Adam and Eve: The Spiritual, not Biological Parents of Humankind

The following excerpt is taken from “Islamic Theory of Evolution” by T.O. Shanavas pg.154-156:

“Contrary to commonly held view of Adam and Eve being the primeval parents of human species, the literal reading of the verse in association with other verses guides us to a alternate conclusion that Adam and Eve are really not the biological parents but spiritual parents of human species. In order to determine the role played by Adam and Eve in the history of the human species, we need to have an understanding of the human soul-body relationship based on the Quran. A complex metaphor can be confused easily with reality. When we use pronouns such as “I” or “you”, we recognize the person based upon the physical features of his or her material body. By doing so, we in fact are denying our own existence and accountability on the Day of Judgment. According to the Quran, the human soul is the the spiritual center of the real human the material body of flesh, blood and brain serves only as a visible metaphor and a product of evolution. The material body is only the robotic arm of the soul. “(pg.154)

“Many Muslims use the Quranic verses 4:1 to discredit the theory of evolution as well. With the definition of humans as above, these verses definitely do not conflict with the theory.

“O mankind,venerate your Lord, who created you from a single soul, from it created its mate, and from the pair of them has spread abroad countless men and women.” (4:1)

“The creation of the human from a “single soul” and “from it… its mate (duality)” refers to the creation of the primordial human soul and its progression into a dyad in the generation of the male and female human souls, not yet clothed in the garment of biological flesh. Out of these two souls, God created all other human souls. What the verse refers to here is not the creation of visible metaphorical humans in flesh and blood but the creation of real humans manifested as spirits.” (pg.155-156)

“Next we will discuss the creation of the Prophet Adam. There are four steps in the creation of Adam, the prophet:

  1. The creation of the soul of Adam.
  2. The creation of Adam’s outer garment, the physical body (Homo Sapiens Sapiens),
  3. The infusion of Adam’s soul, and
  4. The elevation of Adam as he first prophet through revelations of divine messages to him.

These steps are described in the verse 15:29 and verse 2:31: “So, when I shaped him and breathed into him my Spirit, fall down prostrating yourselves to him.” (15:29) “Then He gave Adam the knowledge of the nature and reality of all things and everything…” (2:31). These verses describe the creation of Adam’s physical body and infusion of his soul into it.” (pg. 156)

Ordinary humans become prophets only when God reveals His wisdom to them. So, God elevated Adam to become the first of His long chain of prophets by teaching him “knowledge of the nature and reality of all things and everything.” (2:31). (pg. 156)

“Adam being the first prophet of God preaching Islam, he and his mate became the original spiritual parents of all humans. ” (pg. 157)

“Adam was the first prophet, he must have had a human community to whom to preach the divine message.” (pg. 157)


Shanavas, T.O. (2005). Islamic Theory of Evolution: The Missing Link between Darwin and the Origin of Species. (p. 154-157).