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(Operating under the assumption that Genesis was authored by Moses, and its intent is a polemic against other origin stories and their view of the deity at the time).

The Enûma Eliš is said to have influenced the writings in Genesis. What are the similarities and differences between the Genesis creation account and other creation stories of the time?

(Not limited to Babylonian—particularly interested to hear Egyptian origin stories from the time as well.)

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closed as too broad by Davïd, James Shewey, Dan Oct 28 at 16:25

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Compare the simple elegance of the Genesis account to the Eygyptian story. God spoke. No fighting among different actors. Just "Let there be light", "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.","let the water teem with living creatures..." It really sounds like God speaking. – user2594 Aug 25 '13 at 13:37
Comparing Genesis with all other creation stories is too broad. – curiousdannii Oct 11 '14 at 23:19

5 Answers 5

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Enuma Elish and Genesis have the strongest connection in their first lines--"In the beginning" vs. "When on high." Some say that Genesis is written as a polemic against Enuma Elish. They are very different.

1a. Enuma Elish starts with the elemental representatives of chaos, Apsu and Tiamat. They are the father and mother of the gods respectively. It isn't creation so much as shaping the chaotic matter that already exists.

1b. In Genesis, God stands over creation. And He creates it all. I do not read 1:2 as the chaos that He shapes. I read it as that is how He created it.

2a. In Enuma Elish, Apsu wants to kill his children, the gods, because they are noisy. Tiamat tries to protect them. Their son, Ea, chief of the gods, uses magic to send Apsu to sleep and then kills him. Ea and his consort have a child named Marduk who is stronger than themselves. Marduk's playing with wind storms awakens the gods still sleeping within Tiamat.

Tiamat seeks revenge and creates 11 monsters to help her. Marduk offers to be the gods' champion if he is allowed to be their leader afterwards. They agree, he fights Tiamat, kills her, and shapes her body parts into the earth and sky. He then creates the stars and regulates the sun, moon, and weather. Note that he does not create the sun or moon. He merely regulates them.

The gods who sided with Tiamat are first forced to be slaves of Marduk's coalition. Then Marduk creates humans to do the work the gods don't want to do. Babylon is established as the home of the chief gods and Marduk is named king of all gods. This includes Enlil, who was king of the gods in the area's earlier civilizations.

2b. Genesis connects on some of the high points, but is very different. God makes the sun, moon, and stars. He does not regulate them. God creates man as the high point of creation, not as a race of slaves. God does not fight other gods because there are none. There are no monsters to fight. In fact, God creates the tannim, sea monsters or whales simply as part of his creation. God is not named or elevated to kingship. In Genesis, He is supreme from the beginning.

In an Egyptian account I read while in seminary, the creator god engaged in "self abuse" to make the world and other gods.

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(Continued answer. See the introduction, table of contents and the first part of this answer here.)

Creation myth of Ptah

The creation myth of Ptah comes from Memphis which was created as the capitol city for Egypt during the Old Kingdom period by Pharaoh Menes. During the 26th dynasty (672BCE–525BCE; the late period) of Egypt, the Shabaka stone was created by Pharoah Shabaka. This writing includes a preface stating,

This writing was copied out anew by his majesty in the house of his father Ptah-South-of-his-Wall, for his majesty found it to be a work of the ancestors which was worm-eaten, so that it could not be understood from the beginning to end. His majesty copied it anew so that it became better than it had been before, in order that his name might endure and his monument last in the House of his father Ptah-South-of-his-Wall throughout eternity, as a work done by the son of Re [Shabaka] for his father Ptah-Tatenen, so that he might live forever.

Accordingly, scholars believe that the original writing dates much earlier than the Late Period, though there is no consensus on the exact. It is generally narrowed to two possibilities. The first is the 19th Dynasty during the New Kingdom as this was the apex of the worship of Ptah with the temple to Ptah in Memphis being built under pharoah Thutmose III during the 18th Dynasty

The other popular date is during the Old Kingdom. This may be because the earliest reference to Ptah can be found in Pyramid Text in utterance 573 (5th Dynasty) and a depiction on a calcite bowl from Tarkhan from the 1st Dynasty.

Commend [Pharoah Pepi II] to Great Noble [Horus], the beloved Ptah, the son of Ptah, to speak for [Pharoah Pepi II], to cause food to grow for his dining pavillion on earth, for [Pharoah Pepi II] is one of those four gods.

According to the Shabaka Stone), Ptah conceived of creation in his heart and then spoke it into existence and is the creator of all other gods. In fact, for this reason he was represented as the [god of craftsmen.]

There took shape in the heart, there took shape on the tongue the form of Atem. For the very great one is Ptah, who gave [life] to all the gods and their kas through this heart and through this tongue,

The statement that creation took shape through the mouth and the tounge is the distinctive mark of Memphite Theology - that the power of creation was through the thoughts and speech of the divine creator.

  • Similarities

    • Both Ptah and Adam name creation

      His (Ptah's) Ennead is before him as teeth and lips. They are the semen and the hands of Atem. For the Ennead of Atem came into being through his semen and his fingers. But the Ennead is the teeth and the lips in this mouth which pronounced the name of every thing, from which Shu and Tefnut came forth, and which gave birth to the Ennead.

      As mentioned in the similarities section for the Enûma Eliš, naming has a special significance and is actually a step in the creation process. We see that here again in the Shabaka Stone.

    • Yahweh speaks creation into existence as does Ptah

      God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light! (Genesis 1:3)

      Similarly, the Shabaka stone states:

      As to the tongue, it repeats what the heart has devised. Thus all the gods were born and his Ennead was completed.

    • 6s

      There are six days of creation in Genesis and six sections of the Shabaka Stone

  • Notable Differences

    • It is Yahweh who is creator of all things

      If my above research about the significance of naming is correct, this places Adam in the place of Ptah. This becomes a direct affront to the idea presented in the Shabaka stone that Ptah was the origin and creator of all the other gods and by extension everything else in the earth. According to the Shabaka Stone:

      The Gods who came into being in Ptah: Ptah-on-the-great-throne //////. Ptah-Nun, the father who [made] Atem. Ptah-Naunet, the mother who bore Atem. Ptah-the-Great is heart and tongue of the Nine [Gods]. [Ptah] ///////// who bore the gods. [Ptah] ///////// who bore the gods. [Ptah] /////////. [Ptah] ///////// Nefertem at the nose of Re every day.

      Therefore, by placing Adam as the namer of creation (Geneis 2:19) and implying Adam is Ptah, Genesis is making the polemic statement that Yahweh is the creator of Ptah since Yahweh created Adam.

