The third proof: Providence

Auther : Dr. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Al-Muslih
Article translated to : العربية Français

Everything in the universe is purposeful, so there must be a wise and intent generator.

Scientists found that most things they discovered in this world function within a perfectly calculated framework. Such things are directed to the service of man, assisting him in his livelihood to otherwise further him through life.

The first thing that clarifies such providence is found in the design of human organs, formed in agreement and propriety. The teeth do not emerge until the child begins to be independent of his mother’s milk, when his need for consuming food becomes obvious. These teeth, in an amazing geometric order, come in as incisors for cutting at the front, followed by the pointy canines, then the wide molars used for grinding food. Saliva then helps to moisten the morsel, with the tongue turning it over as it does so, until it reaches the back of the mouth to be swallowed. When it arrives at the stomach, aided by the liver and gallbladder, different gastric acids are secreted to break the food down into an absorbable substance. This process ends in the intestines, where the beneficial nutrients are transported via the blood to various bodily organs. Once these nutrients reach the liver, they are stored there until the body needs to move, at which time the liver changes some of its store into a sufficient amount of sugar to be discharged into the bloodstream. Finally, the useless remnants end up in the lower torso.

Consider the fingers on the hand. They differ in length, so as to assist in taking hold of things, as they only become equal when grabbing. Fingers of all the same length would make using one’s hands very difficult.

Anatomists of old have counted over a thousand benefits to the human organs. Through advancements in science, they came to learn that each cell of the body has its own task aimed at benefiting the person. Joint cells emit synovial fluid to allow movement; eye cells secrete a substance to clean the eye; while microbes attack any foreign body upon its entrance.

Even when the scientists could not find a use for the appendix, they said—based on complete induction—that it must have had some function and some job it performed. They said, for example, that perhaps it was used when man was a vegetarian, before being introduced to meat. Regardless, they affirmed that everything in the human works in the service of man. The same can also be said for the organs in animals.

This providence also appears in many of the laws of the universe. Abu Haamid al-Ghazaali (d. 1111) said in Ihyā’ ‘Ulūm ad-Dīn (4/117):

Just as none of the parts in your body are useless, thus none of the parts in the cosmos are useless.

The laws of the universe work swiftly over the period of a full year in order to produce food and nourishment for man. If it was not for the movement of the sun and the moon and the coming and going of the four seasons, in which vegetation is produced, then this blessing and great benefit to the continuation of human life would not be accomplished.

Further, the Noble Quran turned attention to the topography of the earth, that its variation in plains, mountains and valleys is also a directed event, being so that man will not stray therein and find hardship in attaining his livelihood. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {He cast into the earth anchored mountains, lest it shift with you, and rivers and paths that you may be guided.} [Quran 16:15]

Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafseer (10/91):

“Paths” here means: ways and routes you can take through the lands, in order that you do not become confused and stray.

As such, while the intellect follows what it finds on earth of animals, plants, and inanimate objects, it becomes clear to it that everything exists for the benefit of man. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Livestock He created for you, in which there is warmth and benefits, and from which you eat.} [Quran 16:5]

In fact, even their hides, fur, wool and hair exist with the goal of benefiting man. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Allaah has made for you your houses as residence, and He made for you the hides of cattle to be taken as tents, light on the day of departure and the day of dwelling, and their wool, fur and hair as furnishings and temporary provision.} [Quran 16:80]

Likewise, this providence is shown in the creation of plants, from which man extracts his food, clothing and medicine. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {As a sign for them, there is the dead earth to which We gave life and from which We brought grain, from which they eat. We made therein gardens of date-palms and grapevines, and We caused springs to flow therein; all that they may eat of its produce—and it was not of their own doing. Will they not give thanks?} [Quran 36:33-35]

But there remain in this universe many things, the purpose of which man has yet to be guided to the knowledge thereof. However, through the process of examination, man sees that everything has a purpose. The Quran confirms this truth, as Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {He subdued for you what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; it is all from Him. Verily in that are signs for a people who consider.} [Quran 45:13]

Based on this, scholars of Islam say that one of the paths to which the Noble Quran calls in establishing the existence of Allaah, is the path of knowing about the attention to detail in man and about the creation of all things for his sake. This path is called Daleel Al-‘Inaayah [in Arabic, “proof of providence”]. All things in existence correspond to the existence of man. This harmony shows in many animals, plants, inanimate objects, and an abundance of other elements, like rain, rivers, seas, water, air and fire. On a smaller scale, providence appears in human and animal organs, in how they correspond to his life and his existence. This correspondence comes necessarily (i.e. intuitively) from a willful and intent doer, as such could not be by coincidence alone.

