was the seat of knowledge..." (p. 248. Georges Contenau. Everyday Life in Babylon and Assyria. New York. St. Martin's Press, Inc. 1954)
Eden as the Edin (Where Enkidu encounters Shamhat):
Several scholars have noted that Enkidu and Shamhat appear to have been transformed and recast as ADam and Eve and I agree. What is "missed" by these scholars is that the watering hole in the wilderness where they meet is sometimes rendered as edin! The Epic of Gilgamesh is written in Akkadian, but generally unknown to many is that Akkadian scribes were found of substituting Akkadian words with Sumerian logograms as a shorthand way of writing an Akkadian word. The logogram edin is a single sign, replacing the Akkadain word seri (seru) which means an uncultivated semi-arid plain. The Akkadian composer of the Epic of Gilgamesh, then at times writes seri/seru and at other times writes edin. When professionally trained modern Assyriologists see the Sumerian logogram edin they "read it" as seri/seru (plain). It is my understanding that the "edin" where Enkidu met Shamhat, became Eden in the book of Genesis. I am in agreement with scholars that events associated with Adapa of Eridu and with Enkidu and Shamhat in the edin have been fused together and recast as a Garden of/in Eden in Genesis. By the way, the Hunter (called Sadu) who brought Shamhat to the edin's watering hole to ensnare Enkidu has become Yahweh-Elohim presenting Eve to Adam in Eden.
Yahweh as Akkadian Ea (Sumerian Enki):
(1) ADAM IS A MODEL OF MANKIND and Yahweh's servant; ADAPA IS A MODEL OF MANKIND and Ea's servant.
(2) ADAM LIVES ON THE EARTH in his God's garden and his purpose is till and care for the garden on God's behalf; ADAPA LIVES ON THE EARTH at Eridu. In other myths we learn that Ea has planted a garden for himself near his temple/shrine in which the Igigi junior gods toil. To prevent their revolt over onerous working conditions, Ea makes "man" of clay to serve -forevermore or for all eternity- in his city-garden as his agricultural servant.
(3) Adam is _DENIED KNOWLEDGE_ by God and serves Yahweh in a state of NAKEDNESS; In Sumerian myths man is DENIED THE KNOWLEDGE it is wrong to be naked by the clothed gods who formed him. Naked man is a beast, who at first wanders edin-the-plain (also rendered steppe and desert) with naked animals for companions; he is shown naked in art forms serving beverages to seated fully-clothed gods, who have denied him the knowledge it is wrong to be naked in their presence. Ea DENIES Adapa the KNOWLEDGE, that the bread and water to be offered him will give him immortality.
(4) God WARNS Adam he WILL DIE if he eats of the forbidden fruit. Ea WARNS Adapa he WILL DIE if he eats of bread and water offered by Anu.
(5) Adapa REFUSED to eat the "bread and water of life" conferring immortality BECAUSE HE OBEYED Ea. Adam is not allowed by God to eat of the Tree of life preventing the attainment of immortality BECAUSE HE DISOBEYED GOD. Neither Adapa or Adam consume the food that would have given them immortality because of a god's intervention.
(6) Adam ACQUIRES FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE (knowing it is wrong to be naked); Adapa ACQUIRES FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE (spells to overpower the lesser gods).
(7) Adam has ACQUIRED FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE AND BEEN _DENIED_ IMMORTALITY; Adapa has ACQUIRED FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE from Ea (Enki) AND BEEN _DENIED_ IMMORTALITY by Ea's actions.
(8) Yahweh confounds the one language of mankind in to a babel of tongues; Enki (Ea) out of spite of his brother-god Enlil confounds the one language of man into a babel of tongues.
(9) Yahweh sends a flood to destroy mankind; Enlil (Enki's brother) instigates a flood to destroy mankind.
(10) Yahweh warns one man, Noah, of the Flood, he is to build an ark, and save self, family, animals; Ea (Enki) warns Ziusudra dwelling at Shuruppak in Sumer of the Flood being sent by Ellil (Enlil) and to save himself by building a boat of reeds by tearing down the walls of his reed hut, he is to board this reed-boat along with family and animals.
(11) At the Flood's demise Yahweh blesses Noah and swears never to send another Flood; Ellil/Enlil after the Flood's demise is prevailed upon by Ea/Enki to never send another Flood, then Ellil/Enlil blesses the Mesopotamian Noah. I understand that Yahweh who sent the Flood and warned Noah is a recast of Ellil/Enlil who instigated the Flood and Ea/Enki who warned Ziusudra of the Flood. That is to say the Sumerian brother-gods Enlil (Akkadian Ellil) and Enki (Akkadian Ea) have been fused together into Yahweh-Elohim.
Yahweh as Akkadian Anu (Sumerian An):
(1) Yahweh at first does NOT FORBID Adam from ACCESSING THE TREE OF LIFE and becoming immortal; Anu does NOT SEEK TO DENY IMMORTALITY to Adapa, allowing him to consume the "bread and water of life."
(2) Yahweh ASKS Adam "HAVE YOU EATEN OF THE TREE?"(Ge 3:11); Anu ASKS Adapa "WHY DID YOU _NOT_ EAT?" (the offered "bread and water of life").
(3) Yahweh is UPSET that man has DEFIED him; Anu is UPSET Adapa has REFUSED his offer of bread and drink.
(4) Yahweh is UPSET that Adam has OBTAINED FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE; ANU is UPSET Adapa HAS ACQUIRED FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE from Ea.
(5) Yahweh exclaims of Adam: "Behold the man HAS BECOME _LIKE_ONE _OF_US_, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL" (Ge 3:22); Anu exclaims of Adapa: "What was Ea about to GIVE KNOWLEDGE...TO MAKE HIM _LIKE_ ONE _OF_US_, and with such a name for WISDOM? But now that he is here what else can we do? Fetch the bread of life and he shall eat it. When they brought him the bread of life he would not eat. When they brought him the water of life he did not drink it." (p. 171. "Adapa: The Man." N. K. Sandars. Poems of Heaven and Hell From Ancient Mesopotamia. London. Penguin Books. 1971. paperback). Professor Kramer renders this verse as revealing the contempt the gods have for man (Adapa), he being called a "worthless human":
"Anu asks why Ea should have disclosed the "plan of heaven and earth" to Adapa. Adapa is, afterall, nothing but an amiluta la banita, a "worthless human..." (p. 116. "The Great Magician." Samuel Noah Kramer & John Maier. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1989)
(6) Yahweh after stating of Adam "Behold, the man has become LIKE ONE OF _US_, knowing good and evil" (Ge 3:22) thereupon decides to DENY Adam access to the Tree of Life and thereby deny mankind immortality. This appears to be a reversal or inversion or "travesty" of Anu's decision that because Adapa is now LIKE US, possessing forbidden knowledge given him by Ea (Enki), thus "WE" (Anu, Ningishzida and Dumuzi) SHOULD BESTOW IMMORTALITY upon the man by ALLOWING him to consume the bread and water of life:
"As for _US_, what shall WE do about him? Bread
THEY brought him, he did not eat; when the water of
THEY brought him, he did not drink."
(p. 79. "Adapa." James B. Pritchard. Editor. The Ancient Near East An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 1958. paperback)
(7) Because Adam acquired forbidden knowledge, immortality was DENIED him by God whereas because Adapa acquired forbidden knowledge from Ea, Anu OFFERS immortality to him (Genesis seems to be a "parody" of the Adapa myth, immortality is WITHELD instead of GRANTED because of man's possession of forbidden knowledge). This change of events in my view is "A NEW TWIST" to an earlier concept or motif.
(8) Yahweh is the creator of man. In Mesopotamian myths several gods and goddesses share the honor of having been responsible for man's creation such as Sumerian An (Akkadian Anu), Enki (Ea), Enlil (Ellil). To the degree that Yahweh has created man and expelled him, Anu also "plays the part" of Yahweh, in that by having Ningishzida and Dumuzi return Adapa to his earth he is thereby denied any further opportunities to eat the "bread of life" and drink the "water of life" which would give him immortality, just as Adam is denied access to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
(9) The Sumerian god An (Akkadian/Babylonian Anu) in the below verse is credited with creating man and tasking the Sumerian god Enki of Eridu (Akkadian/Babylonian Ea) with denying man the sacred me, the knowledge of heaven and earth:
"Lord...who establishes understanding...who knows everything! Enki, of broad wisdom...Your father, An the king, the lord who caused human seed to come forth and who placed all mankind on the earth, has laid upon you the guarding of the divine powers of heaven and earth and has elevated you to be their prince. An... has instructed you...to make orchards and gardens ripe with syrup and vines grow as tall as forests."
(A tigi to Enki for Ur-Ninurta, Ur-Ninurta B: c.18.104.22.168)
A prayer that Enki's house of wisdom (his Abzu or Apzu shrine, modern Tell Abu Shahrein) at Eridu might be opened that the king may partake of some of the wisdom stored there:
"May Ur-Ninurta, the king, in whom Enlil trusts, open up your house of wisdom in which you have gathered knowledge in plenty..."
(A tigi to Enki for Ur-Ninurta. Ur-Ninurta B, c.2.5.62)
We see then from texts that An/Anu and Enki/Ea are asociated with mankind's creation, denying him knowledge (Anu being upset Adapa has knowledge of how to break the south wind's wing), and denying him immortality (Ea lying to Adapa, falsely leading him to believe the "bread of life" offered by Anu is the "bread of death"). We also see that Enki/Ea is famed for his shrine at Eridu being a house of wisdom, a storeplace of knowledge desired by mankind, personified here as the king Ur-Ninurta. Eridu where a man obtained forbidden knowledge and was denied immortality has been recast by the Hebrews into Yahweh-Elohim's garden in Eden, a place where godly forbidden knowledge was kept and acquired by man. Abraham who lived at Ur of the Chaldees lived only 12 miles away from Eridu (Eridu is SW of Ur), the Mesopotamian equivalent of the Bible's Garden of Eden. A shine to Enki has been found at Ur.