Creation myth of Khnum

The worship of Khnum was centred at Temple at Elephantine located at the southernmost part of upper Egypt. This temple appears to have been established as early as the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Khnum is also mentioned in Pyramid Text Utterances 300, 324, 522, 524, and 586. Being near the source of the Nile, it makes sense then that Khnum was a water deity associated with the Nile and is often depicted pouring out jars of water. Further, Pyramid Text 522 states:

bring it to Pharaoh Pepi II, namely, the "work of Khnum," which is in the Winding Watercourse.

Which servers to further underscore that point.

Khnum is also frequently depicted as a creator deity. In Egypt, all life was centred around the Nile which provided a source for irrigation and the seasonal flooding deposited nutrient rich silt which allowed for a rich farming industry. It may be for this reason that Khnum is also associated with the creation of the life of mankind. Pyramid Text Utterance states that Khnum built Pharaoh Pepi II

Greetings to thee, O Khnum, who was made harmless though he built Pharaoh Pepi II

And accordingly, he was often depicted as the builder of mankind; fashioning him out of clay on his potter's wheel:

[Image: ]

[Image: ] Images from the Temple of Hathor (Built by Pepi I in 2250BC during the old Kingdom; Part of the Dendera Temple complex)

  • Similarities

    This creation account of Khnum seems to parallel that of the creation of Adam in Genesis 2. In both stories the respective deities fashion mankind out of soil. Furthermore, אדם (Adam) literally means red and is (unsuprisingly) a cognate for the word for ground in Hebrew, אדמה (adamah). In fact, the Hebrew word for red is אָדֹם (adom). This then makes a strong connection to Khnum as a significant amount of Pottery from egypt was made from Nile silt sourced from upper egypt. The resulting product was red in color.

  • Notable Differences

    In Genesis, Mankind is created by God from the clay only at creation. But the work of Khnum was regarded as ongoing with Khnum doing his work for each new man born. We do not get this sense from scripture - creation from clay is depicted as more of a one-time event.

Creation myth of Amun

Starting with the first intermediate period, Amun began to gain importance within the Egyptian pantheon - especially in Thebes where worship of Amun was centered and his temple was built. By the New kingdom, worship of Amun was practiced nationwide and he underwent a Syncratic fusion with Ra and was worshipd as Amun-Ra. New Kingdom Hymns to the creator God Amun also refer to Amun making people "in his own image" and Amun means "the hidden or invisible one", making him the hidden or secret force powering all other gods like Atem, Ra and all others. In this way, it led rise to a kind of monotheism in Egypt.

From the Leiden Papyrus:

Chapter 90

The Ennead combined is Your body. Every god joined in Your body, is Your image.

Chapter 100

The One who initiated existence on the first occasion, Amun, who developed in the beginning, whose origin is unknown. Most Divine God, who came into being Alone. Every god came into being since He began Himself another of His forms are the Eight, primeval one of the primeval ones, begetter of Re. He completed himself as Atem, being of one body with him. He is the Universal Lord, who initiated that which exists.

  • Similarities
    • Mankind created in the image of (G/g)od
    • (G/g)od as puppet master
    • Unknown Origin

Meta Analysis

One other creation myth from Egypt is the Book of the Heavenly Cow, but I do not cover it here because it was most likely written after the Exodus

Ultimately, it is difficult to deny the striking similarities between many of these and the influence they must have had with one another based on the above comparisons. As a result, there are 3 basic ways you can view these stories. Either,

  1. The Bible was influenced by (at least some of) these stories since many of these pre-date the writing of scripture
  2. These stories are all derived from the same source, much like the gospels and each is telling the same story from a different perspective. This viewpoint is pretty difficult for literalistic and metaphorical interpreters of scripture since it is pretty clear that there is a well established cosmology which appears to be regarded literally in antiquity, yet this cosmology is a flat earth which provides a serious stumbling block for the modern literalist.
  3. Sections of Genesis were not derived from other texts like those compared/contrasted here, but instead, The Bible is a polemec, corrective response to these creation myths.

Under interpretation 3, Genesis would be constructed as a literary framework against the backdrop of these creation stories. Under this idea, the author of Genesis would be entirely aware of some or all of the creation myths discussed here. As a result, he would be inviting comparison between Genesis and these other creation accounts under the assumption that the theological implications and conclusions about Yahweh would then be obvious.

Furthermore, it may be that the author of Geneis is taking a cue from Egyptian mythology in which each subsequent generation seems to expand on the mythology of a pervious generation - offering a corrective to previous assumptions of conflicts, (Like the origin stories of Shu and Tefnut and Atum-Ra), Expanding on or clarifying on creation stories as we see in the Book of the Dead. If this is the case, then the author of genesis would be saying that everyone has the facts of creation correct (eg, the Benben or primordial mound and the chaotic waters) but their theological conclusions about them are wrong. This allows modern readers to still read scripture under the assumption that scripture was meant to be interpreted literally, yet we needn't justify scripture scientifically or attempt to force scripture into a framework that fits with what modern science tells us about the universe just as the discovery during the Age of Enlightenment that the earth was not flat did not cause a rejection of faith and scripture. This interpretation allows us to simply view scripture in light of the context in which it was written and draw theological conclusions from that.

Under this assumption then, it becomes clear that there are probably two different creation accounts in Genesis. Gordon J. Wenham and Bruce K. Walthke both regard Genesis 1 as a prologue which Whenham implies is a post-exilic addition to Genesis. In reviewing the differences and similarities, shrewd readers will note that that Babylonian/Sumerian creation parallels and contrasts tend to be congregated in Genesis 1 while Egyptian parallels and contrasts tend to be grouped in Genesis 2:4 through the end of Chapter 3 which would serve to indicate that these are two seperate units intended to address each mythological system seperately

Therefore it becomes useful to do a meta comparison and contrast to all of the above stories:

  • Similarities

    • No beginning of the Divine

      In all of the creative stories, it is never noted where the original deity originates from. They seem to just have eternally existed.

    • Geography

      In nearly all of the Babylonian/Sumerian creation stories, the Tigris and Euphrates are mentioned.

    • The Abyss and the waters of Chaos

      In both the Egyptian mythology and the Enûma Eliš we see a record of the Abyss, a type of primordial chaotic water. This water is strongly associated with serpents and chaos. Perhaps it is for this reason that sea serpents were frequently depicted on old maps in the far corners and deepest parts of seas and there is so much lore surrounding sea serpents. Genesis also has an association with the Abyss and chaos, though not sea serpents. Likewise, the Epic of Atra-Hasis also has a connection with the sea and chaos vis-à-vis the flood narrative contained therein.

