The following is an illustrative conversation Which I have written a while ago. It’s occuring between 2 friends; one of them is a skeptic whom I called Amr and the other is a student in “Al-Azhar university for Islamic studies” whom I called Zein. The conversation is a debate about having faith in the existence of God.
Amr: If there existed a creator free from any flaws; then how come that His creation is full of them?!”
Zein: That’s ordinary; this worldly life is nothing but a brick in a high rise building, it’s a test in which we are born totally pure. Then; while growing up; we learn all sorts of things; some good and some bad, this is why this Creator never forsakes us for our whim and lusts, but He sends us His messages and prophets to teach us how to live rightly. Those who betray, fornicate, commit adultery, steal, lie, kill, etc… are disobeying the laws of this creator and disobeying his messengers. Their sins cause corruption and great evils; which is the main defect that shall lead to our destruction. God says in the Qur’an: “Corruption has appeared throughout the lands and seas by reason of what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of the consequences of their actions that perhaps they will desist.” [The Qur’an (30:41)]. Prophet Muhammad also said while invoking God: “Evil is not ascribed to You.” Every day you can see people complaining from the corruption and evils they face in this world. This worldly life is just a step that we have to take in order to reach a world in which the system is perfect and no one complains anymore. But you have to understand that only those who deserve to live in such a perfect system are the ones who shall be admitted into it. I believe that we can consider this a universal law:
“Life of a system” is directly proportional to “the Degree of perfection of that system”
This is exactly why this creator has created another place in which everything is perfect and life is eternal for those who abide by His laws and teachings in this defective worldly life. As for those who decline and turn their backs to His laws; He created another place in which everything is disgustful. These flaws and iniquities are the result of creating us having free wills; able to choose and select our own deeds and actions. How unfortunate it is that many people choose to satisfy their lusts and indulge into all sorts of sins instead of choosing a righteous life.
Amr: But why didn’t this creator create us compelled to obey Him like those creatures you call angels for instance. Why did He create us having lusts and free wills? It’s as if He wants us to make sins?!
Zein: This was His method in creating the most perfect creatures ever. He granted us the freedom of choice, thereafter He gave us the chance to perform and display our characters and real-selves through our choices and actions in order to prove whether we deserve to be a part of the perfect system or not. Angels are not tested because they were created compelled to obey the creator; they are His obedient servants; this is why scholars agree that those who follow their intellect and obey God though they were created with lusts and have free wills are better than angels. Hence; by means of perfection; those who were given the freedom of choice and chose to do what’s right are the most perfect creatures.
Amr: If this Creator is Omniscient as you claim; then why didn’t He just use His vast knowledge of everything including the future and determine whom are the ones who shall deserve to dwell in His perfect system “Paradise” and whom are the ones who don’t? Surely He would have spared Himself and us this intermediate step which you call the worldly life?!
Zein: Well; this is the pact He took upon Himself; that He shall not award or punish anyone before setting his/her own deeds as witnesses upon themselves, and that He shall not waste any of their good deeds and if they ask His forgiveness for their sins and repent sincerely; He shall forgive them. Think of this logically; if you were condemned to dwell in the hell fire for eternity without living this worldly life; wouldn’t you have wanted to get a chance in this life to prove that you could have been among the dwellers of paradise?! This worldly life is the chance that we all need; so we should seize the opportunity and do our best.
Amr: If this claimed Creator was aiming to create the most perfect system from the beginning, then why is there hell? Or are you claiming that this torture pit is also a perfect system?!
Zein: The perfect system is the one in which justice is established firmly without any procrastination. If justice was not established; then this could never be a perfect system. Now try to imagine a thief stealing your mother’s purse, when your father tried to stop him; he shot both your parents killing them at site and he got away with his crime in this worldly life, would it be fair if he never gets punished for what he has done?! What about Hitler who has killed 4,000,000 civilians; most of them burned in furnaces and he was never punished for this?! What about traitors, rapists, thieves, murderers, drug dealers, children abusers, thugs, bullies and all those who never care about other people’s lives and security? Would you call the system that lets them get away with their crimes a perfect system?! By all means; those who hurt others should receive the appropriate punishment for what they have done either in this life or in the next. As for those who get away with their crimes in this life; God has prepared the hell fire for their retribution.
