The argument from design - Episode 3

السّبت, 27 رمضان,1434 Saturday, 03 August ,2013
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The argument from design - Episode 3 The Argument from Design- Episode Three

Dear believers, may Allah give you more tawfeeq to keep fast, to understand the Quran, to act upon the teachings of Islam and may Allah enable us to learn more about our aqeeda. We discussed in the last lecture the ontological and cosmological arguments and methods to prove the existence of God.

Today inshaAllah we are going to discuss the teleological argument and tell you that in Greek Latin it means the goal or the aim. Let's put it this way, that when I come to a place and I see that it is well designed, for example to my friend's room and see that everything is put in its right place. The books are on the shelf in the right manner, the cupboards are well designed, the table, the computer and everything else. I wouldn’t imagine, it is impossible to imagine it happened by itself. When there is a design definitely there is a designer. Then when I come to another room for example I visit some other friend and I see that everything is a mess. We see that the books are here, the homework is there, even leftover food is left beneath the table and dirty clothes are here and there, so I can differentiate between the design, the order and the anarchy (the disorder).

Now if I walk on the bank of a river or by the sea for example, and I look at pebbles, stones or a piece of wood, I would think that the waves or the river or the high and low tides or sometimes an earthquake or the wind would bring all these things there. But if I suddenly find a watch there, can I believe, can I conclude, is it logical to conclude that the watch happened to be there for itself? Of course not! Why? Because when I look at the watch, how it is well designed to measure the span of time, for example the 24 hours or the 12 hours dividing them into each hour that is 60 minutes then into seconds and so on. Everything is well designed for a purpose and that purpose is to keep you within a time and that measure is so precise that you can rely on for your appointments, your trips, your flights and all other things.

Now if someone wants to convince me that this design happened for itself, this is something which can be the result of natural selection. Again I say look, when there is a design definitely I appreciate the designer.

Sometimes you see a painting, some paintings are sold in Sotheby's or some other exhibitions for millions of pounds or dollars, so the nicer and more precise, the details of each part of that painting tells how the painter, although I did not see the painter, maybe I have not even hear about the painter but of course when I see the painting I will conclude definitely that this painting is a result of a painter and the nicer the painting the more I appreciate the profession, the appropriateness of that painter. And the same applies to any art work. So when there is a design there must be a designer, when there is a painting there is a painter. When there is order there is someone who made this order. When I am invited to a friend's house and see the 24 guests that are sitting around the table and all the plates are designed in a very precise way, everything is put in its right place, I understand how the housewife or the one who designed for this party is well designed and well appreciated in the work they offer.

The same applies to all other types of poetry, all paintings, and all manufacturers who do something and so on.

Allah tells us about his signs (سنريهم اياتنا) ayat is plural of aya, aya means a sign. Every single thing in the universe, in the horizon, within ourselves, they all indicate and express one thing and that is (و في كل شي له اية تدل على انه واحد). There is a sign in everything which indicates that Allah has made it, has brought it into existence and that is from the tiny atom to more complicated galaxies or anything in the world.

If we look at the design and structure of the atom itself. Look at the way that different parts of the body functions and deals with the need of a person. The nerve system, the immune system, and everything within ourselves and gravity. You think every time it is said gravity it is for Isaac Newton who discovered that, but this is nothing but a sign of Allah Subhanahu wa talaa. When Allah tells in the Quran ((رفع السماوات بغير عمد ترونها Allah raised the skies, the heavens without pillars. Which means that Imam Baqir (a.s.) says that (هناك عمد لكن لا ترونها) There are pillars but you can't see them. And this is nothing but the gravity.

So this gravity which is keeping every star, every galaxy, everything in space in its right place, that there is no way of going wrong. And when once Apollo 12 was sent to space, there was a delay of a few seconds the scientists in NASA would calculate the spot where Apollo 12 was supposed to land now would land how many metres or kilometres away from that spot. It's only possible to calculate when there is a design the gravity is working and whilst you calculate the movement of Earth, everything in space and the moon itself, any delay even a few seconds will cause delay in landing time and distance. So when you can measure all these things now the astrology talks about for example the eclipse, the lunar and solar eclipse will happen in the next 50 years. That’s only possible when you see the design there. And when there is a design there is a designer, when something is there to tell us about the order of course there is a strong brain, strong intellect, the awareness, power, wisdom and the source of all these goodness has designed that and made it be this way and all of them in the Quran whether there are winds, there are herbs, there is rain, there are whatever natural causes you consider, all these are only signs of Allah's power.

