Existence of God

First Word (Part 3)

NOTE: The quoted passage is from Ustadh Bediuzzaman’s book and the commentaries below them are my own.

In the beginning we said: All beings say “In the name of Allah” (Bismillah) by their tongue of disposition. Is that so?

 

Indeed, if you [were to] observe that a single man came, drove all the city inhabitants to someplace and forced them to work on [certain] tasks; you would know for certain that the man is not acting in his own name [or] by his own power. Perhaps he is a soldier. He acts in the name of the government. He depends on the power of a monarch. Similarly, every being acts in the name of The Almighty Truth[1] (Janab Al-Haqq), so that the tiny particle-like grains and seeds [are able to] carry enormous trees over their heads[2], lifting loads like that of a mountain. Hence, every tree says Bismillah, filling its hands with fruits from the treasure of mercy, and peddling them to us. Every garden says Bismillah, becoming a cauldron for the kitchen of [Godly] power, [where] a numerous variety of diverse delightful foods are being cooked together. All blessed animals such as a cow, camel, sheep, or goat say Bismillah; becoming a fountain of milk from the opulence of mercy. They present to us, in the name of the Provider (Ar-Razzaq), the most elegant and pure [of all] nourishment, resembling the water of life. The roots and vessels -soft as silk- of every plant, tree, and grass say Bismillah, and break through the hard rock and earth. They say “in the name of Allah”, “in the name of the Merciful One (Rahman)”, and everything becomes subjected to them. Indeed, the perfect ease of the roots in the hard rock and earth spreading and giving fruit underground, just as the branches spread [easily] in the air and produce fruit; and the [fact that] elegant green leaves stay moist for months against the intense heat; slap fiercely at the mouth of Naturalists, jab a finger at their –may it turn blind– eye, and say “Even hardness and heat which you trust the most act under the command of law; so that the vessels, soft as silk, each like the staff of Moses (Musa) (AS) complies to the command “[3]  فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبْ بِعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ” cracking open the [solid] rocks. And those fragile leaves as thin as cigarette paper, each like the limbs of Abraham (Ibrahim) (AS) recite the verse “[4]  يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا” against the flaming heat.

When somebody performs what is beyond their power, they imply to us that there is some other power behind their performance. This is, of course, easily seen with police officers (or soldiers in the analogy of the author). When we observe people obeying an officer, we know that the officer is not relying on his power but that of the government. The author uses the same reasoning towards nature and concludes that it is a necessity for an all-Powerful conscious being, for God, to exist. Let us look at some examples to illustrate the author’s argument.

There is a remarkable connection between gray squirrels and certain forest trees. Unlike some FinalSquirrelother animals, squirrels do not hibernate in the winter due to their scatter hoarding (burying their food in the summer and storing them for the winter). Interestingly, however, scatter hoarding not only benefits squirrels but also the trees themselves. It allows the nuts that are buried and later forgotten by the squirrels to germinate and grow into trees. In fact, squirrels play a crucial role in the spreading of oak trees, since the trees themselves cannot bury their seeds.[5]

Hummingbirds and ornithophilous flowers also form a mutual relationship as seen in the following passage,

Flowers have converged to take advantage of similar birds (Brown et.al, 1979). Flowers compete for pollinators and adaptations reduce deleterious effects of this competition (Brown et al 1979). Bird-pollinated flowers usually show higher nectar volumes and sugar production (Stiles 1981). This reflects high energy requirements of the birds (Stiles 1981). Energetic criteria are the most important determinants of flower choice by birds (Stiles 1981). Following their respective breeding seasons, several species of hummingbirds co occur in North America, and several hummingbird flowers bloom simultaneously in these habitats. These flowers have seemed to have converged to a common morphology and color (Stiles 1981). Different lengths and curvatures of the corolla tubes can affect the efficiency of extraction in hummingbird species in relation to differences in bill morphology (Stiles 1981). Tubular flowers force the birds to orient its bill in a particular way when probing the flower, especially when the bill and corolla are both curved; this also allows the plant to place pollen on a certain part of the bird’s body(Stiles 1981). This opens the door for a variety of morphological coadaptations.[6]

The article then continues by describing the color of these flowers and its significance in attracting hummingbirds.

In these and many other scenarios, we see different animals and plants assisting and helping each other without the necessary understanding and awareness. It is not possible for these beings to know what they’re doing, as their intelligence is either too limited or does not exist. How, then, can they behave in such a perfect manner as to not only help themselves but contribute to the ecosystem in general. As in the analogy, there must be someone behind all of this, a conscious God, who allows this to happen. In other words, the power of a soldier or police officer (since we know they are not powerful enough on their own) implies the existence of a government; and the interaction between different beings in the ecosystem (since we know they are not intelligent enough on their own) implies the existence of God. The reasoning of the author is that if anybody is performing what is beyond their ability, they imply the existence of some other being (or thing) who possesses more of that particular ability. In the case of a solider or police officer, they perform what is beyond their individual power, implying to us that there is a government behind them which possesses more power than they do. In the case of different beings interacting and assisting each other with the lack of intelligence, they imply the existence of a being more intelligent than them (i.e. God).

It is crucial to note that in the case of the ecosystem, it cannot be said that there is some unconscious being (or force) behind the interaction of these plants and animals, since an unconscious being is not capable of possessing more of this particular ability which these plants and animals lack  (one of which is intelligence).

The author extends this to every aspect of nature. He mentions the different laws in science and their exemplary design. According to naturalism, it is nature itself which is in control.[7] Generally, soft substances are not able to penetrate through hard objects. When this is necessary, however (for a plant to grow, for instance), it does happen. How do the laws of nature adapt themselves to necessity? How does nature determine or know all this? What is “nature” in the first place? As humans we too are a part of nature and apparently the most intelligent of species. If we, in spite of our intelligence, have difficulty in comprehending how the universe operates; then how is it that this unconscious nature designs or creates itself?

Note: That all things act in the name of God will be discussed further in the next post.

[1] Al-Haqq (meaning The Truth) is one of the names of Allah (ﷻ). So “The Almighty Truth” is similar to saying “The Almighty God”. –TN

[2] To “carry enormous trees over their heads” means to carry the potential of growing into an enormous tree. –TN

[3] We said, Strike the rock with your staff (Al-Baqarah; verse 60)

[4] O fire, be cold and safe (Al-Anbiya’; verse 69)

[5] http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/one-paw-washing-the-other-oak-trees-and-squirrels-have-evolved-to-help-each-other/2014/04/07/9b2a57fa-ba89-11e3-9a05-c739f29ccb08_story.html

http://emammal.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/gray-squirrels-and-scatter-hoarding/

[6] http://wikibin.org/articles/hummingbirds-and-ornithophilous-flowers.html

[7] http://www.centerfornaturalism.org/faqs.htm

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