Great Hymn to the Aten

Ancient Near East

You create life within women, make fluid into men, and nurture the child in the womb. You soothe and provide breath to sustain all you have made. When the child is born, you open their mouth and provide for their needs. When a bird speaks within the egg, you give it breath and let it grow until it hatches, walking on its own legs. Your creations are many and hidden from human sight. There is no god like you, who created the world alone, according to your desire. Humans, cattle, wild animals, and all creatures on earth and in the sky, are your creation. The lands of Syria, Nubia, and Egypt are shaped by your will, and you provide for their needs. You make each tongue unique in speech, and each nature distinct. You distinguish their skin like the foreign lands.

Genesis 1:30

Hebrew Bible

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.” 29 Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has living breath in it—I give every green plant for food.” It was so. 31 God saw all that he had made—and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.

 Notes and References

"... A very different picture of creation and humanity’s place is found in Psalm 104, which celebrates creation’s biodiversity and commends it all for YHWH’s enjoyment. As the most extensive psalm of creation in the Psalter, Psalm 104 is a poetic revelry of praise to YHWH for having created the world in all of its diversity, a product of divine wisdom (verse 24). This cosmic liturgy proceeds from the meteorological to the zoological to the anthropological, all expressed in doxological fashion. Scholars often observe several parallels with the ‘Great Hymn to the Aten’, the sun-disk deity whose worship was mandated under the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty of Pharaoh Akhenaten (14th century BCE). Psalm 104 and this Egyptian hymn share such motifs as the ‘call of admiration’ to the deity, the diversity of creation, aquatic life, ships plying the sea, and divine provision, from food to springs of water. While the parallels are strong, direct literary dependence seems unlikely ... also well noted is the parallel movement shared in Genesis 1 and Psalm 104, so evident that one can easily delineate the psalm’s structure in terms of the ‘days’ of creation enumerated in Genesis ... but such synoptic comparison works well only for the first three days, those days that establish the creational domains of light, heaven, and land ..."

Brown, William P. "Creation in the Old Testament" in Wolfe, Brendan N. (ed.) St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology (pp. 1-44) University of St Andrews, 2022

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