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Comparison of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 29th, 2021

Introduction

Islam and Christianity are the two major religions of the modern world. There are many common beliefs shared by the two religions and significant differences as well. The most significant similarity between these religions is that they both believe in a single supreme being. Both religions base their beliefs and practices on their holy books, the Bible and the Qur’an. Significant differences in the teachings of these books make the two religions irreconcilable. Differences in the teachings and narratives of these books may seem insignificant to outsiders but have been causes of irreconcilable differences between these two religions. But even with these differences both religions cannot deny common beliefs and customs. The story of the creation of man and the world is one such teaching that conveys the differences and similarities in Islamic and Christian teachings.

Discussion

The description of the creation of the Adam and Eve can be found in both the Qur’an and the Bible. The Qur’an does not describe the creation of Eve but both the Bible and the Qur’an agree that Adam was created by a supreme being and his role was to be a keeper or caretaker of creation. In Genesis 1:26, God talks of creating Adam in His image to rule over all the birds, fish and creatures of the land. In verse 28 of the same chapter man is told to subdue the earth. The word subdue means to bring into submission. By this God gave Adam authority over all that He had created on earth. The Qur’an also supports the view of Adam having authority over all creation on earth. The Qur’an calls Adam a viceroy. A viceroy is someone who governs an area but is a representative of the person who gave him the authority. The Qur’an repeatedly shows the authority given to Adam in all its depictions of creation.

This similarity is significant both to Muslims and Christians. Adam is placed in a position of great responsibility. Both religions believe that all that Adam was given was inherited by the whole human race because Adam was the first man and therefore the common ancestor of all men. He is created superior to all other earthly creatures and he is charged with the care of all creation.

Both the Quran and the Bible agree that Adam was created from clay. Genesis 2:7 describes God forming Adam from the dust and breathing life into his nostrils. Al-Hijr 15:26-47 agrees with the creation of man from clay and receiving the breath of life from Allah. This is the origin of the custom of burying of the dead in both religions. Muslims bury their dead wrapped in a cloth while departed Christians are buried in coffins. Both religions teach that because man was created from dust, he must return to dust upon his death. Both religions therefore bury their dead in the ground.

Both the Bible and the Quran teach that Adam was given life by God breathing into him. The breath of God in both texts (i.e. Al-Hijr 15:26-47 and Genesis 2:7) is representative of His Spirit. Because God breathed life into Adam upon his creation, both Islam and Christianity teach that man has a spiritual nature that is given to him by God. Because man possesses a spirit, he is superior to all other earthly creatures. No other creatures are recorded in the Bible or Quran of having received the same spirit that God breathed on man during his creation.

All these similarities show that Islam and Christianity agree on the fundamentals of the creation of man and his purpose. The similarities in the depiction of Adam and his creation would even cause us to say that these two religions are the same. Differences however occur in the narratives. Some of these differences are may not be striking to an outsider, but are of great importance to the faithful of these religions.

The most striking difference in the narrations of the creation is in the temptation and the events that followed it. According to the Bible, the devil came to Eve in the form of a snake and tempted her to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Eve having eaten of the fruit gave it to Adam. This according to the Bible is how sin entered the world. The Quran differs in its account of the temptation of Adam and Eve. It depicts the devil approaching Adam and tempting him in Ta-Ha 20:120. Although it is important to note that the Qur’an claims that Adam was the one who was in fact tempted and not Eve as the Bible claims, the most significant thing to note is what happened after the temptation and the realization of their sin.

Both the Bible and the Quran tell of God’s wrath and disappointment with Adam and Eve’s disobedience. According to the Bible, Adam did not repent of his sin, he instead shifted the blame to Eve who blamed everything on the serpent. The three are cursed and Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden. According to the Quran Adam realized his shame and hid from God, just like it is narrated in the Bible. But according to the Quran, Allah took pity on Adam and forgave him. Ta-Ha 20:122 tells of Allah relenting towards Adam and guiding him.

The Biblical depiction of Adam and Eve has the main aim of teaching how sin entered the world. The Bible teaches that all men are sinners because of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. Because all men are the descendants of Adam and Eve, all have inherited a sinful nature from them. God cast them out of His presence because He is holy and cannot tolerate sin. Christianity teaches that in order for man to reconcile himself to God, a sacrifice had to be made. This is why Christ, God’s own Son, came into the world. Only a pure sacrifice would suffice to reconcile man to God. Since all men are sinful by nature, no one was fit to be this sacrifice, only Christ. This teaching is clearly depicted in 1 Corinthians 15:22 which tells of death coming to the world by one man, Adam and life coming to all mankind by another man, Christ.

The Quran teaches that God had mercy on Adam and guided him. By this, Islam teaches that man is not born with a sinful nature like Christianity teaches. The Quran teaches that Adam could control himself and as long as he followed Allah’s guidance, he would not go astray. If the Islamic teaching of sin is true, then Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is void. If man was not separated from God because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, then there is no need for reconciliation. The Christian faith is based on the belief that Christ, who was true God and true man, gave His life on behalf of the entire human race. Without this sacrifice man is doomed to eternal separation from God. The entire Biblical message centers on the teaching of God’s love for mankind and the sacrifice of His Son because of His love. The Bible is full of prophesies of a messiah and narratives of how Christ fulfilled these prophecies. Since the Quran’s teaching of creation contradicts the Christian belief of sin entering the world through Adam, it makes Christ’s sacrifice void. This teaching of the Quran negates the foundation of the Christian religion and even threatens its very existence.

This difference of in the narratives of Adam and Eve in the Qur’an and the Bible may seem insignificant and be quickly overlooked by outsiders of both religions. The refusal of Muslims to accept Christ as their savior was the cause of Christian holy wars or crusades against Muslims. Muslims have also launched holy wars or jihads in an attempt to convert Christians to Islam.

Conclusion

The differences and similarities between the depictions of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran show that although Islam and Christianity are somewhat related, there exist significant differences in their teachings. This Teaching for many seems insignificant but is of great consequence to the survival of the two religions. The differences in the creation narratives in both books are just the tip of the ice berg in the disparities between the two religions. This is especially true since the denial of the Quran of man’s sinful nature disallows the very foundation of the Christian faith.

References

The Holy Bible. New International Version. 2008.

The Holy Quran. 2008. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Comparison of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran." September 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-of-adam-and-eve-in-the-bible-and-the-quran/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Comparison of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran." September 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-of-adam-and-eve-in-the-bible-and-the-quran/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Comparison of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran'. 29 September.

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