story of creation

Sto­ry of Cre­ation in the Qur’an and Old Testament

The sto­ry of Cre­ation is locat­ed in the first Book of the Old Tes­ta­ment, i.e. in the ear­ly chap­ters of Gen­e­sis. The Old Tes­ta­ment nar­ra­tive is almost like a sto­ry­book ; hence it starts off with the sto­ry of Cre­ation as the begin­ning of the sto­ry of mankind. The Qur’an gives a dif­fer­ent pre­sen­ta­tion to its idea and mes­sage with regard to the sto­ry of Cre­ation. The sto­ry of Cre­ation is locat­ed in var­i­ous places with­in the Qur’an, such as in Sura’ Al-Baqarah, Sura’ As-Saj­dah, Sura’ Yassin and so on.

creation story of creation bible

The Old Tes­ta­ment relates the sto­ry about God cre­at­ing the earth and man in six days (Gen­e­sis, 1) and that God took a rest on the sev­enth day (Gen­e­sis, 1 – 3). The Qur’an also men­tions that the Cre­ation takes place with­in six days“1 but nev­er says that God had to take a rest on the sev­enth day. (Al-Saj­dah : 4, Al-A’raf : 54).

The Old Tes­ta­ment cre­ation sto­ry relates specif­i­cal­ly to what God cre­at­ed on each day of Cre­ation. On the first day, God cre­at­ed the heav­en and the earth with light and dark­ness, which is men­tioned as the day and the night. This hap­pened even before God cre­at­ed the sun and the moon ! On the sec­ond day, God cre­at­ed the sky and the oceans. On the third day, God gave the earth life. Then, in the fol­low­ing days, God cre­at­ed the sun and the moon, fol­lowed by the fish­es and birds and the wild ani­mals, rep­tiles and cat­tle. Final­ly, God cre­at­ed man (Gen­e­sis, 1). 

This sequence of the cre­ation sto­ry in the Bible cer­tain­ly has sev­er­al sci­en­tif­ic prob­lems with it ; the most glar­ing being the account of the cre­ation of plants before the cre­ation of the sun, which is con­trary with what we know about sci­ence today.

In con­trast to the Bible, the Qur’an does not have any con­tra­dic­tion with estab­lished sci­ences and com­mon human sense. What appears to be fun­da­men­tal impor­tance in the mat­ter is that the Holy Qur’an does not men­tion specif­i­cal­ly the sequence of Cre­ation or the man­ner in how God cre­at­ed the world. In Sura’ Yassin, verse 33, we are told that God gave life to the earth that is dead, with­out men­tion­ing on which day it had happened.

A sign for them is the earth that is dead : We do give it life, and pro­duce grain there­from, of which ye do eat.” (Qur’an, 36:33)

creation story of creation quran

There is also absolute­ly fun­da­men­tal data con­cern­ing the exis­tence of an ini­tial gaseous mass (dukhan) which is unique and whose ele­ments, although at first fused togeth­er (ratq) sub­se­quent­ly became sep­a­rat­ed (fatq).

This is expressed in Sura’ Fussilat :

Then turned He to the heav­ens when it was smoke.” (Qur’an, 41:11)

And the same is expressed in Sura’ al-Anbiya’:

Do not the Unbe­liev­ers see that the heav­ens and the earth were joined togeth­er [as one unit of cre­ation] before We clove them asun­der?” (Qur’an, 21:30)

All this is in per­fect agree­ment with mod­ern ideas on the exis­tence of pri­ma­ry neb­u­la and the process of sec­ondary events that have formed the ini­tial unique mass ; this sep­a­ra­tion (known as the Big Bang) result­ed in the for­ma­tion of galax­ies and then, when these divid­ed, of stars from which the plan­ets were to be born. 

