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Nature and Science Speak About God

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
5/3/2011
1234 views

 

The greatest evidence of God before us is His creation. Nature itself and our study of nature, both proclaim the fact that there is one God who, in the infinity of His Wisdom, has created and continues to sustain this universe. By ignoring or rejecting this truth, we plunge ourselves into an abyss of murky incomprehension and its attendant evils.

 

The very existence of the universe, with its superb organisation and immeasurable meaningfulness, is inexplicable except as having been brought into existence by a Creator – a Being with an infinite intelligence – rather than by blind force.

 

Among the philosophers of our time, there is a group, perhaps fortunately a small one, which doubts the very existence of everything, no matter what it may be. It asserts that there exists neither man nor universe. In its nihilism, it likewise rejects the existence of God, even as a remote possibility.

 

As far as this particular brand of agnosticism is concerned, this may be a philosophical point worth considering purely as an abstract exercise in logic, but it is in no way connected with reality. When we think, the very act of thinking gives evidence of our existence. The great French philosopher and mathematician Descartes (1596-1660), founded his philosophy on the precept: “I think, therefore, I am.” [1] And from this point, he went on to deduce the existence of God. Our sensory perceptions too give clear indications of the external existence of material things. If for example while walking along the road we are hit by a stone, we feel the pain. This experience establishes that, apart from us and outside of us, there exists a world having its own identity.

 

In fact, our minds, through our senses, perceive innumerable objects and register countless sensations and impressions every moment of our waking existence. These acts of cognition are personal experiences which continually reinforce the concept of the world having its own existence. Now, if the philosophical inclinations of a particular individual make him sceptical about the existence of the universe, this is an exceptional case, bearing no relation to the experiences of millions of human beings. It is simply that such an individual is so engrossed in his own private predilections that he has become deaf and blind to common realities. For the sake of argument, he would have us concede his point, but this would in no way imply that God did not exist. The absurdity of arguments against the existence of commonly accepted things is so patent as to be hardly worth a comment. And quite apart from being incomprehensible to the common man, they could never gain credence in the world of learning.

 

Outside the nihilist group, the existence of the universe is accepted as a reality: the moment we admit its existence, we find belief in God inescapable, because the notion of creation having arisen spontaneously out of nothing is quite inconceivable. When everything big or small, has a cause, how can it be believed that such a vast universe has come into existence on its own, and that it has no Creator? In his autobiography, John Stuart Mill, observed that his father had impressed upon him from the first, that the manner in which the world came into existence was a subject on which nothing was known: that the question, “Who made me?” cannot be answered, because we have no experience or authentic information from which to answer it, and that any answer only throws the difficulty a step further back, since the question immediately presents itself, “Who made God?” [2]

 

This is an old argument, much relied upon by atheists, its implication being that if we do accept that there is a Creator of the Universe, we shall be compelled to accept this Creator as being eternal. And when God has to be regarded as eternal, why should not the universe itself be regarding as eternal instead? Although such a conclusion is absolutely meaningless – because no such attribute of the universe has come into existence of its own accord – up until the nineteenth century, this misleading argument of the atheists was regarded as the most attractive one. But now, with the discovery of the second law of thermodynamics, this argument has lost its validity. Thermodynamics is a branch of science, which deals with energy transformation. In particular, it shows the quantitative relations between heat and other forms of energy. The importance of conservation in relation to energy, is expressed in the first law of thermodynamics.

 

The Law of Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics. To understand it, let us take the example of a metallic bar, which has been heated at one end but left cold at the other. Heat will instantly begin to flow from the hot end along the length of the bar to the cold end, and will continue to do so until the temperature of the whole bar becomes uniform. The flow of heat will always be in one direction, i.e. from warmer to colder bodies and this flow will never pass spontaneously in the opposite direction, or even haphazardly in just any direction. Other examples of such uniform and non-reversible processes abound in the physical world. For instance, gas always flows towards a vacuum or moves from a point of higher pressure towards that of a lower pressure until its pressure becomes uniform. It is impossible for any gas to flow in the reverse direction. Such observations provide the basis for the second law of thermodynamics. This law may be stated as follows:

 

All natural or spontaneous processes occurring without the intervention of an external agency are irreversible. The process of one-way movement goes on until a state of equilibrium is reached. On the relevance of these laws to creation, Edward Luther Kessel, an American zoologist, writes:

 

“Science clearly shows that the universe could not have existed from all eternity. The law of entropy states that there is a continuous flow of heat from warmer to colder bodies, and that this flow cannot be reversed to pass spontaneously in the opposite direction. Entropy is the ratio of unavailable to available energy, so that is may be said that the entropy of the universe is always increasing. Therefore, the universe is headed for a time when the temperature will be universally uniform and there will be no more useful energy.