    • Speaking into existence

      The Enûma Eliš, Egyptian Mythology, and Genesis all record the creative power of speech. This is partially related to the naming of creation, but in Memphite theology especially, the throat and tounge had special creative power]( Mephite theology offered a polemic in order to advance its' theological agenda vis-à-vis this creative speech. Gods were said to be the "tongue of Ptah/Atem/The Ennead" in order to show that they were the true force of creation. If Genesis really was written as a literary framework which the author of Genesis intended for us to comapre and contrast against other creative stories, then the author of Genesis may be using this same tactic to establish the creative supremacy of Yahweh

    • Primodridal Mound

      The Enûma Eliš, Geneis and Egyptian mythology all reference a primordial mound in which creation began. Because this is one of the first creations, it is then leveraged as creative medium (seemingly because it still has some creative power) in order to make mankind. This makes sense from an ancient mindset in terms of decomposition in which things decompose and return to an earth-like state, so this must be their origion and what they are made from.

    • Naming of Creation

      In the Enûma Eliš, Egyptian Mythology and Genesis, all contain scenes in which creation is named. This may be partially connected to the speaking of creation. As discussed earlier, the final step in any activity of creation is the final naming of the work. In the Enuma Elis and Egyptian mythology, this is an activity done by the gods, but in Genesis, this activity is done by Adam. This makes a polemic statement by putting the gods at the same level as mankind and elevating Yahweh above both.

    • Creation of mankind

      In the Enûma Eliš, Epic of Atrahasis, Genesis and Egyptian Mythology, we see the idea of mankind being created from the clay. The earth gods were also generally associated with the underworld as well, the theory being that at death, your body was returned to earth, so it must be this god that was also god of the underworld. Aside from Yahweh being unassociated with the underworld, Geneis is no different in claming that mankind was fashioned from the clay of the earth.

    • Labor and Dominion

      In the creative stories of the Levant, there is an idea that the gods created mankind as a solution to their problem of work. By creating mankind, the gods were relieved of this problem and according to these myths the purpose of mankind is to farm the earth and serve nature (the gods). In these stories, there is a theme of the granting of dominion. Marduk for example is granted power over nature in order to combat evil forces. Genesis however takes this theme and turns it on its' head. By granting dominion over the earth to Adam, Adam is portrayed as being more powerful than the gods. Furthermore, by granting this dominion, Genesis is offering a corrective - claiming that instead of mankind being created to make offerings to the gods of nature, nature was instead created for the benefit of mankind out of Yahweh's love for and favor towards humanity.

    • 7s/6s

      In the Enûma Eliš, six generations of gods, and 6 was often a theme in Babylonian and Sumerian mythology. The most likely reason for this is because Mesopotamian cultures used a Sexagesimal based numbering system and 6 was a nice round divisor and unit within that system. For example, Sumerian, Babylonian and Egyptian peoples often counted to twelve on one hand by counting each bone or section of their fingers, with 3 per finger for a total of 12 per hand. Genesis then continues its' tradition of one-upmanship by having 6 days of creation with the 7th day (one more than 6) being devoted to the divine.

      With the 7th day devoted to the divine, it was no wonder then why 7 came to be regarded as the divine number. The culture of ancient Mesopotamia was extremely superstitious with lucky and unlucky numbers and numbers often contained a connotation and meaning, just as they often do today (13 being unlucky for example). While the whole of Mesopotamia associated 7 with the divine, it had a special significance within Judaism as being associated with the Covenant. In Hebrew, there was an expression, "to seven oneself" which meant to swear a covenant.

    • Tree of Life

      In the Barton Cylinder, Egyptian mythology and Genesis, we see the theme of the Tree of life. Plants, trees and particularly seeds were often associated with fertility and life. Even today, we associate the two, as an example, see Onan "spilling his seed". It is unsuprising then to see this theme show up in so many creation stories. In all three creation accounts, there seems to be an interesting associate with the serpent motif.

    • Disruption of the Divine Plan -

      In the Epic of Atra-hasis, Genesis and Egyptian mythology, we each see the idea that there was some sort of divine plan which was disrupted. In the Epic of Atra-hasis, this plan was disrupted by the lesser gods, but in Egyptian Mythology and Genesis, this divine plan is disrupted by mankind. In Genesis and the Epic of Atra-hasis, the result of this disruption is that mankind must labor the land to produce agricultural products. All of these plans have the sense that this was not the way it was meant to be and that the current arrangement is suboptimal. Only in the Bible do we see a promise of an escape and a hope for the future however.

    • Serpent Motif

      In the Enûma Eliš, the Barton Cylinder, Egyptian mythology and Geneis we see a notable serpent motif. In all of these creation accounts, the serpent is connected with evil and an attack against the divine. It seems to be a malevolent force which is attempting to subvert the benevolent divine's intent. In Genesis and Egyptian mythology, the serpent is associated with the Tree of Life. The case for this could also be made in the barton Cylinder, but only in that both themes exist in this account.

  • Differences

    • Elevation of God

      Throughout all of the similarities we see minor tweaks made by the author of Genesis. In both the similarities and differences of Genesis, the overarching theme is that Genesis is establishing the the supremacy of Yahweh over all other gods. This is done exhaustively with a relentless repetition. A clear polemic against the other theologies of the Levant.

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(Continued answer. See the introduction, table of contents and the first part of this answer here.)

Ogdoad of Hermopolis

The creation myth of the Ogdoad is the oldest creation myth and It is very difficult to study because it is not contained in single volumes like all of the Babylonian myths. Instead, this myth is pieced together from multiple sources of poetry, hymns and inscriptions appearing on pyramid and temple walls. Really, it is a collection of myths. It is also the most important collection of myths to study in the vein of Egyptian creation myths because it sets the foundation for all other myths arising afterwards. Egyptian mythology also provides an interesting idea informing how we might interpret Genesis which I will discuss in the meta-analysis/summary.

The creation myth of the Ogdoad arise in the Old Kingdom which centred (religiously) on Hermopolis. Hermopolis was known in antiquity as "Khmun" which means "eight-town" in reference to the eight gods of the Ogdoad. The mythology for these gods is recorded in the Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead. This creation myth centres around the god Ra. In this creation myth, you have eight gods - 4 male and female pairs - representing 4 aspects of pre-creation according to Egyptian myth:

  1. The waters of chaos (Nu/Naunet)
  2. Hidden forces (Amen and Amaunet)
  3. Darkness (Kuk and Kauket)
  4. Eternity and infinity (Huh and Hauhet)

Ra (the sun god) is said to be descendant from, Nun. Ra in turn gave life to Shu and Tefnut, as noted in Pyramid text Utterance 301:

To say: Thy established-offering is thine, O Niw (Nun) together with Nn.t (Naunet), ye two sources of the gods, protecting the gods with their (your) shade. Thy established-offering is thine, O Amūn together with Amūnet, ye two sources of the gods, protecting the gods with their (your) shade. Thy established-offering is thine, O Atem together with the two lions, ye double power of the gods, yourselves, who created yourselves, that is, Shu together with Tefnut, (who) created the gods, begat the gods, established the gods.

This Utterance of the pyramid text comes from the Pyramid of Unas which contains the oldest known reference to Ra and Nun (From the 5th Dynasty in the Old Kingdom) outside of some passing references to Ra vis-à-vis Pharaoh Reneb whose name means "Ra is the Lord".

The union of Shu and Tefnut are then said to have given rise to Nut (Utterance 7) and Geb (Utterance 592) making them the grandson and granddaughter of Ra.

Utterance 7

To say by Nut, the great, (who is) within the encircled mansion: This is (my) son N., of (my) heart. I have given to him the Dȝ.t, that he may be chief therein, like Horus, chief of the Dȝ.t. All the gods say (to Nut): "Thy father Shu knows that thou lovestPharaoh Pepi IImore than thy mother Tefnut.

Utterance 592

To say: Geb, son of Shu, this is Osiris N.; the heart of thy mother trembles for thee, in thy name of "Geb." Thou art the eldest son of Shu, his primogeniture.

Unfortunately, these references to Ra became syncretized with the theology and gods originating from Heliopolis by the 5th dynasty as can be seen from the Pyramid texts on the walls of the Pyramid of Unas. It it difficult to extrapolate or infer much before this with any certainty. This will be discussed in more detail in the section below regarding Atem.

  • Similarities

    • Waters

      The name "Nu" actually means "watery one" in old Egyptian - Nu is the deification of the chaotic primordial waters of the abyss thought to be present at pre-creation. This is the same chaotic abyss we see in Genesis and the Enûma Eliš.

      ...and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep (Genesis 1:2)

      As discussed earlier, this is the Abyss

    • Darkness

      The name "Kuk" means "Darkness" in old Egyptian. We see this same darkness in Genesis:

      ...and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep (Genesis 1:2)

    • The void

      Shu is the god of emptiness and air. The word "shu" forms the root of such words as empty and dry in old Egyptian. We see this same emptiness present in Genesis:

      Now the earth was without shape and empty (Genesis 1:2)

    • Rain

      "Tefnut" literally means "she of moisture" in old Egyptian and she was depicted as the goddess of dew, moisture and rain.

      So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. (Genesis 1:7)

      In terms of Genesis, this would make Tefnut the goddess of the water above the sky expanse.

    • The Sky

      Nut means "sky" in old egyptian and she is depicted as goddess of the sky.


      This could almost as easily be an artist's depiction of Genesis 1:7-8 and 14:

      So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. It was so. God called the expanse “sky.” ... God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years,

    • Land

      "Geb" literally means "land of god" in old Egyptian and he was depicted as the earth or a goose

      God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.” It was so. God called the dry ground “land” (Genesis 1:9-10)

      Furthermore, Geb was often depicted as laying opposite or underneath Nut:


      This evokes the imagery of Genesis 1:16-17:

      He made the stars also. God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth,

      Finally, Geb was also a god of the underworld - presumably because it was in geb that you buried your dead, so naturally he would be the one to transport the dead to the underworld. Perhaps this then is related to Genesis 3:19:

      By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”

      In other words, it was from "Geb" which adam was created and to "Geb" shall he return. This will also be very relevant to the creation myth of Ptah (discussed below.)

    • No beginning of the divine

      In this creation myth there is no record of the creation of the 8 gods of the Ogdoad. They always seem to exist in much the same way the Genesis implies that god and the waters of the Deep always existed

    • Serpent motif

      The goddesses of the Ogdoad are often depicted as serpents - again with the serpent motif!

    In most cases the name of the god was typically synonymous with whatever thing they were god of. So, for example, if it was dark out, you would say "it is 'Kuk' out" in old Egyptian.

    • Notable Differences

    Because of the fragmentary nature of egyptian references to the gods and the syncretisim of Heliopolan theology, it is difficult to find any differences at this stage of the analysis of the Egyptian creation myths. All other myths grow out of the original Hermopolis cosmology and there will be differences to be inferred in those comparisons.

Creation myth of Atem

By the 6th Dynasty during the Old Kingdom, Re, Atem, and Khepri had grown synonymous - most likely because they were all 3 sun-gods. Atem, Ra and Khepri are thought by Egyptologists to be three distinct gods which were then merged. Often names were used interchangeably to refer to the same god or combined and hyphenated )like "Atem-Re". Utterances 600 and 662 of the Pyramid Texts make it clear that this was the case for Atem when they state:

Utterance 600

To say: O Atem-Khepri, when thou didst mount as a hill, and didst shine as bnw of the benben in the temple of the "phoenix" in Heliopolis, and didst spew out as Shu, and did spit out as Tefnut,

Utterance 662

O brilliant, brilliant; Khepri, Khepri, thou art on the way to Pharaoh Pepi II; Pharaoh Pepi II is on the way to thee; thy life is on the way to Pharaoh Pepi II; the life of Pharaoh Pepi II is on the way to thee. O papyrus, going forth from Wȝd.t, thou art gone forth as Pharaoh Pepi II; Pharaoh Pepi II is gone forth as thou. Pharaoh Pepi II is strong through thine appearance. Appetite belongs to the breakfast of Pharaoh Pepi II; plenty belongs to the supper of Pharaoh Pepi II. Hunger is not powerful in the life of Pharaoh Pepi II; fire is far from Pharaoh Pepi II lives from thy plenty; Pharaoh Pepi II abounds in the abundance of thy food, O Rē‘, every day.

So from these texts, we can see that Ra, Khephri and Atem are one in the same by the 6th Dynasty. This actually leads to divergent and conflicting origin stories.

Khephri for example was depicted as a scarab beetle and his name is very similar to the egyptian word "kheper" which means to develop or come into being. Scarab beetles are a type of dung beetle and therefore roll their dung-ball in much the way that the egyptians imagined the sun must move across the sky. Furthermore, Atum was regarded as creating himself from the primordial waters of Nun as a primordial mound, or benben in Pyramid Text Utternace 600:

O Atum-Khepri, when thou didst mount as a hill, and didst shine as bnw of the benben in the temple of the "phoenix" in Heliopolis...

