Introduction tell of the gods creating seven couples

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Last updated: August 25, 2019

Introduction                                                                                                   The Bible is a collectionof ancient writings known as the Old Testament, referred to by scholars as theHebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible contains traditional stories, ideas, poems,history and prophecies that are written in Hebrew and some passages in Aramaicdialect that was spoken by the Middle East after 600BCE. Archaeology has playeda great role in construct the history of the Bible on the great Kings andKingdoms and their famous stories of early Israelite history of time and placeof Jerusalem 800 BCE. With the help of archaeological excavations, we are ableto know about what beliefs, trade, crops, building, lifestyles, teachings theIsraelites have in common with their neighbors, all these were identified anduncovered by theologians.

The works of theologians and archaeologists haveshown scientific evidence for the contents of the Bible and, also enable forinterpretation of the bible within the Church; in terms of the past society andthe relevance to the present age. One of the most important accounts in theHebrew Bible is the story of creation. Neighbours of Israelites also had theirown accounts of creations. Many historians have argued that Israelites borrowedthe account on creation from neighbouring ancient near eastern religious textsof Mesopotamia, Egypt and Canaan. The Hebrew Bible account was unique in thatit is the only account that traced human race to one couple Adam and Eve; otherslike the Atrahasis epic tell of the gods creating seven couples from clay andblood of god.

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The ancient Babylonian genealogies could not account for thediversity of humans or languages like the Hebrew Bible account in Genesis 10.Creationof HumansAccording to the HebrewBible (Genesis 1-2), a single God created the earth from nothing by his spokenword. God also created plants, animal and finally a human couple; all theseworks in six days.

“And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done,and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.” (Genesis2:2). Ancient near eastern creation accounts show the characters of multiplegods who are involved in creation. An example such as the Epic of Atrahasis,tells a story of multiple gods who created humans because they were tired ofhard work. In this account one of the gods (Ea) suggested that the burden onthe gods was too much; and the gods created humans from clay and blood of oneof the gods. Aside a single God creating humans, the goal of Hebrew creation isnot to entertain its listeners nor to justify the political status quo, but toconvey a history of God’s actions in creating the world for man as it’s head,to enjoy in fellowship with his creator which actually make sense to the listeners.God did not create and leave his people alone, nor created his people to bearhis burden; but created his people to commune and fellowship with Him.

Accountsof the FloodSome people whodisbelieve Genesis claim that the flood story is a copy of the Epic ofGilgamesh written by the Sumerians in around 3,300 B.C.  The account of the flood by both Genesis andthe Epic of Gilgamesh were similar in that flood occurred in the Mesopotamianplain, a boat was built to save a man, his family and some animals. It is alsointeresting to note that both stories showed that the boat was sealed with tarand came to rest at the end of the flood on a mountain. They both also told ofbirds being released to determine if waters have withdrawn.

In both accountsthe main hero sacrificed to the God/gods. However, there was a great differencein the two accounts of the flood. In the Genesis account, God was angry becauseof the wickedness of men and selected Noah because of Noah’s righteousness todeliver his family and some animals. In the account by the Epic of Gilgamesh,the gods could not sleep due to men’s noisiness (due to overpopulation) and forno reason chose Utnapishtim to rescue his family, some craftsmen and someanimals.InterpretationOne good way of viewingthe creation is looking at creation in terms of building.  Both ancient Mesopotamia and Hebrew thoughts,shows that humans build homes with wisdom. In the Hebrew Bible building commonlydescribes divine creation.

Although the metaphor of building lies largelybeneath the surface in the creation account in Genesis 1:1-2:3; other biblicalwriters described the world as a building and the creator as a wise all-knowingbuilder (Job 3:14; 1 kings 10:4-8, 23). In Mesopotamia, buildings were thoughtto need the wisdom and help of the gods before it can be built. In other words,building to the Mesopotamians was an act of creation and creation an act ofbuilding. With these similarities in the accounts and perspective of creationbetween the Hebrew Bible and ancient near Eastern accounts, it may be very easyto think that the Hebrew Bible copied the neighbours’ accounts.

In fact, manynon-believers of the Bible do think so and think the Bible is just anothermyth. However, archeological and historical facts have supported many Biblicalstories. These historical and archeological facts include the discovery of Nuzitablets (dated back to 1500 BC) which shows treaties, marriage arrangements,and rules on inheritance, adoption, etc. Another example is the discovery ofHittite existence for the first time (outside the Biblical accounts) in 1906through archeological digging east of not Ankara, Turkey. Archeology hasenabled the reconstruction of Biblical history, and have shown that accounts inthe Bible really happened in a traceable and consistent manner.

Historical andarcheological support of Biblical facts makes interpretation of the bibleevidence based (i.e. scientific) and not fictitious. As a result, reading andinterpreting the Bible in the Church can be done in confidence because it isevidence based. In conclusion, reading and interpretation of the Bible (bothHebrew and New Testament) in the Church agrees with the Biblical stand onknowledge – 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as oneapproved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining theword of truth”.

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