Grace and Truth
Good News for Muslims 13
IS CHRIST LIKE ADAM?
CHALLENGE: Based on the Koran, Muslims deny that Christ is the Son of God and thereby reject the Christian faith in the Triune God. They find an important confirmation of their denial of the divinity of Christ in the Koran's comparison between Christ and Adam, as found in Sura Al 'Imran 3:59: “Surely, the likeness of 'Isa (Jesus) with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. Him he created from dust; then he said to him, 'Be!' and he was.” Muslims see in this verse the proof that Christ is exactly like Adam, just a human being and a creation of God. Is it true that Muslims, according to the Koran, must believe that Christ is exactly like Adam, and therefore cannot be divine? Is there no way in the Koran that leads to faith in the divinity of Christ?
1. The parents of Adam and Christ: The Koran does teach that both Adam and Christ had no human father. In that they are alike. But there is also a great difference between the two: Adam DID NOT have a mother, for he was created from earthly dust. Christ, however, DID have a mother, for in the Koran he is called the Son of Maryam 13 times (that is, the Son of Mary, e.g. in Suras 2:87 and 57:27). Thus Christ was not created from earthly dust like Adam was, as suggested in Sura 3:59.
2. What Allah said to Adam and to Christ: We find other great differences between Adam and Christ in the Koran when we observe what Allah said to Adam and what he said to Christ. In the context of Adam's misdeed in paradise, we find in the Koran the following: “… And we (i.e. Allah) said (to Adam): 'Go (all of) you (from paradise) down (to earth)! (Be henceforth) enemies to each other.' …” (Sura al-Baqara 2:36) However, in the context of the attack of the Jews against Christ at the end of His life we find written in the Koran: “(At that time,) when Allah said, 'O 'Isa (Jesus)! I am about to let you pass away and I raise you up to myself (to heaven) and I purify you from those who have sinned.'…” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:55) Based on these words of the Koran we must point out the following great differences between Adam and Christ in the Koran:
a) To Adam Allah said: “Go down from paradise!” To Christ, however, Allah said: “I raise you to myself to heaven!”
b) Adam was degraded away from Allah and from his throne, while Christ was raised to Allah and to his throne.
c) Adam dwells on earth and is no longer in paradise, but Christ dwells in heaven, and is no longer on earth.
d) Adam began in paradise and ended up on earth; Christ, on the other hand, (according to the Koran) began on earth, and ended up in heaven.
e) Furthermore, Allah said to Adam: “Be henceforth enemies to each other!” But to Christ Allah said: “I purify you from sinners!”
f) Adam was defiled through hatred and enmity. Christ, however, according to the Koran, was purified from the sin of others, for He Himself had no sin.
g) The impurity of Adam is no divine attribute! Why else would Muslims have to ritually purify themselves before they approach God in prayer? The purity of Christ, however, is a divine attribute! How else would God be able to purify Christ, if He Himself were not pure?
3. What the angels said about Adam and Christ: Still greater differences between Adam and Christ can be found when we read in the Koran what the angels said about Adam and about Christ. Even before the creation of Adam from earthly dust the angels said to Allah: “… Do you set up in it (i.e. in the world) someone (i.e. Adam) who will wreak havoc in it, and shed blood? ...” (Sura al-Baqara 2:30) Yet, before the miraculous generation of Christ in the body of his mother, the angels said to her: “… O Mary! Allah proclaims to you a Word (kalimatun) from Him whose name is Christ 'Isa (Jesus), the son of Mary. He will be highly esteemed (wajeeh) in the world and in the end of times, one of those brought near (to Allah). … and (he will be) one of those who are upright.” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:45-46) Based on these two passages of the Koran, we must point out even greater differences between Adam and Christ:
a) According to the Koran, the angels said of Adam: “Someone who will wreak havoc and shed blood!” Yet of Christ they said, (again according to the Koran): “Allah proclaims to you a Word from Him whose name is Christ 'Isa (Jesus), the son of Mary!”
b) Adam made the condition of earth worse, by wreaking havoc on it. Christ, however, is Word from God, and therefore, full of beneficial divine power. Furthermore, he is one of whose who are upright, and thereby totally different from Adam, who wreaks havoc.
c) Nowhere does it say in the Koran that Adam is highly esteemed, neither in this world not at the end times Yet about Christ it is written, that he will not only be highly esteemed in the world, but also at the end of times.
d) Adam is not one of those standing close to Allah, for he was banned from paradise onto earth, away from Allah. About Christ, however, it is written that he is one of those who were brought near to Allah (al-muqarrabina). Only those who share Allah's attributes are allowed to stand close to Him. The Arabic word that is here used to describe Christ (al-muqarrabina) is closely related to the Arabic for “being a relative to someone” (qarib). If Christ stands near Allah, then He is a relative of Allah!
4. Further differences between Adam and Christ: In addition, one can find in the Koran further fundamental differences between Adam and Christ. Here are some examples:
a) Adam did nothing divine, but was totally subjected to human nature. Christ, however, performed divine miracles: he created, he knew what is invisibly hidden, he purified the sick, and he raised the dead (cf. Sura 3:49) – all divine deeds.
b) Adam was disobedient to God; therefore, God lowered him from heaven to earth (Sura 2:36). Christ, however, was obedient to God; therefore He lifted him up to Himself (Suras 3:55 and 4:157).
c) Adam was not strengthened by the Spirit of Allah, therefore he fell as a prey to Satan (Suras 7:20 and 20:120). Christ, however, was strengthened by the Spirit of Allah, therefore Satan had no power over Him. (Suras 2:87, 253; 5:110)
d) Adam sinned and fathered sinful children. Christ, however, did not sin, rather, he purified and thus healed the sick (Sura 3:49).
SAD NEWS: The verse in Sura 3:49, in which Christ is said to be like Adam, stands in contradiction to what the rest of the Koran says about Adam and Christ. There one finds so great differences between the two, such that Sura 3:49 can no longer be used as evidence to deny the deity of Christ.
GOOD NEWS: The Koran confirms the divinity of Christ, for it imparts to Him many divine attributes: Like God, Christ is pure (taahir), like God, He makes alive (muhyi), like God, He creates (khaaliq), and like God, He purifies (mubri'). Furthermore, since Christ is described as the Word of God and as One brought near to / a relative of God, there remains no doubt in the Koran that Christ is divine. Christ is much more like God, according to the Koran, than he is like Adam!
TESTIMONY: My name is K.K. Alavi, and I live in the state of Kerala, in South of India. Therefore, I speak Malayalam as my mother tongue. My father led prayer in a mosque and he was determined that I, as his son, should be his successor. From first grade on I was instructed in Arabic and in Islam. When I was 14 I got my hands on a Christian booklet, in which were pictures that fascinated me. I, therefore, brought it home, instead of throwing it away, which I, as a pious Muslim, should have done. My father was so upset about this that he punished me terribly and tore up the booklet. Yet the seed had been laid. The message of the Gospel began to work in my heart, and the desire in me grew to know more. I sought out Christians, read through the Gospel of Christ according to John, and took part in Sunday School classes – all in secret. When my father found out about what I was doing he punished me mercilessly, bound me in chains for many weeks and, finally, wanted to kill me for abandoning Islam. I was able to flee, however, and have never seen my family since then. There followed a very rough time for me, for I was then only 16 years old. After a lot of going back and forth, I was finally able to attend a theological seminary and later became pastor in the Church of South India. Since 1980 I have been in full-time service as an evangelist among Muslims. Through me many sons of Ishmael have found their way to faith in Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Holy God, I thank you that Christ performed many divine miracles, and that he is now with you in heaven. Help me to experience that Christ is not just a created being, like Adam, but your Word, full of divine purity and creative power. Open my eyes and ears, so that I might see and hear who Christ really is.
FOR MEMORIZATION: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins – He said to the man who was paralyzed, 'I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.' Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” (Luke 5:24-25 -- Words of Christ in the Gospel)