Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Koran on Creation

A commonly held view is that "All religions have their creation myths. They all say basically the same thing." But is this really true?

I recently found a nice summary of the Koran's teaching on creation in book, The Islamic View of Major Christian Teachings (click for free download of pdf), by Christine Schirrmacher, Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies at the Protestant University in Leuven. [She is speaking at the conference I am at this weekend].
Here are a few quotes that I thought particularly helpful:

Apart from the frequent and general observation that God created heaven and earth and mankind, the Koran does not contain any detailed report of the creation as in the Old Testament, except in surah 41:9-13, which describes the creation as having been completed in six days.....

We do not read anywhere in the Koran, however, that God made man “in his image,” as emphasized in the Old Testament (Genesis 1:21). This would be irreconcilable with the greatness and uniqueness of God, who cannot in any way be compared with mankind. Also, surah 40:57 describes the creation of heaven and earth as a ‘greater wonder’ than the creation of man. In contrast, the creation account in the Old Testament describes the making of man as the crowning of creation....

The Koran emphasizes that God was not tired after the creation and did not rest, as did the God of the Bible: “We created the heavens and the earth, and everything inbetween in six days, but no tiredness came over us” (50:38). God does not suffer tiredness and does not require sleep. God does not require Muslims to hold a Sabbath, and so, up until the modern day, there is no official weekly day of rest in the Muslim world, although Friday has a special status. In certain countries, Sunday has been introduced as a day of rest as a result of earlier European colonization.

Furthermore, these differences are not just minor details but rather concern two of the central ideas of the Genesis text.

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