Sincethe dawn of human consciousness our species has labored with the thought of somethingbigger than us, someone like the best part of us, something divine. Whether anindividual believes in or doesn’t believe in a higher power, there is noquestion that a lot has been done both in and for that higher powers name.
Warshave been fought, commitments have been made, and borders have been pushed inthe name of god. People have come together and been torn apart because of theirbelief in a higher power. Through the use of fiction, poetry, and prose, wehave used literature to define, explain, and argue the nature of god.
“And God created the human in hisimage,” (A: 159), this line from “The Hebrew Bible” is one of the most influentiallines written in the history of literature. It has been adapted and changed inbooks like the Christian Bible and the Quran. This helps the faithful put aface to the creator they identify with, a familiar face that comforts them. Inmost western belief systems there is one god, in the book of Job of “The HebrewBible”, verse 20, God tells Moses “I am the Lord your God who brought you outof the land of Egypt, out the house of slaves. You shall have no other godsbeside me,” (A: 192, 20). In Pharaoh Akhenaten’s “The Great Hymn to the Aten”,The Sun, or Aten, is God, the one and only.
He writes “O Sole God whom there is none!” (A:31, 65). Akhenaten states that Aten is responsible for life, “Nurse in thewomb, Giver of Breath, To Nourish all that he made.” (A: 31, 49-51).
Akhenaten’sAten is like the Judeo-Christian God, by giving life to mankind and being theonly god. In the Cristian Bible, the book of Matthew states clearly thatChristians are monotheistic, writing “No man can serve two masters. For eitherhe will hate the one and love the other, or he will cling to one and despisethe other; you cannot serve God and mammon.” (B: 25).
The same for the Islamicfollowing, in the Quran, it states “Those people who say that God is the thirdof three are defying the truth: there is only One God.” (B: 79). Most beliefsystems believed in one god, the god that was the best parts of us. However,this is not the case for all belief systems. In “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, the godssend a flood to rid the world of wickedness. In the poem, the gods are seen as immortals,not divine, just powerful. The epic poem about the great flood was written inancient Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq, during a time when people were polytheistic,the belief in more than one god, around 2100 BCE.
The gods in “The Epic ofGilgamesh” interacted with the people. In the fifth tablet, the sun-god, Shamashhelps Gilgamesh and Enkidu win a battle against the monster Humbaba. AfterGilgamesh prays to Shamash, “Shamash raised the great winds against Humbaba…Hecould not charge forward, he could not retreat” (A: 121, 39-44). The gods in “The Epic of Gilgamesh regularly intervenein human life, they have feelings, they do bad and good things. This helpedexplain the unexplainable. We still have belief systems that practice this way.