 

Consequently, there will be no more chemical and physical processes and life itself will cease to exist. But because life is still going on, and chemical and physical process are still in progress, it is evident that our universe could not have existed from eternity, else it would have long since run out of useful energy and ground to a halt. Therefore, quite unintentionally, science proves that our universe had a beginning. And in doing so it proves the reality of God, for whatever had a beginning did not begin of itself but demand a Prime Mover, a Creator, a God.” [3]

 

James Jeans has expressed the same view saying:

 

“The more orthodox scientific view is that the entropy of the universe must forever increase to its final maximum value. It has not yet reached this; we should not be thinking about it if it had. It is still increasing rapidly, and so must have had a beginning; and there must have been what we may describe as a 'creation' at a time not infinitely remote.” [4]

 

There is much physical evidence of this type to prove that the universe has not always existed. On the contrary, its life span is limited. According to astronomy, the universe is in a state of continuous expansion outwards from the centre of its origin. All of the galaxies and celestial bodies are observably moving away from one another at enormous speeds. This phenomenon can be satisfactorily explained if we presume an initial point of time when all these constituents were an integrated whole, and the release of energy and the process of movement were subsequent developments.

 

On the basis of different observations of a similar type, it is generally held that the universe originated about 5 billion years ago. In theory, the entire universe was formed by an extraordinary explosion from a state of high density and high temperature. This has come to be known as the 'big-bang' theory. To accept that the universe has a limited life-span, and at the same time to deny its having an originator is like accepting that the Taj Mahal in India has not existed for all eternity (it having been built in the middle of the seventeenth century), while denying the existence of an architect or builder, and asserting, on the contrary, that it simply mushroomed all by itself on a particular date.

 

Studies in astronomy show that the number of stars in the sky is as numerous as all of the sand grains on all the sea-shores of our planet, many of the stars being vastly greater in size than our earth, some even being of such enormous girth that they could accommodate hundreds of thousands of earths inside them and still have room to spare. A few of them are even big enough to contain millions and millions of earths. The universe is so vast that an aeroplane flying at the greatest speed imaginable, i.e. at the speed of light (186,282 miles per second), would take about ten billion years to complete just a single trip around the whole universe. Even with such a huge circumference, this universe is not static, but is expanding every moment in all directions. So rapid is this expansion that, according to an estimate by Eddington, [5] every 1300 million years, all the distance in this universe is doubled. This means that even our imaginary aeroplane travelling at the speed of light would not ever be able to fly all the way around the universe, because it would never be able to catch up with this unending expansion. This estimation of the vastness of the universe is based on Einstein's theory of relativity. But this is just a mathematician's guess. To tell the truth, man has yet to comprehend the vastness of the universe.

 

In a clear sky which is free of dust, five thousand stars can be seen with the naked eye. With the help of an ordinary telescope this figure is increased to 2 million and through a great 200-inch telescope on Mount Palomer in America, billions of stars are visible. But even this figure is small compared with the actual figure. The universe is an infinitely vast space in which innumerable stars are continuously moving at extraordinary speeds. Some stars are moving singly, some in groups of two or more, while innumerable stars are grouped in constellations. You may have noticed myriads of dust particles swirling around in the rays of light penetrating a room through some aperture. If you can visualize this same scene on a colossal scale, you will have a rough idea of the revolutions of the stars throughout the universe. The only difference is that dust particles can collide and move in combination whereas the stars, notwithstanding their enormous numbers are at immeasurable distances from each other and follow their respective courses, like ships sailing hundreds of miles apart in the vastness of the oceans. The whole universe is made of countless constellations, or galaxies, all of which are in perpetual motion.

