This article was first published in the Winter 2004 issue of Bible and Spade.
The Bible is not the only ancient record of Creation and the Flood. Well-known in antiquity is the Atra-Hasis Epic. Atra-Hasis, meaning “exceeding wise,” is the name of the story’s principal character. Dating from the 17th century BC, fragmentary copies of the Epic have been excavated from numerous Mesopotamian sites. Originally about 1,245 cuneiform lines on three clay tablets, we have only pieces today. The Epic offers many details similar to the Bible’s Creation and Flood accounts. It speaks of the gods ruling the heavens and earth, making man from the clay (mixed with blood) to tend the land, and men multiplying on the earth. When they became too noisy, a flood was sent to destroy mankind. Atra-Hasis, given advanced warning, built a boat and loaded it with food, animals and birds. They were saved while the rest of the world perished.
The Atra Hasis Epic
Similarities with the Biblical account of Creation and the Flood are obvious. The Bible and the Atra-Hasis Epic are recorded from different cultures of the same even. But the Biblical account is not just the Hebrews’ account of events—it is also God’s!
For additional information on the Atra-Hasis Epic:
The Atrahasis Epic, the Genesis Flood and Capital Punishment, Bible and Spade 8 : 17-28
Genesis and Ancient Near Eastern Stories of Creation and Flood: An Introduction, Parts 3 and 4, Bible and Spade 9 : 68-76, 103-10.
Recommended Resources for Further Study
|The Genesis Record