Modern nuclear physics negates the naturalist-materialist theory and proves the existence of Allaah, The Ever-Watchful over the atomic world.

Philosophers and scientists confirm that everything in this universe is subdued to the service of man, in a way that fulfills all his needs. However, we find the supporters of materialism, like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (d. 1895) and their followers, like Vladimir Lenin (d. 1924), claim to believe in the eternality of inanimate nature; yet they do not acknowledge the eternality of Allaah, The Living Creator who Manages this universe and {who perfected everything He created.} [Quran 32:7] The universe, in all its perfection and wisdom, indicates the inevitability of there being one perfect and intent, wise and aware, whose existence is without beginning.

The reason for that returns to the physics of the eighteenth century, that of Isaac Newton (d. 1727). After he discovered the laws of gravity, he sent a famous letter to his friend Richard Bentley (d. 1742), saying to him:

It is inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should (without the mediation of something else which is not material) operate upon and affect other matter without mutual contact; […] [t]hat gravity should be innate inherent and essential to matter so that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum […] is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters any competent faculty of thinking can ever fall into it.

The physicist Heinz Pagels (d. 1982) explained that classical physics has supported the global viewpoint which is founded on certainty. Accordingly, the laws of nature specify the past and the future in their smallest details; as if the universe was a clock so perfect that no sooner do we know the position of its parts at a certain time, than we would be able to describe the results indefinitely. (Paraphrased)

Usaamah ‘Ali Khidhr commented on this, saying:

This philosophy appeared in Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Despite the revolutionary ideas which this theory presented about the nature of place, time and matter, Einstein considered the heart of the theorem to be founded in determinism, causality, and the subjection of the universe to a set of organized laws. By example, an astronomer is able to predict the times of lunar and solar eclipses, the paths of comets, and so on, simply by applying mathematical formulae.

However, in 1905, materialism was disturbed by Albert Einstein’s (d. 1955) theory of special relativity. It was the dawn of an understanding most precise and splendid, that material is but one perspective of condensed energy. He formulated the greatest equation in the history of physics: e=mc2, or that energy equals the amount of mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.

This confirmed that matter is not a mere solid, as thought by Newton, but that it is an infinite universal reality. Matter is thus flexibly understood, considering that body mass increases with an increase of its velocity. Further confirmation came with a special device called the particle accelerator. In 1952, the California Institute of Technology was able to speed up an electron until it reached near the speed of light, causing the mass of the electron to increase nine-hundred times.

Thus came the collapse of materialism. The essence of the universe was then recognized as radiation and energy, not matter. This was followed by the arrival of quantum nuclear physics, or quantum mechanics, overturning the understandings of classical physics, toppling the ideas of determinism and causality, and replacing them by probabilities.

British physicist and astronomer James Jeans (d. 1946) said in Physics and Philosophy (p. 123), under the heading The Failures of the Classical Mechanics:

But at the other end of the scale there was no success at all; experimental physics was particularly interested in the processes taking place inside the atom, and in this field classical mechanics was failing conspicuously and completely. Perhaps its most spectacular failure was with the fundamental problem of the structure of the atom.

Experimental physics had provided strong reasons for thinking that an atom consists of a collection of electrons—negatively charged particles—together with something which carries just enough positive electricity to counteract the total negative charge of them all—for the total charge on a normal atom is always zero.

Now there is no mechanism within the framework of classical mechanics for endowing such a structure with a permanent unchanging size. Its charges cannot stand at rest, or they begin to fall into one another, and they cannot be in motion or they become a perpetual-motion machine of the kind not permitted by the classical mechanics.

This new physics realized that the mark of symmetry and harmony, in which place and time exist on the cosmic level, completely collapses on the atomic level. Atoms, the fundamental building blocks of the universe, are controlled by physical laws that are radically different from the physics of the cosmos.

