3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
So much naming.
It appears to me now that really it was the extension of the same ancient idea that if you name something, or at least know its name, then you gain power over it. The act of God naming all of these things indicates that God has power over them.
But the naming doesn't end there. Bereishit 5:2 - "He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man."
Here we see that not only does the Bible claim that God has power over the physical world, but man itself. But that much we knew already.
Further, we have other examples of naming things. Bereishit 2:19 - "Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name."
See, it sounds a little silly, all of this pointless naming if you don't understand its significance. Man's naming of the animals shows his power over them. This then jives nicely with God's instructions to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (1:28). Since man named it, man has power over it.
This then brings me to my last example of naming in the Bible, 2:23 - The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." Hence, according to the Bible, by virtue of the fact that man named women he has authority of her.
Now, compare what you've learned here to the first few verses of the Enuma Elish, the
When on high the heaven had not been named,
Firm ground below had not been called by name . . .
When no gods whatever had been brought into being,
Uncalled by name, their destinies undetermined
Naming is very important, for without naming the objects have no character, no destiny. It makes good sense that the Biblical creation story was written as some sort of monotheistic (or monolatrous) response to either the Sumerian story or to the general idea and gave to God the power of naming and hence authority over the world.