Imam Ali (a.s.) mentions in Nahjul Balagha, which is a collection of his sermons and his lectures with various subjects, he explains about the tiny things in the creation of a bat, a bee and a locust. Sometimes you think they are not significant. What is a locust? What is important in the bat? What is important in a bee? But when eloquently the Imam (a.s) explains about the design and every consideration taken place in every part of these insects, flies or creatures, he wants to tell us there is very careful consideration for every need for each creature to deal with its requirements. For example, when a fetus inside the womb of its mother, the only way to survive is to feed from his mother via the placenta but the moment he comes to this physical world and that is the birth, immediately the feeding system turns into the breast of his mother. Who else other than the wise Almighty creator who has put everything in its right place to prepare for the nutrition for the way that the newborn baby needs to survive for the food and this is changing from what was inside the womb of the mother into the milk which emerges from the breast of the mother.

This is only one example which shows how Allah has provided every creature with its needs.

One day Almufattahl ibn umar alju3fi came to Imam Jaafar Assadiq (a.s.) and said oh Imam, there are a few people who are talking about nature, about accidents, about chance and they have caused some sort of confusion in my mind and I need you to guide me in the matters of the need to believe in the Almighty creator. Imam (a.s.) said to him, come tomorrow with a pen and a piece of paper and I will explain and let you know about each one. For four consecutive days, from sunrise till noon Imam was dictating the arguments from every corner of the world, every part of our existence, everything regarding birds, winds, about how all these things working together to secure this safe life and continuity of life for us.

Then even for example what William Harvey realized about two types of blood circulation inside us and before him scientifically was not known; only one was known and that is the greater circulation but the Imam (a.s.) long long time ago, before William Harvey explained to his student Almufathal, the whole concept of two types of circulation of blood within our bodies, about the brain and how it functions, about the senses, about the way that all these organs and limbs are working together, all these were explained in four consecutive days by the Imam (a.s.) and later on they were compiled in one book called Tawheed Almufathal, which has been translated into English and there were some commentaries on that by some Ulamas in Najaf in four volumes called Min Amali Imam Assadiq (a.s.) and indeed it is one of the works of the sixth Imam about how this design is referring to the designer and how this teleological argument in a philosophical term leads us to believe that in addition to all other methods this is the way that is mentioned in the Quran.

As we said that these are the ayat of the Quran, the ayat of the Almighty creator, the signs of His greatness, and His might. And last word in the methodology of the Quran is the story of Ibrahim (a.s.) Allah tells us in the Quran that Ibrahim as a little child was put in a cave by his mother because the tyrant of his time was trying to kill him, so the mother sought refuge for her son in the cave and put a big stone on the entrance of the cave and the first moment the little boy looked at the gap between the stone and the walls of the cave and saw a star, he said that this star should be my Lord, but because it was shiny, the light was there, after a while that star set, and Ibrahim (a.s.) said (اني لا احب الافلين) as the Quran narrates that: I don't love those who set. The next day, (فلما رأى القمر بازغا) he saw the moon and he was happy with the moon, it was lighter, brighter and bigger. He said that this might be my Lord. But again the moon set, so he said I don't love those who set. The third day he noticed the sun shining so he said, oh now this is the biggest and he thought that now the light, the brightness, the warmth of the sun is so great that it made him believe that this is my Lord. But again that set and he said that now I'm lost and I need the guidance from Allah subhannahu wa talaa, if He does not guide me I'm lost.

This by many scholars is only symbolic explanation about how humans all start from moving towards the light, that light can be tiny like a star then the moon then the sun, but in the end because they set, we logically understand that they are possible existent and we are to follow and believe in the necessary existent in a way that they do not set.

And why Ibrahim (a.s.) said he doesn’t love those who set? Because when you believe in God, you love Him and this love will lead to obey and accept from him because He is the source of wisdom, knowledge, power and the source of every goodness. And this way, this heart, this worship is only linked to Allah subhannahu wa talaa by love and full understanding of His might and greatness so, Allah considers this only a way to understand what is eternal, what does not set, does not seize to exist and to give us this philosophical idea and understanding the logical way for dealing with things that He's always there, He's beyond the time, beyond the space and beyond our imagination.

Insha'Allah in the next session we will try to discuss more about methodologies regarding the existence of God and His divine attributes and till we meet again we pray to Allah to accept your acts of worship, your fasting and your prayers.