This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.The Koran records the creation of mankind as follows.
"And when thy Lord said to the angels, 'I am setting in the earth a viceroy [one in my stead].' They said, 'What, wilt Thou set therein one who will do corruption there, and shed blood, while we proclaim [celebrate] Thy praise and call [extol] Thee Holy?' He said, 'Assuredly I know that you know not.'" (Koran 2:28)One of the things of interest in this passage is God's discussion with the angels. The Jewish scriptures records God's decision to create mankind simply as, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:26) There is no indication that God discussed His intentions with the angels or anyone else prior to Him creating mankind. When God said "let us" He was not talking to the angels but to Himself. We know this because we know the angels had no part in the creation of mankind or of any other part of the creation of God. However, what is of greater interest is the response of the angels. Their first response was to expect sin from God's creation. As far as we know, sin had not entered into God's creation. Even the Devil had not sinned for that did not happen until after man was created. The Koran clearly describes the first sin of Satan saying,
"And when We said to the angels, 'Bow yourselves to Adam'; so they bowed themselves, save Iblis; he refused, and waxed proud, and so he became one of the unbelievers." (Koran 2:32)Having never witnessed sin, why would the angels expect sin from God's new creation? We know that, according to God, when He looked upon His creation, He "saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:25) Why should the angels assume evil from that which God saw was good?
After creating Adam, God presents him to the angels to demonstration Adam's superiority over them.
"And He taught Adam the names, all of them; then He presented them unto the angels and said, 'Now tell Me the names of these, if you speak truly [are endowed with wisdom].'" (Koran 2:29)However, the scriptures clearly records that God did not teach the names of each animal to Adam, rather He let Adam choose a name for each animal. "Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name." (Genesis 2:19) Furthermore, there is no evidence from the Jewish scriptures that God ever tried to test the angels or to show them inferior to Adam's knowledge and wisdom. In fact, the writer of Hebrews intimates the exact opposite. "You have made Him a little while lower than the angels." (Hebrews 2:7) While this verse may be taken to speak specifically of Jesus, He nevertheless came as a man and, as a man, was lower than the angles.
After Satan's fall, the Koran tells us that God warned Adam regrading Satan and his desire to deceive him.
"And when We said to the angels, 'Bow yourselves to [worship] Adam'; so they bowed themselves, save Iblis; he refused. Then We said, 'Adam, surely this is an enemy to thee and thy wife. So let him not expel [drive out] you both from the Garden, so that thou art unprosperous [wretched]." (Koran 20:115)
However, there is no account in the scriptures that God ever warned Adam and Eve about Satan, nor was expulsion from the garden ever a part of the original threat. God simply commanded them, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17) In fact, the decision to kick them out of the garden came only after they had sinned. "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever' — therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life." (Genesis 3:22-24)
The Koran records the deception of Adam and Eve by the Devil as follows.
"Then Satan whispered to him saying, 'Adam, shall I point thee to the Tree of Eternity, and a Kingdom that decays [fails] not?'" (Koran 20:118)
However, the scriptures teach us that Satan approached Eve, not Adam. "And he said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said, "You shall not eat from any tree of the garden"?'" (Genesis 3:1) Furthermore, it was not the Tree of Life that they were tempted by, for they already had permission to eat from that tree, but it was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that they had been forbidden to eat of its fruit. It was this tree that Eve perceived to be, "good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise." (Genesis 3:6) It was this tree that caused their fall, not the Tree of Life. Finally, there was no promise of a kingdom by Satan, either temporal or eternal. Such a temptation would have been meaningless since they already had dominion. "God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:28 NKJV) The Earth was already their kingdom and their eternal dominion.
Finally, the Koran records their expulsion from the Garden.
"Then Satan caused them to slip therefrom and brought them out of [caused their banishment from] that they were in; and We said, 'Get you all down, each [one] of you an enemy of each [to the other]; and in the earth a sojourn [dwelling place] shall be yours, and enjoyment [provision] for a time.'" (Koran 2:34)
It is unclear what is meant by "get you all down." Some post apostolic writers hinted that perhaps the Garden of Eden was not upon the Earth but in a mid-place between Heaven and Earth. Thus the idea of "getting down" and arriving "in" the Earth. It appears that Muhammad may have shared these beliefs. However, in describing the place of the garden, Earthly landmarks are used which seems to indicate that it was upon this physical Earth. "The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed... Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates." (Genesis 2:8, 10-14) This would lead us to believe that the Garden of Eden was in fact upon the Earth and not on some elevated spiritual plain.
More to come...