All these infor­ma­tion are dis­tin­guish­able from the cre­ation sto­ry in the Bible in ref­er­ence to the Bib­li­cal text with its suc­ces­sive phas­es that are total­ly unac­cept­able.2

Regard­ing the cre­ation of Adam(P), the Old Tes­ta­ment informs us that God invit­ed the angels to join Him in cre­at­ing man. In fact, God was quot­ed to have said :

Let us make a man, some­one like our­selves…” (Gen­e­sis, 1:26)

How­ev­er, in the Qur’an God Almighty informed the angels that He would cre­ate man with­out ask­ing for the angels’ approval to join him. And fur­ther, there is a con­ver­sa­tion between God and His angels where the angels ques­tioned why would God want to cre­ate man and He answered :

I know what you do not know.” (Qur’an, 2:30)

Fur­ther­more, the Old Tes­ta­ment says that God made Adam(P) in His image or like his Mak­er” (Gen­e­sis, 1:27). The Qur’an is in agree­ment with the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian views in this aspect (Qur’an, 15:29), but also stress­es that Adam(P) was made from clay (Ar-Rah­man : 14, Al-Hijr : 28). Only lat­er in the Old Tes­ta­ment do we see that this is mentioned,

God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground.” (Gen­e­sis, 2:7)

The Qur’an and the Old Tes­ta­ment cre­ation sto­ries are sim­i­lar in the case of God appoint­ing Adam(P) as His rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the earth. But the Qur’an has made clear­er this state­ment than the Old Tes­ta­ment, more so when God said to His angels that He wants to cre­ate a vicegerent (khal­i­fah) on the earth (Al-Baqarah : 30, Gen­e­sis, 1:26). This sta­tus did not change even when Adam(P) com­mit­ted a mis­deed, repent­ed and was for­giv­en for it. (Qur’an, 2:37). Man is not fall­en” from the Qur’an­ic per­spec­tive and hence there is no need to save” or ran­som him. In the Chris­t­ian view, how­ev­er, Adam’s(P) mis­deed is the basis for the doc­trine of Orig­i­nal Sin, the begin­ning of mankind’s fall into a state of sin, a flow­ing from faith in a salvic dra­ma that hap­pened in the past.3

In con­clu­sion, the Old Tes­ta­ment con­tains a col­lec­tion of lit­er­ary works pro­duced over the cen­turies by unknown authors who had con­sid­er­able influ­ence in the actu­al com­po­si­tion of the text. 

The Qur’an­ic rev­e­la­tion has a his­to­ry that is in total con­trast to the Bible and was pre­served both oral­ly and in writ­ing dur­ing the life­time of the Prophet Muham­mad(P) him­self. There­fore the Qur’an does not pose any prob­lem of authen­tic­i­ty as a Rev­e­la­tion from God Almighty and this is why its sto­ry of Cre­ation remains con­sis­tent with mod­ern sci­en­tif­ic knowledge.

And only God knows best.Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Mohd Habibul­lah Bin Abdul­lah, Sto­ry of Cre­ation in the Qur’an and Old Tes­ta­ment,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Octo­ber 15, 2005, last accessed May 27, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​b​i​b​l​e​/​c​r​e​a​t​i​o​n​-​s​t​o​r​y​-​c​o​m​p​a​r​i​s​on/
  1. We must point out here that mod­ern com­men­ta­tors stress the inter­pre­ta­tion of ayyam, one trans­la­tion of which is days”, as mean­ing long peri­ods’ or ages’ rather than a peri­od of twen­ty-four hour days.[]
  2. It should be inter­est­ing to note that the Qur’an was right in stat­ing that it is the Unbe­liev­ers” who will first observe this phe­nom­e­non, as the astronomers who were involved in the obser­va­tion of uni­verse were made up of athe­ists, Jews and Chris­tians.[]
  3. See Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi, Al Tawhid : Its Impli­ca­tions for Thought and Life (IIIT:1992), pp. 70 – 74[]

8 Comments

  1. I rec­om­mend going to the orig­i­nal sources (The Bible & The Quran) avail­able free online.

    A good start­ing point for research is (The Gospel Coali­tion web site)

    Sam
    Romans 3 [Romans 3 presents the main mes­sage of the Bible (the Gospel)]

  2. The sto­ry of cre­ation has exist­ed for thou­sands of years before the Quran was even con­ceived. It is strange how the Quran denies the con­cept of the Trin­i­ty (i.e. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spir­it) while at the same time affirm­ing it with­out even knowing.
    50:38 (surat qaf) says If We cre­at­ed the heav­ens and the earth and what is between them in six days, and no fatigue touched Us.” 

    Since We” and Us” are plur­al words, explain the We” or Us” in that verse. Could it be that Allah and his angels worked togeth­er to cre­ate the uni­verse or the Tri­une God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spir­it) cre­at­ed the universe. 

    If the Chris­tians believe that the Bible is the author­i­ta­tive word of God and Mus­lims believe that the Quran is the word of Allah, then the God in the Bible and Allah in the Quran can­not be the same since the ide­olo­gies in both are at vari­ance with one anoth­er. For this rea­son, either one of them is false or both are false but both can­not nev­er be true.

