Sumerian creation myth

The origins of human beings according to ancient Sumerian texts

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Sumer, or the ‘land of civilized kings’, flourished in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq, around 4500 BC. Sumerians created an advanced civilization with its own system of elaborate language and writing, architecture and arts, astronomy and mathematics. Their religious system was a complex one comprised of hundreds of gods. According to the ancient texts, each Sumerian city was guarded by its own god; and while humans and gods used to live together, the humans were servants to the gods.

The Sumerian creation myth can be found on a tablet in Nippur, an ancient Mesopotamian city founded in approximately 5000 BC.

The creation of Earth ( Enuma Elish ) according to the Sumerian tablets begins like this:

When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being...

Sumerian mythology claims that, in the beginning, human-like gods ruled over Earth. When they came to the Earth, there was much work to be done and these gods toiled the soil, digging to make it habitable and mining its minerals.

The texts mention that at some point the gods mutinied against their labour.

When the gods like men
Bore the work and suffered the toll
The toil of the gods was great,
The work was heavy, the distress was much.

Anu, the god of gods, agreed that their labour was too great. His son Enki, or Ea, proposed to create man to bear the labour, and so, with the help of his half-sister Ninki, he did. A god was put to death, and his body and blood was mixed with clay. From that material the first human being was created, in likeness to the gods.

You have slaughtered a god together
With his personality
I have removed your heavy work
I have imposed your toil on man.

In the clay, god and man
Shall be bound,
To a unity brought together;
So that to the end of days
The Flesh and the Soul
Which in a god have ripened –
That soul in a blood-kinship be bound.

This first man was created in Eden, a Sumerian word which means ‘flat terrain’. In the Epic of Gilgamesh , Eden is mentioned as the garden of the gods and is located somewhere in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Sumerian tablet depicting Enki in the creation myth. (

Initially human beings were unable to reproduce on their own, but were later modified with the help of Enki and Ninki. Thus, Adapa was created as a fully functional and independent human being. This ‘modification’ was done without the approval of Enki’s brother, Enlil, and a conflict between the gods began. Enlil became the adversary of man, and the Sumerian tablet mentions that men served gods and went through much hardship and suffering.

Adapa, with the help of Enki, ascended to Anu where he failed to answer a question about ‘the bread and water of life’. Opinions vary on the similarities between this creation story and the biblical story of Adam and Eve in Eden.

Featured image: Sumerian chaos monster and sun god. ( Wikipedia)

Note: Ancient Sumerian translations were taken from William Bramley’s book, The Gods of Eden .

Related Links

Adam and Adapa: Two Anthropological characters

Sumerian creation myth

Enuma Elish - The Epic of Creation

Sumerian Myths of Origins

Sumerian Deities

Related Books


By John Black


Bob Gibbons,
In any circumstances the Flood Myth deals with "our family", namely how our ancestors percieved the symbols and myths of Creation.
The very nocturnal contours of the Milky Way resembles a mythical "river in the Sky" which runs ALL OVER the Earth and not On the Earth.
Google " myth" and "Milky Way river"

Okay I'll just say the first thing that pops into my mind without thinking....the dna/codes for all of creation is in the stars Astrology seems to explain knowing a person by their astrological makeup. Sun sign, Moon sign, and on and on. And so many cultures looked to the sky for their gods hmmmmm

Tsurugi's picture


I remember that Plato said the Greeks knew of the "deluge", a flood of global proportions with devastating consequences, but that the Egyptian keepers of knowledge said there had been many such floods. Like six or seven of them, I think.

You are right that in most circumstances, events which are localized result in much more drastic shifts on that local area than events which are global. Global events are "diluted"(hah I am punny) by having their effects spread out over the entire planet.

The thing is, going by the many accounts across so many cultures, the Deluge consisted of many drastic and devastating local events which all happened in the same short timespan, resulting in a drastic and devastating global phenomenon.

Two things always come to mind when discussing this. Ice-dam breaking on glacial lakes, and a fairly new ice-age melt effect known as a "glacial wave".
You no doubt already know about both of these, but in short, a glacial lake is glacier meltwater that is contained within the glacier...basically a vertical hole in the glacial ice that has filled with meltwater. At some point, the ice becomes thin enough on one side that it can no longer support the weight of the water, so it cracks and lets all the meltwater in the lake out at once. Most glacial lakes were absolutely enormous, containing hundreds of thousands of cubic miles of water. When their ice dams gave way, all that water poured out all at once and headed for the nearest beach, A terrifying thought.
"Glacial waves" are even worse. They basically consist of a single line or wave of meltwater that spreads out across the ice, heading downhill. Seeing as how the Laurentide ice sheet was upwards of four kilometers thick, that meant that by the time glacial waves reached the ground they were hundreds of miles long, hundreds of feet tall and accellerated to hundreds of miles an hour.

It doesnt take much imagination to see how such events taking place during a short time span in many places around the world could lead to a cataclysm of truly global proportions.

One can simply take the biblical measurements of the 'great flood' with a cubit being equal to about a foot and a half. With those measurements you'll soon see that the biblical flood as told was only about 23 feet high - certainly not enough to cover all of the hills and mountain tops.

Hi Chad,
You are absolutely right. And what about the space for all animals and supplies for 40 days?
No, of course the biblical contents here shall be connected to the specific creation myth i.e. to the telling of the cosmological conditions of the Earth in our Solar System and its rhythmic motions, thus giving cosmological information’s of the day and night in the seasonal changes.
- Our Solar System is an integrated orbiting and formational part of the Milky Way galaxy. The nocturnal observable contours of the Milky Way is in many cultures named as "the Heavenly River" which of course "runs" OVER the Earth and not On the Earth.
The contours of the Milky Way shows a vaulted and crescent figure which looks like a ship seemingly sailing around the Earth celestial poles together with all the animal named star constellations in the zodiac eclipse.
The modern Flood Myth perception is a huge misinterpretation, which derives from the modern perception of "myths just being non sensical myths" where in fact, the numerous cultural myths of creation contains real cosmological knowledge when the right telling is connected to the right celestial motions and objects.
Unfortunately this commentary box doesn´t allow to post links, but do a googling of "native science+mythical ship" for more informations and illustrations.


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