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Was the earth created before the sky? (Part 2)

the earth

1. Have all creatures, even animals like dinosaurs which have gone extinct, been created for man?

In reply to the first question (As repeated above) we must say that in order that the ambiguity be resolved, you do not need to take the trouble by giving examples of the past extinct animals. In fact, there are some animals, for the time being, that not only aren’t of any use in the first glance but they also cause him irreparable damages. For example, rats, cockroaches and the likes of such animals spread diseases and have no benefit for human beings.

Therefore, we must not assume that God’s sayings about the creation of the skies and the earth and what is in them for human beings means that all of them have some visible material functions or benefits for us. That is to say, we can use them for consumption as food or for residence, transportation etc. Such uses not only do not exist with the extinct animals but we cannot also see any benefits for human beings with most of the existing animals either. Nonetheless, if we consider them completely useless, we will get close to heretical and material thinking. The Qur’an says:

"و ما خلقنا السماء و الأرض و ما بينهما باطلا، ذلک ظن الذين کفروا فويل للذين کفروا من النار".

“And We did not create the heaven and the earth and what is between them in vain; that is the opinion of those who disbelieve then woe to those who disbelieve on account of the fire.”‌[1]

In view of the above, we must find out the real meaning of such a verse, the meaning intended by God, the Exalted. Certainly, our infallible imams are the best interpreters in this regard.

In connection with the above and in line with what was just mentioned, there is a narration which nine infallible imams have narrated one after another. The chain of the narration reaches the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (A.S).

In this narration, our Master, Imam Ali (A.S) interprets the verses as such: The creation of the entire universe for human beings means that the man will learn a lesson from them and thereby he will achieve God’s satisfaction and (by drawing spiritual benefits from them) he keeps himself away from fire and divine punishment.[2]

There is another verse which affirms this understanding in the sense that all what is in the heavens and in the earth have been introduced as signs which some human beings pass by and yet they do not learn any lesson from them.[3]

The Holy Qur’an advises mankind to study the history of those who no longer live on earth simply because it wants us to learn lessons from their lives.[4]

Therefore, we cannot consider the extinct animals as a reason to demonstrate the invalidity of the said verse because human beings can, by contemplating over these creatures, realize God’s power and get proximity to Him. This is enough for Allah to declare: “He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth.”‌

In addition, human beings have active and intelligent minds; they are the only creatures who keep other animals in places such as a zoon and a jungle park. They also collect the bones of dinosaurs and those of other extinct species and put them on display for mankind. Is there any creature other than man to carry out such activities?! Can’t we say that even those extinct animals have somehow been at man’s service to further draw his attention and help in promotion of his scientific activities?

On this basis, we believe, as the Qur’an says, God chose human beings from among all other creatures and placed everything which is on earth under his authority.[5] However, those who believer in materialist schools use them only for their transient benefits, entertainments and at the most for scientific researches, and those who believe in God and in Hereafter not only make the above uses but they also consider them as signs and indications on behalf of their Lord that serve to strengthen and consolidate their beliefs. God, the Exalted, says: “On the earth are signs for those of assured Faith, as also in your own selves: Will ye not then see?”‌[6]


Notes:

[1] - Saad, 27.

[2] - Shaykh Saduq, Uyoon Akhbar al-Reza (a.s.), vol.2, hadith 12, pg. 29, Jahan Publications, Tehran, 1378 A.H.

[3] - Yusuf, 105. “And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!”‌

[4] - Yusuf, 109; Hajj, 46; Room, 9; Fater, 44; Ghafer, 21 and 82; Muhammad, 10; etc.

[5] - Question 751 deals with ‘Man’s being superior to other creatures’, you can refer to read it.

[6] - Adh – Dhariyat, 20 – 21.


Source: islamquest.net


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