Rainbow Over the Pyramid.
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Title:Rainbow Over the Pyramid

Throughout the Genesis account of God’s creation of the cosmos and interaction with humanity, we are made aware of the fact that religious traditions and indeed theological notions about God do not develop in a vacuum. When we look at the ancient creation myths of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Mesopotamians we are able to trace the significant influence that these neighboring religious communities had on the way that the Jewish authors choose to tell their story. It seems that there must have been some key characteristics, symbols, and metaphors that defined what it meant to be a God, commonly communicated through the creation stories of the ancient Middle Eastern civilizations.

The most significant Egyptian, Babylonian, and Mesopotamian creation myth is a 12th century BCE story, the Enuma Elish. In one of its most complete versions the warrior god of the sky, Marduk becomes the king of the gods after he defeats the goddess of the dark primordial waters of the chaotic deep, Tiamat. Marduk splits her in two with an arrow shot down her throat. From this, we conclude that the authors of this myth understood a god king to be one who splits the chaos and brings order to the cosmos, much like the Hebrew God in the first chapter of Genesis.

This photograph depicts a rainbow over the pyramids of Egypt (the likely birthplace of the Enuma Elish), which stands as a symbol of the weapon God hangs in the sky, turned heavenward as reminder of God’s covenant never to use it to fire upon the earth again. -- Chance Dillon


Scripture:Genesis 9:8-17
Lectionary links:BLent01
General Subject:Rainbow

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Attribution:Rainbow Over the Pyramid, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54136 [retrieved July 1, 2022]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hoanghaithinh/2295060787/.
Record Number:54136 Last Updated: 2021-10-04 17:06:47 Record Created: 2009-01-09 19:38:06
Institution:Vanderbilt University Unit: Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition