The Original Garden of Eden Genesis and Ancient Myths Contrasted

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Charles Bruce Riding

Abstract

At present, all creation stories from cultures and religions all round the World are considered to be local adaptions of some original myth that is now lost to us. These debates and research have been beclouded by dogmatic assumptions and beliefs. In particular, whether one starts from the fundamental belief that the Old Testament is the Word of God containing infallible truths revealed to humans, or from the opposite dogmatic belief that it is only a fallible human document with not even the possibility of supernatural input, has influenced the study of the Old Testament and which theories of its formation may be considered admissible, and which are to be discounted a priori.


Currently, the vast majority of scholars hold that none of them can claim any sense of priority or uniqueness. A few maintain that the earliest surviving myth is the Enuma Elish of ancient Babylon ca.1900 BCE. A minority of scholars make a further claim that it is the original myth from which all others descended. Similarly, some people believe that the Old Testament account in Genesis 1–3 is the archetype from which all others were cloned.


This investigation will endeavour to build its case ‘from the ground up,’ by looking afresh at the evidence presented in actual creation stories themselves. Then this data can be collated, and theories proposing how the plethora of creation stories were formed can be appraised, and reformulated if necessary. Finally, any faith statements based on them may be re-examined.


 


 

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Author Biography

Charles Bruce Riding, Presbyterian Church of Australia

Retired Presbyterian Minister 1974-2016 Retired RAAF Reserve Chaplain 1989-2009 PhD Graduate of A C T, 2018

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