 

The nearest example of such motion is the moon's circling of the earth at a distance of 240,000 miles. It completes each revolution in 29.5 days. Similarly, our earth, at a distance of 95 million miles from the sun, rotates on its axis at a thousand mile an hour, and takes on full year to go around the sun. Besides the earth, there are in the solar system eight other planets, all of which are continuously revolving around teh sun. Pluto is the farthest away of all, with an orbit of 75 million miles. All these planets move on their individual paths with thirty one moons in orbit around their respective planets simultaneously. In addition to these nine planets and thirty one moons, a group of thirty thousand asteroids, thousands of comets and innumerable meteors also reaming perpetually in orbit. The central place among them is, of course, occupied by our Sun, which is also a star. Its diameter is 865,000 miles. That is, it is twelve hundred thousand time larger than the earth. The sun itself is not stationary, but is revolving along with all its planets and asteroids at a speed of 600,000 miles per hour. Within a vast galactic system, there are thousands of such mobile systems which combine to form a galaxy. A galaxy is like a huge plate upon which countless stars are in continuous revolution, singly as well as in groups, just like so many spinning tops. These galaxies themselves are, in turn, in continuous motion. The nearest galaxy, in which our solar system is situated, is rotating on its own axis in such a way that it concludes a single rotation within a period of 200 million years.

 

Astronomers estimate that the universe consists of five hundred million galaxies. Each galaxy contains about 100,000 stars. The nearest galaxy, the Milky way, which is partially visible at night, has an area of 100,000 light years. And we, the inhabitants of the earth are thirty thousand light years away from the centre of this galaxy. This galaxy in turn forms part of an even larger super-galaxy within which seventeen galaxies similar to our own are in perpetual motion. The diameter of this entire cluster is 2 million light years.

 

Over and above all these revolution, another kind of movement is going on, i.e. the whole universe is expanding in all direction just like a balloon. Rotating with an incredible rapidity, at a speed of 12 miles per second, our own Sun is continuously whirling away towards the outer margin of its galaxy, carrying all the members of the solar system with it. Similarly, in perpetual rotation, all the stars are moving away in one direction or the other at tremendous speeds – some at eight, some at 44 and some at 84 miles per second.

 

The amazing part is that all of this motion is going on with a remarkable organization and regularity. Neither do the stars collide, nor does their speed alter. The rotation of our earth around the sun is a model of regularity. Likewise, its rotation on its own axis is so precise in timing that there has not been a discrepancy of even a second over the centuries. The moon, the earth's satellite, similarly hardly strays from its orbit by so much as a hair's breadth, there being only a minuscule deviation in its course with is repeated with clock-work precision every eighteen and a half years. The other celestial bodies spread throughout the universe function with a similar degree of precision.

 

According to astronomical calculations, it has frequently happened that entire galactic systems consisting of millions and millions of moving stars have entered other galactic systems and have passed right through them without any collisions having taken place. In face of such astonishing organization, the human intellect is left with no option but to accept that this is no self-organized system. On the contrary, there must be some unique Power that has set up, and it maintaining such boundless and infinitely varied system.

 

This very organization and discipline that is found among macro-systems is also extant in micro-systems. According to the latest research, an atom is the smallest of all the known 'worlds', being too small to be observed even by the most powerful of microscopes (a recently developed one is capable of magnifying an object one hundred thousand times). As far as the optical range of a human being is concerned, an atom is non-existent. But astonishingly, within such an infinitesimal particle, there exists (according to the Bohr Theory) a revolving system just like our solar system. This consists of a positively-charged central core, the nucleus, surrounded by one or more negatively-charged planetary electrons. Between these there are surprisingly huge gaps. Even in a substance of great density, like a piece of lead, in which one might expect the atomic particles to be rigidly compressed, the electrically-charged particles occupy barely one out of a thousand million parts of the volume and the remaining portion is vacant. The revolution of the electrons around the nucleus is so swift as to be undetectable at any given point. On the contrary, they appear to be omnipresent in their orbit, making, as they do, a thousand billion rounds within a single second.

 

If science can suppose the existence of a barely comprehensible and totally unobservable organization simply because, without such a supposition, the mechanism of an atom cannot be explained, why should not the same logic apply to the supposition that there is an organizer without whom no organization is possible within the atom?

 

References

 

[1] Je pense, donc je suis.

 

[2] John Stuart Mill, Autobiography (New York, Columbia University Press, 1960), p. 30

 

[3] The Evidence of God, p. 50-51

 

[4] The Mysterious Universe, p. 133

 

[5] Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944), noted British physicist and astronomer.






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