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Trinity Sunday - June 4, 2023



In the beginning, there was the god of fresh water, Apsu, and the goddess of salt water, Tiamet. Apsu and Tiamet mingled their waters and other gods were born. These younger gods were loud and full of life. Their noise angered Apsu. To get some peace and quiet, Apsu threatened to destroy his children and their children. Before he could, however, his great-great-grandson Ea murdered Apsu. But Ea spared Tiamet, who had not supported her husband’s plan to kill their children.


Tiamet did not repay Ea’s mercy. Spurred on by another god, Kingu, Tiamet became angry about Ea’s murder of her husband, Apsu. Tiamet took Kingu as her second husband. With Kingu, Tiamet gave birth to eleven kinds of monsters to help her take revenge on Ea. But in battle, the god Marduk, son of Ea, rose to the challenge and killed the mother goddess Tiamet, cutting her in half.


With one-half of Tiamet, Marduk created the heavens. With the other half, he created the earth. To other gods, he gave power over heavens, air, and water. Marduk then set the planets and time itself into motion.


Marduk took the gods allied with Tiamet captive and made them servants of the victors. The menial tasks given these captive gods caused them to beg Marduk for relief. To free these prisoners from their labors, Marduk executed Tiamet’s second husband, the ringleader Kingu. From Kingu’s blood, Marduk created humankind to take over the work of the defeated army of the gods and to feed the host of divinities.


Our record of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian story of creation, dates to the 7th century BCE. It may have been composed almost 4,000 years ago, making it one of the earliest, if not the earliest, surviving creation stories.


How different it is from the familiar Genesis creation stories. In Genesis, God creates order from chaos. In the Enuma Elish, the gods seem to create their own chaos. In Genesis, as the culmination of his creation, God designates humankind to be stewards over all other living things. In the Babylonian story, humankind is created as an afterthought and then to be slaves of the gods.


There is such power in stories. Our stories define us. We wrestle with our stories for meaning about ourselves and our world. From Genesis, we know that creation is good. Everything God made is very good. From Gen