Tsumura citing Sjoberg notes that there is no mention in any Sumerian or Akkadian text of a 'Tree of Life':
"However, according to Sjoberg, who recently reexamined Sumerian connections with regard to the "tree of life," there is "no evidence" for such a tree in Mesopotamian myth and cult. He says, "The identification of different trees on Mesopotamian seals as a Tree of Life is a pure hypothesis, a product of pan-Babylonianism...There is no Sumerian or Akkadian expression 'Tree of Life'." (p. 39. footnote 70. David Toshio Tsumura. "Genesis and Ancient Near Eastern Stories of Creation and Flood: An Introduction." pp. 27-57. in Richard S. Hess & David Toshio Tsumura. Editors. "I Studied Inscriptions from before the Flood" Ancient Near Eastern, Literary, and Linguistic Approaches to Genesis 1-11. Winona Lake, Indiana. Eisenbrauns. 1994, citing A. W. Sjoberg, "Eve and the Chameleon," pp. 219-221, In the Shelter of Elyon: Essays on Ancient Palestinian Life and Literature (Journal for the study of the Old Testament) in Honor of G. W. Ahlstrom. Sheffield: JSOT Press. 1984.
Lambert has noted that for the Mesopotamian cosmographers, their efforts were not so much the creation of new gods and new concepts from whole cloth, but rather the taking of older concepts and adding a "new Twist." This is my understanding in regards to Yahweh-Elohim, he is the result of "new twists" derived from a "re-working and transformation" of older concepts by the Hebrews, who followed in the footsteps of their Mesopotamian counterparts.
"The authors of ancient cosmologies were essentially compilers. Their originality was expressed in new combinations of old themes, and in new twists to old ideas." (p.107. W.G. Lambert. "A New Look at the Babylonian Background of Genesis." , in Richard S. Hess & David T. Tsumra, Editors. I Studied Inscriptions From Before the Flood, Ancient Near Eastern, Literary, and Linguistic Approaches to Genesis 1-11. Winona Lake, Indiana, Eisenbrauns, 1994)
(10) Yahweh provides A CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR Adam; Anu orders A CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR Adapa.
(11) Yahweh EXPELLS Adam to PREVENT ACCESS to the Tree of Life; Anu has Adapa RETURNED to Eridu which ENDS any second chance to consume the "bread and water of life".
(12) Yahweh has Adam EXPELLED via THE CHERUBIM (a plural form of the word Cherub): Anu has Adapa "RETURNED to his earth" via his TWO gate-guards,Gishzida (Ningishzida) and Dumuzi (Tammuz).
(13) Yahweh mentions Adam's _RETURNING_ TO _DUST_ (Ge 3:13) upon his expulsion; Anu upon Adapa's expulsion states HE IS TO BE _RETURNED_ TO HIS _EARTH_, accompanied by Gishzida and Dumuzi.
(14) Yahweh sends a Flood to destroy mankind; In one mythical version Anu (An) is identified as one of the gods, along with Enlil (Ellil), who determines a flood must be sent to destroy mankind.
The Serpent as Akkadian Ea (Sumerian Enki):
Note: According to Kramer circa 2500 B.C. Sumerian Enki was transformed into Akkadian Ea.
(1) The Serpent has the ability to walk and talk with mankind; Ea in his earlier role as Enki is represented in human form and thus has the ability to talk and walk with mankind, he also has a Sumerian epithet, ushumgal, which means "great serpent/dragon" (a mythological beast which walked upon four feet).
(2) The Serpent is famed for its SUBTLETY (cunning, shrewdness) with words ENTRAPPING Eve and thereby Adam; Enki is famed for his SUBTLETY with words, ENTRAPPING naive mankind with words having a double-meaning.
(3) The Serpent is associated as possessing a SHREWD CUNNING FORM OF WISDOM AND _BEING WISE_ (Matthew 10:16); Enki is the GOD OF WISDOM and FAMED FOR HIS CUNNING AND TRICKERY played on gods and man.
(4) The Serpent is portrayed as man's enemy; Enki's word in hymns is likened to being a VIPER'S VENOM for those he seeks to undo or con.
(5) The Serpent is associated with TREES; Enki the ushumgal or "great serpent/dragon" is famed for planting a city-garden of fruit-trees at Eridu in Sumer in edin-the-plain near his shrine.
(6) TWO UNIQUE TREES are in Yahweh's garden unlike other trees, a Tree of Knowledge and a Tree of Life and the Serpent apparently has "intimate knowledge" of these tree's properties; Enki the ushumgal or "great serpent/dragon" is famed for creating and planting TWO UNIQUE TREES IN HIS CITY-GARDEN at Eridu, one is called a Mes-tree the other is called a Kiskannu-tree (Solomon's temple had scenes of palm trees with Cherubim suggesting for some scholars a date palm may have been envisioned as the Tree of Life; Enki's unique Kiskannu-tree is thought by some scholars to be a date palm).
The late (1897-1990) Professor Kramer on Enki's fruit tree garden at Eridu, note that Enki (Ea) is described as a WALKING, TALKING, GREAT USHUMGAL "_SEPENT/DRAGON_," WHO IS _CUNNING AND WISE_ AND ASSOCIATED WITH PLANTING A GARDEN OF FRUIT-TREES AT ERIDU WHERE LIVES ADAPA. Eden's serpent could walk and talk and was associated with a garden full of fruit trees planted on the earth by _a_ god (Yahweh) and the serpent (the New Testament's "serpent/dragon") famed for his "cunning" and "wisdom" (cf. Matthew 10:16 "...be ye therefore WISE AS A SERPENT..."). Perhaps the mes-tree planted by the CUNNING and WISE GREAT USHUMGAL has been transformed by the Hebrews into the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?"
"Lord who walks nobly on heaven and earth, self-reliant,
father Enki, engendered by a bull,
begotten by a wild bull...king, who turned out the mes-tree in the Abzu,
raised it up over all the lands,
who planted it in Eridu-
its shade spreading over heaven and earth-
A GROVE OF FRUIT TREES stretching over the land...
Enki...lord of wisdom...you have given the people a place to live...you have looked after them...
Enki, king of the Abzu, celebrates his own magnificance
as is right...
I AM CUNNING AND WISE IN THE LANDS...
I am lord, I am the one whose word endures.
I am eternal..."
(pp. 39-41. "Enki and Inanna: The Organization of the Earth and Its Cultural Processes." Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1989)
Note: Another hymn speaks of the mes-tree as being "the flesh of the gods." Perhaps what is meant is that at times statues of the gods were carved from its wood? If so, then to the degree that gods were understood to be "immortal" the mes-tree would be associated with "immortality?" That is to say the mes-tree might be what is behind Eden's "Tree of Life" which confers immortality on human flesh? The above hymn's mention of a "grove of fruit trees" planted by Enki the Ushumgal at Eridu, may be the source of Genesis' notion that Adam and Eve have access to fruits from trees planted by God in his garden before their creation.
The late (1914-2007) Professor Bottero's translation of the above same verse suggests Enki is a "great-dragon" (Sumerian: ushumgal) that STANDS in the Eridu fruit-tree garden at Eridu and Eden's serpent possessed feet, making it capable of standing (emphasis mine):
"The Sublime lord of heaven and earth...
Father Enki, whom a bull has begotten...
O king, who planted the mes-tree in the Absu...
THE GREAT DRAGON, WHO STANDS IN ERIDU,
whose shadow covers heaven and earth,
An orchard full of fruit trees stretched over the Land,
Enki, lord of prosperity, (lord) of the Anunna gods..."
(p. 31. "To Enki." Jean Bottero. Religion In Ancient Mesopotamia. Chicago & London. The University of Chicago Press. 2001. ISBN 0-226-06717-3. Translated from French by Teresa Lavender Fagan. Originally published as La plus vielle religion: En Mesoptamie. Editions Gallimard. 1998)
The Serpent as Akkadian Anu (Sumerian An):
(1) The Serpent URGES Eve TO EAT the fruit forbidden by God; ANU URGES ADAPA TO CONSUME THE BREAD AND WATER forbidden him by Ea.
(2) The Serpent TELLS EVE SHE WILL NOT DIE if she eats; Anu tells Adapa THAT HE WILL NOT LIVE (have immortality) because he has failed to eat the proferred bread and water of life. That is to say, Anu's presentation of the bread and water of life was to PREVENT MAN FROM DYING, thus somewhat like the Serpent, Anu's actions denied or falsified Ea's warning of death if the bread and water were consumed.
(3) Yahweh THWARTS THE SERPENT (who told Eve she and Adam will NOT DIE), Adam and Eve WILL DIE; Anu's attempt to secure immortality for Adapa is THWARTED BY Ea (Enki), Adapa WILL DIE like all other men.
The Serpent as Gishzida (Nin-gish-zida):
(1) The Serpent advised Eve she would be like a God and she WOULD NOT DIE if she consumed the forbidden fruit; Ningishzida is in favor of Adapa obtaining immortality putting in a good word for him before Anu. Anu probably had Ningishzida (and Dumuzi) present the bread and water of life to Adapa on his behalf.
(2) The Serpent can talk with man and walk; Ningishzida in human form can talk and walk, he is also shown as a serpent/dragon with two wings, horns and four feet. In his human form serpent/dragon heads erupt from his shoulders. He is shown on a cylinder seal presenting Gudaea of Lagash to a god (Enki or Anu, as both possessed the 'water of life'? or perhaps Ningirsu?) to secure for Gudaea life-giving freshwater.
(3) The Edenic Serpent presented himself as man's FRIEND, NOT ENEMY, suggesting God was _LYING_ to Adam and Eve; Ningishzida was FRIENDLY to Adapa and apparently offered him -on Anu's behalf- the "bread and water of life" to secure man's immortality, making him like a god. Ea however in warning Adapa NOT to eat, was in effect portraying Anu, Ningishzida and Dumuzi as MAN"S ENEMY, SEEKING HIS DEMISE with the "bread and water of death." Ea (as Enki the ushumgal "serpent/dragon") did succeed in his _LIE_, Adapa believed him and refused to consume the bread and water of life.
