An ancient Mesopotamian creation story recounts the struggle between cosmic order and chaos entitled, The Enuma Elish. The story was recited at cultural ceremonies including the ancient Babylonian New Year’s festival. The Enuma Elish is written in Akkadian and stars Marduk, the patron deity of Babylon. Interestingly in ancient Sumer centuries earlier there was a similar version of this story with different heroes but with nearly the same ambitious myth of the cycle of seasons. Ironically enough, both of these stories pre-date the biblical passages of the similar narrative in Genesis. In contemporary intellectual thinking there are many historians who believe that the Genesis account was simply a rewriting of the Babylonian version. (1) A few examples of the similarities include, in both, the creation of man is followed by divine rest, also they both describe the world as formless and empty in the beginning, and the sequence of creation is similar: light, firmament, dry land, luminaries, and man. Regardless of the stories origins, I believe that moral tales are important to every society to help reinforce core beliefs and standards. If every human feared something or someone supernatural then they would be more likely to think twice about how his or her decisions affect others. This reinforcement can lead to healthier and stronger relationships with a diverse and broad range of individuals and groups alike.
The value of such stories, in my opinion are priceless in the realm of humanities because while religion is just a subset of the study of the human condition, it seems it is what guides us as humans the most. It is amazing to me how faith in a divine spirit can change and improve a mass of peoples outlook on life and humanity in general. It is a fascinating subject that ultimately we spend our whole lives looking for answers only to find out that life is really about the journey, what we learn, and how we help others along the way.
*(1) — http://www.cresourcei.org/enumaelish.html paragraph 1,2,3.
Ryan C Stith