- Many books have been written around science, God and religion. Dr Noor’s book is about a similar topic. Is this just repetition; what makes his book different?
The Big questions about science, religion and God have been raging for many years and there seems to be no definite solution in sight. The are three main view points:
- Creationism- the belief that everything was abruptly created by God, as described in the Book of Genesis in the Bible. The fundamental flaw of this belief is that creationists reject evolution which is supported by a mountain of evidence.
- Non- believing evolutionists- write God off as mystical nonsense. There is no God; evolution and natural processes explain existence. Atheists have at least one major difficulty and this is discussed in Document X, Direct evidence of God’s existence.
- Believing evolutionists- believe in evolution, but hold deep religious conflictions. The serious difficulty with this system is that scripture to which they subscribe seems to contradict their scientific principles. These issues are addressed in Document X, Direct evidence of God’s existence which provides definitive answers. It’s an exceptional claim, but who can argue against exceptional evidence?
- A scholar once remarked: “There is no way one can prove the existence of God; that is all there is to it”. Dr Noor claims to have “direct evidence” of His existence. What is the basis of Noor’s argument?
Every human being has more than one signature by which he can be identified, facial features, fingerprints, DNA type and so on. A perpetrator can be linked directly to a crime scene based on DNA analysis and fingerprint comparison without direct observation of the actual crime. Similarly, God has many signatures, one of it being His omniscience. His signature is imprinted in the Quran. One of the miraculous features of the Quran is that it possesses knowledge of the unknown; it transcends human information. The Quran lays bare the secrets of the universe and life. Since most of these scientific data have only been uncovered in the last few centuries, many as recent as a few decades ago, the reader is driven to evoke an all knowledgeable mind to explain such ultramodern truths.
- Does the Quran refer to DNA?
The book does not omit any fundamental principle or concept in science. Yes, it does refer to DNA. The Quran describes DNA as a complex chemical entity, a molecule having a paired configuration and which has the ability to replicate. There is only one molecule that has these three features, DNA.
- What is the Quran’s perspective on miracles? By miracles I mean events that imply a transgression of the laws of nature such as walking in the air, elephants procreating lions and so on.
According to the Quran the nature of reality is an expression of the divine will which unalterable. Chapter 35-43 clearly states that God Himself never changes His laws. Those who make claims to the contrary are invited to produce their evidence (37-156). The “real” miracles from a Quranic view are the harmony and order that prevail throughout the cosmos, the origin and evolution of a vast universe from a minuscule cosmic egg, the nature of space-time, the development of the embryo and so on.
- Is evolution mentioned in the Quran, and if so, what is the Quran’s approach to the subject?
The Quran is committed to a creative process which is evolutionary in nature. The Book lays down the fundamental principles of evolution in several verses: the tree-like pattern of evolution, the phylogenetic relationship of man and the rest of the living world, man’s gradual development from pre-human ancestors, the role of the environment, the extinction of species, natural selection and so on. It further describes the three main phases of evolution: chemical evolution followed by biological evolution and finally mental and cultural evolution.
- Richard Dawkins describes evolution as automatic, blind and without purpose. Do similar considerations apply to “Quranic evolution”?
It is a cardinal principle of the Quran that all natural phenomena are governed by laws which have their source in the divine. The mechanisms of evolution such as mutation and natural selection are no exception. Verses like “God has raised you up from the earth in the form of a tree ” (71-17) and “He it is who evolved you in different stages, forms and appearances and environments ” (71-14) are clear indications that divine laws have shaped the course of evolution. Man is the planned product of a myriad species that proceeded him and is not the outcome of a widely improbable accident. If atheists argue that random mutations and selection explain life and organised complexity, the Quran announced in the 7th century that such evolutionary mechanisms were themselves engineered by God. This is the basis of the argument of the Quran, its superior and futuristic knowledge of the natural world.
- Does the Quran touch on extra-terrestrial existence?
