The Epic of Creation is the Sumerian version of how the world began and includes to some degree the formation of the other members of the solar system. The Sumerian tale is also likely the source of the earliest chapters of the Bible’s Genesis -- the latter which might be considered to be an Executive Summary of the original. Their similarities are highlighted in Comparative Religions (among other places), but the fact that Genesis was written during the Hebrews’ captivity in Babylon, c. 600 B.C.E. (where access to the Babylonian version of the Epic was readily available) is undoubtedly important.
The Sumerian Epic of Creation and Genesis both have the interesting feature of being scientifically accurate in terms of what was created first. In creating a world, you begin with energy (light), form the planet itself, divide the land from the water, grow grass, herbs, fruit (in that order), initiate day/night and seasons, create fish, fowl, cattle, creeping thing and beasts of the earth (again, in that order), until finally you create man. Then you get really clever and create woman. Okay, so it’s not all perfect!
But there is also the distinction between the cosmic creation and the earthly ones. In the Genesis version, the heavens were created separate from the Earth (by the means of a firmament), while the Sun and Moon were specifically mentioned as “two great lights”. In the Sumerian version -- which is decidedly less ego-earth-centric -- all of the other planets may be considered to have been described in various stages of grouping themselves into the current arrangement. It’s just that their names were often attributed to gods, instead of gods and planets!
The Annals of Earth provide much of the detail of the Epic of Creation (Episode One and/or Episode Two), along with comments on what the various phrases might actually mean. That is to say, the alternative more speculative version of their meaning. The idea is to translate mythology into scientifically plausible events, without being confined to the reigning paradigm wherein the ancients could not possibly have known anything!
The full text of the Epic of Creation (aka the Enuma Elish -- the title being the first words of the ancient text) are located at: <http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/enuma.htm> with a second website located at <http://wch.utep.edu/Wrenjohnson/WCH3301/enuma_elish_the_epic_of_creation.htm> (but with virtually no difference in its presentation of the epic).
Both websites are excellent, but the sacred-texts website is part of a much larger website <http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/index.htm> which includes numerous sacred texts of the ancient Near East, including:
The Enuma Elish (The Epic of Creation)
Adapa and the food of Life
Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World
The Seven Evil Spirits
The Code of Hammurabi
The Religion Of Babylonia And Assyria (by Theophilus G. Pinches)
Legends of Babylonia and Egypt (by Leonard W. King)
Another website <http://saturn.sron.nl/~jheise/akkadian/enuma1_expl.html> is the traditional, mainstream way of interpreting the Epic; essentially, “Subsubsection of John Heise's 'Akkadian language', Chap. 3 (cuneiform texts) about the Babylonian Creation Epic, cuneiform text given, literary style, first primeval beings, explanation of the first few lines, etc.” John Heise does a credible, scholarly job of discussing the Enuma Elish, e.g. Enuma is translated as When, and Elish as High, i.e. “When in the Height, Heaven was not named...” However, this is not the interpretation that this website advocates.
Instead of assuming that we’re talking about mythological gods without a factual or real basis, the assumption here is that the so-called “gods and goddesses” within the Epic are descriptions of both the major players in our Solar System (Sun, Moon, Earth and the other planets) and the “gods” who are closely identified with these heavenly bodies.
The case of the planets being named is well presented by Zecharia Sitchin in his book, The 12th Planet. Sitchin makes it clear that the planetary description aspect of the Epic is justified, and that the planets and Gods were closely linked.
This is extremely important in the Sumerian version of Creation -- and probably why the Genesis version is shorter. One assumes, for example, that the Hebrew writers of Genesis (circa 600 B.C.E.) would not want multiple gods in their story, and furthermore would not want to limit its supreme deity to any one celestial body. Cut all the allusions to planets, and you don’t have as much to write about. There was also undoubtedly a strong inclination not to add anything to the creation story -- a potentially blasphemy.
The Epic of Creation begins with:
“THE FIRST TABLET
When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being...
There are other interpretations/translations, but this one identifies several of the players in the drama, from Apsu (Sun), Tiamut (a planet destined for destruction, but initially located at a distance from the Sun equivalent to the main bulk of the asteroid belt), to Lahmu and Lahamu (Mars and Venus). One that is not specifically named above (and translated there as “chaos”) is Mummu (aka Mercury).
Note that after these planets began to be formed, “Ages increased,”. In other words, time passed, before Jupiter and Saturn arrived on the scene (with the names Kishar and Anshar) along with a third planet, Gaga (emissary of Anshar -- probably Pluto). After more time, Uranus and Neptune (Anu and Ea -- the latter also known as Nudimmud) arrive. Everything is looking pretty good, until the intruder, Nibiru, arrives!
But that’s another story -- the one contained in the Annals of Earth -- but that's another webpage.
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