Perhaps, Granny MH, but I can still understand why people would have trouble with the similarities.
People think that the writers of Genesis simply copied the Sumerian myth and therefore didn’t have any knowledge- either first-hand or passed down from the original source- of the events.
Yes, and that can shake people’s faith. The way I see it, there is nothing wrong with there being a composite of human knowledge in the region, deriving from Near Eastern culture - where Abram originally came from - which was passed down orally and re-interpreted through an inspired Jewish mindset. The truth is still the truth, no matter how it is derived.
I looked at some of these myths. There are a greater amount of significant differences with Genesis than there are minor similarities. The Enuma Elish, for example, shares some similarities with Genesis when it comes to the chronological order of the creation events, but they are both vastly different in message, and tone. I agree with the idea that Moses wrote the Genesis creation story chronologically similar to the Sumerians to refute their pagan beliefs, and to show that there is only one God, and this is how this really went down. I mean we see refutation of pagan beliefs throughout our faith’s history. Many of the Christian holidays were placed over pagan ones to abolish the ancient paganism of the time, and bring forth the truth.
True. Even the symbol and sign of the cross is like that: a “right-back-at-ya” kind of move.
When this granny is working on the reality of Adam,(see link below) the writing is often very general because I need the input of other minds. My curiosity wants to know if others have similar thoughts especially when difficult topics such as ancient myths are being discussed.
Looking at this thread’s topic analytically, one needs to go from understanding why people would have trouble with similarities to why are there similarities. There have been posts that begin to answer why similarities exist, but that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Analytical thinking would then go to the nature of the people who have verbally repeated certain concepts while maintaining an original distinctiveness including the dates of the original sources of the “myths”.
As we follow this somewhat difficult trail, we can discover that our original ancestor, lovingly known as Adam, was a totally rational creature with the capability of understanding the super-natural existence of God. (Source: Divine Revelation found in the first three chapters of Genesis and further affirmed by Jesus Christ as seen in His relationship with people then and now, including you and me.)
Being able to understand the existence and status of his Creator, Adam was inherently capable to choose the means of maintaining a personal, fulfilling relationship with a transcendent Pure Spirit Who was inviting him to share in His life in eternal joy. Adam’s basic human nature united both the spiritual and material worlds; therefore, as a spiritual being, he was in the image of God, but not God Himself. In order to maintain his relationship of true friendship with God, Adam had to live in free submission to his Creator.
This brings us to the very reason why there are similarities and disconnects in the early myths.
Without going into Original Sin, all we need to know is that the descendants of Adam, like many children today, left their family to find their own way of life. Like children today, some of Adam’s descendants retained their parent’s teachings (the writers of the first three chapters of Genesis) about the beginning of human history, and some discarded some of the teachings, and still others discarded all the teachings. This simple observation of humanity is why there are a variety of ancient myths and a variety of interpretations.
When we start to learn about ancient myths, we have the Catholic Church which already has studied the first three chapters of Genesis and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit has discerned what God was revealing to us. We have St. Paul as one of the first “catholic” universal teachers. And most importantly, we have Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Whose very life repeated the love of the Creator for us, His own creatures.
Link about Adam and Eve. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=721102
Thread in Apologetics Forum, “Should Catholic apologists teach the reality of Adam & Eve?”
Out with the old and in with the truth!
Everyone else already touched on this, but I thought it was a funny coincidence that right before finding this thread, I was just listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko (an Orthodox theologian) talk about creation and evolution and he started by going through the Gensis account of creation and explaining its purpose. I’m sure you can find his podcasts online, I don’t want to offend anyone by here by posting it because he is not a Catholic priest, so please do correct me where my doctrinal understandings differ from yours.
He is more eloquent than I but he is very knowledgeable about the ancient Sumerian and Canaanite religions and he mentioned that Sumerians revered and worshiped nature, and the Genesis account was written to combat these ideas as false. The Sumerians as you may know, believed that the Sun and the Moon were gods. The creation account seeks to refute these ideas.
I’m quoting the ESV here (Genesis 2:16-28):
16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Almost like saying “No guys, that’s just a rock. It’s not a god”…There’s nothing special about it and praying to it is futile. God created the sun and the moon and it was God that set them in the sky.
This makes sense since we read in Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans (1:25):
25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served *created things *rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
I think we can look at the flood and other common accounts in the same way. People expirienced these events and started worshipping them and incorporating them into a false understanding about the nature of God, and the writers of Genesis saught to refute these notions.
God forgive me if I have erred in understanding. :gopray:
Your Brother in Christ,
But I pray God will forgive you (and me) anyway.
The earliest known copy of the myths predate the earliest known copy of Genesis. It would be a mistake to label one as being the original and one as being the copy based solely on which one we’ve found the earliest copy of. If you had no knowledge of Victor Hugo or Les Mis and I gave you a French version dated to 2000 and an English version dated to 1900 would you not assume that Victor Hugo (an English sounding name) was English and his work was translated into French?
The only thing the similarities and the historical records of Genesis and the myths can prove is that- both are based on an oral tradition and that some form of linkage existed between the Hebrews and the Sumerians. Heck, you really can’t even rule out the possibility that both accounts are actually copies of a currently unknown original account; or that they are actually both based on the same event, but interpreted and recorded differently by the two peoples.
You have a really good point. If it weren’t for the cross, we would have a scandal on our hands. If it wasn’t for the risen Christ then it would be near impossible to defend the Genesis account as it would simply be another piece of mythology. It’s certainly not a Qur’an. But it’s the risen Christ that completes our understanding, and affirms the oneness of God and power over His creation, conquering death itself. I think it’s best if we look at the OT with this understanding at the forefront of our minds and our hearts.
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
A favor, please.
For a research project off line, I need citations for the experts in ancient mythology.
Please PM me.