There is an entire chapter devoted to this subject. The Quran prepares the reader and provides the information showing that ET existence is very likely. In this regard it speaks about the universal distribution of atoms, the subjection of the entire universe to laws, the existence of multiple solar systems and the plurality of earth-like worlds. Then follows a statement: “Amongst His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth and the many creatures He has scattered throughout them” (42-29). Verses 13-15 and 19-93 refer to intelligent beings on earth and elsewhere. Future contact with alien civilisations is expressed in the same verse (verse 42-29)
- Does the Quran subscribe to the idea of a soul? The reason I pose this question is that the Book, I understand preaches evolution and evolution is incompatible with the soul concept. How does the Quran reconcile what appears to be two mutually exclusive concepts?
The answer to this question will stun the religious community. Commentators of the Quran, influenced by their predecessors have arbitrarily accepted their explanation of a soul, that a mysterious life force inhabits the human body. However, the Arabic word in the Quran has two additional important meanings: reasoning faculty comprised in the term consciousness, and vital principle which is defined as the chemical constituents of the earth. In other words it describes the two major components of a human being, the physical component (chemicals) and the mental faculty (consciousness). It is clear from a number of verses (discussed in Dr Noor’s book) that the first phase of life involved progressive chemical build up (chemical evolution). This was followed by biological evolution ushered in by the first living units, cells. Multi-cellular organisms emerged and as their brain grew in size and complexity, so did their intelligence, peaking in humans. This means that consciousness and intelligence coevolved with the brain. Verse 36-77 tells us that consciousness is an outflow of the transformation of biological material, it has a neurobiological basis. This is supported by 80-19 which states that it is the genes that govern the development of the embryo and which determine its future features. Our humanity is rooted in our genes and is not due to the insertion of a divine spark into the embryo at a time it is ready to receive it.
- Does the Quran describe how the universe began and how it will end?
Yes. According to the Quran the universe began as a singularity. Of course the terms singularity, atoms, DNA or cells for that matter do not appear in the Quran- they are modern terms. The Book describes the key features of these concepts in precise scientific language. The singularity is described as a closed up mass, devoid of space, intensely hot and exerting a powerful attractive gravitational force. The singularity suddenly expanded creating space and time. The early universe, about a half a million years after the big bang is referred to as hot, hazy and gaseous. It was opaque, featureless and had a temperature of 6000 Kelvin. Note how the verses support each other. The universe has moved from intensely hot to merely hot implying that it has been cooling. This fits in with expansion which causes cooling. How will the universe end? The Quran predicts a Big Crunch. Overwhelming gravitational forces will cause the universe to fold up like a scroll. The universe will once again become featureless, its matter content will be reduced to atoms and subatomic particles and finally it will collapse into a singularity, the same state it started 13.7billions ago. Again, the verses are connected, describing the end in a coherent fashion. I am aware that new evidence seems to indicate that the universe will end as the Big Rip. According to this understanding, galaxies, planets and their constituent parts will be ripped apart instead of collapsing. Is the Quran wrong? The future of the universe is unknown. The Big Rip is not based on established science. History teaches us that those theories that were in conflict with the Quran at the time, were all subsequently shown to be incorrect. Three examples prove the point. For centuries scientists believed in a static eternal universe, a fixed earth and atoms that are indestructible. Hundreds of years before that the Quran had already portrayed a dynamic expanding universe, a spherical spinning earth moving in its own orbit and hinted at particles smaller than atoms.
- Is Joseph Noor’s argument designed to prove the existence of God based on intelligent design? If so, I wouldn’t buy his book. Evolutionists have clearly demonstrated that intelligent design is fatal to scientific advances.
This question has been partially dealt with in some of the above answers. Non-believing scientists express the opinion that life is the result of a succession of astronomical, geological and biological accidents that just happen to favour the origin and evolution of life. This approach requires a leap of the imagination. However, invoking a creator neatly explains cosmic fine tuning, bio-friendliness and progressive evolution. The serious difficulty with this idea is that it does not say how God accomplished this and leave God Himself unexplained. The Quran eliminates these two difficulties by informing man in the Quran how He did it, and since no human being had access to such information 14 centuries ago, the reader is driven to invoke a superior intellect.