Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Qur'anathon Day 3: Al-Baqara (The Cow) Continued

"And remember when God said to the angels: 'Kneel before Adam'; they knelt, all except Satan, who disdained, grew proud and became an unbeliever."

That's an interesting passage, because it lines up nicely with the commonly-held Christian belief in Satan as a fallen, prideful angel who refused to bow before the primacy of mankind.

More interesting, to me, is that this commonly-held belief has developed extra-biblically - meaning that the Bible itself does not explicitly support the notion of Satan in Miltonian, Paradise Lost terms. Christian belief in this conception of the devil is founded in passages like 2 Enoch 29:4 ("And I threw him out from the height with his angels, and he was flying in the air continuously above the bottomless."), and Isaiah 14:12-15 ("How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.").

Compelling and poetic as these passages are, they don't serve to establish the familiar Satan-as-Bigot-Against-Mankind meme that's now (somewhat inexplicably) so much a part of modern Christian theology (for more on the historical context of these Biblical passages, check out this relatively-informative posting from Pastor Doug Roman). But it seems as though the Islamic faith has a firm textual basis in just such a belief - and it comes from Al-Baqara. I wonder how many zealous, anti-Muslim Christians realize that there's more textual support for Satan as prideful fallen angel in the Qur'an than there is in the Bible?

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