The Serpent as Dumuzi/Dumuzid (Tammuz):
(1) The Serpent is portrayed as dwelling on the earth in a location called Eden, in a god's garden; Dumuzi is called the "son of Ea (Enki)" and Dumuzi abzu/apsu "Dumuzi of the abyss", the abzu is a mythical freshwater spring at Eridu where dwells Ea/Enki. This abzu opening is the source of all the freshwater which fills all the world's rivers, including the Tigris and Euphrates. Eridu lies in Sumer, in edin-the-plain (note various scholars translate Sumerian edin as plain, steppe, desert; Iraq's great plain which lies between the Tigris and Euphrates is mostly arid and "desert-like," and Genesis suggests the garden is in an _arid_ location called Eden, whose principal source of water is a river). Dumuzi is called mulu-edin "lord of edin" his wife Inanna (Ishtar) is called nin-edin "lady of edin". Both Dumuzi and Inanna bear epithets associating them with serpents: Both are called ama-ushum-gal-an-na meaning the "mother is a great serpent dragon of heaven." I understand Dumuzi the serpent/dragon or ushumgal who dwells at Eridu in edin as Dumuzi absu (Adapa dwelt at Eridu too as Enki's priest, baker and fisherman) became one of the _prototypes_ of the serpent of Eden tempting Adam in Eden.
(2) Dumuzi as Anu's heavenly gate guard sought Adapa's welfare with Ningishzida, and on Anu's behalf probably offered Adapa immortality with the presentation of the "bread and water of life". Adapa refused to consume this heeding his god Ea's advice. Ea in effect had portrayed Dumuzi the ushumgal or "serpent dragon" as man's enemy seeking his demise with the "bread and water of death".
(3) In Genesis the Serpent "looses its legs" at God's doing; Dumuzi who resides as a shepherd in edin asks the sun-god (Sumerian Utu, Akkadian Shamash) to _take away his hands and feet_ and transform him into a serpent so that he might flee the bonds of his captors the ugalla demons (shown as erect serpents on a cylinder seal) who seek to carry him off to the underworld accomplishing his death. The sun-god honors his request and Dumuzi in serpent form slithers out of his bonds and temporarily escapes. Perhaps this motif was "reworked" as God causing a serpent to loose its feet?
(4) Dumuzi's wife the Sumerian goddess Inanna "the lady of heaven" bears the title Inanna-edin-na "Inanna of edin", and nin-edin-na "lady of edin." In myths she is also called ama-ushumgal-an-na "the mother is a great serpent-dragon of heaven." A Sumerian myth relates how she once descended to the earth with her brother the sun-god (Sumerian Utu) to EAT OF CEDAR _TREES_ (consuming apparently pine nuts), to ACQUIRE SEXUAL KNOWLEDGE to fulfil her wifely duties. To the degree that Eve is Adam's "wife" in Eden and she eats of a tree's fruit to acquire knowledge, perhaps Inanna "the lady of edin" has been _recast_ as Eve? Eve's "involvement" with a SERPENT may recall her as "Inanna of edin" bearing the epithet ama-ushumgal-an-na "the mother is a great serpent-dragon of heaven"? Of interest here is that some Christian art work portrays the serpent as a woman with the lower half of her body being a serpent.
The Cherubim as Gishzida and Dumuzi:
Yahweh has the Cherubim drive man out of the garden in Eden and has them guard its entrance to deny re-entry to man (Ge 3:24). Ningishzida and Tammuz serve as gate guards for Anu's heavenly abode. They intercept all visitors and present them to Anu, they also, on Anu's orders, escort visitors back the earth, in our case, Adapa. Adapa's refusal to accept their generous offer of immortality suggests for me that they would not welcome again his entry into Anu's heavenly abode, they would probably deny him re-entry. I thus understand the Hebrews have reworked Adapa's "escorted return" from Anu's abode by Ningishzida and Dumuzi as the Cherubim "driving out" Adam and Eve and denying man's entry. That is to say, Anu was probably not willing to let Adapa have a "second chance" at consuming the "bread and water of life."
The "Bread of Death" and the "Bread of Life" _recast_ as "Fruit of Death" and "Fruit of Life" in Genesis:
Adapa was warned on the earth in Eridu by his god Ea (Enki) NOT to eat "the bread of death" or drink "the water of death" or he would surely die. In Anu's heaven he is presented "Bread of Life" and "Water of Life" which will give him immortality. I understand that the Hebrews employing "a new twist" have transformed the Bread of Death into a Fruit of Death which if eaten will cause Adam to die, said fruit being from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Bread of Life offered by Anu has been recast by the Hebrews as a Fruit conferring immortality if consumed. In other myths, we learn that Ea (Enki) who is called an ushumgal "great serpent/dragon" has created a garden full of fruit-trees for himself near his shrine. He is, in another myth, responsible for creating man of the clay over the apsu in Eridu to replace the toiling Igigi gods who complain they have no rest from agricultural toil in his city garden. I thus understand that Ea's FRUIT_TREE_GARDEN was known by Terah and Abraham who lived at Ur of the Chaldees (Tel al Muqayyar or Mugheir near Eridu) and fruits from these trees REPLACED "Bread of Death" and "Bread of Life" in the Hebrew _recasting_ of motifs from the Adapa and the Southwind myth.
Adam as Adapa:
(1) I understand Adam is an amalgam of several characters from different Mesopotamian myths. He is Adapa of the Southwind myth who lost out on a chance to obtain immortality and Enkidu of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the naked hairy wildman who wanders the steppe with animals for companions and who is seduced by a temple harlot from Uruk (biblical Erech) and loses his innocence, is clothed, declared to be like a god, leaves his animal companions for a woman's companionship and comes to dwell in cities; Adam is also derived in part from Atrahasis (the Mesopotamian Noah) who dwells in an idyllic paradise called Dilmun with his wife, possessing immortality and never having to engage in agricultural toil, they are like gods; Another Adamic prototype is Enki who dwells in Dilmun and is cursed with death for eating his wife's plants without her permission; and the "first man" created by Enki (Ea) to work in the city garden at Nippur belonging to the god Enlil.
(2) Adam is presented as at first being morally pure, without sin, without blame. I understand this motif is a recast of Adapa who is presented as being without blame and obedient to his god's commands. Adam's "Fall" into sin from a state of blamlessness is a reversal of Adapa's situation (a "new twist"), Adapa, unlike Adam did _not_ eat the forbidden food and because of this refusal he lost out on a chance to obtain immortality for himself and mankind.
Adapa is portrayed as being without blame, he has clean hands, his god finds no fault in him, yet he denies him immortality:
"To him he had given wisdom; eternal life he had not given him. In those days, in those years, the sage from Eridu… Ea created him as the model of men…The capable, the most wise…The blameless, the clean of hands…The observer of rites…" (p. 76. "Adapa." James B. Pritchard. Editor. The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Vol. 1. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 1958. Paperback edition)
Professor Barton (1916) on the above same verses, rendered somewhat differently:
"Blameless, clean of hands, anointed, the observer of divine commands…" (p. 261. line 9. "The Legend of Adapa and the Fall of Man." George Aaron Barton. Archaeology and the Bible. Philadelphia. American Sunday-school Union. 1916)
Adapa, like Adam, does take "a fall," but not from moral blamelessness into sinfulness, he looses out on immortality because, being naïve, trusting, and blameless, he obeyed his unrighteous lying god's warning or "divine command" and resisted temptation and did not eat the forbidden food which would have given him immortality. Had he been a sinner and disobeyed his god's command he would have attained immortality for himself and mankind. The Hebrews have inverted or reversed the Mesopotamian explanation for why man doesn't have immortality.
He was swindled by his god Ea, or conned. If there is any "sinning" here, it isn't by Adapa, it's by his god Ea, who has lied to him about the properties of the forbidden food; I note here that one of the hallmarks of a sinner in the New Testament is that they are liars:
Timothy 1:10 RSV
"...the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinner, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man slayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers..."
In other myths Ea (Enki) fulfills Timothy's description of a sinner: As Enki he slays his ancestor Abzu at Eridu; he slays a fellow-god, Weila at Nippur; he perjures himself before Enlil claiming he did not break his oath not to reveal to man a flood was to happen; he is an oath-breaker in trying to take back from Inanna the "me" he has given her swearing they are hers by his holy oath; at Dilmun he has incest with his daughter, grand-daughter, and great-grand-daughter, impregnating each to give birth to the other in sequence. He was also at times a drunkard. In other words the "sinner" in the Adapa and the South Wind myth was not a man (Adapa) it was his god, Ea (Enki).
(3) Adam's so-called "FALL" is understood to have brought suffering and death to mankind; Adapa is blamed in the Southwind myth as responsible for the disease, suffering and death afflicting mankind for his failing to eat the bread and water of life offered him by Anu, he in error, thinking it was "bread and water of death." Ultimately, the real blame for man's misfortunes are laid at the door of a trickster sinner god, Ea, who lied to Adapa.
Genesis acknowledge that this world is filled with bloodshed and violence committed by both man and beast and attributes this state of affairs to "The Fall": both animal and man shed each other's blood, neither eats "only" plants as originally intended by God (Ge 1:29-30). The Mesopotamian myths also acknowledge that the world is filled with bloodshed and violence by man and beast but the reason given is different. The world was full of violence and murderous bloodshed before man was created. The world was made of Tiamat's slain body, she being slain by Marduk of Babylon. She sought to slay the gods her children for their rebelling against her and slaying her husband Abzu at Eridu. To the degree that man and beast is ultimately formed of Tiamat's body (as clay) they share in her murderous temperament, a willingness to slay her own children, the gods.
So the Mesopotamians did not understand that a man (Adapa) "fell into sin" causing beasts and man to corrupt God's way and become violent towards each other filling the world with bloodshed and violence. Man is not to blame for the world's violence, the gods are to blame, man is an innocent victim of circumstances beyond his control: he is violent because the gods he was modeled after are themselves violent.
(4) In the New Testament Christ is presented as a "new Adam" and his suffering and sacrifice will once again make possible man's second chance at attaining immortality thus ending suffering, disease and death; For the Mesopotamians Adapa's "FALL" meant disease, suffering, and death is man's lot for all eternity.
