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Depictions of Adam and Eve in Quran and Biblia Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 29th, 2021

Introduction

The Bible and the Qur’an are two very important books to the Christian and the Muslims respectively. Both the Christians and the Muslims believe the writing on these books to be divinely inspired and were passed on to the people by the prophets. The main difference lies in the fact that the Muslims believe that the Christians and the Jewish neglected and even changed the meanings of these writings over time. The Qur’an then is regarded as the perfect and final revelation of God’s word on the basis that it is both pure and uncorrupted. Thus there are not any real fundamental differences between Christian and Islam. They have the same biblical characters and place only the names are different. Adam and Eve were the first two people to be created and live on earth. There is a consensus in that in both the Bible and the Qur’an. While Adam is still referred to as Adam in the Qur’an, Eve was given the name Hawa.

The positive depiction of Adam and Eve

The depiction of Adam in the Bible is not very different from that of the Qur’an; there is agreement on both sides that he was created by one God. In the Bible Adam represents man like God intended him to be without fault which is the reason he created him in his own image. Eating the forbidden fruit resulted in his fall from glory. The Bible talks about Adam being created in the image of God in the Garden of Eden. In contrast the Qur’an does not mention of Adam being created in the image of God or in the Garden of Eden. This means that the Garden of Eden was on earth but in the Qur’an Adam was created in the Garden of Paradise that was in Heaven. (Qur’an 7:11-15) The narrative clearly then seeks to show that while God made man, the Muslims do not believe in the “made him in his own image” part. To them God created man according to the different types of clay brought to him by the angel of death. This is important because it seeks to explain the kind of diversity we have in people. This is also important in so far as it seeks to show just how important man was to God that he decided to create him. In the Bible God created man in his own image while in the Qur’an God breathed his spirit into him. The fact is that man’s coming into being is very special.

Adam came to life soon after God breathed life into him according to the Bible, but 40 days later according to the Qur’an. After creation God in the Qur’an commands the angels to bow down before him. While the same is not commanded in the Bible the fact that man is made in the image of God in a way places him in a pedestal. It is like God meant for man to be revered by all other beings. It is from this that the Qur’an comes to regard Adam as the first prophet of God on the basis he was the first to have had the first contact with him. While Adam is not a prophet in the Bible he is regarded to be the father of mankind. That all human beings are his descendants. Clearly man has been exalted way above other beings; he is God’s special creature.

The story of Adam and Eve presents the woman in somewhat negative light especially in the Bible. Clearly her status is different in both books. She is depicted as easily influenced even to do wrong as seen when she was tempted to eat from the forbidden tree. While her creation is clearly depicted in the Bible, in the reference that she was made from the rib of man, the Qur’an on its part doesn’t expound on how she came into being. But while the Bible falls short of blaming the woman for leading man into sin by eating from the forbidden tree, (Genesis 4:2-3:24), the Qur’an on its part blames both and proposes this was the reason they were both banished from the Garden of Eden/Paradise. It is clearly stated in the Qur’an that it was to both Adam and Eve that Satan whispered to and thus tempted them to eat from the forbidden tree. (Qur’an 7:19-25) Probably because it does not subscribe to the thought of the original sin. Thus the Adam and Eve narrative is clear that man truly was created by God and for that reason he occupies an important position on this earth. Not that he is infallible but that he is only tempted into sin by Satan. Satan rather than man (both man and woman) is to blame for the fall from glory.

The Bible and the Qur’an differ in as far as man was created in God’s image the Muslims do not seem to think so. The Quranic scripture in depth give the impression of a master servant kind of relationship mostly because it does not really clearly show how close God is to Adam. The master slave kind of relationship is important in as far as explaining the argument that man is superior to woman. The Qur’an states that the woman depends on the man for her support. As such it is alright for man to have some kind of authority over her and has a right to punish her by way of beating whenever she is rebellious. (Qur’an 4:34) Probably this is the reason man was created before woman. Being created first and being given authority over others shows the kind of regard man has been granted.

Before Adam and Eve were tempted to eat from the forbidden fruit, they had been free to eat from it as they wished. (Genesis 2:9, 16, 17) The Qur’an on its part had the tree of eternity as opposed to the tree of life. (Quran 20:120) Thus while the Bible talks of Eve being tempted by the serpent and later she leading her husband to the forbidden tree, the Qur’an has no mention of serpent. Yes it talks of Shaitan/Iblis but no serpent as it goes on to argue that both Adam and Eve were tempted and not Eve by herself. (Quran 20:120) Adam and Eve as a result of eating from the forbidden fruit were banished from the Garden of Eden. The Bible is almost clear the Garden was on earth but the Qur’an is clear that they were moved from paradise and down to earth because of their sin. (Quran 7:24, 2:36) There is therefore no distinction between man and woman they are equal before God and he loves them equally which is why the serpent/Iblis was given worse fate than man for tempting him.

Death is another issue of contention. Adam lived to be 930 years but he died. The Bible opines that the sin of eating from the forbidden fruit was the reason he died. Thus in the Bible death is regarded as an enemy that was brought on people by eating from the forbidden tree. (Genesis 2:17, 3:19) On its part, the Qur’an is categorical that death is not in any way brought by eating from the tree of life. The argument is that death is a natural thing just like creation is (quran 32:7) This can be taken to mean that God in the Bible had not intended for man to die which is the reason he did not create death. Only because he loves him so. According to the Qur’an man is made from clay and when God ordered the angels to bow down to him after he had been created, Satan refused on the premise that he was made from fire and as such could not bow down to something made out of clay. (Quran 38:71-76) Because of this Satan was cast out of paradise. In the Bible Satan was cast out of paradise and sentenced to a precarious life for tempting Adam and leading him into sin. God clearly loves Adam and is willing to punish whoever misleads him.

Thus the depiction of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Qur’an is truly positive as it shows just how much God/Allah loved him. This is the reason he ordered the angels to bow to him. It is also the reason he banished him from the garden of Eden instead of killing him.

References

. Old Testament. 2008. Web.

The Holy Qur’an. Electronic text center. University of Virginia library. 2008. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, September 29). Depictions of Adam and Eve in Quran and Biblia. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depictions-of-adam-and-eve-in-quran-and-biblia/

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IvyPanda. "Depictions of Adam and Eve in Quran and Biblia." September 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depictions-of-adam-and-eve-in-quran-and-biblia/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Depictions of Adam and Eve in Quran and Biblia." September 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depictions-of-adam-and-eve-in-quran-and-biblia/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Depictions of Adam and Eve in Quran and Biblia'. 29 September.

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