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Islamic Theology: Proofs for the Existence of God -Chap 3 Part B

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Author:  Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

 

 

Proofs of the Existence of God

In the following we learn some of the most famous theological proofs for the existence of God. Some of these proofs will be more scientific- such as the proof of order and design- while others more rational- such as the proof of cause and effect-. In speaking of the scientific proofs we should underline that we are not speaking of experimental proofs to examine the existence of God in a lab or observatory. God is not physically perceivable and hence science must recognize its limits and its inability to observe God. Science can neither affirm nor deny the existence of God. Having said this, however, we must say that scientific studies of the world enable us-as has enabled many scientists- to find valid reasons and signs for admitting the existence of God.

 

1. Proof of Order:

In general, there is an order and a common law prevailing the universe.

The whole universe is functioning very systematically. Science is established based on this existing natural law.

 If modern science is correct in saying that the universe began with a big bang, then had the rate of expansion been even fractionally slower or faster, life would not have been developed. The same precise order can be observed in every organism. Such a magnificent order leads us to the following theorem:

P.1: There is a precise order ruling the world.

P.2: Every precise order needs a precise and wise regulator.

Therefore: The world must have a precise and wise regulator; God.

The Relation between Order & Knowledge:

We can prove the relation between Order and Knowledge in three different ways:

1. Common Sense: Anyone who has common sense will acknowledge that order is the immediate consequence of wisdom and knowledge, whereas, chaos and disorder come from ignorance.

2.  Logical Reason: We may be able to prove this relation by logical reasoning too. A well-ordered building requires seven logical relations:

2/1: the type of material used 2/2: quantity 2/3: quality 2/4: shape and size

2/5: harmony among the parts 2/6: the ratio between the parts

2/7: the due place of each part

3. Probability: This is a mathematical proof. Suppose a letter is to be written by chance. Let’s calculate the probability of a word which consists of only two letters. Given that the English alphabet consists of 26 letters, if the word, IT is to randomly come up, the probability is 1/676, as a result of 1/26 ´ 1/26. Now, for a random writing of a word which consists of three letters the probability goes up to 17576= (1/26) 3.

 

2. Proof of Design

The proof of design is similar to the proof of order except that it focuses on the fact that the universe is fit for human habitation. There are many ways that the universe might have been, it may have had different laws of physics, and it may have had a different arrangement of planets and stars, etc. the result of each would have not made our life possible.

The Quran refers man to observe and appreciate numerous examples of design in the universe; the design in nature, in the human body, in rain, in the perfect social system of ants and honeybees, in the heavens above us and the splendor in the land and in the sea, etc.

They are Signs for men who reflect (2:164), men who understand (6:98), men who know (6:97), men who think (13: 3), men who believe (6:99) and men who guard themselves against evil (10:6). Imam Sadiq (a.s) in proving the existence of God by the argument of design brings the attention of an atheist called ‘Abu-Shaker al-Disani’ to the magnificent design in the creation of a chicken egg. For studying the marvellous examples of design in nature we recommend the works of Harun Yahya on www.harunyahya.com The logical conclusion of this proof is that any design needs a designer and hence the universe must have a designer; God.

3. Proof of Movement:

No doubt we are living in the world of dynamics.

All different types of matter from the smallest unit to the biggest are all in constant movement.

 In short, each movement requires at least four things:

1. Origin 2.Destination 3.Mover 4.Moveable. From this we conclude the following:

P1. Movement and changing is the property of the world.

P2. Movement needs a Mover.

Therefore: The world has a Mover; God.

4. Proof of Cause & Effect:

Instinctively, when we witness certain happenings we ask ourselves what caused them. While you are reading these sentences you have no doubt that they are written by someone. This instinct is called the law of cause and effect. How can we not but ask the same question in regard to the total sum of beings and phenomena which we discover in the world?

It was by the law of cause and effect that Newton could establish his theory of universal gravity, just from the falling of an apple.

 The same law is also applied exactly to the huge galaxies. In fact, the law of cause and effect is the basis of all experimental sciences.

