Qur'an Contradiction:

Creation of Man, and Adam giving names to the Animals

The following is a response to a newsgroup posting.

| Salam all,
| A point that intrigues me.
| Names and the human necessity to give things names... 
| Here I am right now trying to find exact words to describe
| what I am trying to say!!
| Start any project, think about any idea, and the first
| experience you go through is to "name": a concept, a tool,
| the project itself, ... etc.
| With people: the first thing you do when you meet someone who
| in some way has left an impression on you and whom you
| haven't met before is to ask for their name.
| In fact a sign (to the uninitiated) of being a "learned man"
| is the number of specialised "names" or phrases that you can
| sound off.

That is a very important insight. The center of all scientic research
is to be able to classify things appropriately. The hardest part in 
mathematics are actually not the theorems, they follow "more or less"
automatically after you have put the sweat into finding the right
"name" i.e. definition of things. If the definition is the "natural
one" to use for the object, then everything becomes "easy" while if
the definitions are akward, the theories build on them are confusing.

| In the Qur'an we are told that after God created Adam, He
| taught him "all the names".  That was not well-received by
| the Angels, they saw that because Adam and his descendants
| will know "the names", they will have a mind of their own,
| and that could lead to them having a will of their own. A
| will that resembles that of God.

Incidentally, this is the other way around, only if there is free
will you can have true reasoning. A computer can have every information
in the world in its data base, but without a command from a free will, 
it is never going to do anything with it. 

The Bible has a very similar account but not exactly alike.

Genesis 2 [Tawrat]:

19   Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground 
         all the beasts of the field and 
         all the birds of the air. 
     He brought them to the man to see
             what he would name them; 
         and whatever the man called each living creature, 
             that was its name.
20   So the man gave names to all the livestock, 
                                  the birds of the air and
                              all the beasts of the field. 

Interestingly, the Biblical image of man appears to be "higher". 
In the Bible it is not God who teaches Adam. 
God brings all living things to see how Adam 
 - out of his "own" (God given) abilities -  will name them.
It does seem that according to the Bible God has a 
"higher convidence" in the capabilities of His creature.

And along with it goes a higher dignity of this creature "mankind"
about whose creation we read:

Genesis 1:

25   God made the wild animals according to their kinds, 
                 the livestock according to their kinds, 
         and all the creatures that move along the ground 
                               according to their kinds. 
     And God saw that it was good.

26   Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, 
                                     in our likeness, 
          and let them rule over the fish of the sea 
          and the birds of the air, 
          over the livestock, over all the earth, 
          and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

27   So God created man in his own image, 
                        in the image of God he created him;
                            male and female he created them.

28   God blessed them and said to them, 
                 "Be fruitful and increase in number; 
                  fill the earth and subdue it. 
         Rule over the fish of the sea 
               and the birds of the air 
               and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Mankind is the "counterpart" of God, out of all creatures, God has 
chosen to dignify man with morality, with free will, and with revelation
from God so that God and man can have a relationship of mutual love.
And mankind is to be God's representative on earth and rule it "in God's 
place"[vicegerent seems to be the word the Qur'an uses often in that regard].

[The following will be a 'tongue in cheek' statement!]
On the basis of the creation passage, we could say that it is not
too anthropomorphic when we speak of God in human imagery, but that we
are talking about mankind in theomorphic terms. :)  
[This was a 'tongue in cheek' statement!]

Therefore we read in Proverbs [coming from the wisdom God has given to 

Proverbs 14:

31   He  who oppresses  the poor  shows contempt for their maker,
     but who is kind to the needy shows honor    to        God.

[And 17:5 is similar with 'mocks' instead of 'oppresses'.]

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