Was the heaven or earth created first?

The Quran describes the creation of the heavens and earth briefly in many verses and in detail in a few verses. Some people claimed there is an apparent contradiction between what the Quran says in those verses. That contradiction is in the question: Was the heaven created first or the earth?

We have the chronology of four events to consider in total: 1) the creation of the earth, 2) the creation of the heaven, 3) the spreading of the earth and creation of things in it, and 4) the turning of the heaven into seven heavens.

Let us look at some of the important verses in this subject.


Allah says:

It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things. (2:29)

This verse does not mention the creation of the heaven. Allah says “Then He directed Himself to the heaven” implying that the heaven already existed beforehand, and when it was created is not disclosed.

The verse, however, mentions the heaven being made into seven heavens. So, from this verse, we learn that the making of seven heavens occurred after the creation of earth and the creation of things on it.


Allah says:

Say, “Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds.” (9)

And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures’] sustenance in four days without distinction – for [the information] of those who ask. (10)

Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come, willingly or by compulsion.” They said, “We have come willingly.” (11)

And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. (12)

The meaning of the phrase “Come, willingly or by compulsion” has some debate. The preferred opinion of this article is that they both already existed and it means: Follow my command and work as I have decreed. Other people claimed it means: Come into existence.

In these verses, we get almost the same chronology information as the previous verse. First the earth was created, then the things on earth were created, then the heaven was made into seven heavens. The creation of the heaven remains unmentioned.


Allah says:

Are you a more difficult creation or is the heaven? Allah constructed it. (27) He raised its ceiling and proportioned it. (28) And He darkened its night and extracted its brightness. (29)

And after that He spread the earth. (30) He extracted from it its water and its pasture, (31) And the mountains He set firmly (32) As provision for you and your grazing livestock. (33)

In this verse, Allah explicitly mentions the construction of the heaven. Then, He says He spread the earth after the heaven’s creation.

The chronology we get from this verse is that the creation of the heaven (and the sun) occurred before the earth was spread and things on it were created.


The first two passages tell us that the creation of the earth and the creation of things on the earth occurred before the heaven was made into seven heavens. The third passage tells us the creation of the heaven occurred before the creation of things on earth.

With the above information, we are still left with the original problem. There is no evidence that tells us exactly when the heaven and earth were created relative to each other. Nothing tells us which came first. We only know the chronology of things surrounding creation rather than the first creation of each.

That leaves us with two possible chronologies:

  1. The heaven was created
  2. The earth was created
  3. The earth was spread and the things on earth were created
  4. The heaven was made into seven heavens.


  1. The earth was created
  2. The heaven was created
  3. The earth was spread and the things on earth were created
  4. The heaven was made into seven heavens.

We might prefer the first option (saying the heaven was created first) because of scientific reasons. We know the universe seems to be older than the earth itself.

In conclusion, it can be seen that there is no contradiction between the verses that is not easily resolved. We can come to a conclusion about a chronology that fits all the verses fine.


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