It is no secret that there are connections in Genesis to ancient Near Eastern creation accounts. Debate exists as to how that relationship should be explained, though that’s not the purpose of this post. I want to highlight seven elements in Genesis 1 that, when compared with other creation accounts from the Near East, shine brightly like diamonds on black cloth.
(1) There is one God in Genesis 1. This truth flies in the face of the ancient Near Eastern creation accounts which consistently speak of multiple deities. One God made the world.
(2) The one true God has no past genealogy. This too is different from creation accounts which speak of gods who were born because other gods came together. There never was a time when God was not.
(3) God is omnipotent. This all-powerful Being is superior to all he’s made, with no equal rivals. His power differs from gods in the ancient Near East who were restricted, vulnerable, and could be defeated.
(4) Creation happened according to God’s command. “Let there be,” he said, and there was. Gods of the ancient Near East often had to contend with creation, to wrestle with material and divine forces.
(5) God did not use already-existing materials when he began to create. By his power, he made everything from nothing. The gods of the Near East, however, relied on coexistent material (and even other gods) to create.
(6) God is majestic and set apart. Ancient Near Eastern accounts tell of immoral deities who acted in surly, immature, temperamental, undignified ways. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.
(7) God made creation “good,” even “very good.” No warfare, no skirmishes between gods, no tainted world. In Genesis 1, the Lord evaluated what he made and declared it good!
The creation account in Genesis 1 may stand out in other ways when you compare its language with other accounts from the ancient Near East, but the previous seven distinctions certainly are a start.