Atrahasis: Account of the Great Flood
The relationship between gods and humanity in Atrahisis: The Account of The Great Flood seems to carry great irresponsibility. Most of the gods display the weak characteristics of humans. They whine about work, constantly complain, selfishly create humans and then wish them dead. Enki and Atrahasis, two of the main characters in the flood story (one god and one human), gain a mutual respect that displays the proper relationship between humans and the divine. A relationship of prayerful ‘calling out’ to the gods, followed by a merciful response toward humankind, is the healthy and correct picture this story shows us. A correct relationship between gods and humans carries the possibility of eternal life (as expressed in this story as Atrahasis’ escape from the great flood).
In Atrahasis: An Account of the Great Flood, many natural disasters and diseases are inflicted upon the humans. How do we, as humans, explain natural disasters, which often threaten our population? How much control do we really have of our life on earth? In ancient Sumeria (first half of the third millennium), gods took much more of a life form and their direct force upon humans was fully accepted. For instance, everyday events (i.e. sunshine, crop growth, even emotions) were depicted as acts of god. According to this story, the gods inflicted these trials and tribulations with little remorse; hence the irresponsibility factor. Humans would perhaps wonder about certain events of patterns in nature but they would never consider studying nature in a scientific way. Every change or occurrence around them was attributed to a certain god. Having no power of their own studies and knowledge they were reduced to a constant state of fear of and reliance on the gods. The gods, for their part, had specific expectations of humanity. Yet that also supported the fact that sins or lack of reverence would anger the gods and cause retribution of punishment and...
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