168 - Element 6: EXPLANATION - Differences between the biblical and Koranic concepts of sin
This is one of the most far-reaching changes of biblical content in the Koran. It fundamentally affects the doctrine of sin and salvation in the Koran in contrast with the Bible.
In the Bible any sin, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, is a matter of life and death. By eating from the forbidden tree, Eve and Adam brought death upon themselves. They did not commit a huge crime like gathering an army of angels to fight against God or like cursing God and all his creation. No, outwardly their sin looked like a tiny little error; they just ate from a fruit. But this seemingly tiniest mistake brought about total condemnation and therefore death. What does the Bible teach about life and death? No life can come about out of itself. Only God is the source of life. If you sin against God, you separate yourself from God and from his source of life and therefore you die. This is why the Bible teaches, that “the wages of sin is death …” (Roman 6:23a). Sin has no magical power to kill us, rather sin separates us from God, who is the source of our life, therefore we die from being separated from this source of our life. In the Bible we all are sinners, because every one of us has committed at least one tiny sin. And therefore, all of us will die, no matter how much good we do, because our sin separates us from the source of our life, which is God. This is why in the Bible salvation must come from outside of our own selves. We cannot save ourselves by doing good deeds. Somebody else must save us. Thus, Paul continues the above verse by writing, “…, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b) If you believe in Jesus Christ, if you open up to him and allow him to determine your life, then death will be conquered in you, because Christ conquered death through his resurrection.
The Koran has a totally opposite teaching on sin. Most sins in the Koran do not bring death. They are regarded as mistakes or wrong deeds that can easily be undone with good deeds and thus (hopefully) secure a pardon from Allah. Sin by itself does not bring death in the Koran. Why? Death in the Koran is always a direct act of Allah. “(It is) he (i.e. Allah) who makes alive and causes death!” (Sura Ghafir 40:68, see also 15:23 -- 23:80 -- 26:81 -- 30:40 -- 53:44 -- 57:2) This is why the Koran here omitted the biblical teaching that Adam will surely die, if he eats of the forbidden tree. In the Bible God is the source of only life. He is not also the source of death. In the Koran Allah is the source of life and the source of death. In the Bible God did not create death, rather it resulted from our sinful separation from God, who is the source of our life. In the Koran Allah did create death (Sura al-Mulk 67:2) and no matter how much life he gives you, he will surely cause you to die, i.e. kill you. In the Bible God in Christ's resurrection conquered death, so that death is swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54c). This is totally missing in the Koran, because Allah wants to and has to kill every living being. Christ, however, revealed, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) Believe in Him and you will be saved and have eternal life.