Amr: If you are speaking about justice; then how come that hell is eternal and those who were sinners in this life shall dwell inside it forever?! Justice is to punish criminals in the same magnitude of their crimes, not to torture them forever.
Zein: Totally agree; and God is never unjust; on the contrary He is most Merciful and His mercy precedes His anger. This is why the prophet P.B.U.H. told us that God shall bring out many people from the Hell fire; anyone with one jot or title of faith shall be saved after receiving the proper punishment for his/her evil deeds. That is also why God says in the Qur’an: “No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.” [The Qur’an (17:15)] Consequently those who never received a warner or a messenger to teach them about God’s laws and righteous path shall be given the choice whether to believe or not on the judgment day. Many scholars say that even those who receive the message of God but in a distorted manner shall be treated in a similar way. This is why the main concern of the Qur’an is to make people believe in the existence of the mighty Creator and warn them of His anger may they desist from disobeying His laws or at least have the slightest portion of faith that may eventually save them after receiving their punishment. But as for those who deny reason and turn their backs out of arrogance; those who do not intend to repent from their evil deeds ever; their punishment shall be according to their intentions; this is why hell is eternal for those who don’t have any faith nor do they intend to get to know and fear their Creator ever.
Amr: Why is the relation with this creator always built upon fear?! If He were the most merciful as you say; why should all people fear His wrath and torment?! A relation built upon fear could never be a sound relation.
Zein: If this is what you understood from my words; then I apologize, but I believe that the context we were speaking in was about the hell fire, sinners and the warnings directed to them. By all means the relation with God is not solely built upon fear. We all loved our fathers, but still we always had some fear from their anger towards us whenever we did something wrong. This fear was like a driving force that always pushed us towards being better persons. Likewise; the relation with our Creator is also built upon both love and fear. True correct worship rituals is a combination of those two feelings, but building faith on only one of them is incomplete and has many dangerous traps that people fall into.
Sincere worship = Loving God + Fearing God
The prophet P.B.U.H. said: “If you knew how merciful God is you would have relied upon His mercy and refrain from making any efforts (in obeying Him), and if you knew His anger, nothing of what you do could relieve your fear.”
How poor are the people who depart this life without experiencing the best of its feelings; that is Loving God and knowing His continuous remembrance. God says in the holy tradition: “I am at my servant’s expectations, and I am with him whenever he calls onto me, If he draws near me one span of hand, I draw near him a cubit, and if he draws near me a cubit, I draw near him an ell, and if he approaches my path walking, I approach him hurriedly.” The driving force behind the actions of those with sound hearts is always their love towards God, and their protection against relapse is their fear from Him.
Amr: Why are you so sure that such a creator does exist though you cannot see him, speak to him or receive any messages directly from him?!
Zein: Have you ever seen a beehive?!
Zein: Do you think that bees are intellectual creatures?
Amr: Well, I’m not sure; maybe they do have some kind of a tiny brain.
Zein: Tiny brain! If I were to ask you to draw for me 100 hexagons without a compass, a ruler, a protractor or any external tool but a pen; on the condition that all the 100 hexagons would be similar with exactly 120 degrees angles and equal sides, will you be able to do that?
Zein: Now do you think that bees have minds that enable them to build hives with hundreds or thousands of these similar hexagonal shapes and internal chambers without the need for any of those tools that you need to finish the job?
Amr: Okay maybe they do, but where is this leading to?!
Zein: This leads to understanding that it’s enough to see the signs in order to understand that there exists an effective cause behind them. What about this complex universe with millions of constellations, planets, stars, etc., guided by physical laws that scientists have discovered, are still discovering and writing down in voluminous books? Did it come to exist merely through some kind of creative chaos, without any need for organization and guidance from an “Intelligent Capable Designer” or an “Omniscient Omnipotent Creator”?! Creative chaos can for example produce the sand dunes in the deserts, but it cannot produce a huge self sustaining palace by this sand or build a pyramid. Complexity is a sign for intelligence and capability. What do you think of a much more complicated thing as the human RNA and DNA?!
Amr: Your logic is void; for if complexity is a sign for intelligence then from where did that most intelligent creator come?! How can you imagine His existence?
