A Stone so Heavy
You discover God through His signs; except that you do not have to go looking for signs leading to God. The signs dance before you. To deny those signs, you have to close your eyes, writes SYED IQBAL ZAHEER.
If the atheists claim that God does not exist, then, in a way, they are right. He surely does not exist in the world they know: in the physical world in which they can conduct tests and experiments, and which, wherever possible, they can manipulate. He does not exist in the ‘realm of existence.’ He is above and beyond the realm of existence known to the humans, or knowable to them.
God is even beyond that realm of existence which the humans suspect there exists, besides their own, but about which they do not know anything, not even how to reach out to it through intellect or information. They call it the realm of the multiverses.
Yet God does not exist in that realm either: the multiverses of the 8 or 26 dimensions that the String-theorists talk about, warning us in the same breath that such universes will never be visible to us, even if their theories offer sound proof, and even if these multiverses overlapped each other within the same physical boundaries – one of them being intruding our own.
God is a Reality of the Domain of Inexistence (a word we picked up from Schuon). In fact, He does not exist in the realm of the Transcendental world either – the world of Ibn `Arabi, Rene Guenon, Frithiof Schuon, the Ahl-Kashf, saints, rishis, or spiritualists of other traditions.
If He existed in the sense in which the humans or any other creations exist, and in the realm in which the universe, and what is lost of it beyond sight outside the edge of space, 152 light years away, exists, then we would have physically discovered Him by now – or perhaps. But He does not. He is beyond and above any ‘realm of existence.’ As an article in Muslim doctrine goes, ‘Allah is separate and apart from His existence.’
Let alone the Realm of the Inexistent, we humans have been denied a full understanding of the existent. To demonstrate the fact the following may be noted: Unable to integrate or reconcile the two scientific theories concerning our world, (presently expressed in the Standard Model and the Quantum Mechanics) a new explanation is being sought of our physical world, with no success in sight, despite top-class scientists and super-computers engaged in the search since last 20 years. The successfully tested theories of Relativity worked out by Einstein, and the equally successful theories of matter at the Quantum level, are scientifically irreconcilable. If Einstein’s theories are correct, the Quantum explanation is wrong, and if Quantum tantrum is correct, Einstein’s songs are wrong. To some, it might be fascinating, to others disappointing, or yet others simply boring to know that we live in a world which we humans will never be able to know or explain; although such realization, heavy on the scientists too, do not suggest that they take a holiday from physics.
To many, (the well-fed non-scientist theorists, as well as the very-well-fed practical scientists), the lure of working out a Unified Theory – at the cost of turning the Sahara, or Arabian, or Gobi deserts into lush green fields – is too attractive to sacrifice for the sake of removing the mundane problem of hunger from the planet.
The most popular effort at reconciling the two is with the help of what is famously known as the String Theory. It has several versions, but none too satisfactory. M-theory is the new shot, but the target is as fuzzy as the explanation, and perhaps the calculations that go with it.
Even if a theory is worked out, it will be inscrutable. Such is the nature of Nature. It promises us that we will never know, and never be able to explain our physical world. And God’s existence is not in the realm of any world known to us or knowable.
But there is a tractor-load of confusion that goes with it. With science ever on the march, it seems it has begun to confound the specialists more than it would clarify. A German scientist, Christopher Schiller PhD, has produced six volumes (we do not pretend to have read them all), on the topic of ‘motion’ (Motion Mountain, the Adventures of Physics). In so doing, he attempts at explaining the nature of matter, time, and space, at the micro level, or rather, at the Quantum level, and arrives at conclusion that are simply stupefying. The work, divided into hundreds of modules, with thousands of equations and illustrations evenly spread throughout the work (we do not pretend to understand them all), each with its logical conclusions, can make anyone’s hair stand on its ends.
If the results did not have mathematical equations behind them, and if the volumes were not on the Net for anyone to criticize, one would tend to believe that the conclusions are fantasy. In fact, some reviewers believe they are fantasy, or, at least, questionable. But, so far, the books and their contents have not been properly, scientifically, criticized. Those who disagree with the contents or conclusions have so far failed to point to specific errors. It is pointed out, in fact, that going by the tens of thousands of downloads from the Net every year, the book is, as says a reviewer: “among the most widely read physics texts across the world.”
