Final paper

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REALITY OR MYTH

RELS 103 Old Testament Studies
February 15, 2012

God first created the world and saw that all of it was good. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters…God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”1. It is seen within the first two chapters of the Bible that God created all things from land to sea and every creature such as the animals and human beings. The first humans here on earth were Adam and Eve. They lived in a perfect world and did not have to work for much and their minds couldn’t comprehend what was evil. It was the fall in chapter three that Adam and Eve and the rest of human kind that had become separated from God. The serpent deceived Eve into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge and it had opened up her and Adam’s eyes to seeing things differently. God had cursed all three of them and the future generations to come. “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord”2. God wanted to destroy the whole earth because of all the violence and evil that it had came into the world. He made a covenant with Noah to build an arc and save his family and animals from the great flood. The way that God was going to destroy the whole earth was to cover it with water. “The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered”3. Many have heard a similar story to that of Noah and the flood which is called, THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH. This story has drawn a special significance especially among Christians because it is so much similar to that of Noah and the arc. The story of Gilgamesh starts out on how he was created. This creature was perfect and had no flaws. “When the gods created Gilgamesh they gave him a perfect body...endowed him with beauty…courage…the great gods made his beauty perfect, surpassing all others, terrifying like a great wild bull” 4. Since Gilgamesh was so strong and courageous, no one could stand against him, the gods wanted to create an equal for him. The gods formed another person named Enkidu to be an equal part to Gilgamesh. “So the goddess conceived an image in her mind, and it was of the stuff of Anu of the firmament. She dipped her hands in water and pinched off clay, she let it fall in the wilderness, and noble Enkidu was created”5. Enkidu was created to fight with Gilgamesh because Gilgamesh was so evil and slept with almost every woman he laid eyes on. When Enkidu fought Gilgamesh, he could not overpower him and “his fury died…and so the two embraced and their friendship was sealed”6. Gilgamesh and Enkidu were such close friends. One day Enkidu had grown ill and passed away. Gilgamesh was so upset by his friend passing away that he went in search of a man who was immortal. A man that the gods had saved from when they had destroyed all life on Earth by building a great boat that carried him, his family, and one of every living creature to safety. The gods granted eternal life to him and his wife. This man was called, Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim is the one who is similar to Noah in the Bible. There are a few similarities and differences that the epic and Bible has to offer. Some people have even claimed that the Bible had borrowed the story of the flood…