According to Utterance 587 of the Pyramid Texts, Atem-Khepri created himself from the waters of Nu

To say: Greetings to thee, Atem. Greetings to thee, Khepri, who created himself. Thou art high, in this thy name of "Ḳȝ." Thou comest into being, in thy name of "Khepri."

It is thought that part of the reason Khepri was associated with self-creation in this manner was because dung beetles emerge from the balls of dung fully developed - similar to the way that Atum-Khepri created himself from or as the benben (primordial mound.)

It is also worth pausing to note here that in the sun temple of Atem located in Heliopolis (referenced above in Pyramid Text Utterance 600,) there was a Tree (the Ished Tree) which appears to have been the Tree of Life.

Tree of Life Tree of Life from The Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak from the 19th dynasty

Tree of Life in color A colorized drawing of the above

This may be the same tree mentioned in Pyramid Text Utterance 519:

They give to Pharaoh Pepi II the tree of life whereof they live, that Pharaoh Pepi II may, at the same time, live thereof.

Alternatively, Coffin Text Spell 222 from the first Intermediate period during 7th-11th Dynasties (2181 BC – 2055 BC) gives a differint origin story for Atem:

the [august god] {atum} †† who is in his egg has commanded that N breathe the air in the realm of the dead [and that there be given to him the sweet air] whiuch is in N's nostrils. O N, seek out that great place which is in [Wnw]; O N, [guard] this egg of the Great Cackler. If N [be strong], it will be strong; if N live it will live; if N breathe the air, it will breathe the air.

So we see that in some texts, Atum-Re is not self-created but instead came from an egg (and in some later texts, a lotus bud)

We see similar discrepancies in the origin story for Shu and Tefunt. Despite the statement in Utterance 600 (above) that Atem spat or sneezed Shu into existence, since Atem was without a female god with which to become intimate in order to create life, Atem is instead described in Pyramid Text Utterance 527 as creating Shu and Tefnut by masturbating:

To say: Atem created by his masturbation in Heliopolis. He put his phallus in his fist, to excite desire thereby. The twins were born, Shu and Tefnut. They put Pharaoh Pepi II between them; they put Pharaoh Pepi II among the gods in the Marsh of Offerings. To say four times: Pharaoh Pepi II mounts to heaven; Pharaoh Pepi II descends to the earth; for life everlasting.

This pretty much summarizes what we know about creation by Atem from the Pyramid Texts, closing out what archaeologists know from the Old Kingdom but there is a great deal of supplemental information in in the Coffin Texts which were recorded in the First Intermediate period during 7th-11th Dynasties (2181 BC – 2055 BC). In some instances (eg, the World Egg and the goose) these may be completely new additions to the mythology, but in most cases the texts seem to explain or expand upon existing references or offer a corrective.

For example, the Coffin Texts texts attempt to unify the two divergent origins of Shu and Tefnut by claiming that Atem first masturbated, and then took his ejaculate into his mouth for a gestation period before expelling Shu and Tefnut from his mouth. From Coffin Text Spell 77:

He created orgasm and fluid(?) fell from his mouth. He spat me out as Shu together with Tefenut

These conflicting origins can be probably attributed to one of the sun gods (eg Ra) while the other could be attributed to another (Eg, Atem) Unfortunately, due to the Syncretism of Ra, Atem, and Khepri that occurred, we have no way of knowing which creation method should be attributed to which god or even if they can be attributed in this manner for sure and thus they are now all inextricably linked.

In the coffin text we also learn something about the creation of mankind. In the Coffin Texts, we learn that Atem and Tefnut become lost in the abyss and separated from Atem. According to Coffin Text Spell 76, Atem then sends his Soul Eye searching for them:

I am Shu, father the gods, and Atem once sent his Sole Eye seeking me and my sister Tefenet. I made light of the darkness for it, and it found me as an immortal.

Before finding Shu and Tefnut however, Atem creates mankind from the tears of his sole eye out of the sadness and loneliness according to Coffin Text Spell 80

He knows how to nourish him who is in the egg in the womb for me, namely the human beings who came forth from my eye which sent out while I was alone with Nu in lassitude, and I could find no place on which to stand or sit

Additional support for this concept comes from Coffin Text Spell 262 and the The Bremner-Rhind Papyrus from the New Kingdom period

This is actually a rather entertaining pun as "Shu" is the sound you make when sneezing and Atem is described as "spewing" out Shu in this inscription.

†† Addition in brackets was R.O. Faulkner from Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts Volume I while the addition in curly braces is mine. The link is to an excerpt of Coffin Text 75 which makes it clear that the august god is Atum.

  • Similarities

    • Atem and Adam sound similar

      The first similarity one notes is between the name of the god "Atem" and the name of the first man "Adam." Though these names do not share any linguistic roots, one is led to wonder if it is a mere coincidence that the names sound similar. While Adam does mean "man" or "mankind" this is not the only word in hebrew which could be used to convey "mankind". Furthermore, the author could have simply named the first man "Steve" or something. Considering the time that the Israelights spent in Egypt, one cannot help but wonder if this is intentional on the part of the author.

    • Creation from the primordial mound

      In Egyptian Mythology, Atem rises from the waters of Nu and then both embodies but also is created from the primordial mound (benben). Similarly, Adam is created from the earth in Genesis 2:7 and Genesis 3:19 states that Adam embodies dust:

      By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”

    • The fall of mankind

      According to Coffin Text 1130, Atum created mankind as equals and it was their choice to disobey his divine plan.

      I made every man like his fellow; and I did not command that they do wrong. It is their hearts that disobey what I have said. This is one of the deeds.

      This is also the point of Genesis 1-3. It records that God dictated that Adam and Eve were entrusted with the choice to eat or not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and their choice brought evil into the world.

    • The tree of life

      According to mythology, The fruit of the persea symbolized the “Sacred Heart” of Horus,

      According to E.A. Wallis Budge, in his work "The book of the Dead"

      In close connection with the natural and spiritual bodies stood the heart, or rather that part of it which was the seat of the power of life and the fountain of good and evil thoughts." -

      Perhaps this is why eating the fruit of the persea tree was supposed to give Eternal Life and knowledge of the Divine Plan.

