• Counter :
  • 331
  • Date :
  • 2/22/2012

Divine Attributes

part 3


But when we add to the essence of water certain limiting attributes which are extrinsic to it, different forms and instances of water will appear and with them, plurality. Examples of this would be rainwater, spring water, river water, sea water, all of these observed at different times and in different places, here and there. If we eliminate all these limiting attributes and look again at the fundamental essence of water, we will see that it is exempt from all duality and is a single essence. 

We must be aware that any being which can be contained in a certain place necessarily has need of that place, and any being that be contained in a certain time owes its very existence to the defining conditions of that time: its existence will be realized only within the specific temporal framework where those conditions obtain.

So, when we come to know a being that is present at all times and in all places and who possesses the highest conceivable degree of perfection, and other than whom nothing is perfect or absolute and free from defect, we must recognize that to impute duality to such a lofty reality is to make it finite and limited. 

Indeed, God is not one in a numerical sense so that we might imagine Him to be the first member of a category that is followed by a second. His oneness is such that if we imagine a second to exist with Him, that second must be identical with the first. 

Since the multiplicity of things derives from the limiting circumstances that differentiate them from each other, it would be totally irrational to posit a second for a being that is free of all limits and bounds. The existence of a second would mean that the first had limits and bounds, and if limits and bounds are excluded, we cannot possibly have two beings; our conception of the second will simply be a repetition of the first. 

The doctrine of divine unity means that if we consider God alone, to the exclusion of all phenomenal being, His sacred essence is completely affirmed. Likewise, if we regard His being together with phenomenal being, again His existence will be completely affirmed. But if, on the contrary, we look at contingent phenomena to the exclusion of God, they cannot in any way be said to be existent, because their existence is dependent on the Creator for its origination and perpetuation. 

So, whenever we ascribe some limit and condition to God, it means that God will cease to exist whenever that limit and condition cease to exist. However, God's existence is not subject to condition and plurality, and reason cannot, therefore, posit a second member of His category. 

Let us give an illustration. Suppose that the world is infinite it has no bounds and in whatever direction we travel, we never come to its end. With such a concept of the world of bodies, all of its dimensions being infinite, can we imagine another world to exist in addition to it, whether finite or infinite? Certainly we cannot, because the concept of an infinite world of bodies necessarily excludes the existence of another such world. If we try to conceive of another such world, it will be either identical with the first world or a segment of it. 

So, considering that the divine essence is absolute being, to posit the existence of a second being resembling Him is exactly the same as imagining a second world of bodies to co-exist with an infinite world of bodies. In other words, it is impossible. 

It is, thus, dear that the meaning of God's being One is not that He is not two; it is that a second is inconceivable and that the exclusive possession of divinity is necessitated by His essence. He becomes distinct from other than Himself, not by means of any limit but by means of His essence itself which can clearly be distinguished from all else. All other beings, by contrast, attain their distinctiveness not from their essence but rather from God. 



We see clearly that extensive interrelatedness and harmony exist among all the components of the world. Man produces a carbonic gas that enables plants to breathe, and trees and plants, reciprocally produce oxygen that enables man to breathe. As a result of this interchange between man and plants, a certain amount of oxygen is preserved at all 'times; were it not to be so, no trace of human life would remain on earth. 

The amount of heat received by the earth from the sun corresponds to the need of living beings for heat. The speed of the earth's rotation around the sun and the distance it keeps from that source of energy and heat have been fixed at a level that makes human life on earth possible. The distance of the earth from the sun determines a degree of heat that exactly corresponds to the needs of life upon earth. Were the speed of the earth's rotation to be a hundred miles an hour instead of a thousand miles an hour, as it now is, our nights and days would be ten times as long, and the intensity of the sun's heat would rise to the point that all plant life would be burnt and the cold nights of winter would freeze all fresh shoots in the ground. 

If, on the one hand, the rays of the sun were to be reduced by half, all living beings would be frozen in place by the extreme cold. If, on the other hand, they were to be doubled, the sperm of life would never come to fruition. If the moon were farther away from the earth, the tides would become strong and fierce enough to uproot the mountains.

Seen in this light, the world appears to be a caravan in which all the travelers are joined together like links in a chain. All of its parts big or small, are striving cooperatively to advance in a single direction. Throughout this organism, everything fulfills its particular function and all things aid and complement each other. A profound and invisible link joins every single atom to all other atoms. 

A world that is thus replete with unity must necessarily be connected to a single source and principle. Being derives from a single origin; if the entirety of the universe is one, its creator must also be one. The fact that the creator has brought forth unity within the multiplicity of the created world is in itself a convincing proof of His oneness, power and wisdom. 

The Quran says: "Ask them, 'Show me these partners whom you worship in place of God. Have they created anything from earth or have they shared with God in the creation of the heavens ? Have we given them a book on which they rely in their ascription of partners to us?' No, the wrongdoers deceive each other with their false promises. Certainly it is God Who preserves the heavens and the earth from collapse and annihilation; were they about to collapse and be annihilated, there is none other who could preserve them. Know that God is most forbearing and forgiving." (35:40-41) 

Our innate nature, which is a fundamental dimension of our existence, also confirms the oneness of God. In severe crises and times of hardship, our desires are all focused on one point; we turn in one direction and entrust our hearts to Him. 

One of the pupils of Imam Ja'far Sadiq, upon whom be peace, asked him, '"What proof is there for the oneness of God." 

The Imam answered him: '"The proof of His oneness is the interrelatedness and continuity of all creation, the integral order of being that rules over all things. God says in the Quran: 'Were there a creator in the heavens and earth other than the One God, their order would vanish and the world would be destroyed.'

So the regularity and comprehensiveness of the order that ruled over all things refutes the theory that there might be several gods, ruling the same or different spheres. 



Although the Quran stresses the unity of God in creation and wisdom, it also mentions the role of the causes and means that implement the divine command. It says: "God sent down water from the heavens and revived the earth thereby after its death. In that is a clear sign for men who pay heed." (16:65) 

Once we reach the conclusion that God alone is engaged in creating, ordering and managing the entire universe, and that all sources of effect and causality are subordinate to His will and command, each having its particular role assigned to it by God”” once we reach this conclusion, how can we imagine any other being to be on the same level as God and bow down in worship before it? The Quran says: "Some men regard other beings as equivalent to God and love them as if they were God but the believers devote all of their love to God." (2:165) "Among His signs are the night and the day and the sun and the moon. Do not bow down and prostrate yourselves before the sun and the moon. Instead, prostrate yourselves humbly before the God that created them." (41:37)

Source: imamalmahdi.com

Other Links:

How to Treat Subordinates? 

Consequences of Unlawful Money in One’s Life   

The Best Deeds   

The Rule of Openness and Winning the Hearts  

To Respect One’s Parents    

  • Print

    Send to a friend

    Comment (0)

  • Most Read Articles