1. The reality of universe, a question provoking intellectuals and philosophers since the dawn of human scientific quest is still a secret. Nobody yet knows the confines and measurements of universe. According to current thinking Universe is about 93 billion light years in diameter yet no precise specifics of Universe are known.
To find out the facts regarding an object could be through its detailed inspection including physical scrutiny and questioning through its users and observers. Another option could be to know its creator and seek specifics from him. Human research about universe has been mostly through objective study entailing observation, study, analysis and conclusions.
Is it not apt to first identify and ask the designer of such a spectacular creation or phenomena or find out his (if he is there) description regarding the creation of universe? The creation of universe is dedicated to many plausible concepts besides many mythologies since ages. Somebody calls it Mother Nature, others owe it to different deities and few report it to be spontaneous while three Semitic religions exclusively attribute this creation to God, All Mighty.
Unfortunately, followers of these religions has focused more on study based on their intellect and capabilities rather than creator’s narration. Probably it could be more appropriate to investigate creator’s description to understand the universe. Another regret exhibited by the clerics of Abrahamic religions was bitter opposition of philosophy and science taking it threat to religious beliefs and practices.
Thus a conflict ensued which persecuted few great brains of scientific realm and still continues to challenge physical sciences bitterly. Are representatives of religions dismissing scientific research and stop such explorations? Are religious scriptures discordant and unscientific is focus of this study respecting origin of universe and what could be its specifications.
Creator describes Creation
2. The human desire to know the universe could be tracked back to Sumerian dynasty, 18thcentury BC followed by Greeks somewhere 776 BC. Thereafter, somewhat philosophical and rational study commenced about Universe. Still the focus of philosophers remained Earth, surroundings and human attributes. After the dawn of new age in Europe and coalition of scientific data from all around the Globe, a genuine, progressive and focused exploration commenced about the universe.
Surprisingly, religious scriptures were out rightly discarded by the philosophers and scientists perhaps due to the rigid, inflexible and intolerant attitude of the representatives of religions particularly christen Church and Muslims theology however, Jew clerics showed a moderate rather positive attitude toward scientific explorations.
Anyway, differences turned into hostility against religious people forced scientists to abandon religious scriptures probably a mistake. Thus God of religions could not find a place amongst the researchers and student of sciences resultantly, wedge between religion and sciences grew and widened.
We may remember that founder of the famous theory of “Big Bang” Georges Lemaitre and Father Armand David were religious men, a Belgian Catholic priest and a French Cardinal. What baffle me the most is few facts narrated in religious books almost more than thousand year earlier remained a mystery for science till 16th and 17thcentury?
Is it not a prejudice and biased approach toward knowledge? Nonetheless, skipping the discourse of clash between science and theology, we return to the focus of study, to understand the universe.
a. Concepts. Man has always been pondering about the origin of Universe. The popular theories regarding the origin and existence of universe amongst the philosophers through ages have been:-
(1) Steady or constant universe that it existed always and shall stay till unfathomable time
(2) Pulsating Universe that it shrink and expand and the process shall continue
(3) Big Bang, the most popular and widely accepted theory denoting concentration of mass and then exploding and constantly expanding forming galaxies, planets and cosmic objects.
b. The intellectual pursuits were focused on origin of objects in the context of universe and their characteristics however, who created them or how they came into being has never been a fundamental priority. Although, divine religions did speak about the creator’s description but the conduct of religion’s representatives was so imposing and stubborn that philosophers stayed away from them so concept of creator and his revelations progressively got relegated. Let us see what acclaimed holy scriptures say about the universe and creator:-
(1) Judaism holds that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the national God of the Israelites, delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and gave them the law of Moses at biblical Mount Sinai as described in the Torah. According to the rationalist stream of Judaism articulated by Maimonides, which later came to dominate much of official traditional Jewish thought, God is understood as the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence. Traditional interpretations of Judaism generally emphasize that God is personal yet also transcendent, while some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is a force or ideal.
(2) Christian God is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent (wholly independent of, and removed from, the material universe) and immanent (involved in the world). Christian teachings of the immanence and involvement of God and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe but accept that God’s divine Nature was hypostatically united to human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, in an event known as the Incarnation.
