Similarities and Differences Exist in Christian and Islamic Beliefs of Sin and Salvation


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There is no disputing the fact that differences exist along the lines of different religions and cultures. However, for as many contrasts that can be found, an abundance of similarities can be found as well. There are a multitude of similarities that can be found in the Christian and Islamic beliefs of sin and salvation in the Holy Bible and in the Qu’ran. There also exist, of course, a great deal of differences as well.


In the Bible, there is an explicit claim that God created the world good. "And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good" (Gen. 1:3). Included in God’s creations were that of man and woman. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Gen. 1:27). Humanity, having been created in the image of God, was not simply good, as were the rest of God’s creations. Humanity was perfect.


Having been placed in the garden of Eden, it was here that humanity began to relate to both God and the world. Initially, humanity was free to do as they wished and all was well. Their only prohibition was that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for on the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). However, humanity was tempted by Satan in the form of a serpent. "And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:14). Humanity ate from the tree, failing the test to which they had been put by God. Adam and Eve were expelled from both the garden of Eden and the presence of God. They, furthermore, were forbidden to eat from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22).


The Christian view of sin is based on the initial status and fall of Adam and Eve. Sin is not intended for humanity. Man and woman are created perfect and for relationship with God, according to Christian belief. Sin has distorted that relationship and driven humanity from the presence of God. "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity" (Hab. 1:13) God is holy and cannot even look on sin. The failure of Adam and Eve to obey God’s word is the root of the biblical notion of sin because it has the idea of disobedience. According to Genesis 3:7 and 16, sin has negatively altered human relationships and relationships with the world.


"The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). In Genesis 3:23, humanity was denied eternal life. This does not apply only to physical life, it applies to spiritual life as well. This is because of Adam’s sin. "For as in Adam all die" (I Cor. 15:22). The effects of the "first parents" will affect humanity for as long as there is humanity. Everyone is born to die. All descendants of Adam inherit his sin and guilt. Furthermore, Adam’s descendants are born out of relationship with both God and the world.


In reading the Qu’ran, it can be found that Sura 7:22 states "So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: ’Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?’"


However, Muslims do not believe, as Christians do, in the idea of original sin. According to Islamic belief, sin is not something that is transmitted from generation to generation. The events that transpired in the garden of Eden between humanity and Allah have no spiritual bearing on Muslims. The Qu ’ran says that after humanity was created, Allah told the angels to "prostrate yourselves from Adam." All except Satan did so. As a result, Satan was cast out of the paradise and was made to be the tempter of humanity. Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden