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  • WendagWendag
  • The Creation Of ManCreation
Andries Hendrik Potgieter Andries Pretorius FW Reitz General Louis Botha Gideon Jacobus Scheepers Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey Johanna Brandt Johannes Cornelius Lötter Koos De La Rey Pres MT Steyn Sarel Cilliers Siener van Rensburg

Debat oor Christendom en Godsdiens


Among the oldest known conceptions of the creation of man are those of the Hebrews and the Babylonians; the former is narrated in the book of Genesis, the latter forms part of the Babylonian "Epic of Creation." According to the Biblical story, or at least according to one of its versions, man was fashioned from clay for the purpose of ruling over all the animals. In the Babylonian myth, man was made of the blood of one of the more troublesome of the gods who was killed for that purpose; he was created primarily in order to serve the gods and free them from the need of working for their bread. According to our Sumerian poem, which antedates both the Hebrew and the Babylonian versions by more than a millennium, man was fashioned of clay as in the Biblical version. The purpose for which he was created, however, was to free the gods from laboring for their sustenance, as in the Babylonian version.

The poem begins with what may be a description of the difficulties of the gods in procuring their bread, especially, as might have been expected, after the female deities had come into being. The gods complain, but Enki, the water-god, who, as the Sumerian god of wisdom, might have been expected to come to their aid, is lying asleep in the deep and fails to hear them. Thereupon his mother, the primeval sea, "the mother who gave birth to all the gods," brings the tears of the gods before Enki, saying:

"O my son, rise from thy bed, from thy . . . work what is wise,
Fashion servants of the gods, may they produce their . . ,"

Enki gives the matter thought, leads forth 'the host of "good and princely fashioners" and says to his mother, Nammu, the primeval sea:

O my mother, the creature whose name thou hoist uttered, it exists,
       Bind upon it the . . . of the gods;
Mix the heart of the clay that is over the abyss,
The good and princely fashioners will thicken the clay,
       Thou, do thou bring the limbs into existence;
Ninmah (the earth-mother goddess) will work above thee,
. . . (goddesses of birth) will stand by thee at thy fashioning;
O my mother, decree thou its (the new-born's) fate,
       Ninmah will bind upon it the . . . of the gods,
. . . as man . . .



Plate XVIII shows the tablet, with all the pieces
joined. The lower part of the first column contains
the first; part of the passage in which Enki, the
water-god, instructs his mother Nammu, the goddess who
begot heaven and earth and all the gods, how to fashion man.

After a break of several lines, whose contents, if ever recovered, should prove most illuminating, the poem describes

a feast arranged by Enki for the gods, no doubt to commemorate man's creation. At this feast Enki and Ninmah drink much wine and become somewhat exuberant. Thereupon Ninmah takes some of the clay which is over the abyss and fashions six different types of individuals, while Enki decrees their fate and gives them bread to eat. The character of only the last two types is intelligible; these are the barren woman and the sexless or eunuch type. The lines read:

The . . . she (Ninmah) made into a woman who cannot give birth.
Enki upon seeing the woman who cannot give birth,
Decreed her fate, destined her to be stationed in the "woman house."

The . . . she (Ninmah) made into one who has no male organ, who has no female organ.
Enki, upon seeing him who has no male organ, who has no female organ,
To stand before the king, decreed as his fate.

After Ninmah had created these six types of man, Enki decides to do some creating of his own. The manner in which he goes about it is not clear, but whatever it is that he does, the resulting creature is a failure; it is weak and feeble in body and spirit. Enki is now anxious that Ninmah help this forlorn creature; he therefore addresses her as follows:

"Of him whom thy hand has fashioned, I have decreed the fate,
     Have given him bread to eat;
Do thou decree the fate of him whom my hand has fashioned,
     Do thou give him bread to eat."

Ninmah tries to be good to the creature but to no avail. She talks to him but he fails to answer. She gives him bread to eat but he does not reach out for it. He can neither sit nor stand, nor bend the knees. A long conversation between Enki and Ninmah then follows, but the tablets are so badly broken at this point that it is impossible to make out the sense of the contents. Finally Ninmah seems to utter a curse against Enki because of the sick, lifeless

creature which he produced, a curse which Enki seems to accept as his due.

In addition to the creation poem outlined above, a detailed description of the purpose for which mankind was created is given in the introduction to the myth "Cattle and Grain"; it runs as follows. After the Anunnaki, the heaven-gods, had been born, but before the creation of Lahar, the cattle-god, and Ashnan, the grain-goddess, there existed neither cattle nor grain. The gods therefore "knew not" the eating of bread nor the dressing of garments. The cattle-god Lahar and the grain-goddess Ashnan were then created in the creation chamber of heaven, but still the gods remained unsated. It was then that man "was given breath," for the sake of the welfare of the sheepfolds and "good things" of the gods. This introduction reads as follows:

After on the mountain of heaven and earth,
An (the heaven-god) had caused the Anunnaki (his followers) to be born
Because the name Ashnan (the grain-goddess) had not been born, had not been fashioned,
Because Uttu (the goddess of plants) had not been fashioned,
Because to Uttu no temenos had been set up,
There was no ewe, no lamb was dropped,
There was no goat, no kid was dropped,
The ewe did not give birth to its two lambs,
The goat did not give birth to its three kids.

Because the name of Ashnan, the wise, and Lahar (the cattle-god),
The Anunnaki, the great gods, did not know,
The . . . grain of thirty days did not exist,
The . . . grain of forty days did not exist,
The small grains, the grain of the mountain, the grain of the pure living creatures did not exist.

Because Uttu had not been born, because the crown (of vegetation?) had not been raised,
Because the lord . . . had not been born,
Because Sumugan, the god of the plain, had not come forth,
Like mankind when first created,
They (the Anunnaki knew not the eating of bread,
Knew not the dressing of garments,
Ate plants with their mouth like sheep,
Drank water from the ditch.

In those days, in the creation chamber of the gods,
In their house Dulkug, Lahar and Ashnan were fashioned;
The produce of Lahar and Ashnan,
The Anunnaki of the Dulkug eat, but remain unsated;
In their pure sheepfolds milk, . . ., and good things,
The Anunnaki of the Dulkug drink, but remain unsated;
For the sake of the good things in their pure sheepfolds,
Man was given breath.

The creation of man concludes our study of Sumerian cosmogony, of the theories and concepts evolved by the Sumerians to explain the origin of the universe and the existence of gods and men. It cannot be sufficiently stressed that the Sumerian cosmogonic concepts, early as they are, are by no means primitive. They reflect the mature thought and reason of the thinking Sumerian as he contemplated the forces of nature and the character of his own existence. When these concepts are analyzed; when the theological cloak and polytheistic trappings are removed (although this is by no means always possible at present because of the limited character of our material as well as of our understanding and interpretation of its contents), the Sumerian creation concepts indicate a keenly observing mentality as well as an ability to draw and formulate pertinent conclusions from the data observed. Thus rationally expressed, the Sumerian cosmogonic concepts may be summarized as follows:

1. First was the primeval sea; it is not unlikely that it was conceived by the Sumerian as eternal and uncreated.
2. The primeval sea engendered a united heaven and earth.
3. Heaven and earth were conceived as solid elements. Between them, however, and from them, came the gaseous element air, whose main characteristic is that of expansion. Heaven and earth were thus separated by the expanding element air.
4. Air, being lighter and far less dense than either heaven or earth, succeeded in producing the moon, which may have been conceived by the Sumerians as made of the same stuff as air. The sun was conceived as born of the moon; that is, it emanated and developed from the moon just as the latter emanated and developed from air.
5. After heaven and earth had been separated, plant, animal, and human life became possible on earth; all life seems to have been conceived as resulting from a union of air, earth, and water; the sun, too, was probably involved. Unfortunately in this matter of production and reproduction of plant and animal life on earth, our extant material is very difficult to penetrate.

Transferred into theological language, these rationalistic Sumerian concepts may be described as follows:

1. First was the goddess Nammu, the primeval sea personified.
2. The goddess Nammu gave birth to An, the male heaven-god, and Ki, the earth-goddess.
3. The union of An and Ki produced the air-god Enlil, who proceeded to separate the heaven-father An from the earth-mother Ki.
4. Enlil, the air-god, now found himself living in utter darkness, with the sky, which may have been conceived by the Sumerians as made of pitch-dark lapis lazuli, forming the ceiling and walls of his house, and the surface of the earth, its floor. He therefore begot the moon-god Nanna to brighten the darkness of his house. The moon-god Nanna in turn begot the sun-god Utu, who became brighter than his father. It is not without interest to note here that the idea that the son, the begotten one, becomes stronger than the father, the begetter--in a deeper sense this is actually what happens in the development which we term progress--is native to the philosophy and psychology of the Near East. Enlil, the air-god, for example, becomes in historical times more powerful than his father An, the heaven-god. At a later date Marduk, the god of the Semitic Babylonians, becomes more powerful than his father Enki, the water-god. In the Christian dogma, Christ, the son, becomes in many ways more significant and pertinent for man and his salvation than God, the father.
5. Enlil, the air-god, now unites with his mother Ki, the earth-goddess. It is from this union but with considerable help from Enki, the water-god, that the vegetable and animal life is produced on earth. Man, on the other hand, seems to be the product of the combined efforts of the goddess Nammu, the primeval sea; of the goddess Ninmah, who may perhaps be identified with Ki, the mother earth; and finally of the water-god Enki. Just what is involved in this particular combination-and there is every reason to believe that in view of the more or less superficial data of the times there was good logic behind it and not mere playful fantasy--it is difficult to gather from our present material and limited understanding.

Die Koningin van die Nag:

Die Koningin van die Nag

Die figuur kan 'n aspek wees van die godin Ishtar, Mesopotamiese godin van seksuele liefde en oorlog, of Ishtar se suster en mededinger, die godin Ereshkigal wat oor die Onderwêreld regeer het, of die demoon Lilitu, in die Bybel bekend as Lilith.