(3) Islam is very specific regarding God, defined in Quran as”Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute, He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him”.Fully accepting the oneness of God is to accept that He is distinct from everything else. It would not suit God’s majesty and glory to associate the limited attributes of His creation to Him because He is not restricted in any way, while His creation is. He is the First with no beginning and the Last with no end. Everything in the universe was created by His will. He is not confined by space or time and He is the only One who is in control and provides for His creation.
c. All Abrahamic religions explicitly accept the oneness of God and inventor of the universe alone but how he did it has not been narrated or explained by religious men for the understanding of common man. Best possible explanation can be found in Quran, the holy book of Islam as follow:-
(1) Verily your lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority), regulating and governing all things. No intercessor (can plead with him) except after his leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your lord; him therefore serve ye: will ye not receive admonition? (10:3).The simple explanation of this verse could be that God created the universe in 6 days and govern every activity in the universe.
(2) Verily, a Day in the sight of thy Lord Is like a thousand years of your reckoning. (22:47). This verse further explain the above referred verse adding explanation that one day in divine context is equal to one thousand years on earth thus universe was created in six thousand years of earth. It is the most rational explanation.
(3) Those who disbelief not considered that the heavens and the earth were an entity and We exploded them separate and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe? (21:30). Is it not confirmation of Big Bang theory?
(4) Thy turned to the sky, and it had been smoke. He said to it and to the earth: ‘Come together, willingly or unwillingly.’ They said: ‘We come (together) in willing obedience'” (41:11). It points toward nothingness, just gases and they were ask to transform into objects, and this concept has been validated by modern science.
d. Above referred facts from Quran leads to following conclusions regarding creation of universe: –
(1) God is unique and single. He does not need anybody not He is dependent on anything for creation of anything. He may not be defined due the characteristics attributed to him by religious scriptures and rightly so as most of the universe is still a mystery, how could creator of the universe be defined.
(2) Prior to the creation of universe, there was smoke, a gaseous form, God transform them into heavens and earth as an entity.
(3) Earth and Heavens were one mass separated by an explosion, thus conforming the modern scientific theory of Big Bang. Besides, every living creatures on earth is created from water. If universe was created from gasses (vapors) rightly, water could be only source of all creation.
(4) Time and space dimensions in universe are inconstant. The divine one day is equal to thousand years on earth so if God created universe in six days could easily be estimated to be six thousand years. It may not be that complex as time cannot be alike even on earth.
To Conclude it may be said: –
3. Modern scientific research and exploration has yet not step ahead of Big Bang theory regarding creation of universe, nonetheless, probe continues to explore and find the facts. The space exploration has bewildered the scientists regarding the vastness and diversity of universe. Here it is pertinent to mention that Quran always refer to universe as: Heavens and Earth”.
A verse of Quran is quoted here to denote what could be possible shape of earth”[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? (63:3). To my understanding, there are seven universes, layered upon with hundreds of galaxies within from the above referred verse of Quran. Heavens could be translated into urdu as “Aalameen” not the sky.
4. Before the creation of universe in existing form, it was all clouds, vapors and smoke, a gaseous farm of matter. The mass was subjected to immense inward gravity resulting explosion under tremendous pressure to transform into galaxies, solar systems, stars and planets progressively.
5. Beforehand, all design was worked out by Creator because he had decided to create his deputy in a suitable region in the contemplated universe. The objective of the whole creation was a creation which could identify the Al Mighty with conscious and understanding.“Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant” (33:73).M any prototype creations were tried before the creation of human, like Jinn and angles.
6. Where does Allah (God) stands in the universe? Read this verse of Quran and later explanation. “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is knowing of all things” (24:53). It is the most meaningful verse of Quran, it reveals the facts about the universe and place of God in the universe. Niche is universe, with no direction with God energizing it from around and within. This verse says that with the light, you cannot see, feel, touch, hear and listen anything because God is the total and only medium, your five senses are receptors even your brain is a data collating headwear and cannot function with receiving signals from five senses.
7. Universe is so vast and diverse that human can never reach its limits or confines. Why? Because if universe is as estimated by scientist to be 93 billion light years in diameter, which possibly could be much more then this estimate, even at the speed of light it may not be traversed. However, research and exploration shall enable human to accept the God of Quran, not of any religion may it be Judaism, Christianity or Islam. I think, human should continue exploring universe but may remember that if the aim of exploration is to identify the creator, it may let the humanity to some conclusion otherwise, this quest shall continue for unfathomable time.