Zein: The Creator is not a creature to come or happen or comply with the laws of the creatures that need a cause for their existence. He is the source of all that exists but our minds always stand incapable of imagining his nature. There is a huge difference between reason and imagination. Reason tells us that complexity cannot happen by coincidence, for example; if I blindfold you, give you 10 darts and ask you to throw them all into the middle circle of the dart board; can you do this?
Amr: If I’m well trained; I can.
Zein: True. This means that the more complicated the deed is; the more training and capabilities you shall need to acquire in order to accomplish it. What if I number the darts from 1 to 10 and ask you to throw them in their order of numbering?
Amr: I shall need to remove the blindfolds in order to see the numbers.
Zein: True. This means that the more the obstacles are and the more complicated things get; the more senses and capabilities you shall need in order to accomplish the mission. Have you ever seen the pyramids?
Zein: Do you know that with all of the advanced modern technologies humans have today; they still can’t build a pyramid like “Khufu”?
Amr: Yes I know that. Can you make your point clearer?
Zein: Can you say that “Khufu” was built by a coincidence or by any of the sand storms or natural catastrophes that occurred in Egypt back in time or by any form of creative chaos without the need for intelligent creatures to design and build it?
Amr: Absolutely not.
Zein: How be it with something much more complicated like a bee? Can Humans create one bee that lives, reproduces, builds hives and makes honey like the natural bee which we know?
Amr: I don’t think they can.
Zein: So you cannot draw 100 identical hexagons without geometrical tools. You need training and the use of your eyesight simply to throw 10 darts in the correct order and hit the target prescribed to you. You don’t accept it that the Pyramid could have been built through some kind of creative chaos and agree that it needs intelligent designers having more knowledge than what we have today on earth, but still you accept it that bees that are a million times more complicated and us as humans and all of this universe surrounding us have come to exist by coincidence through some kind of blind creative chaos; merely because you cannot imagine how the Creator who has created everything exists. Where is the logic in that?!
Amr: Science has already proven that matter cannot be created from nothing. This means that matter is eternal, it has always been there and it was not preceded by a creator.
Zein: Have you read about nuclear fusion Amr?
Amr: Yes, absolutely.
Zein: What does the theory say?
Amr: It is a nuclear reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei collide at a very high speed and join to form a new type of atomic nucleus. During this process, matter is not conserved because some of the matter of the fusing nuclei is converted to energy.
Zein: Great, this means that if matter can be converted into energy; then the reaction can also be reversed, and huge amounts of energy could be changed to matter. Amazingly this is what science has come to realize today. Therefore; assuming that matter was preceded by a powerful mighty Creator does not contradict science.
Amr: If this mighty knowledgeable creator does exist and he is perfect as you claim; then how come that he created the universe? What was the urge behind this and why did he need to do it?! He should have been self-sufficient having no need to create anything at all.
Zein: He is perfect and self-sufficient, and no one could reach such state except if he can do whatever he wants without having to explain his actions to those who are lesser than him. He is free to create whatever He wants. Not knowing the purpose of creation doesn’t nullify the fact that it happened, or else we will deny our own existence. Not knowing the purpose of creation is like not understanding the purpose for which painters draw paintings or why musicians make music, it’s a capability that they have and we can’t ask them why do you make beautiful art? So is the case with the Creator; He can create beautiful marvelous things, this is one of His attributes, so why should we ask Him why do you create?! Even if some may say that artists make art so that people will get to know their talent and admire it, then why do you deny this right to the One who has created those artists and granted them their gifts?!
Amr: This is apologetic.
Zein: If according to your measures; logical reasonable thinking is considered apologetic; then by all means it’s an honor to be an apologist.
Amr: I can’t see any reason in your responses; you are just repeating what you were taught since childhood.
Zein: Truly amazing how those who deny the existence of God, resurrection, paradise and hell make them the token around which most of their talks revolve, thereafter they dare speak about reason and logic.
Unfortunately; This debate never ends and the two friends don’t intend to back up.
For similar posts, kindly follow my other Blog: Islamic Methodologies Made Easy
Written By: Ehab Shawky
In response to: Groupthink