Atomic particles move without following the laws of traditional mechanics. They do not move consistently and flowingly from one point to another, but rather by way of intermittent leaps, the paths of which cannot be controlled or predicted. The physicist is thus limited to merely giving probabilities regarding the paths of these particles.

Then came the uncertainty principle of Werner Heisenberg (d. 1976), who received a Nobel Prize for this discovery, which dispersed all previous beliefs regarding how mechanics was understood. This principle affirmed that there is an inherent limitation to our knowledge of nuclear laws, showing that determinism and causality both fail in quantum physics.

Heisenberg refuted the principle of unlimited time and energy, as it is in traditional physics, that energy neither ceases nor comes anew; and that it rather only transfers from one state to another. On the nuclear level, there are events that could allow the electron to borrow energy and repay the debt with great speed. In fact, the more energy that is borrowed, the faster the repayment. Therefore, to confirm that the energy is stored, we must first take measurements at two separate yet similar times to be sure that the amount of energy is actually less.

However, the uncertainty principle refuses this confirmation, due to time not being considered uniform on an atomic level. This opens the door to the possibility of a failure, during very minute moments, of the law of conservation of energy; meaning that it is possible for energy to appear all of a sudden, then go back to hiding after a short period of time.

Likewise, quantum physics came to inaugurate an understanding, counted as one of the greatest scientific principles without exception, that there is consciousness beyond this universe. This discovery was made by Danish physicist Niels Bohr (d. 1962) whose repeated and highly accurate experiments proved that while no one can measure the contents of an electron, it does behave in the form of probability waves (wave function). This wave is spread all throughout space. It is possible that the electron particle could be at any point in that wave at any time. As soon as we are able to observe and measure this, the probability wave, i.e. wave function, collapses and recedes to become a specific point particle.

Heinz Pagels said in his book The Cosmic Code that the metaphysical quantum character will remain hidden as long as you are not engaged in discovering new electrons, as its behavior is that of a wave of probability. If you were to look at it, it would—at that moment—be a fixed particle; but as soon as you stop looking at it, it returns to the previous wave-like behavior. This is indeed peculiar and metaphysical. (Paraphrased) Cosmologist and physicist Stephen Hawking (b. 1942) said:

There must be an entity external to the universe observing it, so that the wave function of the universe collapses and turns into the reality that we witness. Without this observer, this universe will evaporate into a mere test function. (Paraphrased)

Quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf (b. 1934) said in Taking the Quantum Leap (p. 215):

Consciousness is the creative element in the universe. Without it, nothing would appear.

He also said: But what is this consciousness? It is that element which occurs outside the material world, constricting the wave of probability, thus extracting the expected result. (Paraphrased)

Theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner (d. 1995) explained that when the scope of theoretical physics was broadened to include atomic incidents through quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness was highlighted again, since it was not possible to establish quantum mechanics laws without resorting to consciousness.

Fritjof Capra (b. 1939), an Austrian-born American physicist and philosopher, said in The Tao of Physics (p. 140):

In atomic physics, we cannot talk about the properties of an object as such. They are only meaningful in the context of the object’s interaction with the observer.

James Jeans considered that the universe testifies to the existence of a systematic force that we could call the mathematical mind. Astrophysicist Hubert Reeves (d. 1994) said in Dernières nouvelles du cosmos (p. 228):

By necessity or chance, intelligence seems included in the fate of the universe.

Usamah ‘Ali Khidhr said:

When the electronic wave of probability collapses and recedes, the electron will be exposed to observation and surveillance. But who is doing this observing and surveying from outside of the universe, so that things can be revealed as they truly are? It is only Allaah, lofty is His majesty, Creator of the cosmos. He is the absolute power who brought this universe into existence. There is no escaping this recognition, which is backed by scientific experimentation.

The chemist and astronomer Isaac Asimov (d. 1992) regarded astronomical research as yet to shed light on something that could explain the design of creation based on nature alone.

Atomic research has thus concluded that causality does not control the atom and its laws; and as such, there is infinitely no room to iterate any such “causes”. Physical causality failed to explain the existence of the universe. Therefore, since causality is not counted as a controlling factor of the atom and atomic laws, scientists today consider that the whole cosmic design cannot be bound by any causal material law.

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