Black and Green on Adapa being "the wise man" of Eridu:
"According to Babylonian legend, Adapa was the ancient 'wise man' or 'sage' (apkallu) of Eridu, the reputed earliest city of Sumer...His wisdom and position had been granted him by the god Ea (Enki)." (Jeremy Black & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An Illustrated Dictionary. Austin, Texas. University of Texas Press [Published in co-operation with the British Museum Press, London]. 1992. ISBN 0-292-70794-0)
Bottero understood Ea (Enki) bore the epithet Atra-khasis, as well as the Mesopotamian Noah variously called Ziusudra, Utnapishtim and Atra-Khasis (Atrahasis):
"Atra-khasis (The Supersage). This epithet, belonging to Enki/Ea,was also used to indicate his devotee, who was saved from the Flood by Enki/Ea in order to preserve the human race...The poem [Atra-khasis] is of considerable importance, especially for the study of the creation of mankind." (p. 290. "Glossary-Index." Jean Bottero. Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1992. [Published 1982 as Mesopotamie, L'ecriture, la raison et les dieux. Editions Gallimard. Paris)
Clay (1923) on the meaning of Atra-khasis:
"Attempts have been made to show that Atra-khasis was composed of two words, and meant "most holy," "religious," "just and perfect man," "very intelligent," "open-minded," "very wise," etc. There are no etymological grounds for any of these guesses, for in Assyrian the word atru means "abundant, surplus, excess," etc., and the verb khasasu means "to think, to remember, to reflect, to be mindful of." Atra-khasis, although used in these legends as an epithet, is a personal name.
There are two passages in the epics where the name is used as an epithet, apparently for a "wise man." Adapa, in the legend bearing his name, is called "the mighty one, the Atra-khasis of the Anunnaki." In the Etana legend, the wise young eagle is called "the young admu, the Atar-khasis." In both passages the name stands in apposition, and is not written grammatically as two words. There can be little doubt that the name was looked upon in these epics as synonymous with the idea of "clever one"; as if we would call a man "a Noah"; but it was, nevertheless, understood as a personal name. Moreover, the conclusive proof that it is a personal name is to be found in the fact that the determinative for man was placed before it in the early version of the deluge story. The name obviously means, "the god Atar is mindful (of the child)." (pp. 167-168. "The Deluge Story." Albert T. Clay. The Origin Of Biblical Traditions Hebrew Legends In Babylonia And Israel Lectures On Biblical Archaeology. New Haven. Yale University Press. 1923)
My thoughts: If Clay is correct that atru means "abundant, surplus, excess" and khasasu means "to think, to reflect, to be mindful of," could perhaps this epithet be describing the fact that Adapa was "EXCEEDINGLY MINDFUL" of Ea's instructions to him to NOT consume the "bread and water of death" to be offered him by Anu? Thus because he was "exceedingly-mindful" he and mankind lost out on a chance to obtain immortality? Adam in Genesis was NOT "exceedingly-mindful" of Yahweh's warning NOT to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Heidel (1951) on Adapa's "strict obedience" (which i would equate with "abundant mindfulness"):
"...Adapa failed to obtain the priceless boon of immortality not because of any sin or disobedience on his part but because of his strict obedience to the will of Ea, his father, the god of wisdom and the friend of man." (p. 64.John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989, 1990. citing from Alexander Heidel. The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation. p. 124. Chicago University Press. 1951)
Perhaps the Mesopotamian "Noah," Ziusudra or Utnapishtim was called Atra-khasis because he was "exceedingly-mindful" of Ea's instructions (like Adapa): to build a boat and to save self, family and the seed of all animals, thus assuring a replenishment of the earth upon the Flood's demise?
Professor Bottero on the meaning of Adapa:
"Adapa. An epithet of unknown origin that meant "the Wise one." This epithet was used for the first of the apkallu whose name was U'anna." (p. 287. "Glossary-Index." Jean Bottero. Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1992. [Published 1982 as Mesopotamie, L'ecriture, la raison et les dieux. Editions Gallimard. Paris)
Please click here for my article identfying Eridu, where Adapa served Ea (Enki) as one of several prototypes of Genesis' Garden of Eden. As noted by Leick the Mesopotamians envisioned THE FIRST NAMED EARTHLY LOCATION TO BE THE CITY OF ERIDU LOCATED IN EDIN-THE-PLAIN OF SUMER a city created by Ea/Enki, WHEREAS GENESIS' FIRST NAMED EARTHLY LOCATION IS A GARDEN _IN_ EDEN. However, NOT noted by Leick is the fact that the gods' gardens were ALWAYS associated with the city in which they dwelt. Ea (Enki) dwelt at Eridu, he created a fruit-tree garden there near his shrine, he made man of clay from the apsu to replace the junior Igigi gods who toiled in the Eridu garden who threatened rebellion if not relieved of their onerous work. Ea made man to replace the Igigi, man would toil in Ea's Eridu fruit-tree garden for all eternity. Below, an excerpt from that article:
"Leick (emphasis mine):
"ERIDU IS THE MESOPOTAMIAN EDEN, THE PLACE OF CREATION...Amid a primeval sea, THE FIRST CITY, ERIDU...Just like the marsh dwellers of southern Iraq, who still build their huts on floating islands of reed, the god [Marduk] spreads mud upon a reed frame to fashion a platform. From this primordial, rather flimsy basis, the cities and their temples take their beginning. Henceforth the gods take up residence on the earth and live in cities. And because the gods have the dwelling of 'their heart's delight' in cities, Mesopotamian cities are always sacred.
THUS THE MESOPOTAMIAN EDEN IS NOT A GARDEN BUT A CITY, formed from a piece of dry land surrounded by the waters. The first building is a temple. THEN MANKIND IS CREATED TO RENDER SERVICE TO GOD and temple. This is how Mesopotamian tradition presented the evolution and function of cities, and Eridu provides the mythical paradigm. Contrary to the biblical Eden, from which man was banished for ever after the Fall, Eridu remained a real place, imbued with sacredness but always accessible." (pp. 1-2. "Eridu." Gwendolyn Leick. Mesopotamia, The Invention of the City. London. Penguin Books. 2001. Paperback)
Graves and Patai have identified some of the motifs associated with the Garden of Eden as reworked Mesopotamian myths, the so-called Adapa and the Southwind Myth. I however, disagree with them regarding Anu "knowing" of Ea's warning to Adapa. I understand that Anu was willing to bestow immortality on Adapa and Ea anticipating this, lied to Adapa telling him he would be offered bread and water of death and thus not to consume them. I do agree with Graves and Patai, that this myth does provide the motif of the Serpent's warning Eve that she has been lied to by God, that she will die if she eats the forbidden fruit.
Graves and Patai:
"Another source of the Genesis Fall of Man is the Akkadian myth of Adapa, found on a tablet at Tell Amarna, Pharaoh Akhenaten's capital. Adapa, son of Ea, the Babylonian god of wisdom, was attacked in the Persian Gulf by a Storm-bird while catching fish for his father's priests, and broke its wing. The bird proved to have been the South Wind. Ea summoned Adapa to explain his violence and warned him that, having displeased Anu, King of Heaven; the gods would offer him the food and drink of death, which he must refuse. Anu, however, learning of this indiscreet disclosure, foiled Ea by offering Adapa the bread of life and water of life and, when he refused them at his father's orders, grimly sending him back to the earth as a perverse mortal. This myth supplies the theme of the Serpent's warning to Eve: that God deceived her about the properties of the forbidden fruit." (p. 79. "The Fall of Man." Robert Graves & Raphael Patai. Hebrew Myths, the Book of Genesis. New York. Greenwich House. Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc. 1963, 1964, reprint of 1983)
Christianity teaches that all is "not well" between Man and God. Man since Adam has "fallen from grace," he was EXPELLED from the Garden of Eden by God and the Cherubim. Christianity teaches that Christ was born and died on the cross in order to "restore" man to God's good graces, and holds out the promise man will once more be allowed "back" into the Garden of Eden, to eat of the Tree of Life and know God's fellowship (Revelation 22:1-2, 14). These teachings were not a part of Mesopotamian belief. They saw nothing "wrong with the world" that needed a "restoration" of man's relationship vis-a-vis the gods.
Mesopotamian myths understand that the gods (Enlil of Nippur and Enki of Eridu) created man to work in their earthly city gardens to relieve the junior gods called the Igigi of onerous working conditions which they protested and rebelled against. Later, Enlil (Ellil), enraged that he can get no rest by day or sleep by night because of the noise of man, decides to send a flood to destroy all mankind. Ea (Enki), defying Enlil, warns one man, Ziusudra of Shuruppak, of the coming flood and to build a boat to save self, family and animals, he does so. The flood lasts 7 days and nights in one account, another has six days and nights yet another six days and seven nights. After the flood HUNGRY gods gather "like flies" to consume the sacrifice of Ziusudra in their honor, for during the course of the Flood they have had no meals fed them by man.
The gods had learned an important lesson. It was foolish to send another flood to destroy all mankind. Who would take care of the gods' earthly city gardens if man was exterminated ? The gods would have to return to the earth to hoe their own gardens ! Who would feed the hungry gods in the temples if man was no more ? The gods would have to feed themselves !
Genesis portrays an outraged God EXPELLING man from his earthly garden. This concept was UNKNOWN to the Mesopotamians. They understood man had been created to work the gods' gardens FOREVERMORE, relieving the junior gods, the Igigi, of agricultural toil. Genesis is then DENYING OR REFUTING Mesopotamian understandings of HOW and WHY man was created. Yahweh does NOT NEED MAN to take care of his earthly garden, Yahweh does NOT NEED MAN TO FEED HIM the produce from his earthly garden.
The Mesopotamians understood man's sinfulness was because the gods made him that way.
