Creationism, natural selection, intelligent design, the theory of evolution. Thinking about the creation of the world, the universe, and humankind can be confusing. There are theories, opinions, and beliefs. The creation of the universe was a random act, humankind evolved from apes, living creatures climbed out of the primordial swamp, science proves some sort of intelligence designed the universe. Confused?
You should be, because that is not all. There is also neo creationism, old earth creationism, flood geology, the big bang theory, evolutionary biology, the common descent theory, and macroevolution. What does it all mean?
For many people it must be a kind of lottery, or a theory of the year choice. Each group has its evidence, some believe in God, others do not. Some use science to prove their opinions, others use the book of Genesis or other creation myths. In Islam, the story of creation is clear.
There are no partly formed theories or strange opinions to add to the confusion. The creation of the world and all that exists is attributed to God. The most merciful, most wise, most forgiving “Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days,” (Quran 7:54)
“So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.” (Quran 41:12)
“We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape;” (Quran 15:26)
“Behold! thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create man, from sounding clay from mud moulded into shape;” (Quran 15:28)
God created Adam the father of humankind from mud (clay, soil, earth, or dust mixed with water), he created his wife Eve from a rib bone. The Prophet Muhammad said that God created Eve while Adam was sleeping, from his shortest left rib and that, after sometime, she was clothed with flesh. God then endowed Adam and Eve with the ability to procreate.
“And Allah has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills for verily Allah has power over all things.” (Quran 24:45)
“O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.” (Quran 4:1)
“Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay); Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the best to create!” (Quran 23: 12-14)
In Islam, unlike other religions there are no great debates involving the separation of science and religion. Islam teaches us that great scientific discoveries and break through are simply evidence of the existence of God.
If scientific theories conflict with the Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad Muslims simply reject them. However apart from the premise in Darwin’s theory of evolution, that man is descended from apes, Quran, and modern science are remarkably in accord.
“Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater (matter) than the creation of men: Yet most men understand not.” (Quran 40:57)
More than 14 centuries ago the Quran mentioned scientific facts that have only recently been discovered using modern scientific methods and advanced equipment. The development of scientific disciplines, such as cosmology and astrophysics have explained some of the mysteries of God’s creation. Cosmic events that were previously part of the unseen now make sense according to modern scientific theory.
“Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: “Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We do come (together), in willing obedience.” (Quran 41:11)
Modern cosmology indicates that, at one point in time, the whole universe was nothing but a cloud of ‘smoke’, an opaque highly dense and hot gaseous composition. It is now possible for scientists to observe new stars being formed out of the remnants of the ‘smoke’. Dr. Loretta Dunne from Cardiff University, says that “Cosmic dust consists of tiny particles of solid material floating around in the space between the stars. It is not the same as house dust but more akin to cigarette smoke.” (Science daily, July 24, 2003)
Astronomers studied supernovae SN 2003gd using the Spitzer space telescope, and found that it had produced tremendous amounts of dust.
In the creation of humankind we are also now able to see modern scientific evidence that seems to be in accord with the words of God in Quran. Many elements present in the earth are also contained in the human body. The most critical component to land-based life is the top soil; that thin layer of dark, organically rich soil in which plants spread out their roots. It is in this thin, vital layer of soil that microorganisms convert raw resources, and make them available to the myriad forms of life around and above them.
The Quran instructs Muslims to “Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.” (Quran 3:191)
Imagine the precision and timing that allows the world and all that is in it to function. Complex systems run perfectly. The earth is specifically designed for human life and life on earth is a delicate balance, from the lofty skies to the depths of the ocean.
Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.
The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed; And the herbs and the trees – both (alike) prostrate in adoration. And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of Justice), In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance. So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance. It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures” (Quran 55:5-10)
God created the universe, God created humankind. Certain sections of all the theories and opinions that abound agree with the words found in Quran and the authentic traditions of prophet Muhammad, but really that is of no consequence. Nor is it important when theories try to disprove the existence of God. The sun and the moon are fixed in their orbits, life evolves, life continues. Muslims know with certainty that the world and all that exists was created by God.
When new discoveries prove this beyond doubt, believers smile enigmatically and wait for the other miracles of God to reveal themselves. The complexity of life is almost to simple to grasp. God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.