      Similarly, there were two trees in Genesis,

      1. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil which would make Adam and Eve "like God" by knowing good and evil (the divine plan) if they ate of the fruit of this tree and
      2. The Tree of Life which would give Adam and Eve eternal life by eating of its' fruit.
    • Serpent motif

      It was thought that each day, Ra emerged from an egg and travelled in a boat known as the Bark across the sky and then crossed into the underworld at sunset. Each night, just before dawn as the Bark passes the mountain of Bahkhu in the underworld, Apep attacks the Bark according to Coffin Text Spell 160:

      I know that mountain of Bakhu upon which sky leans. ... On the east of that mountain is a serpent, 30 cubits in his length, with three cubits of his forefront being of flint. I know the name of that serpent who is on the mountain. His name is "He overthrows". Now at the time of evening he turns his eye over against Re, and there occurs a halting among the (solar) crew, a great astonishment(?) within the voyage, so that Seth bends himself against him.

      Apep is also referenced in several of the pyramid texts

      Utterance 583

      N. of Rē‘, the uraeus-serpent, which is on the forehead of Rē‘.

      Utterance 505

      my companion is the uraeus-serpent, who comes forth from the god, the ’i‘r.t-serpent, who comes forth from Rē‘.

      Utterance 276

      To say: Thy act is against thee, what thou doest is against thee, O sksk-serpent, which is in his (thy) hole?, the opponent.

      Utterance 284.

      To say: He (serpent) whom Atum has bitten has filled the mouth of N., while he wound himself up (lit. wound a winding).

      Utterance 288

      To say: Hki-serpent or hkr.t-serpent, go away (with) face on the road. Eye of N., look not at him. Thou shalt not do thy will with N. Get away.

      Furthermore, Apep is heavily associated with the Tree of Life. E.A. Budge's translation of The Book of the Dead records the following,

      I am the Cat which fought by the Persea tree hard by in Annu, on the night when the foes of Neb-er-tcher were destroyed. What then is this? The male cat is Ra himself, and he is called Maau by reason of the speech of the god Sa [who said] concerning him: "He is like (maau) unto that which he hath made, and his name became Maau"; or (as others say), It is Shu who maketh over the possessions of Seb to Osiris. As to the fight by the Persea tree hard by, in Annu, it concerneth the children of impotent revolt when justice is wrought on them for what they have done.

      Accompanying this writing are the following illustrations:

      Papyrus of Ani

      (From the Papyrus of Ani)

      Papyrus of Hu-nefer

      (From the Papyrus of Hu-nefer)

      Thus, in this text we see the unification of the fall of man, the Tree of Life and the serpent motif.

      According to the Coffin Texts and the Bremner-Rhind papyrus, Ra's Sole Eye returned from searching for shu and tefnut to find that it had been replaced in its' absence. It became upset and turned into Apep.

    • Speaking creation into existence

      In Coffin Texts Spell 76, the creator (here named as Atem) bring eight gods into existence "by speaking with the nun," presumably separating the elements of chaos by the process of naming them.

    • Theme of dual-gender

      Atem is regarded as representing both the male and female aspects of gender. Many scholars believe that the entire female essence was removed from man and fashioned into a woman. This would mean that the "mankind" in chapter 1 could have been an undifferentiated or androgynous person, with the blessing of male and female being a declaration in anticipation of the separation of the sexes in Genesis 2. This interpretation largely hinges on the fact that The Hebrew word used for rib is צֵלָע (tsela) which often means "a component", or more often, "a side-wall" or "chamber" which may indicate that more than simply a rib was taken from Adam.

  • Notable Differences

    • Atem/Adam is not self-created

      As discussed above, Atem is self created, while Genesis records that God created Adam. If Adam is supposed to be a reference to Atem, this is clear polemic against Atem designed to lower him to a mere creation of Yahweh and Demonstrate Yahweh's power over Atem.

    • Focus on the creation of mankind

      The creation myth of Re-Atum, as with most of Egyptian mythology is focused on explaining the elements, weather and similar forces of nature. The creation of mankind is an afterthought. In fact, the creation of mankind isn't even referenced at least the 7th dynasty - a full 800 years after we begin seeing other references to egyptian myths. Conversely, mankind and their story is the primary focus of the Genesis creation account.

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There are several creation accounts in antiquity from two main areas in the fertile crescent; Babylon/Sumer and Egypt. I will attempt to summarize and compare/contrast points of each creation myth with Genesis, so I will apologize at the outset to readers for the long answer. I'm sure the OP did not realize what a tall order this was, and as curiousdannii noted, this is a very broad topic. Based on the rules of this Stack Exchange, this question should probably have been closed as "off topic", but I think it is important and I am therefore glad it wasn't closed. Because of the length of this answer, I have divided it into three answers (answers are limited to 30000 characters), the first covering Babylonian/Sumerian mythology and the second and third covering [Egyptian mythology Part I (Ogdoad and Atem-Ra) and Egyptian Mythology Part II (remaining myths and meta-analysis).

The (hopefully exhaustive) list of creation stories I could find were:

Babylonian Creation myths

Egyptian Creation Myths

Note: Links to original translations included above

There are 5 additional creation references included at the bottom section of this link, but they are so fragmentary, brief or oblique in reference that I did not include in my analysis.

†† Though the link does not credit the source as Spell 233, my research indicates that this web page is, in fact, a translation of this spell from the Coffin Texts.

The Enûma Eliš

The goddess Ummu-Hubur begins an insurrection against the other gods. Marduk is selected as a champion to defend them and slays Tiamut and Apsû. Marduk then creates the world out of the remains of the slain gods.

  • Similarities

    • Similar opening lines

      The opening lines of the Enûma Eliš are strikingly similar to Genesis. As a comparison: Genesis
      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the
      surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface
      of the water.

      God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light!
      - The 7 days of creation are listed -
      Enûma Eliš
      When in the height heaven was not named,
      And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name, And the primeval
      Apsû, who begat them, And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both,
      Their waters were mingled together, And no field was formed, no
      marsh was to be seen; When of the gods none had been called into
      being, And none bore a name, and no destinies [were ordained];

      Then were created the gods in the midst of [heaven],
      - There are 7 gods who decree and their speeches are recorded on 7 clay tablets -
      (Special thanks to Jack Douglas for the kbd abominations)

    • Naming of Creation

      Unpacking a few facts reveals that the texts are even more similar than we might have even first suspected. For example, the Heberw word for creation ("to create") is בָּרָא (bara) which Brown-Driver-Briggs defines as "cutting, shape out" and that it can be compared to the the Assyrian banû - "create, beget, with change of liquid" Therefore, to say that the earth was without shape and empty was to say that it was not yet created.