According to one Mesopotamian myth man is created by the god Enki to replace the junior Igigi gods who toil in the garden of a god at Nippur. The Igigi revolt because they have been given NO REST from agricultural toil. To stop the revolt, Enlil, the god of Nippur, summons his brother-god Enki from Eridu asking what can be done to appease the
Igigi? Enki suggests the making of man to replace the Igigi. Enlil gives his assent. Man is made from clay mixed with the FLESH AND BLOOD of Aw-ilu the leader of the Igigi revolt. It is this god's life-force (flesh and blood) which gives life to man. Man's "rebelliousness against god" is accounted for in Mesopotamian myths as man possessing the "rebellious spirit" of the slain rebel leader of Igigi revolt against Enlil (Note: In myths it is Enlil who is the "principal instigator" who decides to send a flood to destroy mankind for violating his rest). Man's sinfulness and rebellious is NOT traced to a man willfully disobediant of his god in eating of a forbidden tree fruit to acquire knowledge and become like a god. Man's DECEITFULNESS or LYING was another GODLY QUALITY passed on to man, the god Enki is famed for his decitfulness, cunning, knavery and trickery on fellow gods as well as man (Note: In myths its is Enki who warns one man of the Flood to be sent to destroy man, telling him to build a boat and save self, family and animals).
Foster noted that the Mesopotamians understood man's "lies and falsehood" were implanted in man at his creation by the gods Enlil and Ea and the birth goddess Mami:
"Enlil, king of the gods, who created teeming mankind,
Majestic Ea, who pinched off their clay,
The queen who fashioned them, mistress Mami,
Gave twisted words to the human race,
They endowed them in perpetuity with lies and falsehood."
(p. 323. "The Babylonian Theodicy." Benjamin Read Foster. From Distant Days, Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. Bethesda, Maryland. CDL Press. 1995. ISBN 1-883053-09-9)
Christianity's notion that all is NOT WELL because man has been expelled from the Garden of Eden and has lost Gods' "favor" is then a REFUTATION OF MESOPOTAMIAN UNDERSTANDINGS of the relationship between the gods and man.
THE GODS NEVER INTENDED TO EXPEL MAN FROM THEIR EARTHLY GARDENS, FOR THEN THE GODS WOULD HAVE TO HOE THEIR GARDENS THEMSELVES, something they dreaded, hence the reason they made man in the first place, to replace themselves as an agricultural servant.
Genesis' portrayal of Yahweh-Elohim EXPELLING man from his earthly garden is then a Hebrew REFUTATION or DENIAL of the beliefs held by the Mesopotamians regarding the relationship between man and his god.
To the degree that I understand that Ea (Enki) is one of several prototypes behind Yahweh-Elohim in the Garden of Eden, and that Ea bears the epithet of Ushumgal he is also one of several prototypes behind Eden's serpent, I guess one could argue that the later Christian identification of Eden's serpent with Satan (Revelation 20:2), is identifying Ea (Enki) as being both God and Satan. That is to say God _is_ Satan and Satan _is_ God in that both "descend" from Ea (Enki) who created a god's garden full of fruit trees for himself in Eridu and created man of its clay to work in it forevermore, and who warned Adapa NOT TO CONSUME the "bread and water of death" proferred by Anu, Ningishzida and Dumumzi or he would surely die.
Who would have "known" that Ea (Enki) bore the Sumerian epithet Ushumgal? It would have to be someone _very familiar_ with Mesopotamian literature, for the epithet never appears in the Adapa and Southwind myth for ANY of the characters. I suspect that either Terah or Abraham while living in Ur of the Chaldees, decided to worship one god and this god was "their adaptation and transformation" of the gods appearing the local myths. Ur (Tel al Muqayyar or Mugheir south of Babylon) does possess an extensive cuneiform literature which preserves events at Eridu. Ur's kings restored Eridu from time to time as noted by Leick.
Please click here for a picture of Ea/Enki (please scroll down to the bottom of the page for the pictures).
Please click here for a picture of Ningishzida.
Please click here for a picture of Dumuzi (biblical Tammuz).
No identifiable image of An (Anu) exists. However, to the degree that cylinder seals generally show all the gods with the similar dress and helmets or crowns with bull's horns please click here for how Anu probably looked.
Please click here for pictures of Adapa as a "fish-man" (in the Adapa myth one of his duties was that of a fisherman who caught and presented fish for Ea's consumption in his shrine at Eridu. I understand that later ages transformed Adapa "the fisherman" who's boat was overturned tossing Adapa into the sea (thus his cursing the southwind breaking its wing) into a "fishman" who came forth from the depths of the sea bringing wisdom, "the arts of civilization," to mankind).
Please click here for pictures of Adam as Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Eve as Shamhat the harlot who civilized the naked man of edin-the-steppe, she being cursed and blamed for bringing about his ultimate death for trangressions against the gods (I understand Eden's motifs are from several Mesopotamian myths not exclusively the Adapa and The Southwind myth).
Please click here for my article on the 3000 year evolution of Yahweh-Elohim (4000-1000 BCE).
Please click here for my article showing pictures of Yahewh as the "Golden Calf."
Please click here for pictures of Yahweh with wings as noted in the book of Ruth and various Psalms.
Please click here for my article on the Ancient Near Eastern motifs behind Eden's Tree of Knowledge.
Please click here for my article on the Pre-biblical Origins of the Hebrew Shabbat or Sabbath via transformations and new twists of motifs appearing in the Epics of Gilgamesh and Atra-khasis (Atra-hasis) and associated with the 2900 BCE Shuruppak Flood (Which I understand is what lies behind Noah's Flood).
Langdon (1931) understood that the Adapa myth was a "parallel" to the biblical myth about Adam and the introduction of death for all of mankind:
"An Assyrian fragment contains a few lines from the end of the poem...Anu placed some penalty upon him corresponding to that imposed upon Adam by Yaw in Genesis 3:17-19...Anu provides some alleviation for the sorrow and pain which would henceforth be the lot of man. Upon Adapa he conferred sacerdotal privileges for ever. The fragment closes with these lines:
"In the days when Adapa, the offspring of man,
With his...cruelly broke the wings of the south wind,
And ascended to heaven, so verily
Did this come to pass, and whatsoever he brought about evilly for men,
And disease which he brought about in the bodies of men,
This will the goddess Ninkarak allay.
May the sickness depart, the disease turn aside.
Upon that man may his crime fall
And... may he rest not in sweet sleep."
From these lines it is obvious that the entire myth was composed as an incantation to heal the sick. The author means to say that the disease which the magician endeavours to heal was not caused by the sins of the patient, but by Adapa, whose fatal act brought death and pain into the world in an age when sorrow was unknown in Paradise. But the gods provided for man a divine physician, the goddess Gula or Ninkarrak." (pp.181-182. Stephen Herbert Langdon. The Mythology of All Races (Volume V): Semitic. Vol. 5. Archaeological Institute of America. Marshall Jones Company. Boston & Oxford. 1931)
If Langdon's translation is correct, it appears to me that Adapa is being blamed for the death-causing diseases afflicting mankind. The magician's incantation appears, to me, to be saying in effect, may the disease leave the diseased and return to Adapa and afflict him instead (and may Adapa's repose in the underworld not be a peaceful one). In other words, the descendant's are being punished for the sins of their forefathers.
Ea the Ushumgal, "the great serpent/dragon" is famed as a "god of wisdom" and in the New Testament serpents are associated with wisdom:
Matthew 10:16 RSV
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so BE WISE AS SERPENTS and innocent as doves."
Kramer on Ea as a god of wisdom:
"The portrait of Enki that emerges from the extant Sumerian texts is rather enigmatic, paradoxical, and contradictory. In the hymns and in the hymnal passages scattered throughout the myths, for example, Enki is exalted and glorified AS THE ALL-WISE, ALL-KNOWING leader of the gods, A WISE COUNSELOR, a valuable friend, and a generous benefactor of humankind...Eloquent of speech, he pronounces the name of everything created." (p. 2. Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York and Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1989)
Kramer, however, astutely notes that the Mesopotamian gods have their "failings" and are at times portrayed in less than flattering roles, in this case it is Enki (Ea):
"In the myths, on the other hand, these impressive powers, renouned qualities and masterful accomplishments are by no means uniformly apparent. The mythographers, in fact, often paint Enki as a rather foolish fellow, sex-driven, self-indulgent, torpid, and heedless of the suffering of his fellow gods, prone to prepare carousing banquets without realizing the dangers and risks to which he exposes himself...Even his role as human benefactor is put in doubt to some extent by his depriving humankind of the me of life; by his terrifying humans with his awesome, venomous word; and by his putting an end to universal human speech and thus afflicting humankind with a babel of tongues -all because he was jealous of his older brother Enlil." (p.2. "Introduction." Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press.1989)
"Enki is reguarly given the epithet "LORD OF WISDOM"...we have chosen to avoid "wisdom" when the Enki stories seem to demand shrewdness and cunning, the arts of the trickster. Enki astonishes even the other gods with shocking solutions to apparently impossible problems...Perhaps "crafty" is the better term to use for the problem-solving Enki...In particular, Enki is the father who imparts knowledge to his son. Enki was, perhaps more than any other ancient deity, essentially identified with the spoken and the written word." (p. 5. "Introduction."Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1989)
Kramer concluded that Enki (Ea) to some degree lies behind the Bible's presentation of Yahweh, but in a very disguised manner. I concur. I am not however, aware of Kramer identifying Enki (Ea) with Genesis' serpent.