The existence of the world of matter can be related to one of the following premises:

1   The world exists without having any cause.

2   The world exists for it is the cause for itself.

3   The world exists because of its effect.

4   The world exists because of indefinite causes.

5   The world exists because it is related to an Eternal Being.

The law of order invalidates the first assumption.

The second assumption is also invalid, because in order for something to be the reason for itself, it has to precede itself, which in other words means ‘to be and not to be’.

The third assumption is even more ridiculous than the second one.

The fourth is also invalid because its impossible to traverse an infinite series of causes and effects, as it is impossible to count down from infinity to zero, starting form ‘infinity minus zero’. Also, modern science has told us about the beginning of the universe. Today the limits and the parameters of the universe are measured. Scientists tell us the definite and consistent age for the universe of 16+/- 3 billion years. Thus, if there is a past the universe cannot be infinite.

Moreover, modern science has confirmed the fact mentioned in the Quran (51:47) that the universe is expanding. The expanding universe cannot be infinite. Therefore, the last assumption is the only valid one, i.e. the world exists because it is related to an Eternal Being; God.

Who Created God?

Critics of the argument of cause and effect often try to rebut it by asking who created God? Bertrand Russell in his lecture on ‘Why I am not a Christian’ says if everything must have cause then God must have a cause too?! The answer to his fallacy is that everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause. The universe has a beginning of its existence, and hence it has a cause.  

 

5. Proof of Innate:

Concepts, ideas, capabilities and knowledge which we have at birth are ‘innate’. The previous proofs were rational while this one is more innate and experimental. As a matter of fact, the proofs on the existence of God are numerous.

Based on this proof, man innately believes in a Mighty and Perpetual Being who is able to help him in the hardships and disasters of life. This is an innate conception of God.

Although many examples can be cited proving the innate belief in God, the following are the major ones:

1. Historical facts: The history of human beings has always coincided with a religious belief. Although this belief has at times been mixed with superstitions, it has never been without a religious belief. This is the best example that believing in a Transcendental Being is innate in humans.

2. The fourth sens : Modern Psychiatrists have divided man’s innate drives into four: the sense of knowing, the sense of beauty, the sense of kindness, and the sense of being religious.

Einstein in his article ‘The World as I See it’ which is published in his collection of ‘Ideas & Opinion’ has spoken about this sense of religiousness.

3. The failure of anti-religious propaganda: The history of mankind has never presented such a harsh attack on religion as it has recorded in the early 20th Century. Marxism was one of the results of this campaign. The expression of Nietzsche in his book ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ is well known that ‘gott ist tot’; ‘god is dead I myself buried him.’ With the burial of Marxism in the rubbish bin of history, all their theories also are buried.

4. Personal experience. When catastrophes strike, when man loses all his worldly aid and hope, at the time of absolute desperation, an inner sense of knowing God arises. It is in that moment that man hopes in a supernatural being whose intervention rescues him. The Quran has referred man to this proof in various instances. For example see: 10:22-23, 29:65, 31:32.The proof of innate is also used by Imam Sadiq (a.s) to prove the existence of God.


Notes:

NB1. Instinct is a fixed pattern of action or emotion which is essentially unlearned, such as reproduction.

NB2. In the calculation of Probability, I did not count the lower and upper case letters, or the probability will be more.

NB3. The above argument is a theological approach; in ‘chapter 10 of Philosophy of Religion’ I have argued that even if the universe is not finite it still needs a Creator, as the needs for a cause is not only the finite of the universe.

NB4. Note that seeking refuge to God when in danger does not mean that fear is the cause for religious belief.

Source:

Al-Sheikh al-Sadooq, al-Touhid, p.292

Einstein. A., Ideas & Opinion. p.11.

Al-Majlesi, Beharul-Anwaar, vol.67 p.137


Other links:

Islamic Theology: Definition and History Chap 1

Islamic Theology:  Towards a meaningful life Chap 2

 

Author: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

http://www.ihic.org.au/

 

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