      Similarly, the Enûma Eliš states

      When in the height heaven was not named, And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name

      The final step of any creative act is to give your artwork a name. In a sense, until it has a name, the creation has not yet been finished. This is why it is notable that Adam names the animals. God is delegating some of his creational power to Adam and Adam shares in the final creative acts with God. Therefore, a work which is unnamed is not yet finished and not yet created. The cutting and shaping out of the work is not yet complete.

    • Chaotic waters

      Furthermore, in line 4 of the first tablet of the Enûma Eliš, we see the statement that Tiamut is chaos and that the waters of Tiamut (who becomes sea) and Apsû are mingled. Interestingly Tiamut is associated with sea serpents or dragons and the sea was typically regarded as a chaotic place of dangers and unknowns. Perhaps this is why the hebrew word תְּהוֹם (sea/the deep) and תֹּ֫הוּ (tohu; formlessness/chaos) are so similar - because the two concepts were inextricably linked in antiquity and in the Enûma Eliš by extension

    • Speaking into existence

      Just as God calls things into existence, the various gods (representing the same things God calls into existence) are "called into being" (Tablet 1, Line 10)

    • Serpent Motif

      There are mention of serpents (Tablet 1, Lines 113-121; Tablet 2, Lines 19-16; Tablet 3, Lines 23-31 and 81-89) which are created as weapons by Ummu-Hubur. She then uses these serpent weapons against the greater gods, just as the serpent thwarts God's plans.

    • Delegation of power/dominion

      Ummu-Hubur gives "The dominion over all the gods" to Kingu. Likewise, Adam is given dominion over all creation in verse 1:28 (remember, each god had an icon and association, so Adam is really being given dominion over the gods by God) Similarly, the gods fearing Ummu-Hubur give Marduk "sovereignty over the whole world"

    • 7s

      Marduk uses seven winds to "disturb the inward parts of Tiamat" just as there are 7 days of creation (Tablet 4, line 47)

    • 6s

      In the Enûma Eliš there are six generations of gods, created one after the other. Each god is associated with something, such as sky or earth. This parallels the six days of creation in Genesis, where Elohim (plural) creates a different thing on each day.

    • Seperation of the waters

      Just as God separates the waters into the sky and the sea and creates dry land (the primordial mound) out of the sea, so does Marduk separate Tiamut and Apsû whos "waters were mingled together" and forms dry land from Tiamut (the sea):

      One half of her [Tiamut] he established as a covering for heaven. ... And bade them not to let her waters come forth. (Tablet 4, Lines 138; 140)


      God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate water from water.” (Genesis 1:6)

    • Apprasial of creation

      Both Marduk and god survey their work after creating:

      He passed through the heavens, he surveyed the regions (Tablet 4, Line 141) vs.

      but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water... God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:2, 2:4)

    • The Abyss

      Both God and Marduk establish the deep:

      And over against the Deep he set the dwelling of Nudimmud. And the lord measured the structure of the Deep, (Tablet 2, Lines 142-143)


      God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” (Genesis 1:10)

      Note: In Hebrew, seas and "the deep" are the same as noted earlier. In fact, it appears that the Hebrew word for the Abyss is תְּהוֹם‎ (tehom) which is cognate with Tiamut

    • Creation of time

      Creation of the stars and moon in order to determine units of time (months, days, seasons, etc) are very similar in both works:

      The stars, their images, as the stars of the Zodiac, he fixed. He ordained the year and into sections he divided it; For the twelve months he fixed three stars. After he had [...] the days of the year [...] images, He founded the station of Nibir to determine their bounds; (Tablet 5, Lines 3-6)


      God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, ... God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:17-18)

    • Creation of night/day

      In both creation accounts, the celestial bodies are created to "rule the days"

      The Moon-god he caused to shine forth, the night he entrusted to him. He appointed him, a being of the night, to determine the days; (Tablet 5, Lines 12-13)


      God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, and let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” It was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night. He made the stars also. God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:14-17)

    • Length of the week

      Both texts establish a 6 day week with a special weekend day set aside for a total of 7 days

      Thou commandest the horns to determine six days, And on the seventh day to [divide] the crown. (Tablet 5, Lines 16-17)


      By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing, and he ceased on the seventh day all the work that he had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3)

    • Creation of man from bone

      In both creation texts, mankind is created from the bones of another:

      My blood will I take and bone will I [fashion], I will make man, that man may... (Tablet 6, Lines 5-6)


      So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs ... The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:21-23)

    • Defeat of the Serpent

      Ultimately, the serpent(s) are defeated in both the Enûma Eliš and Genesis

    • Rest

      "In the Enûma Eliš, Marduk consults with other gods and decides to make mankind as servants, so that the gods can rest. Likewise, Yahweh makes mankind and then rests.

  • Notable Differences

    • Who receives dominion

      It is mankind which is given dominion over creation in Genesis, not the gods.

    • No battle

      There is no epic celestial battle recorded in Genesis

    • The demiurge

      God is not just the demiurge, he is also the creator of all things, unlike Marduk

    • Source of power

      God did not have to be granted any power from other celestial beings and simply possesses it (and implicitly always has), unlike Marduk. This is clear polemic against Marduk and establishes the supremacy of Yahweh.

The Eridu Genesis

Unfortunately the text of the creation section of the Eridu Genesis has been lost to time. Interestingly however, this text does include a flood narrative after creation, which has some notable comparisons and contrasts, but comparison of these text is outside of the scope of your question.

The Epic of Atrahasis

John Walton claims that the Epic of Atrahasis and the Eridu Genesis are literarialy related and it may be that this text was inspired by the Eridu Genesis, as this appears to be the earliest mesopotamian creation myth.

In the myth, the lesser "Igigi-gods" are forced to farm the land and perform related manual labor. They become disenchanted with this situation and stage an insurrection. In order to quell this uprising, mankind is created to take over the "drudgery of labor".

  • Similarities

    • Flood Narrative

      This text also includes a flood narrative after creation like the Eridu Genesis and the Biblical Genesis.

    • Geography

      This text also mention of the Tigris and the Euphrates, just as Genesis does

    • Revolt

      In Genesis, Adam and Eve revolt against God's plan for them and in the Epic of Atrahasis, the Igigi-gods (lesser-gods) revolt against the plan of the Anunna gods (the greater gods) (lines 70-150)

    • Drudgery of labor

      The result of the corruption of the divine plan is the drudgery of labor becoming the responsibility of mankind

    • Mankind is created from the clay

      The Epic of Atra-Hasis states:

      Nintu mixed clay with his flesh and blood. That same god and man were thoroughly mixed in the clay. For the rest of the time they would hear the drum. From the flesh of the god the spirit remained. It would make the living know its sign. Lest he be allowed to be forgotten, the spirit remained. After she had mixed the clay, she summoned the Anunna, the great gods. The Igigi, the great gods, spat upon the clay.

