Sumer, also known as the land of civilized kings, flourished in Mesopotamia, somewhat around 4500 BC.
The land is currently known as Iraq.
Sumerians formed an advanced civilization with its own system of detailed language and writing, architecture and arts, astronomy, and mathematics. Their religious system consisted of hundreds of gods.
As per the ancient texts, each Sumerian city was protected by its own God; and as humans and gods used to live together, the humans were servants to the Gods.
The Sumerian creation myth can be found on a tablet in Nippur, an ancient Mesopotamian city discovered in approximately 5000 BC.
The origin of humans according to the Sumerian tablets commenced this way:
When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the god’s none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being…
Sumerian mythology asserts that human-like Gods ruled the Earth at first.
When they descended upon Earth, these Gods toiled the soil, digging to make it habitable and mining its minerals.
The texts specify that at some point the Gods rebelled against their labor.
When the gods like men
Bore the work and suffered the toll
The toil of the gods was great,
The work was heavy, the distress was much.
Anu, the God of gods, agreed that their labor was incredible.
His son Enki, or Ea, suggested creating man to bear the labor, and so, along with the help of his half-sister Ninki, he did.
A God was put to death, and his body and blood were mixed with clay.
The alleged mixture, led to the origin of humans, in likeness to the Gods.
You have slaughtered a god together
With his personality
I have removed your heavy work
I have imposed your toil on man.
In the clay, god and man
Shall be bound,
To a unity brought together;
So that to the end of days
The Flesh and the Soul
Which in a god have ripened –
That soul in a blood-kinship be bound.
This is how the first man was created in Eden.
Eden is a Sumerian word that means ‘flat terrain’.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Eden is classified as the garden of the Gods and is situated somewhere in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
At first, human beings were unable to procreate on their own but were later modified with the help of Enki and Ninki.
Thus, Adapa was created as a fully functional and independent human being. This modification was done without the approval of Enki’s brother, Enlil, and a conflict between the Gods emerged.
Enlil became the adversary of man, and the Sumerian tablet mentions that men served Gods and went through much hardship and suffering.
Adapa, with the help of Enki, ascended to Anu where he failed to answer a question about ‘the bread and water of life’.
Opinions vary on the similarities between this story of the origin of humans and the biblical story of Adams and Eve in Eden.