    Now, let’s apply the same stan­dard used to cri­tique the Bible on the Quran.
    In 41:9 – 12,
    9 — Allah cre­ates the earth is cre­at­ed in two days,
    10 — Then He placed sta­bi­liz­ers over it ; and blessed it ; and planned its pro­vi­sions in four days,
    11 — Then He turned to the sky, and it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth, Come, will­ing­ly or unwill­ing­ly.” They said, We come willingly.”
    12 — So, He com­plet­ed them as sev­en uni­vers­es in two days, and He assigned to each uni­verse its laws. And We dec­o­rat­ed the low­er uni­verse with lamps, and for pro­tec­tion. That is the design of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.
    From basic math­e­mat­ics, it seems Allah cre­at­ed the uni­verse in 8 days, con­trary to the 50:38 which says six days. Now, I sus­pect that in order to defend the six days, you’ll make an attempt to say vs 9 and v12 mean the same thing. If that were so when what day were the skies created ?

    I rest my case.

  3. Giv­ing these accounts and sharply say­ing that a per­son is either absolute­ly wrong or right, is in itself a mis­take. As far as reli­gion is con­cerned and reli­gios­i­ty, the truth will remain rel­a­tive to the reli­gion itself, no Mus­lim if today or Chris­t­ian of today can defend the holy books, and any effort to do that is kind of try­ing to pro­tect God, a grave mis­take in my opin­ion, God cre­at­ed us not to defend Him but to wor­ship Him and find joy in His glory.
    Say­ing that man haven’t fall is a plain lie. As long as we speak of the gar­den of even, the satan, sin, then we can by no means say that Man haven’t fall­en, for we know that all men have fall­en short of the glo­ry of God.
    Refus­ing to accept the sto­ry of redemp­tion but accept­ing Jesus as the Christ, that is our sav­ior, and speak­ing about the Antichrist again is a proof of the mis­un­der­stand­ings that Quran has. If you refer to the Apoc­a­lypse, we both agree of Jesus as the just ruler, the judge, but here again we incul­cate con­fu­sion, a move I see as a way of feed­ing the ego, say­ing that the judge­ment will be to favor a reli­gion, for as far as I am con­cerned, no soul belongs to any religion.

  4. In the Old Tes­ta­ment, it was men­tioned in the first vers­es of the chap­ter that light and dark­ness was always there. He made the sun and the moon for man so we would know how to tell time and when it is time for prayer or Sab­bath. Gen­e­sis 1:3 says let there be light. Gen­e­sis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the fir­ma­ment of the heav­en to divide the day from the night ; and let them be for signs, and for sea­sons, and for days, and years
    And we all know that the sun isn’t required to grow veg­e­ta­tion. Take indoor green­hous­es that grow plants and flow­ers with­out direct sunlight.
    Also where does it say in the Bible that it was done in days” of man ? To say that God oper­ates at the time of man is ridicu­lous. We all know time is a phys­i­cal prop­er­ty for some­one’s loca­tion. Just like the time dif­fer­ence for us here on earth. It varies where we are. So for God to have the same day” as us means He’s here on earth with us always has been and always will be.

  5. Kay­la .… U are wrong, us does not gives s def­i­nite num­ber. Us can be two up infin­i­ty. Trin­i­ty is a scam

  6. Depends upon how peo­ple visu­al­ize what is stat­ed in Al-Quran regard­ing creation. 

    https://​top​ics​fromquran​.com/​2019​/​02​/​02​/​e​v​o​l​u​t​i​on/

  7. Uh no, it’s not talk­ing about the Trin­i­ty. That’s just a mod­ern rein­ter­pre­ta­tion chris­tians came up with to sup­port their false doc­trine of the trin­i­ty that they invented.

    The we” and our” are just roy­al terms that God uses to show his majesty. That’s how Jews under­stood it for thou­sands of years.

  8. I just have to say that you’re wrong about the Bible say­ing that God invit­ed the angels to make man in His image. When it says, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our like­ness.” It’s talk­ing about the Trin­i­ty. Aka, God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spi­tit. No where does it say he was talk­ing to his angels. He was basi­cal­ly talk­ing to him­self as the Trin­i­ty. Three difer­ent beings, but all one. I just want­ed to point out an inaccuracy

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