      Similarly, mankind is created from the clay in Genesis 2:7:

      The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

    • Template for mankind

      Mankind is made from the gods in the Epic of Atrahasis, while the Bible says that man was made in God's image.

  • Notable Differences

    • Purpose of Mankind

      In the Epic of Atra-hasis, the gods create mankind so that they can do all the work of farming and feeding the gods, but in Genesis, the earth is created for the purpose of mankind. They are the focus of creation, not merely an afterthought. Instead of mankind in service, it is nature which is in service to mankind in Genesis. The work of farming is but a curse and a corruption of Gods' original plan in Genesis.

      When the gods were man they did forced labor, they bore drudgery. Great indeed was the drudgery of the gods, the forced labor was heavy, the misery too much: the seven great Anunna-gods were burdening the [lesser] Igigi-gods with forced labor (Lines ) They summoned and asked the goddess the midwife of the gods, wise Mami: "Will you be the birth goddess, creatress of mankind? Create a human being, that he bear the yoke, let him bear the yoke, the task of Enlil, let man assume the drudgery of the god."

The Barton Cylinder

This text doesn't really have a story which can be summarized as it takes the format of a hymn or poem.

  • Similarities

    • Geography

      This text also mentions the Tigris and the Euphrates

    • Tree of Life

      The Barton Cylinder mentionsthe Tree of life like in Genesis 2:9

      To heaven he lifts an eye opened by the tree of life [TEXT DAMAGED] my dwelling

    • Serpent Motif

      There is a serpent which is in control of and associated with the demonic in this text. According to Barton:

      The spouse, of Enlil is here called by two other names, Ninkharsag and Mush or Sir. ... Sir appears in this text as a goddess, the serpent deity was also from early times sometimes regarded as a god. Another point of interest which the text makes prominent is the connection of Ninkharsag with enchantment. To her is attributed the function of enchanting the demons, or of keeping them away by incantations. If I rightly understand the text, a number of sentences are given, the utterance of which by her, was supposed to banish demons from the temple.

  • Notable Differences

    • Most powerful God and Demiurge

      Barton notes of the creation text,

      This statement embodies an idea very wide-spread among men, that important acts of creation are the result of cohabitation between a god and a goddess.

      This is in contrast to scripture in which God himself is the demiurge and the head of the pantheon. This could be seen as a statement of power, one-upmanship and bragging. In contrast to other religions in which the head god is not also creator (Eg, Enki was not the demiurge, Zeus was not the demiurge, etc.) And creation was spread out among several gods. In contrast, all of the creative power was concentrated in one God - what a powerful being!

The Debate between Winter and Summer

An and Enlil create the earth. Then, Summer and winter are preparing an offering to Enlil and Winter (being tired from his preparations) starts a quarrel with Summer.

Winter makes the case that summer isn't that hard working and winter is superior and Summer offers a rebuttal. Winter makes his case further followed by another rebuttal by Summer. Summer and Winter look to Enlil for judgement and the author concludes winter is superior.

  • Similarities

    • Geography

      Tigris and Euphrates are mentioned in this text

    • Fraternal quarrel

      In both this text and the Genesis creation account, the creation event is followed by a quarrel between two brothers making an offering

    • Judgement

      Both stories end in a judgement by the most powerful (G/g)od in the pantheon

  • Notable Differences

    • Station of mankind

      Humanity is elevated to the position of gods in the creation account - eg Cain and Able are equivalent to the summer god and winter god.

    • No death

      The story does not end in the death of one brother at the hands of the other

The Debate between sheep and grain

Before all had been created by An, Uttu, Enki and Enlil create the earth, they created sheep and grain and sent them out into the world. At the assembly for the offering of the gods, the sisters Sheep and Grain become inebriated and begin to quarrel. Grain claims to be superior to sheep and Sheep then offers a rebuttal. Grain Rebuffs Sheep and then Sheep offers a second rebuttal.

  • Similarities

    • Primordial Mound

      Lines 1-11 and 26-42 mention the primordial mound seen in Genesis 1:9

    • Similar style

      The wording of Lines 1-25 echo those of Genesis 2:

      since he neither spawned nor created Grain with them, and since in the Land he neither fashioned the yarn of Uttu nor pegged out the loom for Uttu -- with no Sheep appearing ... there was no muc grain

      vs Genesis 2:5

      Now no shrub of the field had yet grown on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

    • Nakedness

      Lines 12-25 mention nakedness

      There was no cloth to wear; Uttu had not been born ... The people of those days did not know about eating bread. They did not know about wearing clothes; they went about with naked limbs in the Land.

      While Genesis 2:25 does as well:

      The man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.

    • Fraternal quarrel

      Again, after the creative act we have another quarrel between siblings just as with the Cain and Abel story.

    • Judgement

      Again, at the end of the Dispute, the head of the Pantheon pronounces a judgement about which of the siblings is greater and in this story, Sheep is cursed to forever be subject to grain in much the same way way Cain is forever cursed.

  • Notable Differences

    • Purpose of mankind

      Food is created for the gods, not mankind. Food is only given to mankind as an afterthought because the gods though it would be "For their own well-being in the holy sheepfold" (Lines 26-36) - Because it was in their best interest to do so and it would fulfil "the ordinances of the gods." (Lines 54-64) In contrast Creation is for the express purpose of mankind in order to serve mankind.

    • Station of Mankind

      Just as in the Debate between Winter and Summer, Humanity is elevated to the position of gods in the creation account - eg Cain and Able are equivalent to the summer god and winter god.

    • No death

      Just as in the Debate between Winter and Summer, The story does not end in the death of one sibling at the hands of the other

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Not a bad post for a "Wookie"! – WoundedEgo Oct 26 at 13:46

Although I see this is an older post, I felt compelled to add an answer to it.

I came across an article on and found it very interesting about the creation stories from Egypt. Genesis 1-2 In Light Of Ancient Egyptian Creation Myths

The Egyptians held a view of 3 different creation stories, concurrently, each having some differences, but a similar line of thought. The Memphis and Heliopolis versions are especially similar. The Memphis story is nearly identical to the Biblical Gen 1 creation story, of how the earth was formed. Human creation however is a different story and not tied into the earth's creation, but even the creation of man has similarities to the biblical story.

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