Genesis 1 and Tiamat

So in Mesopotamian mythology, the goddess Tiamat is killed by Marduk, and her body is then made to fashion the heavens and the earth, including the vaults of heaven.

In the Bible God makes a similar vault by His own powers, without the body of a primordial symbol of chaos.

Is the Biblical story a counterpoint to the myth of Tiamat? Is it saying ‘there is no need of a primordial chaos being, it is simply the work of God’?

Side note: does Genesis begin in media res? It says God created the heavens and the earth, and then says the earth was without form and void. So did God already make it? That would explain the Spirit of God hovering over the deep.

i.e. in mediaS res. No. The Bible’s opening words are “In the beginning”

Maybe in medias res was a poor choice of words. What I mean is, does it jump from In the beginning to God already have made the earth and heavens? Like there is no part where God said Let there be earth and heaven.

But there is…

Genesis says that in “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” -Genesis 1:1

“And the earth was formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” – Genesis 1:2

This is tricky because it says that the earth is empty and there is a surface of the water but let’s emphasize the first verse which says “In the beginning” therefore, it’s in the beginning.

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I’m not an expert but maybe yes… It doesn’t narrate the creation of the celestial beings or the downfall of the fallen angels. This part made the Genesis confuse me.

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I’ve recently heard of approaches (including from way back when) that look at the creation described in Genesis thematically. Something to do with God first creating spaces, and then filling them.

Also something to do with ‘separating the light from the darkness’ being a reference to separating the good angels from the fallen demons.

Sounds to me like there’s all sorts of fruitful Catholic thinking on the larger topic already, though I’m not an expert to discuss it.



Okay. I’m on board.

As for the verses where He creates the earth, it sounds more to me like He is differentiating land from the sea. But whatever.

But back to the main issue: I’m just asking if it’s a counterpoint to the myth of Tiamat. Like, not only a counterpoint but if that is part of it. Like the author of Genesis was twisting the myths of the day into a story of God’s ultimate power.

Perhaps, rather, there’s a shred of truth to the Tiamat myth (after all, humans before the covenant with Abraham could have had mysterious dreams from God (whose imagery they just merged into whatever made sense in their own cultural context), or interactions with demons allowed by God (demons were there at the beginning of creation, after all), that hinted those early humans towards elements of things that happened in the history of creation). And the Genesis account is another veiled way (but a truthful way even if in some way not every audience always understands), to describe something the Holy Spirit considered worthwhile of humans remembering.

Personally I reckon the whole concept of whatever spiritual truth may be represented by the scriptural description of the sky, is probably pretty deep. My headspace isn’t fit to speculate on its potential meaning right now, so I’ll bow out here.

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The Story of Genesis is considered as myth by some Bible Scholars. Ancient Jews could have gathered the idea of how the cosmos look like through the influence of the other kingdom and there’s a high possibility that the story of Creation was under the influence of their neighboring countries too. Perhaps they are counterpoint. It could have been a myth but could also have symbolically narrated the real story of the creation of the world.

One of the cosmological depictions which Jewish gathered from its neighboring countries is the Firmament.

Here is the Ancient Jewish depiction of the cosmos


6th Century BC Babylonian portrayal of cosmos

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Found this in the Didache Bible:

Everything that exists originated with him. By his Word, he brought all of creation into existence without the use of pre-existing materials.

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Actually, there is some dispute regarding the Hebrew as to whether the correct translation is “In the beginning” or “In a beginning.” The latter has implications regarding Gd’s creation of other universes. Further, the Hebrew also suggests “In the beginning of time,” albeit indeterminate, as a more complete translation. The Hebrew words carry as well the meaning of animation, suggesting intelligent design. There is much dispute among Hebrew scholars as to whether multiple meanings are intended, perhaps to mirror multiple universes, of which ours is the finest, again based on the Hebrew.


And another translation difficulty: tohu va-bohu in Genesis 1:2. It’s a Hebrew expression that occurs just this one single time in the whole Bible, which makes it difficult for either side to prove conclusively that the other side is misinterpreting it.

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