“Were they created by nothing? Or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay they have no firm belief.” [Quran 52:35-36]
The Islamic Belief and subsequently the Islamic way of life has an intellectual basis. Therefore, Islam is neither a religion nor a set of values and rituals that arise from Blind Faith. Rather, Islam is an intellectual belief from which emanates a comprehensive system of life, be it for individuals or society. To understand the unique system that Islam offers necessitates the explanation of the Islamic belief i.e. the belief in God, Allah (swt) in Arabic, and the Word of God, the Qur’an.
Arguments For & Against God.
Today if you mention God then you’ll probably get a negative reaction. It has become a trend to get on with life and not to bother to ask the question whether there is a God or not. In fact this question was not even asked much in the days of old, when you simply had to believe in God or be persecuted. Therefore it is not surprising that people find it easy to believe that the existence of God is a myth, simply because they have never thought deeply about the idea.
It is because people continued to believe in God blindly, i.e. Blind Faith, rather than use ration, that science and its attempted explanations of universal phenomena was hailed as the ‘new God’.
But let us deal with both arguments – for and against the existence of a Creator – from a rational perspective. A common argument by many Christians and some other religions is that God is the God of many abstract attributes such as Love, Peace, Mercy which indeed are admirable qualities for human beings to aspire to. This characterisation of God is based on an implicit assumption that God can be likened to human beings thus the attempt to understand God in a human framework. Accordingly, we find in some societies, such as early Greek, that individual gods were used to represent single human attributes, and in other cultures gods have the quality to reproduce.
The question this begs is whether the essence of an unlimited Creator is understandable through a limited, imperfect human mind when God lies beyond our perception? Rational thought would dictate that if God exists then knowledge of God’s attributes can only come from Itself. Therefore, famine in the world leading to the deaths of millions would not deny the Justice, Mercy or Love of God as the Governor and Controller of the universe. This is the failure of Christianity and indeed all religions as their belief becomes a matter of Blind Faith. Consequently, they allow themselves to be plagued by rational contradictions which inevitably lead to intellectual refutation.
With regard to the opposing view proposed by scientific theories to disprove the existence of God. Are these arguments valid? To understand the validity of any proposed argument the premise should be examined. Science is concerned with the methodology of processes in the physical world i.e. it deals with ‘how’ and not ‘why’. Thus scientists are not concerned with why gravity exists but how gravity influences bodies to shape the universe.
The scientific method is limited in that it can only deduce rules by repeated observation of physical phenomena. This question of the existence of God does not and cannot fall into the realm of scientific thought because science deals with the mechanisms of events and phenomena within the universe, i.e. the tangible and not the intangible. To test the hypothesis to apply scientific proof for or against God, one would effectively have said that God is ‘testable’. Therefore, logically one would conclude God to be within the universe since God must be physically tangible and contained within the universe. God must be limited and therefore cannot be God.
Thus scientists are falling into the same trap as the blind followers of religion, that is they are implicitly defining a role to God as the ‘one who makes things work’. Since scientists have explained how things work the question of God does not arise. Those who argue from this angle have falsely assumed an attribute/essence of God in the same way Christians say God has a son or is Love. To prove or disprove the existence of a Creator we need to go beyond the limitations of the scientific method and proceed rationally for it is only rational thought which has the ability to deal with an issue like this.
The Rational Thought
Man progresses as a result of his thoughts concerning everything around him. Thoughts are what distinguish man from other animals and without them man would be lost. Thought occurs when man receives information about something through his five senses. He then distinguishes it by linking it to previous information and experiences he has encountered. For example, a person comes across a plant. He knows that it is a plant due to his previous knowledge of what a plant looks like. But only when he links it with previous information on the various types of plants will he be able to tell if it is edible or poisonous.
Hence, just receiving information is not enough. It will only remain as information that we cannot appreciate or understand. However, the process of linking it to previous information and distinguishing the information is the process of thought and the key of understanding and progressing.