The Late Professor Kramer (Curator Emeritus of the Cuneiform Tablet Collection at the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and Clark Research Professor Emeritus) using "politically correct" uncontentious and neutral scholarly language, alludes to En-ki's "survival" in today's gods, Yahweh, Christ and Allah:
"Ideas do not necessarily die when the civilization that nurtured them expires. Eridu declined, and Sumerian, like Latin in the West many centuries later, was maintained only by an educated, literate elite. The great empires of Akkad, Assyria, and even Babylon were brought down- Assyria in the late seventh century BC, Babylon less than a century later. Persians, Macedonians, Seleucids, Arsacids, Sassanians, Ummayyad and Abbasid caliphs and later dynasties excercised lordship in Mesopotamia, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were deeply rooted in the Near East, and as often as not challenged their predeccessors. Enki survived, if at all, in new guises, under different names...If Enki and his city-state had all but disappeared, literary traditions and religious syncretism kept something of them alive. The two traditions that formed the basis of Western civilization, Greek and Biblical, appear to know stories of Enki, in much disguised form. For various reasons, orthodox and official streams of those traditions ignored or denounced outside influences. Because- with rare exception- Sumerian names do not appear, much of the tracing that follows here is necessarily speculative. In one sense we are very much the inheritors of civilization in its early, Sumerian, forms; but in another sense we will always have a difficult time recognizing such early debts." (p.154. "Traces of the Fugitive God." Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York and Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1989)
The Mesopotamian myths noted that before man's creation the junior gods called the Igigi toiled in the earthly gardens of the senior gods called the Anunnaki. Enlil of Nippur and Enki of Eridu are identified as being Anunnaki gods and Nippur and Eridu are identified as lying in a desert-like steppe or plain called in Sumerian edin.
The Nippur myth regarding how man came to be made stressed that for 40 years, night and day, the Igigi toiled in Enlil's garden, making mountains of the dredged earth or sediments continually clogging up the irrigation canals providing water for the crops. The Igigi constantly clamored about their grievous toil but to no avail, the Anunnaki gods ignored them. Only when the Igigi revolt, burning their tools and surrounding the house of Enlil do they get attention. Enki is summoned from Eridu and with Enlil's assent it agreed that the Igigi's complaints of years of onerous toil and their clamor was deliberately ignored. To "right" the situation, man will be created to replace the Igigi. Man will toil in _a_ god's (Enlil's) city-garden at Nippur. The Igigi are ecstatic! They have been "removed" from _a_ god's garden and "replaced" by man. Now the Igigi will be free from agricultural toil like the Anunnaki gods (Anu, Enlil and Enki).
The Mespotamian myths explained that the Flood which destroyed all mankind had been brought about because man's "noise or clamor" was disturbing the god's rest by day and sleep by night, year after year without let-up. These myths also noted that in the beginning the 7 great Anunna Gods of Heaven had imposed back-breaking labor making and clearing irrigation ditches, by day and by night, without rest, on the Igigi gods confined to the earth. These gods are described as muttering, complaining and constantly creating "a clamor," which at first is ignored by the Anunna gods. The threatened rebellion by the Igigi gods is forstalled by making man from the ringleader of the Igigi, slaughtering him and mixing his flesh and blood with the clay. The myths at this point stress that with the making of man, not only do the Igigi gods get to enter into "the rest from toil," enjoyed by the Anunna gods, but that "their clamor," their noisey complaining about hardwork is transferred to man. In otherwords, man's "noise" is because he is overworked and not allowed to have "rest" from his god-imposed toil. (cf. pp. 52-62, "The Story of the Flood," [The Atrahasis version], Benjamin R. Foster, From Distant Days, Myths Tales and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. Bethesda, Maryland, CDL Press, 1995, ISBN 1-883053-09-9, paperback)
"When the gods were man, they did forced labor, they bore drudgery. Great indeed was the drudgery of the gods, the forced labor was heavy, the misery too much: The seven (?) great Anunna-gods were burdening the Igigi gods with forced labor...[The gods] were digging watercourses, canals they opened, the life of the land...They heaped all the mountains. [ years] of drudgery, [ ] the vast marsh. They counted years of drudgery, [ and] forty years too much! [ ] forced labor they bore night and day. They were complaining, denouncing, muttering down in the ditch, "Let us face up to our foreman the prefect, He must take off this our heavy burden upon us! (pp. 52-53. Foster)
The Anunna gods acknowledge the burden of the Igigi and their "clamor":
"Ea made ready to speak, and said to the gods [his brethren], what calumny do we lay to their charge? Their forced labor was heavy. [their misery too much]! Every day [ ] the outcry [was loud, we could hear the clamor]. There is [ ] [Belet-ti, the mid-wife], is present. Let her create, then a human, a man, let him bear the yoke...[let man assume the drud]gery of god...She summoned the Anunna, the great gods...Mami made ready to speak, and said to the great gods, "You ordered me the task and I have completed (it)! You have slaughtered the god, along with his inspiration. I have done away with your heavy forced labor, I have imposed your drudgery on man. You bestowed (?) clamor upon mankind..." (pp. 58-59. Foster)
The Igigi gods in gratitude fall at her feet, kissing them, she having freed them from toil, and declare a new name for her "Mistress of All the gods" (Belet-kala-ili).
As can be seen from Professor Foster's above translation the Igigi gods are objecting to the making of watercourses and canals, NOWHERE does the text say they are working in the Anunnaki gods' city-gardens! So, why am I claiming the Igigi worked in the Anunnaki gods' gardens?
I am stepping back and looking at the "big picture!" We have two sets of gods dwelling in cities they have made for themseleves on the earth, the senior gods called the Anunnaki or Anunna and the junior gods called the Igigi. The Anunnaki are making the Igigi do the work. What is the purpose of canals and watercourses in Mesopotamia? It's not to water the grass lawns near the temples. The cities of Lower Mesopotamia are habitable only if a food-supply is available for the occupants.
The watercourses, canals and irrigation ditches MAKE POSSIBLE THE CITY-GARDENS OF THE GODS. Thus I INFER that when the Anunnaki sit down to a meal, they as the senior gods are not out in the hot sun planting the crops, nor are they hoeing out the weeds, nor are they harvesting the crops, nor are they preparing the crops for the table. The Anunnaki are eating the garden-produce, and someone has to make all this "happen."
According to the myths Man has not yet been created, so that leaves the Igigi gods as bearing these burdens. That is to say it is my understanding that they not only are digging-out watercourses and canals, but irrigation ditches, and planting, hoeing and harvesting the crops to feed the Anunnaki.
When it is at last decided to REPLACE THE IGIGI WITH MAN, it is man who will now dig watercourses, canals, irrigation ditches and plant the crops, hoe them of weeds and harvest them and present them as food in the temples and shrines to the Anunnaki and the Igigi. Hence the reason I understand that the Igigi were burdened with toil in the gods' gardens. The gods' gardens cannot exist without water from man-made watercourses, canals and irrigation ditches.
Now the gods complain that man's "clamor" disturbs them, resulting in a decision to send a Flood to destroy man and obtain peace and quiet and their longed-for "rest."
"Twelve hundred years had not gone by, the land had grown wide, the peoples had increased, the land bellowed like a bull. The god was disturbed with their uproar, Enlil heard their clamor, he said to the great gods, The clamor of mankind has become burdensome to me..." (p. 62. Foster)
"I am disturbed at their clamor, at their uproar sleep cannot overcome me..." (p. 65. Foster)
The gods try various ways to reduce mankind's clamor by decimating mankind's numbers, and in the end they resolve upon a Flood to destroy them all. However, one god stands apart as man's friend, he is Enki (Ea). An enraged Enlil (Ellil) accuses Enki of thwarting the agreed-upon plan of the gods, that man should toil ceasely, he accuses him of lightening man's burden, allowing him to enjoy the fruits of his labor, the fruits to be harvested for the god's food, and providing shade for him as he toils in the hot sun:
"All we great Anunna-gods resolved together on a rule. Anu and Adad watched over the upper regions, I watched over the lower earth. You went, you released the yoke, you made restoration. You let loose produce for the people. You put shade in the glare (?) of the sun." (pp. 69-70. Foster)
Enlil, not trusting Enki, tries to get him to swear an oath not to betray the god's plan to destroy man with a flood. Enki agrees, but slyly lets Atrahasis (Utnapsihtim) know by addressing "the wall" of the house he lives in, thus not directly revealing the flood decision to a man, "face to face." (p. 71, Foster)
Dalley on Ea's (Enki's) speaking to "a reed hut and brick wall" to warn Utnapishtim:
"Ut-napishtim spoke to him, to Gilgamesh...let me tell you the secret of the gods. Shuruppak is a city that you yourself know,situated [on the bank of] the Euphrates. The city was already old when the gods within it decided that the great gods should make a flood. There was Anu their father, warrior Ellil their counselor...farsighted Ea swore the oath (of secrecy) with them, so he repeated their speech to a reed hut, "Reed hut, reed hut, brick wall, brick wall, listen reed hut and pay attention brick wall: (This is the message:) Man of Shuruppak, son of Ubara-Tutu, dismantle your house, build a boat. Leave possessions, search out living things. Reject Chattels and save lives! Put aboard the seed of all living things, into the boat." (pp. 109-110. "Gilgamesh Tablet XI." Stephanie Dalley. Myths From Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh and Others. New York. Oxford University Press. 1989, 1991. ISBN 0-19-281789-2)
Below, is another mythical variation of how and why mankind came to be created by Enki. In this account he is sleeping through the commotion on the earth's surface, caused by the earth-dwelling junior gods called the Igigi who labor ceaselessly to provide food for the senior gods called the Anunnaki or Anunna (Enki or Ea is an Anunna god). He is awakened from his sleep in his underwater Abzu dwelling called the E-engur, by his mother who asks him to end the commotion. He creates man from clay above the Abzu transfering the burden of agricultural toil from the earth-dwelling gods to mankind. In the Bible God makes man of dust and places him in Eden to tend God's garden. Enki's "sleeping" recalls to mind the Psalmist portraying Yahweh-Elohim "sleeping" while Israel's enemies destroy her (cf. Ps 44:23; 78:65)
"The Enki and Ninmah Myth:
In those days, in the days when heaven and earth were created; in those nights, in the nights when heaven and earth were created; in those years, in the years when the fates were determined; when the Anunna gods were born; when the goddesses were taken in marriage; when the goddesses were distributed in heaven and earth; when the goddesses ...... became pregnant and gave birth; when the gods were obliged (?) ...... their food ...... for their meals; the senior gods oversaw the work, while the minor gods were bearing the toil. The gods were digging the canals and piling up the silt in Harali. The gods, dredging the clay, began complaining about this life.
