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The Hinters of Creation and That Of Salvation

February 17, 2015

This nonsense begins 1750 BC – the historical dating of the Babylonian creation myth called the Enuma Elish. Here is my understanding of the story. First, for your selfish consideration, understand this immediate segue then I will then get to that part about forgiveness. So, into Babylon – its myth barely resembles the later Judea-Christian creation story in the book of Genesis. It certainly has no footing in science. I loathe to retell any of this drivel but I shall for sake of clarity. Essentially and unauthoratively, there first and once was a confused balance.

There had been a Yin and a Yang. They were indistinct and conscious primal forces and they were muddled together into chaos. The Babylonians had given them names. There had been Apsu (aka the fresh waters) and Tiamat (the ocean). They alone and mute composed all existence. The gods were then born – noisy deities. Their racket particularly pissed-off Apsu and “he” drowned the newborn noisemakers. Apsu was a male force, by that way, and Tiamat was female. The duality was inescapable in the thinking of a primitive mind.

Being gods, of course, they did not die. Then also lived the god under the oceans, Ea. The extant this god played in creation is he imprisoned Apsu. The capture of Apsu upset Tiamat and she raged. Her fury was great and intimidated the gods. But the deities bore the wrath of Tiamat until a mortal was born into the bloodlines of the Babylonian gods. His name was Marduk.

Marduk dealt with the pantheon of gods and gained immortality for slaying Tiamat. He also demanded he be raised above the other gods and be worshiped chiefly among all others. Marduk established a hierarchy and made himself more important than any other god in the pantheon.

Marduk gained his power when he split Tiamat in half and he made the sky and the world. The ancient Egyptians had a comparable myth in which no one was killed and cut in half. There was Nut, the goddess of the sky, who laid upon her brother Geb, the god of the earth. Sex was consequential and they had children and that is when the world was formed. The new Egyptian gods pressed their parents apart and made room in existence for themselves.

The King James Bible most succinctly describes the same event. Genesis 1:6-7 “6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.”

All this being convoluted mythology, I don’t believe Marduk was ever human in the Enuma Elish, nor was Uta-Napishtim. Uta-Napishtim was the archetype-equivalent of Noah from the Judea-Christian Bible, and he was Ea’s favorite mortal and hence preserved on an ark with pairs of animals while Tiamat raged. Mankind was not born in Babylon until Marduk executed Kingu – the unnatural commander of Tiamat’s army. Human beings in this culture rose from the body of a dead demigod.

Whereas apparently prototype-humans, these Nephilim, were decimated by the wrath of Tiamat in Babylonian mythology and mankind originated from a corpse, primitive Canaanite religions claimed men had been created from afterbirth. The origin of man was an inconsequentially consequential as the incest between Nut and Geb.

Ugaritic Mythology, that source of the Canaanite religion and the scion of Phoenician beliefs, tells of the Biblical Baal and his sister, the sky goddess Anat. Anat killed their brother, Mot, death. Prehistoric Canaan believed its people had come what remained of Mot. And no matter how human beings were created in which culture, mankind was enslaved by the gods.

The supreme god of the Ugaritic Mythology, El, that empowered equivalent of the Babylonian god Ea, was not involved with the creation of human beings. Like in the story of Marduk, Baal, a son of god, was indirectly responsible for the generation of mortal slaves.

Now, concerning salvation – immortality. Sometime in Canaan before monotheism became prevalent and Judaism finalized, lowly human beings sought how to unleash invisible shackles, for they associated this material metaphor with death. Like Marduk, they sought divinity for themselves. The same way Christian Jews had scoured the Old Testament and the letters of Paul after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70AD, I imagine Canaanites hunted for loopholes in their precursor myths.

Religious tribal mystics revisited the original stories of their god Baal, a brother of Yahweh in the Canaanite Pantheon, a son of El. Relevant above other tales, there is one in which Baal has just defeated the water god, Yam. Yam sought to enslave Baal.

After Baal had defeated his brother Yam, he warned another brother, Mot – Death – to stay in the underworld, to be content reigning in Scheol. Baal demanded their father, El, build him a house and the supreme deity does that for his son. Baal then throws a feast in his new home. He invites Mot but he serves only bread and wine at the meal. Death is a strict carnivore.

Mot is offended and he demands the death of Baal because, you must understand, death is all Mot is about. Death is who he is. A sister of Baal, the sun-goddess, Shapash, advises Baal to hide until Mot forgets the slight. Mot’s rage does not subside and there is drought across creation while his brother stays hidden. Annual rains were Baal’s job.

Baal and his sister decide Baal will have sex with a cow a ludicrous number of times in at least two positions so that he might produce a clone of himself. When the duplicate is born, Baal leaves the sad thing to die alone either in the desert and/or at the mouth of Mot – both being literal places for death. Ravenous as he always is, Mot swallows the imposter without looking and he is fooled and thinks Baal is dead.

Another sister, the war goddess Anat, also believes Mot has swallowed Baal. Intending to cut her brother from the gullet of death, she splits Mot in two. And once Mot is killed, Baal comes out of hiding and brings rain. This is said happens every year even this day. It is called the ‘Baal Cycle.’ Incidentally in this story, mankind had come from that living muck surrounding the gore of Death.

Gods don’t die, forever at least, so when Mot resurrects himself, he finds and confronts Baal. Baal wins numerous fights against his brother but Mot still demands compensation. He asks for a son of Baal. Death wants to eat the child of his victorious brother. Until then, Mot consumes every living thing in the kingdom of Baal. Death persists.

There is where the Canaanite found themselves – with the fate of the lives out of their control. They were at the mercy and their graces of their chief god Baal. And they prayed to stay overlooked by his jealous brother. Some sent offerings. Yet only a son of god was an acceptable sacrifice to attain immortality. The more perfect, the better.

 

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