Consequently, when a man becomes convinced of the correctness of a thought, it becomes the concept which he carries, thus, affecting his behaviour. For example, if we carry the concept of dislike of someone, it will affect our behaviour towards that person. So we see that carrying false ideas has serious implications for a person and if such false ideas are carried widely it has serious implications for society
Thus the idea and question of God has serious implications because the answer obtained becomes the very basis by which we understand the creation and purpose of man, life and universe.
Therefore, the method used should not only be the rational thought but the comprehensive and agree with reality. Anything hypothetical or emotional should be rejected since their basis disagrees with ration and reality.
The Rational Proof of God
When we look around us at everything we can sense one factor is shared by these things, and that is that they are all limited. By limited we mean that they have restrictions, a starting point and an ending point, and they have definable attributes i.e. they are all finite.
Man is born and he dies. There is no-one alive who will not die. During his life span, he will grow to a certain height, weight and volume.
The universe is defined as all the celestial planets. All these objects have certain mass, shape, volume and so on. The life span of a star may be very long, but a point in time will come when it will cease to exist.
The universe is large, but still a finite space. No scientist could ever prove using hard facts that the universe has no bounds. In fact when we say that the universe arose from the Big Bang and expanding they inherently admit it is finite in size, otherwise it could not expand!
There is nothing in reality which is unlimited. No matter how hard we try, man is unable to find anything unlimited around him. All he can perceive is the finite and limited.
A further attribute of everything around us is that they are all needy and dependent in order to continue existing. They are not self-sustaining or independent. Man has needs. He has to satisfy in order to survive. He has organic needs. Man must eat and drink if he is to survive. If he does not he will die. We see the need and dependency in plants and animals. They depend on other parts of the food chain for their existence. The water cycle is dependent on the sun, which is dependent on the laws of the galaxies and of burning mass, and so on… Nothing man can perceive is self-subsistent. So things exist, but do not have the power of existence. They cannot control when they die or when other bodies die.
Thus what we see is that everything around us is limited and finite. Everything that is limited and finite is dependant and everything that is dependant is dependant upon something greater than itself.
Applying this to everything we see will bring us to a conclusion. If everything in the universe is dependant because it has not the power of being in existence on its own accord, and is also finite and limited, then what is everything dependant upon for its existence? Hence, two possibilities exist, that is either all finite and limited objects depend upon each other in an infinite chain of inter dependencies (infinite regression). Or there is a first cause a sole creator upon which everything depends. To explain this further we can understand this by way of analogy. Consider a set of dominoes for example, for the final domino to fall it is dependant upon the domino before it, and for that domino to fall over it is dependant upon the domino before it. Now imagine if there was an infinite number of dominoes…… would any of the dominoes fall over?
The answer is no, none of the dominoes would fall over. Now to view any aspect of the universe we would see that something is already in existence in essence the last domino has fallen over. Thus meaning that finite things are not dependant upon each other in an infinite chain. Therefore, there needs to be a first cause or a sole Creator upon which everything depends and itself being independent. Now, we have noted that everything that is finite and limited is also dependant, hence, for something to be independent it would need to be infinite and unlimited. This is whom we Muslim call Allah (swt) the sole Creator, self subsistent, and completely unique and different from creation. And
Allah (swt) says
“Declare, Allah is one and only,Allah is self sufficient (needy of nothing but upon which everything depends), Neither Allah begets nor was he begotten, And there is nothing equal to or comparable unto Allah” [TMQ 112]
The only rational and intellectual solution to the question of creation is that there is a Creator that has accounted for all that we see and perceive. Ration tells us that nothing can be created without a creator. Ultimately, there must be a Creator who is unlimited in every aspect.
Belief in Allah is not a superstition nor a mythology, but is a definite fact that is established upon the use of the mind and is felt within every person. Hence, looking at any planet in the universe, contemplating on any phase of life, or comprehending any aspect of man provides a conclusive evidence for the existence of a Creator, what Muslims call Allah (swt).
“Verily in the Creation of the heavens and the Earth and the alternation of the night and the day the are indeed signs for a people who depth and thinking” Quran [TMQ 3:190]