A Blasphemer's Genealogy of YHWH
In Genesis and Exodus, Moses tells the story of the God of
Abraham who is the one and only God. This doctrine is
accepted by Jews, Christians and Muslims. In the Hebrew
text, the name of God is considered so sacred, it is
hidden, and meant to be unspoken. The most accepted
transliteration of the name of God is YHWH. The Jehovah's
Witnesses use the more pronounceable version "Yahweh".
Is the Genesis account really the first account of the God
who Moses calls YHWH? In the book of Genesis, Terah,
Abraham's father, along with Abraham and Lot made a journey
from the city of Ur to Canaan. If YHWH is the God of
Abraham, could it be that YHWH is also the God of Terah? If
so, how did Terah come to worship YHWH? To answer these
questions, let's develop some background on the city of Ur.
Ur was one of the twelve cities. It survived through the
Babylonian times into Terah's time. In Sumerian mythology
each city had a patron god. The patron god of the city of
Ur was NANNA who is the heavenly moon. Later, the Semites
named NANNA as SIN.
Sumerian mythology is ancient. Scholars place the time at
around 3500 BCE to 2500 BCE. This time estimate is highly
uncertain because the astronomical and carbon dating
observations are so sketchy. If we accept this time
estimate, we can conclude that historically speaking, the
Sumerian myths are as far away from the time of Moses as we
are from the time of Moses. Many of the Sumerian myths are
inferred from cuneiform tablets. Our interpretation of
these writings is no doubt less certain than our
interpretation of modern writing or greek manuscripts of
the gospel about Jesus Christ. In spite of these
uncertainties, these texts give us a faint clue of what
people believed so many years ago. I propose that they give
us a clue as to the genealogy of YHWH. Because of the
fragmentary state of the material, I will only refer to
portions of the myth which, in my opinion, are relevant to
In Sumerian mythology there is a transcendental god named
ANU, who is considered the god of the heavens. His wife
ANTU is at his side in their heavenly abode. Because of
their transcendental nature, ANU and ANTU generally are not
involved in day to day affairs of the world. The day to day
job is delegated to ENLIL (god of the firmament), the god
of the heavens and the earth. To compare the organization
with our modern day corporate structure, ANU would be the
Chairman of the Board, and ENLIL would be the President and
Chief Executive Officer.
ENLIL has a younger brother named ENKI (god of the earth)
whose role appears to be as chief scientist of the gods.
The EN prefix in their names classifies these gods as
having universal powers. So although they may actually be
patron gods of some of the cities, their domain includes
all 12 cities and other areas like the heavens and the
ENLIL is finds his mate in SUD("the nurse"). The following
cuneiform fragment describes ENLIL's desire: The shepherd
Enlil, who decrees the fates, The Bright-Eyed One, saw her.
The lord speaks to her of intercourse; she is unwilling.
Enlil speaks to her of intercourse; she is unwilling: "My
vagina is too small [she said], it knows no copulation; My
lips are too little, they know not kissing."
Different fragments show different versions of how SUD
becomes ENLIL's wife. One version implies that after
consulting with his chamberlain NUSHKU, ENLIL hatches a
plan to persuade SUD to go sailing with him. Once they were
alone in the boat away from the shore, ENLIL rapes SUD.
Later, a repentant ENLIL sends NUSHKU to find SUD and ask
her mother for the girl's hand. The mother agrees and that
is how SUD becomes the wife of ENLIL. After the marriage,
SUD's name is changed to NINLIL ("lady of the airspace").
When the gods learn of ENLIL's misdeed, he is punished (but
no detail is available). Long after the marriage, it is
discovered that the truth of the matter is that SUD was
bathing naked in the stream near the path where ENLIL takes
his daily walk on her mother's instructions, with the hope
that ENLIL will notice SUD and "forthwith embrace and kiss
From this episode came NANNA the moon god, as hinted in
this dialogue from another fragment:
NINLIL: "True, Enlil is thy king, but I am thy queen."
ENLIL: "If now thou art my queen, let my hand touch thy ...
" NINLIL: "The 'water' of thy king, the bright 'water' is
in my heart, the 'water' of NANNA the bright 'water' is in
my heart." ENLIL: "The 'water' of my king, let it go toward
heaven, let it go toward the earth."
Enlil as the man of the gate lay down in the ..., He kissed
her and cohabited with her, The 'water' of ... Mestamataea
he caused to flow over (her) heart.
ENKI (the Serpent, and god of the Earth), being the Chief
Scientist of the gods, was the actual formulator of man.
Man was needed by the gods because they needed labor to
help produce food and other economic goods. The first
experiment was a collaboration between NINHURSAG (ENKI's
sister, and maybe wife). In the following quote from the
12th Planet: ... according to Sumerian texts, Man was
created by Ninhursag following processes and formulas
devised by Enki. She was the Chief Nurse, and one in charge
of the medical facilities; it was in that role that the
goddess was called NINTI ("lady of life").
Some Scholars read in Adapa (the model man of Enki) the
biblical Adama, or Adam. The double meaning of the Sumerian
TI also raises biblical parallels. For TI could mean both
life and rib, so that NIN.TI's name meant both "lady of
life" and "lady of the rib." The biblical Eve -- whose name
meant "life" -- was created out of Adam's rib, so Eve, too
was in a way a "lady of life" and a "lady of the rib".
As the actual "inventor" of Man, ENKI was constantly trying
to improve Man by teaching him. ENKI was also in constant
rivalry with ENLIL, who was the all powerful being.
The Hebrew god YHWH is probably NANNA, the son of ENLIL and
rival of ENKI; because observer that the Hebrew calendar is
a lunar calendar in honor of the moon god, the name YHWH is
almost YHRH which in Hebrew means "moon", and name of the
holy mountain considered to be YHWH's place is SIN.AI
meaning SIN (Semitic for NANNA) AI (place).
At this point, the reader may asking: "So what?" Well, if
SIN is the God of Abraham, then all the stories pertaining
to NANNA in the Sumerian myths also refer to SIN. This
means that YHWH is the Sumerian god NANNA who is a
descendant of ENLIL and NINLIL. According to Sumerian and
Babylonian Myths NANNA is not the creator/formulator of
Man. As a mater of fact, ENKI and NINHURSAG who are the
creators of Man, are rivals of ENKI and NINLIL.
Moses was rewriting the Sumerian myth to turn NANNA into
the creator of Man. However, from the context of Sumerian
myth we can interpret Man's fall from grace with less
guilt. NANNA, in collaboration with ENLIL, banished Man
from the Garden of Eden because they were angry at ENKI for
teaching too much knowledge to Man (eating of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil).
Consider this in Genesis 3:22:
"And YHWH said: 'The man has now become like one of us
knowing good and evil ..."
I would say, YHWH was genuinely concerned that if ENKI
would have continued providing the lessons, Man will have
improved towards becoming just like God. Maybe the story
about the fall from grace is simply an account of a
political maneuvering involving pretty "heavy" hands.
Samuel Noah Kramer. Sumerian Mythology. University of
Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 1972.
Zecharia Sitchin. The 12th Planet. AVON Books, A division
of Hearst Corp., New York 1976.
S. H. Hooke. Middle Eastern Mythology. Penguin Books,
Thompson Chain Reference Bible (New International Version)
Interviews with Lew Jenkins, a dear friend