Ayah 23 gets to the root of why I have started this blog:

If you have doubts about the revelation [of the Qur’an] We [Allah] have sent down to Our servant [Muhammad], then produce a single surah like it — enlist whatever supporters you have other than God — if you truly think you can.

That seems like a fair claim.  If you are going to dismiss the Qur’an, then read it and do some comparison.  Christians would say the same about the Bible.  That is why it is important to me to read this alongside the Bible, and to flow between the two.  How does the Bible and the vision it has for the world compare?  Allah has invited us to do so.   

This section of the second surah sounds like a creation story of sorts, and maybe that is what it is.  Its more sermonic than narrative.  God the maker and sustainer, all-powerful and all-knowing, creates this world and the seven heavens and, therefore, surely deserves worship from his creatures.  Then along comes a prideful angel named Iblis (also called Satan or Shaytan) who leads Adam and his wife astray to eat the forbidden fruit.  They are cast out but not before “the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful” God accepts Adam’s repentance.  (Notice, mercy follows repentance.)  Sounds familiar, but we need to remember that Muslims are supersessionists — they don’t claim a new story; they claim their understanding of the same Jewish and then Christian story of history is the unadulterated, truthful one.  So of course it is the same basic story.

Muhammad in Paradise during his Night Vision

In the middle of this description of creation is an equally vivid picture of Paradise or simply the Garden (lush, watered gardens of delight and purity).  Quickly paired with the question of how one could dream of ignoring the One who creates is how one could ignore the One who resurrects and returns the believer to Himself.  Are we talking about creation or resurrection, the beginning or the end?  Yes.  Both.  I like the way the reader, caught in the middle of fallen time, is taken back to the perfect beginning and forward to the glorious end simultaneously. 

Today at teacher inservice, a friend rehearsed for us the mind-blowing, soul-thrilling story of Creation, Fall, and Re-Creation.  For Christians this is our metanarrative, our “grand story,” the warp and woof of life, the pulse that underlies every breath.  Re-Creation is there in Genesis as well:

I will put enmity between you [serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers [Messianic?]; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

We do well to remember in those fleeting Creation moments of life when all is right with the world that there is a Re-Creation that makes the ethereal ever real.  In the sting and stench of Fall we must hang on the delight and purity of Re-Creation.  In Life there is Death, but in Death there is Life. 

In what part of your life do you need to hear that Re-Creation is as sure as Creation?