At that time, the one of great wisdom, the creator of all the senior gods, Enki lay on his bed, not waking up from his sleep, in the deep engur, in the flowing water, the place the inside of which no other god knows. The gods said, weeping: "He is the cause of the lamenting!" Namma (Nammu), the primeval mother who gave birth to the senior gods, took the tears of the gods to the one who lay sleeping, to the one who did not wake up from his bed, to her son: "Are you really lying there asleep, and ...... not awake? The gods, your creatures, are smashing their ....... My son, wake up from your bed! Please apply the skill deriving from your wisdom and create a substitute (?) for the gods so that they can be freed from their toil!"
At the word of his mother Namma, Enki rose up from his bed. In Hal-an-kug, his room for pondering, he slapped his thigh in annoyance. The wise and intelligent one, the prudent, ...... of skills, the fashioner of the design of everything brought to life birth-goddesses (?). Enki reached out his arm over them and turned his attention to them. And after Enki, the fashioner of designs by himself, had pondered the matter, he said to his mother Namma: "My mother, the creature you planned will really come into existence. Impose on him the work of carrying baskets. You should knead clay from the top of the Abzu; the birth-goddesses (?) will nip off the clay and you shall bring the form into existence. Let Ninmah act as your assistant; and let Ninimma, Cu-zi-ana, Ninmada, Ninbarag, Ninmug, ...... and Ninguna stand by as you give birth. My mother, after you have decreed his fate, let Ninmah impose on him [mankind] the work of carrying baskets." (" Enki and Ninmah." cf. also Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford. 1998.)
For the Igigi then, their REMOVAL from _a_ god's garden (Enlil at Nippur and Enki at Eridu) BECAUSE OF THEIR REBELLION was regarded as a _BLESSING_. Work in _a_ god's city-garden is a back-breaking hell!
The Christian understanding of the garden of Eden from which Adam and Eve are expelled BECAUSE THEY REBELLED AGAINST GOD is seen as a _CURSE_. Man will now "loose fellowship with God" with his REMOVAL from God's garden. Man's work in the garden of Eden is NOT portrayed as a back-breaking hell dredging day and night the irrigation ditches. God LOVES man whereas the Anunnaki gods, Enlil and Enki who are portrayed making man to work in their earthly garden were RUTHLESSLY EXPLOITING their garden-laborers, the Igigi, ignoring their pleas for a release from servitude and a need for some rest from their labors.
That is to say Christianity's notion that MAN'S EXPULSION FOR REBELLION AGAINST THE GOD owning the garden of Eden as being a CURSE, is in the earlier Mesopotamian myths a BLESSING! The Igigi _LIKE_ Adam and Eve REBELLED against _A_ GOD IN HIS GARDEN (Enlil of Nippur and Enki of Eridu). LIKE Adam and Eve, because of their rebellion they are REMOVED from _a_ god's garden. However, UNLIKE Adam and Eve the Igigi's REMOVAL is a _BLESSING_NOT_A_CURSE, for now the Igigi ATTAIN FELLOWSHIP with the Anunnaki, they will now lay about in indolent leisure free of agricultural toil LIKE THE ANUNNAKI, for man will now serve both the Igigi and the Anunnaki gods. MAN'S FATE IN THE MESOPOTAMIAN MYTHS IS TO TOIL FOREVER IN THE GODS' CITY-GARDENS OF EDIN.
Christianity's understanding of Adam and Eve's expulsion being a curse appears to be an inversion or reversal of the 'original" Mesopotamian myths regarding how man came to be made and placed in a god's garden and how rebellion in a god's garden resulted in a removal from that garden for all eternity of it's "gardeners."
Some Chistians and Jews understand that Satan and his Demons rebelled against God because they had been demoted by mankind's creation and were thus _VINDICTIVELY_JEALOUS_OF_MAN. Man would rank above them. This might be a recasting of the Mesopotamian myths regarding the lesser gods, the Igigi who are REPLACED by the senior gods the Anuuna or Anunnaki with mankind. The Igigi had REBELLED against the Anunnaki. They objected to the grievous toil on the earth, making and clearing canals and irrigation ditches for the senior gods' city gardens at Nippur and Eridu. Man was created TO REPLACE the REBELLING Igigi. Man would make canals, irrigation ditches, maintain the gods' city gardens, plant the crops, hoe them of weeds, harvest and prepare them for the table to present to both the Anunnaki and Iggi gods. But, the Igigi were NOT angry over being "REPLACED" BY MAN'S CREATION, _THEY_WELCOMED_ MAN"S_CREATION, for man would bear their toil. So an inversion has taken place. YES there was indeed a REBELLION of lesser gods against the senior gods, but this was a JUSTIFIED REBELLION. The toil was excessive and unwarranted. YES man did REPLACE junior gods, but NOT because man would be closer to a God's affection and honor, but to ruthlessly exploit him as had earlier been done to the Igigi. So, it is my understanding that the notion that Satan and his demons are REBELS to God's authority and jealously seek man's harm because man has been ranked above them in God's affection and honor is nothing more than a later INVERSION or RECASTING of ancient Mesopotamian motifs regarding the relationship between the creation of man and his replacement of the lesser gods, the Igigi, by the senior gods, the Anunnaki.
Campbell (1964) on Judaism's rejection of "Man's Fall" as understood by Christianity:
"In the usual Christian view, all mankind has inherited from the revolt of the first couple a corruption of nature that has so darkened understanding, weakened the will, and inclined to evil, that without the miracle of God's merciful assumption to himself of the guilt and punishment due to that sin, the human race would have remained forever divorced from its proper end in knowledge, love, service, and beatitude of its Creator...In the view, on the other hand, of the continuing synagogue, the Christian doctrine of original sin is rejected. As we read in the words of the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, J. H. Hertz:"Man was mortal from the first, and death did not enter the world through the transgression of Eve...There is no loss of the God-likeness of man, nor of man's ability to do right in the eyes of God; and no such loss has been transmitted to his latest descendants."
(pp. 114-115. "Gods and Heroes of the Levant." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. Arkana. New York. Viking Penguin Books. 1964, 1991 reprint)
Campbell on the Quran (Koran) and the "Fall of Adam" caused by a jealous demoted Satan who refuses to bow down to man:
"We are reading the Holy Koran. The text continues with a version of the biblical creation myth and Fall.
"Behold the Lord said to the angels" "I will create a vice-regent on earth"...We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam!" They bowed. Not so, however, Iblis [Satan], who refused. He was haughty. He was of those who reject the faith. We said: "O Adam, dwell -both you and your wife- in the Garden. Eat of the bounty therein as you will, but approach not to this tree, lest you approach darkness and transgression." Satan then made them slip from it and caused their banishment from the place in which they were." (p. 420. "The Cross and the Crescent." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. New York. Arkana. Viking Penguin Books. 1964, reprint 1991)
Please note Campbell's 'penetrating observation' that the Mesopotamian myths have been transformed to render an _argument contrary to the older faiths_ by the Hebrews in the Book of Genesis:
"No one familiar with the mythologies of the primitive, ancient, and Oriental worlds can turn to the Bible without recognizing counterparts on every page, transformed, however, to render an argument contrary to the older faiths. In Eve's scene at the tree, for example, nothing is said to indicate that the serpent who appeared and spoke to her was a deity in his own right, who had been revered in the Levant for at least seven thousand years before the composition of the Book of Genesis. There is in the Louvre a carved green steatite vase, inscribed c. 2025 BC by King Gudaea of Lagash, dedicated to a late Sumerian manifestation of this consort of the goddess, under his title Ningizzida, "Lord of the Tree of Truth." (p. 9. "The Serpent's Bride." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. Arkana. New York. Viking Penguin Books. 1964, 1991 reprint)
Why in Mesopotamian myths is that man is denied immortality? In the Adapa and the Southwind [ The Tablet Of Adapa Adapa - The First Man, translated by Stephanie Dalley and Adapa and the Food of Life by R.W. Rogers, 1912] myth Ea (Enki) of Eridu in Sumer is portrayed conning his human servant Adapa into not consuming the "bread of life and water of life" that will be offered him by Anu in heaven which will make him and consequently all mankind immortal, telling him it is the "bread and water of death" and he will surely die if any is consumed.
Why did Ea (Enki) do this (deny man immortality)?
Ea/Enki was portrayed in myths as the god of wisdom. He appears to have been thought of as wiser and craftier than the other gods, Anu (his father) and Enlil (his brother). Ea/Enki is portrayed making man of clay to work in the city gardens at Eridu and Nippur. Ea lives at Eridu, Enlil lives at Nippur. At both locations the lesser gods, the Igigi, are in a state of rebellion seeking an end to their back-breaking toil in the city gardens. Perhaps Ea was of the mind that if man was allowed to be immortal and become like a god they would be "back to square one again"? That is to say, Ea foresaw man eventually rebelling against the toil in the city gardens like the Igigi. Who would replace man if he was granted an escape from toil in the city gardens? That is to say, the Mesopotamian notion was that the GODS DO NOT TOIL IN THEIR CITY GARDENS, MAN DOES. If man is allowed to become immortal like the gods, then he is in effect A GOD. Then the whole Mesopotamian belief system comes crashing down: THAT IMMORTAL GODS DO NOT TOIL IN THEIR CITY GARDENS, ONLY MORTALS MADE IN THEIR IMAGE DO. I am proposing here that man CANNOT be made into a god and given immortality because this would be "against the grain" of Mesopotamian belief regarding the ordering of the universe in the great cosmic scheme of things: "That Immortals do not toil upon the earth, only mortals do." Also, this cosmic plan of the gods answers the question of why man does not have immortality. Foolishly, Anu was willing to bestow immortality on Adapa and mankind, Ea intervenes and wisely foils Anu's offer, man is tricked into not consuming of the bread of life and water of life. Man does not possess immortality because _a_ god (Ea/Enki) did not will it to be so. Genesis refutes this explanation of why man is not immortal; Mankind's God did NOT trick him out of a chance to obtain immortality, man's decision to disobey God was why he does not have immortality (God is absolved, the blame is shifted to man). Adapa is portrayed as blameless and faithful to his God, OBEYING HIM, and thus losing out at a chance to obtain immortality. The Mesopotamian version of why man lost out on a chance to obtain immortality is NOT because he (Adapa) was a sinner and rebel, but because his LYING, DECEITFUL god (Ea/Enki) did not want him to possess immortality. That is to say the Hebrews have REVERSED/INVERTED the Mesopotamian account by 180 degrees, blaming a man (Adam) instead of his Creator (Yahweh).
