ISLAM 101: Muslim Beliefs:Knowledge of God Almighty:San’at-i Ilahiye(His art,His creation):Nature: Cause or Effect? Part 4
THE THIRD IMPOSSIBILITY
The following two comparisons, which are mentioned in some other parts of the Risale-i Nur, explain this impossibility:
THE FIRST COMPARISON: A wild, uneducated man enters a palace which has been built in a vast desert and decorated with all the fruits of civilization. Having examined all the thousands of marvelous, artistically made objects, as there is no one in the palace and due to his ignorance and lack of sufficient intelligence, he thinks that one of the objects in the palace must have made the palace with whatever there is in it. But whichever object he examines, he cannot convince even his crude and uneducated intellect that that object has built the palace.
Later, he finds a notebook in which there is written the detailed plan of the palace, a list of its contents, and the rules of its management. It is also impossible for the notebook, which has no hands, eyes, or tools, to have built and decorated the palace. However, having not encountered anything visible to which he can attribute the existence of the palace, and since in comparison with the other objects the notebook, which contains the rules of the palace’s construction, decoration, and management, seems to be more able to explain its existence, the man feels obliged to say, “It is this notebook which designed and built the palace, and decorated it with all those objects, which it had made and set in this palace.” Is this not sheer stupidity and nonsense?
As in this comparison, a naturalist who denies God enters this palace of the universe, which is infinitely more well-ordered and more perfect than the palace in the above-mentioned comparison, and which is decorated with miracles of Wisdom throughout. Not thinking that it is the work of the Necessarily Existent Being’s Art, Who is beyond the sphere of contingency, and evading that thought, he focuses on what they wrongly call “nature.” Nature is, in fact, a board of Divine Destiny or Determining in the sphere of contingency. Divine Destiny or Determining uses it for inscribing and erasing Its judgments. From another perspective, nature is an ever-changing notebook of the titles or laws of the Divine Power’s regular acts, and an index of the works of His Art as the Lord of the worlds. However, the naturalist who enters the palace of the universe says, “All these things require a cause for their existence. There is nothing visible that is more apt than this ‘notebook’ to attribute it to. Even though it is completely unreasonable to accept this blind, unconscious, ignorant, and powerless ‘notebook’ as the creator of the palace of the universe, which clearly requires an infinite knowledge and power for its existence, since I do not admit the existence of the Eternal Maker, I had better say that this ‘notebook’ has made this palace.” To which we reply:
O foolish one! Lift your head out of the swamp of naturalism, and turn round! You will see the Maker of Majesty, to Whom all things, from atoms to galaxies, testify, each with its own tongue, and at Whom they point, each with its own finger. Behold the manifestation of the Eternal Designer, Who has made that palace and written its program in that “notebook”! Lend an ear to His Book—the Qur’an—and be saved from your nonsensical words!
THE SECOND COMPARISON: An extremely rough, uneducated man enters a magnificent barracks. He watches the disciplined actions of a marvelously ordered army carrying out its drill. A regiment, a battalion, and an army corps sit down, stand up, march, and take up and put down arms as though they were a single private. Since his crude mind cannot understand this and thus denies that the army is working under the orders of a commander acting according to the laws of the state, he imagines that all the soldiers are tied to one another with strings. He thinks what a wonderful string this must be and is astonished.
Later, on Friday, he goes and enters a magnificent mosque, for example Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia). He observes that the congregation of Muslims performing the Friday congregational Prayer rises, bows, prostrates, and sits at the voice of one man. Since he does not know the Shari‘a, which is the collection of sacred Divine laws and principles that guide the lives and worship of Muslims, he imagines that the members of the congregation are bound to one another with strings which control them and make them move like puppets. With this most ridiculous idea in his mind, he leaves the mosque. Like this comparison, a naturalist denier of God enters this world, which is, in one respect , a splendid barracks of the Sovereign of eternity for His numerous hosts, and, in another respect , a well-ordered mosque of the Eternal, All-Worshipped One for His servants. He fancies that the laws which the Eternal Sovereign’s Wisdom has established for the order and operation of the universe—the laws which have only nominal existence and are in fact the titles of His acts in the administration of the universe— have a physical existence and have enough knowledge and power to govern the entire universe. Instead of attributing these to the Divine Power, he attributes the existence and operation of the universe to these laws of nominal existence which he calls “nature”—and which have no power, knowledge, wisdom, consciousness, and will—and to what he calls “natural forces,” which are in truth a manifestation of Divine Power. He regards these forces as an independent power that is able to direct the universe. This is a thousand times greater abasing ignorance than the ignorance of the man in the above-mentioned comparison.
In short, if the thing which naturalists call “nature” has an external reality, it can, at the very most, be a work of art, not an artist; it can be a design, not a designer; a set of decrees, not an issuer of decrees; a set of the laws of the creation and operation of the universe, not a lawgiver; a created veil before God’s Dignity, not a creator; something originated according to God’s way of acting, not an originator; only a law, not an independent, conscious power or a powerful one; and a set of lines to inscribe on, not a source or origin or an author.
To conclude, since things and beings exist and, as stated in the introduction of this treatise, there can be no other way to explain their existence than the four mentioned above, and since the first three of these ways have been proven to be invalid because of the impossibilities elucidated, then necessarily and self-evidently, the fourth way is clearly the only valid way. It is the way of Divine Existence and Unity. It is indicated by the verse quoted at the beginning, Can there be any doubt about God, the Originator of the heavens and the earth? ( 14: 10), which clearly and undoubtedly states that there can be no doubt about the Existence or Unity of God, and that everything issues directly from His Hand of Power, and the heavens and the earth are under His Grasp of supreme control and direction.
O one who attributes creativity to “nature” and “natural” causes! The nature of everything, like the things themselves, is created, for it is full of art, original, and particular to itself. In addition, like everything itself, which is the result of a cause , its apparent cause is also created. In addition, the existence of everything depends on the existence of numerous “instruments.” Therefore, there must be an Absolutely Powerful One Who creates both the things and their nature and causes, and the instruments required. And what need does that All-Powerful One have to share impotent causes in His creativity and Lordship over existence? God forbid such a thought! Rather, He creates things together with their causes so that He displays the manifestations of His Names and His Wisdom. By so doing, He establishes an apparent, ordered cause -and-effect relationship, and makes the apparent causes a veil in people’s sight between His Dignity and what people may see as being defective or incompatible with mercy in things and events.
Which is easier and more reasonable for a watchmaker? Making the cogs of a clock and then arranging them to form the clock, or inserting a wonderful machine inside the cogs and then leaving the making of the watch to the lifeless hands of the machine? Is the second alternative easier and more reasonable or inconceivable and impossible? Use your reason to be the judge!
Or a scribe readies a pen, a piece of paper, and ink to write a book. Is it easier and more reasonable for him to write the book by himself, or to invent a machine inside the pen, the piece of paper, and the ink, more artistic and more troublesome than the book itself, and then tell that unconscious machine to write the book, while he does not interfere? Is not the second alternative a hundred times more difficult than the first?