Like people prior to the climb of farming, the Sumerians observed movement roughly them together the magic the spirits, magic being the just explanation they had actually for just how things worked. This spirits were their gods, and also with many spirits around, the Sumerians believed in countless gods – god that had humanlike emotions. The Sumerians thought that the sun, moon and also stars were gods. They believed in a goddess of the reeds the grew roughly them and in a goddess of the beer the they distilled.

The Sumerians thought that plants grew since of a masculine god mating with his goddess wife. They witnessed the hot and dry month of summer as soon as their meadows and fields rotate brown as a time of fatality of these gods. When their areas bloomed again in the autumn, they thought their gods were resurrected. They marked this together the start of their year, i m sorry they celebrated at their holy places with music and also singing.

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The Sumerians could dig right into the earth and within a few feet find water, and they thought that the earth was a good disk floating on the sea. They called the sea Nammu, and also believed the Nammu was a god. They believe that Nammu had created the fish lock saw and the birds, wild pigs and other creatures that showed up on the marshy wetlands – a story the creation approximately two millennia prior to the Hebrews would placed their very own story the the development into writing.


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The god Utu increasing to burned light top top heaven and also earth


The Sumerians believed that Nammu had created heaven and earth, heaven splitting from planet as the masculine god An, and also the earth was the goddess they dubbed Ki. They believed that Ki and also An had created a son referred to as Enlil, who was atmosphere, wind and also storm. The Sumerians believed that Enlil be separated the job from night and also that he had opened an invisible shell and also let waters loss from the sky. They thought that with his mother, Ki, Enlil set the stage for the production of plants, humans and also other creatures. They believed that Enlil made seeds grow, that he shaped humanity from clay and imbued it, together it claims in Genesis 2:7, v "the breath that life."

Serving the gods

Among the Sumerians were gods that differed indigenous the god of hunter-gathers. Gods had come to be not just a helper, hinderer or an agent of change, they had end up being lords – the owners and authorities end land. Priests claimed their standing on your association v these lords of land.

The Sumerians thought they had been created to offer their gods, and they served their gods through sacrificial offerings and also supplications. They believed that the gods controlled the past and the future, that the gods had revealed come them the an abilities that castle possessed, consisting of writing, and also that the gods had noted them with all they required to know. They had no vision the their world having arisen by their very own efforts. They had no vision of technological or social progress.


They did not believe in social change, however Sumerian priests altered the story that lock told, creating a brand-new twist to old story – there is no acknowledging this together a human-induced readjust or wonder why they had failed to gain it right the very first time. New ideas were just revelations native the gods.

The Sumerians walk not acknowledge interpretation. They observed no need for rule of reason. No proof remains in their works of your respecting doubt or seeing any benefit from suspended judgment. They worked their stories around their gods into axioms. Sometime roughly 2500 BCE, Enlil came to be the greatest of the gods, the god that punished people and watched over their safety and also well-being. Choose the gods of other ancient peoples, Enlil to be a god that dwelled somewhere. He was a god of place, and also that ar was Nippur, a spiritual city thought to have been lived in at first only by magnificent beings.

By roughly 2500 BCE, the Sumerians had become individualistic sufficient to think in personal gods – gods with whom individuals had a covenant. Individuals no longer prayed simply for the community. V Sumerian society dominated by males, the male head of every family had his an individual god. Men hoped the their god would certainly intercede for them in the assembly of gods and provide them through a long life and great health. In exchange, they glorified your god with prayers, supplications and also sacrifices while continuing to praise the various other gods in the Sumerian pantheon that gods.

A id in Sin

Believing the the gods had provided them all they had, the Sumerians observed the intentions of your gods as good. Believing the their gods had good powers and controlled your world, they essential an explanation for their hardships and misfortunes. Lock concluded that these to be the result of person deeds the displeased the god – in a word, sin. They thought that once someone displeased your gods, these god let demons punishment the offender with sickness, disease or environmental disasters.

