There are a number of different themes in primitive creation mythologies. The idea that the Heavens and Earth was once a “single block” that was “broken in two” was one of them and was commonly know in the Middle East by the 7th century (in answer to the Qur’an’s rhetorical question; yes, the non-believers did know). The Egyptians, for example, believed that the god of the heavens and the Earth goddess were once one and that another god “broke” them apart.
“According to an Egyptian legend, Geb [the earth god] married his sister Nut, the sky goddess, without the permission of the powerful Sun god Re. Re was so angry at Nut and Geb that he forced their father Shu, the god of air, to separate them. That is why the Earth is divided from the sky.”
“… when the heavens had been separated from the earth, when the earth had been delimited from the heavens …” [Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the nether world]
Of cause, being a mono-theistic religion, the Qur’an would not mention the pagan gods and goddess. So, removing those names you are left with the Heavens and the Earth being one and then separated; as stated in the Qur’an.
Most of these “heavens and Earth as one” mythologies involve a cosmic egg of some sort. The Qur’an does not mention the egg but the imagery is the same, that is, the heavens were broken away from the earth in the same way that a egg is broken in two. One half forms the heavens above and the second half becomes the earth below.
But then again, was the Heavens and Earth one block? Or were they first
separate entities and then came together?
YUSUFALI: Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: “Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We do come (together), in willing obedience.”
PICKTHAL: Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient.
SHAKIR: Then He directed Himself to the heaven and it is a vapor, so He said to it and to the earth: Come both, willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly.
Is the Qur’an Correct?
In some sense it is unimportant if the Qur’an is the first or if it is unique in presenting its knowledge of creation; it is more important to ask “is it correct?”. As far as the current scientific theory on the evolution of life the Qur’an’s (and that of the ancient Greeks and Sumerians) statement of life coming from water can be considered to be correct, but then the Qur’an contradicts itself in other suras. As for the heaven and earth being one block; no, the Qur’an is clearly in error. The earth was never part of “one block” as the heavens. The earth is just one planet, orbiting a star in this vast Universe and was formed a very long time after the “heavens”.
There is nothing special about the Qur’an mentioning that life comes from water or that the heavens and earth were once one block. They are both things that were believed before the advent of Islam. In the first case, the Qur’an is correct but in the second its is error.
Compiled By – OurBangla.com