Sumerian Confusion

 

So, I was reading my Bible lately, and the news was reassuring:

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

I always take comfort in those words, because they remind me the Earth and the Universe have not always been here, but they were created by a person of superior power and not in a physics lab somewhere at Princeton.

You can imagine, then, my distress on reading this news item:

Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World

NewsScience & Technologyyear in review 2009 ISSUE 45•51 • Dec 15, 2009

Members of the earth’s earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, looked on in shock and confusion some 6,000 years ago as God, the Lord Almighty, created Heaven and Earth.

“I do not understand,” reads an ancient line of pictographs depicting the sun, the moon, water, and a Sumerian who appears to be scratching his head. “A booming voice is saying, ‘Let there be light,’ but there is already light. It is saying, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass,’ but I am already standing on grass.”

“Everything is here already,” the pictograph continues. “We do not need more stars.”

Historians believe that, immediately following the biblical event, Sumerian witnesses returned to the city of Eridu, a bustling metropolis built 1,500 years before God called for the appearance of dry land, to discuss the new development. According to records, Sumerian farmers, priests, and civic administrators were not only befuddled, but also took issue with the face of God moving across the water, saying that He scared away those who were traveling to Mesopotamia to participate in their vast and intricate trade system.

Moreover, the Sumerians were taken aback by the creation of the same animals and herb-yielding seeds that they had been domesticating and cultivating for hundreds of generations.

According to recently excavated clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, thousands of Sumerians—the first humans to establish systems of writing, agriculture, and government—were working on their sophisticated irrigation systems when the Father of All Creation reached down from the ether and blew the divine spirit of life into their thriving civilization.

Well, if this does not beat all… If those ancient Sumerians wrote all of this stuff down, how come the Bible got all the credit? Scientific findings are where you find them, folks, and it pays to be the first to publish.

But, there’s another thought. How come the Bible doesn’t mention all the Sumerians standing around watching it all go down? I mean, if you read the Bible, there were only two people at the time. What’s with this? Don’t the Sumerians count as people? Shouldn’t the Bible have said something like:

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And lo, the Sumerians stared in amazement, for these were primitive people and easy to amaze.

Actually, the Sumerians deserve a closer look:

Sumer (from Akkadian ŠumeruSumerian, approximately “land of the civilized kings” or “native land”) was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq and Kuwait, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. Although the earliest forms of writing in the region do not go back much further than c. 3500 BC, modern historians have suggested that Sumer was first permanently settled between c. 5500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people who may or may not have spoken the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc. as evidence). These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called “proto-Euphrateans” or “Ubaidians“, and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria). The Ubaidians were the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery. However, some scholars such as Piotr Michalowski and Gerd Steiner, contest the idea of a Proto-Euphratean language or one substrate language. It has been suggested by them and others, that the Sumerian language was originally that of the hunter and fisher peoples, who lived in the marshland and the east Arabian littoral region, and were part of the Arabian bifacial culture. Reliable historical records begin much later; there are none in Sumer of any kind that have been dated before Enmebaragesi (c. 26th century BC).

That explains much that was left untold in the biblical account of the Creation. Like, when Cain killed his brother and then had to leave for parts unknown, where did he get his wife? Yes, the Bible doesn’t answer that. The story of the Sumerians takes care of this detail nicely. All hoodlum Cain had to do was to head over the next hill and meet up with the local Sumerians and latch onto a local underage girl desperately in need of a husband, and never mind about his criminal record. It’s happened before, folks.

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One thought on “Sumerian Confusion

  1. Pingback: Heart of Stupid | Skeptical Analysis

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