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”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. 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.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.

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.See Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi, Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life (IIIT:1992), pp. 70-74

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.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Story of Creation in the Qur’an and Old Testament," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed October 2, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/bible/story-of-creation/

8 Comments

Sam October 26, 2020

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)]

Mfon March 30, 2020

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.

Joflix January 20, 2020

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.

RJ August 29, 2019

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.

Nana yaw June 18, 2019

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

Aijaz March 8, 2019

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

https://topicsfromquran.com/2019/02/02/evolution/

Mahdi March 30, 2018

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.

Kayla September 22, 2012

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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