ORIGINS OF YAHWEH & MONOTHEISM
Where is the God of Israel to be found within the Sumerian pantheon? This is a good question to ask because Abraham, the founder of the nation of Israel, was supposedly called out by God from the city of Ur, which was located in the heart of the land of the Sumerians.
Israel’s God and the Gods of Sumer
There are a few scholars who have attempted to identify Israel’s God as a figure who, it is believed, had to have “evolved” from the earlier and very similar Sumerian tradition. These attempts usually focus upon YHWH’s similarities with the three major Sumerian gods: Anu, Enlil and Enki.
YHWH is similar to the enigmatic god Anu in that both are viewed as “Father” deities. Anu was understood as the father of the first generation of gods including the two brothers Enlil and Enki, while YHWH was the “father” of the angelic host who are referred to throughout the Old Testament as the B’nai Ha Elohim, or “Sons of God.”
The apparent relationship between YHWH and Enlil is much more substantial. Enlil was not viewed by the Sumerians as the original Creator of the universe but he was viewed as the ultimate Ruler of the gods and of mankind. Sumerian myths also describe Enlil as the father of a generation of gods, The Sumerians also looked to Enlil as the ultimate decision-maker within the council of the gods and, like YHWH in the book of Genesis, it was Enlil who decided to send the Great Flood to wipe out mankind.
The relationship between YHWH and Enki presents much more of a challenge for scholars of the ancient texts and remains a highly debated question. If any god could be said to be the “personal” god of the Sumerians it would have to be Enki.
Like YHWH’s relationship with the Hebrews, Enki was viewed by the Sumerians as powerful, kind, and wise in his schemes to protect the Sumerians from the animosity of other gods (especially Enlil) and from neighboring enemy tribes.
Just as YHWH cared for his people, the Hebrews, so was Enki portrayed as caring for the Sumerians. Enki’s apparent love for mankind could be traced back to Sumerian traditions that Enki, just like YHWH in Genesis, was personally involved in creating mankind through genetic experimentation. Enki also played a role similar to YHWH when, through his actions, a particular family was chosen, warned, and spared from the Great Flood by being given instructions for building an Ark.
Moses, The Burning Bush & The Identity of ‘I AM’
Several scholars have concluded that the god who was revealed to Moses was none other than Enki, who was known in the Akkadian language as ‘Ea’.
It is from this perspective that Moses’ conversation with the burning bush can perhaps be logically understood:
“Moses then said to God, ‘Look, if I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The god of your ancestors has sent me to you,” and they say to me, “What is his name?” what am I to tell them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am’.” [Exodus 3:13-14]
So, when Moses stood before the burning bush and asked the name of the god of the mountain, did he really reply ‘I am who I am’ (Heb. Eyah asher eyah)?
This puzzling phrase has long perplexed theologians but now there is a simple explanation. The voice of God simply replied ‘Eyah asher Eyah’ – ‘I am (the one) who is called Eyah’ – the name of ‘Ea’ in its Hebrew form.
It also explains God’s apparently nonsensical instruction: ‘This is what you are to say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” God’s words should really be translated as ‘Eyah has sent me to you.’
So Enki/Ea, the god who created Man and then later warned Noah of the impending destruction of mankind, is one and the same as the god of Moses.”
The expression of the Israelite God’s name as ‘YHWH’ has been confirmed by discoveries such as the Ancient Maobite stone discovered in Jordan by Frederick Augustus Klein, an Anglican missionary in August 1868.
Ancient Maobite stone expressing Israelite God’s name as YHWH
As would already be apparent by now, this debate is quite intricate but for our purposes, its sufficient to point out the possibility that Monotheism evolved out of a merger of the separate Anunnaki gods that ruled different City-States into one God.
It was both a literary and historic social process that saw the merger of Anu, Enki and Enlil into one composite God through a simplification of the Sumerian Texts which eventually assigned the various acts of each of these separate Anunnaki Elohim, Anu, Enki and Enlil as detailed in the Sumerian Tablets, to one entity, Yahweh the God of monotheism today.
You can read more and explore how this all relates to the Ancient Astronaut Theory in the E-Book ‘Principalites Unveiled: Realm Of The Elohim’ available via the Website Home Page.
An extract from Chapter 7 was used for this article, and a link to more in-depth information on the Maobite Stone is provided below.
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