Do they not look at the sky above them – how We (royal we) have built it and made it beautiful and free of all faults?
And the earth – We have spread it wide, and set upon it mountains firm, and caused it to bring forth plants of all beautiful kinds,
thus offering an insight and a reminder unto every human being who willingly turns unto God.
And We send down from the skies water rich in blessings, and cause thereby gardens to grow, and fields of grain,
and tall palm-trees with their thickly-clustered dates,
as sustenance apportioned to men; and by all this We bring dead land to life: Likewise will be the resurrection.
(Koran 50, 6-11)
The passage above asks us to look at the creation, and gives many examples, at the macro level and the micro level. It points out to the skies, the earth, the mountains, and then zooms down to the plants, the gardens, the palm trees, and the dates. In a way, it wants us to think about the whole creation, but to let our minds concentrate on a point, it zooms down to the date. Of course, instead of a date, this could have been an apple, an orange, or a banana… And it asks us: don’t they look?
Opposite to all misunderstandings that belief in God must be blind; this passage emphasizes the need to look at the creation to find its Creator. The passage mentions these examples from creation and wants us to think how it has been made?
Some say that science answers the “how,” and religion answers “why.” But is this really so? The Koranic passage contradicts this understanding, and asks: How are thing coming to existence? Only when we understand the “how,” we come to understand the “why.”
We often think that science answers “how” related questions. For instance, science tells us that how the date comes into being. In layman terms, the seed, water, nutrients in the soil, and the sun produce the palm tree and the date. There are many chemical equations that scientists have devised to explain this procedure. And every day, we update some of these equations as we look further and deeper into the process of date forming. This is “how” it is happening according to science. However, this explanation is explaining what is happening rather than how it is happening. Science observes the phenomena and records its observations. The frequency and order of observing the same processes leads scientists to develop mathematical representations (equations) that identify our observations. This scientific approach answers the question of what is happening, not how.
Now, our observation that certain things happen after other things is correct, but it doesn’t explain how the news is prepared. My observations answer what is happening, not how. This is the paradigm we follow in science: we see the apparent causes of the effects, and we remove them one by one. If the effect is not realized, we conclude that the cause we removed is responsible for the effect. We call this the negative approach.
However, the Koran offers the positive approach to understanding how things are coming into being. Instead of removing the causes one by one, it looks at the effect and its properties. Then, it asks whether the apparent causes have the ability to produce the effect we observe. Instead of removing the causes one by one, the Koran first wants us to observe the news show and reflect on its properties. And then it poses the question whether the apparent causes I observe are capable of producing the show or not.
Looking at the Koranic passage, we see that the properties and outcomes of the effects are brought forth: skies that are adorned, plants that are beautiful, water that is blessed, dates that are sustenance to human beings… “Don’t you see how the creation is enormously complex and serves many meaningful functions,” the passage argues. Now, any effect with meaningful outcomes and special adornments can only be formed by a cause that has the ability to design and create these outcomes. So, we come to the conclusion that the cause of the creation of date must have absolute intelligence, power, wisdom, sense of beauty, compassion etc. We come to this conclusion because we have seen that these properties are necessary for the date to come into existence. Apparent causes like sun, water, soil, and seed do not have the intelligence and other properties required to bring the date into existence. They are used as materials, sure, but not as effective causes.
Now, going back to our question, how is the date coming into existence? The Koran answers: The date is coming into existence by the One who has absolute power, intelligence, and compassion capable to bring it into existence.
The passage ends with a vital point. It tells us that if you understand that nothing in creation can be made with the materials here, but it is coming into existence by the absolute creator, than you will realize that nothing is difficult for Him. Then, why would you doubt that He can resurrect you if He wishes so? He is already resurrecting everything around you (we intend to study resurrection in more detail in the future.)
Once we notice that everything around us is directly connected to the absolute One, we will start notice Him more and more. As we notice Him more, we will come to know Him, and as we know Him and his constant activities, we will come to love Him. This love will satisfy our infinite human needs that can only be satisfied by the Infinite One, and will let us understand the reason of our existence.
Post written by Omar