So, one may take the conclusions with a pinch of salt, but they cannot be ignored altogether. In fact, some of the author’s conclusions are those that are aired by astrophysicists, while a few are the subject of discussion in the newly developing discipline of ‘Field Theory’ and ‘Holographic Nature’ of the universe (of which we shall have more to say sometime later, Allah willing). While the author places his conclusions after every module, we shall, to simplify things for our readers, place here the summary of summaries as stated by him on p. 103, vol. VI:
“Is the universe really the sum of matter-energy and space-time? Or of particles and vacuum? We have heard these statements so often that we may forget to check them. We do not need magic, as Faust thought (the reference is to Goethe’s lines in Faust: ‘Thus I have devoted myself to magic, that I understand how the innermost world is held together’ – ed.): we only need to list what we have found so far, especially in this section, in the section on Planck scales, and in the chapter on brain and language. Table 3 shows the result.
(His Table 3 says): The universe has no age, no size, no shape, no mass, no matter, no density, no volume, no energy, no boundaries, no beginning, it cannot be distinguished from vacuum, … (and) cannot be described.” (list shortened).
All the above conclusions had behind them (as discussed in the earlier part of the books) scientific discussions, each of them emerging as the logical consequences of a detailed investigation.
The point we are driving at is: if we cannot explain our world, nor in fact, (the biologists would like to remind us), ourselves, then, how can we ever know and explain God? The denial of the atheists then, is denial of what they do not know, and will not know. A fact which leaves them cold, yet somehow, it appears, comfortable; perhaps because the denial has become a religion, and a false religion is opium.
So, how do we know whether God exists or not? Well, one way is the same old way in which scientists discover and invent things. How was diabetes discovered? When a doctor found that flies were gathering in large numbers on the sample urines of certain class of patients, he wondered why? He took the courage, or maybe asked his nurse assistant, which is more likely, to taste a little on the pain of keeping her job, and discovered that those samples were rich in sugar. So, the bodies of these patients were not digesting sugar. Diabetes was discovered. How was Pluto discovered? Well, discrepancies in mass, position, and orbit of Neptune did not fully explain the discrepancies in the orbital behavior of Uranus. The astronomers concluded that there had to be another planet beyond Neptune. It was not too long (in astronomical terms) before, following a good chase, Pluto was discovered.
This is how you discover God: through His signs; except that you do not have to go looking for signs leading to God. The signs dance before you. To deny those signs, you have to close your eyes. The Qur’an said (7: 179),
“They have hearts but wherewith they understand not, they have eyes but wherewith they see not, and they have ears but wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle. Indeed, worse misguided. They indeed ‑ they are completely unheeding.”
It also said(22: 46),
“Do they not journey through the land, so that they might have hearts that they think thereby, or ears they hear thereby, for, it is not sights that go blind, but rather, hearts that are in the breasts that go blind.”
Perhaps to hide his shame or deflect the masses, some scientists-cum-atheists wish to create doubts. One of them asks, ‘OK, supposing God exists and that, as you believers claim, He has power over all things; agreed, but, may we ask, “Can God create a stone so heavy, He cannot lift it?’”
This is being clever (and cunning). Consider, if God could create a thing, whatever thing, it should be obvious that He could lift it too. If He created something so heavy He could not lift it, then, the created thing would be God which would, in turn, promptly lift the helpless god.
The question is absurd on many grounds. Why shouldn’t the scientist ask, can God fit a square peg into a round hole? Or, can God create a man of snow living on the surface of the Sun? Or, can God create a man in two equal halves, each half completely cut off from the other, but both acting together, sleeping together, living together? Or, can God create a man with eyes that can pop out of his sockets, that he can keep in his pocket, and pop them back when required? He could as well ask: ‘Can God commit suicide?’ These are self-contradictory, absurd questions that only a stupid mind can entertain.