Since
the dawn of human consciousness our species has labored with the thought of something
bigger than us, someone like the best part of us, something divine. Whether an
individual believes in or doesn’t believe in a higher power, there is no
question that a lot has been done both in and for that higher powers name. Wars
have been fought, commitments have been made, and borders have been pushed in
the name of god. People have come together and been torn apart because of their
belief in a higher power. Through the use of fiction, poetry, and prose, we
have used literature to define, explain, and argue the nature of god.

            “And God created the human in his
image,” (A: 159), this line from “The Hebrew Bible” is one of the most influential
lines written in the history of literature. It has been adapted and changed in
books like the Christian Bible and the Quran. This helps the faithful put a
face to the creator they identify with, a familiar face that comforts them. In
most western belief systems there is one god, in the book of Job of “The Hebrew
Bible”, verse 20, God tells Moses “I am the Lord your God who brought you out
of the land of Egypt, out the house of slaves. You shall have no other gods
beside 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 the
womb, Giver of Breath, To Nourish all that he made.” (A: 31, 49-51). Akhenaten’s
Aten is like the Judeo-Christian God, by giving life to mankind and being the
only god. In the Cristian Bible, the book of Matthew states clearly that
Christians are monotheistic, writing “No man can serve two masters. For either
he will hate the one and love the other, or he will cling to one and despise
the other; you cannot serve God and mammon.” (B: 25). The same for the Islamic
following, in the Quran, it states “Those people who say that God is the third
of three are defying the truth: there is only One God.” (B: 79). Most belief
systems believed in one god, the god that was the best parts of us. However,
this is not the case for all belief systems.

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            In “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, the gods
send 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 in
ancient 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 of
Gilgamesh” interacted with the people. In the fifth tablet, the sun-god, Shamash
helps Gilgamesh and Enkidu win a battle against the monster Humbaba. After
Gilgamesh prays to Shamash, “Shamash raised the great winds against Humbaba…He
could not charge forward, he could not retreat” (A: 121, 39-44).  The gods in “The Epic of Gilgamesh regularly intervene
in human life, they have feelings, they do bad and good things. This helped
explain the unexplainable. We still have belief systems that practice this way.

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