Walton (a devout evangelical scholar) summarizes some observations by Andreasen who is a devout Seventh Day Adventist scholar on Adapa and Adam as prototypes of man:
"On the scene staged by the Mesopotamian artists he characterized man as the noble, wise, reliable, and devoted, but humble hero who is resigned to live responsibly before his god. However, in the biblical tradition, the characterization came through in quite a different way, which has put its lasting mark upon the concept of man in the Judeo-Christian tradition- namely, that before God, man is (or rather has become) basically sinful, failing, ignoble and untrustworthy, bent upon usurping the place of his God." (pp. 193-194. Niels-Erik Andreasen. "Adam and Adapa: Two Anthropological Characters." Andrews University Seminar Studies. Vol. 19 (1981). pp. 184-185. p. 64. "Cases of Alleged Borrowing." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989. 1990 Revised Edition)
Walton summarizes Andreasen:
"The Adapa epic is typically Mesopotamian in its attempt to demonstrate that the status quo was foreordained and cannot be changed. Immortality is not available even to the wisest of the ancient sages. This is in direct contrast to the typically Israelite outlook found in Genesis in which the status quo is the result of man's failure that cost him the immortality he once possessed. In Mesopotamian thinking things are as they ought to be and cannot be changed. In Israelite thinking, things are not as they ought to be, and hope exists that one day reversion may take place." (p. 64. "Cases of Alleged Borrowing." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989. 1990 Revised Edition)
Walton cites Heidel's dismissing Adapa as a prototype of Adam:
"Furthermore, it is equally clear that Adapa failed to obtain the priceless boon of immortality not because of any sin or disobedience on his part but because of his strict obedience to the will of Ea, his father, the god of wisdom and the friend of man. And, finally, there is not the slightest trace of any temptation, or any indication whatever that this legend is in any way concerned with the problem of the origin of moral evil." (p. 124. Alexander Heidel. The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1951. p. 64 "Cases of Alleged Borrowing." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989. 1990 Revised Edition)
Heidel (1942) on Adapa's "Fall" being a misnomer as he lost out on a chance to obtain immortality not through disobedience (sin) but because he was obedient to his god (Ea) who tricked him with a lie:
"Like the biblical account of the fall of man, the Adapa story wrestles with the questions: "Why must man suffer and die? Why does he not live forever?" But, unlike the biblical account, the answer it gives is not: "Because man has fallen from a state of moral perfection," but rather: "Because Adapa had the chance of gaining immortality for himself and mankind, but he did not take it. The gift of eternal life was held out to him, but he refused the offer and thus failed of immortality and brought woe and misery upon man." The problem of the origin of sin does not even enter into consideration. Consequently, it is a misnomer to call the Adapa Legend the Babylonian version of the fall of man. The Adapa Legend and the biblical story are fundamentally as far apart as the antipodes." (p. 124. "Old Testament Parallels." Alexander Heidel. The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation. Chicago & London. The University of Chicago Press. 1942, 1951. Reprint of 1984)
Walton (a Christian Evangelical) dismisses any Hebrew dependence on the Adapa and Southwind myth:
"Our conclusion is that the apparent similarities between these two pieces of literature can be easily explained by the fact that they both use general motifs present throughout ancient Near Eastern literature. Immortality is a matter of interest through every period in wide-ranging genres of literature. There is no reason to assume that since it is in some way a major motif of each of these works, they must therefore be organically related to one another. The similarities are incidental and the differences are primary." (p. 65. "Cases of Alleged Borrowing." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989. 1990 Revised Edition)
"Everyone has presuppositions...I believe in the authority of the Old Testament as the Word of God and would categorize myself as an evangelical." (p. 16. "Introduction." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989. 1990 Revised Edition)
Barton on several "modern" scholars (by 1916) suggesting Genesis' Fall motif is a recast of similar motifs appearing in the Adapa and the Southwind myth:
"In the first place, Adapa, like Adam, had gained knowledge. This knowledge carried with it a power hitherto regarded as an attribute of divinity. It enabled Adapa to break the wing of the southwind; it tempted Adam and Eve "to become like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:5). As in Genesis, knowledge did not carry with it immortality. Ea, the god who had permitted Adapa to become wise, feared that he might gain immortality, as Jehovah thought that Adam might "put forth his hand and take of the tree of life and eat and live forever" (Gen. 3:22)...Ea accordingly told Adapa a falsehood when he was about to go into the presence of the supreme god, Anu, in order to prevent him from eating the food that would make him immortal; Jehovah drove man from the garden where the tree of life grew. The two accounts agree in thought that immortality could be obtained by eating a certain kind of food. The lines at the end of the Adapa story are much broken, but they make clear that as punishment for what he had done, Adapa was subjected to sickness, disease and restlessness. This corrresponds to the toil inflicted upon woman (Gen. 3:17-19), and the pangs of childbirth imposed upon woman (Gen. 3:16). It appears also that as Adam and Eve were clothed with skins in consequence of their deed (Gen. 3:21), so Adapa was clothed by Anu in a special clothing.
These similarities indicate that the Babylonians possessed the same general ideas of the connection of increasing knowledge, with the attributes of divinity on the one hand, and with suffering and clothing on the other, which are presented in Genesis. An increasing number of modern scholars regard the Babylonian story as an earlier form of a narrative which the Hebrew writer took and purified...In the Babylonian myth, the gods, Ea and Anu, are divided and work at cross purposes; Ea tells a falsehood to accomplish his end." (pp. 260-261. George A. Barton. Archaeology and the Bible. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. American Sunday-School Union. 1916)
It is my understanding that the Hebrews have reworked motifs associated with Adapa and the South Wind Myth. They are in effect challenging the Mesopotamian notion that man (Adapa) lost out on a chance to obtain immortality for himself and mankind, not because he was disobedient to his god's command "do not eat or you will die," but because he was _scrupulous obedient_ and refused the proffered food from Anu.
Ea lied to Adapa out of self-interest. He did not want to lose man as his servant. The gods created man to be their slave, to give themselves an eternal sabbath-rest from earthly toil; man will toil in the gods' place; man will provide the gods with life's necessities: food, clothing and shelter. In Mesopotamian belief gods do not toil for life's necessities this is man's burden. If man is given immortality and allowed to become a god, who then will toil in the gods' garden of edin/eden (edin being the uncultivated plain of Sumer surrounding the gods' city-gardens)? The gods will have to return to the earth and labor in the gardens of edin/eden for their own food and give up their eternal sabbath-rest from toil. So Ea denied "man" (Adapa) out of self-interest, Ea did not want to have to toil for his food (Adapa provided Ea his food in the form of fish, bread and water) in his garden in edin/eden at Eridu. Ea, was then "smarter" and "wiser" than a foolish Anu who had offered man (Adapa) immortality, for Anu had failed to realize that if man became a god he and the gods would have to toil on the earth for their food.
The Hebrews are SHIFTING BLAME for man's misfortunes from God to Man. God is righteous, Man is disobedient and a sinner.
This concept, THE SHIFT OF BLAME FROM GOD TO MAN, "permeates" the whole of the Old Testament. It is a repudiation of the Mesopotamian notion that man (Adapa) acted "nobly" and was not disobediant, he was not a sinner, he was a victim of an unrighteous, untrustworthy god (Ea) who lied to him, taking advantage of the man's naive trust, to promote his own self-interest (wanting man to remain his slave and prepare his daily food for him).
Other myths reveal that Ea of Eridu in his earlier form as the Sumerian god Enki of Eridug was an immoral god in that he was engaged in acts of incest with his daughter, grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter at Dilmun, a location in the marshes east of his residence at Eridu. Please click here for the story.
Heidel on the lack of a notion of a "fall" for man in Mesopotamian myths and that if there is a "fall," it is that the gods have fallen, it is the gods who have acted immorally (the Mesopotamian myths have man made of clay mixed with the flesh and blood of a slain rebel god, Weila at Nippur, the god's spirit is "in" man, a "rebellious" spirit):
"So far no proof for the first sin has been found anywhere in Babylonian or Assyrian literature. If it is at all permissable to speak of a fall, it was a fall of the gods not of man. It was the gods who first disturbed the peace of Apsu and Tiamat; it was Apsu and Mummu who planned the destruction of these gods; it was Ea who, as a measure of self-preservation, killed his ancestor Apsu; and it was Tiamat and her host who, in a rage of revenge, prepared to bring war and destruction upon the other gods. In Genesis man is created in the image of God; but the Babylonians created thier gods in the image of man. The gods...were guilty of human misconduct...something quite different from...chacteristics attributed to God in the Old Testament...Of the Babylonians can be said what Cicero has said with reference to the poets of Greece and Rome: "The poets have represented the gods as inflamed by anger and maddened by lust, and have displayed to our gaze their wars and battles, their fights and wounds, their hatreds, enmities and quarrels, their births and deaths, their complaints and lamentations, the utter and unbrideled license of their passions, their adulteries and imprisonments, their unions with human beings and the birth of mortal progeny from an immortal parent." How could such gods possibly be expected to create something morally perfect? Yes, it was with the blood of such gods that man was created! Since all the gods were evil by nature and since man was formed with their blood, man of course inherited their evil nature. This conclusion is in complete harmony with the following passage from the Babylonian theodicy: "Narru, king from of old, the creator of mankind; gigantic Zulummar, who pinched off their clay; and lady Mama, the queen, who fashioned them, have presented to mankind perverse speech, lies and untruth they presented to them forever." Man, consequently, was created evil and was evil from his very beginning. How then, could he fall? The idea that man fell from a state of moral perfection does not fit into the system or systems of Babylonian speculation." (pp. 125-126. "Old Testament Parallels." Alexander Heidel. The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation. Chicago & London. 2nd edition. 1942, 1951. Reprint of 1984)
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~Gail Bird Allen