Man as Vicegerent
Islamic theology teaches that Allah created earth for man and man for earth. From the beginning of creation it was Allah's plan to send to earth a 'vicegerent' - an earthly representative of God, exercising delegated power over the earth on God's behalf. This idea comes from Sura 2:30, which reads,
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said, "Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischeif therein and shed blood? - whilst we do celebrate thy praises and glorify thy holy name?" He said, "I know what ye know not." - A. Yusuf Ali
Many Islamic websites proclaim this idea that Allah created man specifically with the purpose that man would be Allah's earthly representative. For example, at the website visit-islam.com we find the following statement.
When Allah created Adam and made him His vicegerent on earth, the angels who are innocent and do not commit sins, submitted to Allah that as man was inclined to quarrel and shed blood on earth, the vicegerency might be granted to them as they glorified Him and remained engaged in worshipping Him all the time. Allah replied the angels that they did not know the matters of the world. He then tested Adam and the angels by asking them certain questions relating to the world. As Adam was made of dust and had a natural interest in the world, he answered Allah's questions correctly whereas the angels lacking this natural interest in the things of the world failed. Thus Allah established that in spite of all weaknesses man alone was most suitable for managing the world. In fact, his natural weaknesses themselves qualified him for this position. If the world were run by angels, most gifts of God put into it, which were discovered and developed by man due to his interest and need, would have remained unknown and unused.
If Allah's plan all along was to populate the earth with men (mankind) to act as representatives on his behalf, then we need to examine the process that preceded man's appearance on earth. How did mankind end up on earth and what process occurred to bring this about?
Man, the Garden, the Fall
According to the Qur'an mankind was created in Paradise.
We said:"O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression." Sura 2:35, Yusuf Ali
In his footnotes for this verse Yusuf Ali asks, "Was the Garden of Eden a place on this earth? Obviously not. For, in verse 36 below, it was after the Fall that the sentence was pronounced: "On earth will be your dwelling place." Before the fall, we must suppose Man to be on another plane altogether--of felicity, innocence, trust, a spiritual existence, with the negation of enmity, want of faith, and all evil."
The fall from the garden appears in verse 36 of Sura 2:
Then did Satan make them slip from the Garden and get them out of the state of felicity in which they had been. We said, "Get ye down, all ye people, with enmity between yourselves on earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time."
When Adam succumbed to Satan's temptation he was cast out of the Garden to Earth by Allah, "... get ye down ... on earth will be your dwelling place." Adam found himself on earth as a result of his temptation by Satan and his disobedience of Allah's command to not eat of the tree.
Allah Needs Satan
If we follow the logic behind the story in the Qur'an, here is what we discover:
- Allah vows to send man to earth as his vicegerent or representative - Sura 2:30
- Adam is instructed by Allah not to eat of a certain tree - Sura 2:35
- Satan tricks Adam and makes him slip (fall) from the garden - Sura 2:36
- Allah sends Adam and his offspring to earth to dwell there for a season - Sura 2:36
Here is a "what if" question to consider:
What if Adam had not succumbed to the temptation of Satan? Would he have remained in the Garden? Would Allah's plan to send man to earth as his vicegerent been thwarted? Did Allah have a backup plan to get man out of the garden and to earth?
We are left to draw two conclusions regarding Allah:
- Allah required Satan to complete his plan to place man as a vicegerent on earth. Had Satan not tempted Adam, man would not be on earth today and Allah's plan would have been thwarted, leaving earth with no vicegerent.
- Allah also anticipated and required sin in order to complete his plan. Had Adam not sinned, Allah's plan would have met the same conclusion as above.
This leaves us to further conclude that Allah is not an all-powerful god, because he needed the help of Satan to complete his work. It also demonstrates that Allah is not an all-holy god, because he required sin to also complete his work.
Allah is not a god worthy of worship.