The Sumerians proficient infrequent rains that sometimes produced disastrous floods, and also they believed that these floods were punishments produced by a demon god that resided in the depths of the Gulf of Persia. And to define the misfortunes and also suffering of infants, the Sumerians thought that sin was inborn, that never was a boy born without sin. Therefore, wrote a Sumerian, as soon as one suffered it was finest not come curse the gods yet to glorify them, come appeal to them, and to wait patiently for your deliverance.

Conflicts comparable to the Hebrew story of Cain and Abel

In giving their gods human being characteristics, the Sumerians projected onto your gods the conflicts they found amongst themselves. Sumerian clergymans wrote that a dispute in between the god the cattle, Lahar, and his sister Ashnan, the goddess of grain. Favor some other gods, these gods to be vain and wished to be praised. Each of the 2 sibling gods extolled his and her own achievements and belittled the accomplishments of the other.

The Sumerians saw an additional dispute between the minor gods Emesh (summer) and his brothers Enten (winter). Each of this brothers had specific duties in creation – choose Cain the farmer and Abel the herdsmen. The god Enlil placed Emesh in charge of creating trees, structure houses, temples, cities and also other tasks. Enlil put Enten in fee of resulting in ewes to provide birth come lambs, goats to give birth come kids, birds to construct nests, fish come lay your eggs and also trees to bear fruit. And the brothers quarreled violently as Emesh tested Enten's case to be the farmer god.

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Lady of the Rib

A conflict existed likewise between the god Enki and a mother goddess, Ninhursag – perhaps initially the planet goddess Ki. Ninhursag made eight tree sprout in a magnificent garden, plants created from 3 generations the goddesses fathered by Enki. These goddesses were defined as having actually been born "without ache or travail." climate trouble come as Enki ate the plants the Ninhursag had grown. Ninhursag responded with rage. She express a curse of death on Enki, and Enki's health began to fail. Eight components of Enki's human body – one for each the the eight plants the he ate – ended up being diseased, among which to be his rib. The goddess Ninhursag then disappeared therefore as no to allow sympathy because that Enki change her mind about her sentence of fatality upon him. Yet she ultimately relented and also returned to cure Enki. She created eight healing deities – eight much more goddesses – one because that each that Enki's ailing body parts. And also the goddess who healed Enki's rib to be Nin-ti, a name that in Sumerian meant "lady the the rib," which describes a character that was to appear in a different role in Hebrew writings centuries later, a character to be dubbed Eve.

Paradise and also a good Flood

Clinging to their belief in the goodness and power of their gods and wondering about their sin, toil and also strife the Sumerians imagine a past in which world lived in a god-created paradise. This to be expressed in the same poetic story that described the conflict between the king the Uruk and also the remote town the Arrata – the earliest known description in composing of a paradise and also fall the humankind. The poem describes a duration when there were no creatures the threatened world – no snakes, scorpions, hyenas, or lions – a duration in which humans knew no terror. There to be no confusion amongst various peoples speaking various languages, through everyone praising the god Enlil in one language. Then, follow to the poem, something taken place that enraged the god Enki (the god the wisdom and also water who had actually organized the planet in accordance with a general plan laid down by Enlil). The clay tablet on which the poem was written is damaged in ~ this point, however the tablet indicates the Enki uncovered some sort of unreasonable behavior amongst humans. Enki chose to put an end to the gold age, and also in the location of the golden age came conflict, wars and a confusion of languages.

On another clay tablet, surviving fragments of a poem define the gods as having determined that humans were evil and the gods as having produced a flood "to damage the particle of humanity," a flood the raged for seven days and also seven nights. The tablet computer describes a vast boat commanded by a king called Ziusudra, that was preserving vegetation and the particle of humankind. His watercraft was "tossed about by the windstorms top top the good waters." when the storm subsided, the god Utu – the sunlight – came forward and also shed irradiate on heaven and also earth. The great king Ziusudra opened up a home window on the boat and also let in irradiate from Utu. Climate Ziusudra prostrated himself before Utu and sacrificed one ox and also a sheep for the god.