Showing posts with label Creation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creation. Show all posts

Monday, November 5, 2018

Qur'an al Kerim is a truthfinders' supreme linguistic challenge; Greek Philosophy Of Nature is a philosophical theory

The idea of a realistic and systematic plan and purpose for creation was familiar to the ancient Greeks; much of their philosophical effort to find logical explanation behind the regular forces of nature are inspired by the need to understand a universal cause behind it all. They found that much of their effort stranded on its unreachable quality. In their days, the modern tools for scientific research lacked. Yet, it didn't stop the Greeks from developing a mathematical language and methodology, and systematic philosophy, some of which are still in use today. They made educated guesses based on philosophical thinking, but, also based on their everyday life and social and religious environment. That led to theories that sometimes make us smile, today, and sometimes compel us to deep respect for their forwardness.

Earlier, we saw, Anaximander assume the Earth was a flat barrel floating in space, with people living on its top. Anaximander must have seen enough wine barrels in his days to make his thought plausibel and natural, but we know now, that it isn't true. It also led to efforts to gain correct knowledge of nature. But, today, we still use Thales' theorems of triangles and diameters. Another example, Demokritos' Atomism, can be seen as an early precursor to chemistry.

Diogenes of Apollonia, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, were among those who had formed theories about matter, particles, and the elements (water, air, earth, and fire were seen as the most prominent ones), but also here, disagreement was an issue.

Not to forget, Pythagoras and other mathematicians.

We won't find mathematical methodology in Qur'an al Kerim. Qur'an al Kerim has a different, more verbal approach to mathemetical phenomenons. Qur'anic verses below show the importance of knowledge in general and how knowledge may lead to thinking and eventually to faith; they are incentives to gather knowledge, even to personal growth in science and arts, rather than scientific treatises. Verses 55:17 and 70:40 can be seen as references to goniometry, but they lack the terminology and abbreviations. Yet, the thought behind them, is mathematically correct. Indeed we can conclude, the Earth has two permanent rotations: one around its own axis, and other as a larger circle in space. Also can we conclude, that East and West are infinite -- which very well may refer to the Earth being a ball. Qur'an is very consistent about this topic, too -- contrarily to Greek philosophers of nature, who disagreed. This, and the fact, that not very much of the oldest Greek philosophy of nature has been preserved in texts, makes it unlikely, that Qur'an al Kerim is just a blind copy of Greek philosophy.

The Greeks had noticed, that some things are naturally and logically impossible and Qur’an appears to support this idea. Optimization of proportion, goals, time plan, is essential in creation. Not without reason, Qur’an says: ‘but most of them do not know’; ‘no want of proportion in creation, seest thou any flaw?’; 'Not without authority shall ye be able to pass'; 'We created [...] them but for just ends, and for a term appointed'. The idea of duality in creation is mentioned in Qur’an in several verses, sometimes referring to gender; sometimes, like in verse 36:36, also to other opposing or complementing forces. Humans may certainly go search for knowledge, but there's no guarantee they will receive it.

As I've said earlier, many efforts have been made to prove, that Qur'an al Kerim is a book of scientific correctness. I'm familiar with Maurice Bucaille's book 'The Bible The Koran and Science'; I'll give an example that, in my opinion, shows, how careful we should be, looking at Qur'an al Kerim as such. Dr Bucaille says, in his comment to Qur'anic verse 16:66, page 130 and 131 at a pdf by Kalamullah.com, and I think he's right, that many translators are inclined to give too specific translations of Arabic homonyms, such as the words batn and baini. Batn means both 'belly' and 'center'; baini means 'in the middle of', and 'within'. Some translators said: 'We give you to drink of that is within their bellies, from betwixt the refuse and the blood'; Bucaille said 'We give you to drink of what is inside their bodies, coming from a conjunction between the contents of the intestine and the blood' This is no doubt utterly true -- but, would it have been understood by Rasulullah and the sahabah? Not likely. And, they might have dismissed it -- if I may assume like that.

Good translators know their place. Modesty, honesty and precision, is their role; anything else, is interpretation. And not translation. They must stick to the most original, indisputable, and obvious solution, without filling in what they 'think' is 'meant' with a word. If the Arabic homonym has no same homonym in another language, then why not stick to a brief, ambiguous description, that leaves the homonym intact? In other words, a description that is multi-interpretable. If they don't know the true meaning, then why do they fill in their own, too specific assumption, no matter how well-educated and honest it may be? It is, as it is. Don't make more of it, than that is actually said. In this case, I, personally, would give this translation:

'We give you to drink from what is inside their bodies, from what's among their bowels and their blood' (16:66)

'Among' is a word that may catch precisely this ambiguous, both abstract and very literal, situational meaning, that we also may find in the word 'baini'.

Another, much simpler example: Qur'anic verse 13:4 mentions the palmtree. Some translations talk about palmtrees, sec; others about date-palmtrees. Dear translators, why are coconut palms not included in your words? Are you sure, here? We can spot many differences between translations, alas, that shouldn't be there.

Main issue, perhaps, is not even translation; it's honest, clean, undecorated, and uncoloured interpretation. That really is enough to appreciate the scientific correctness, or at least non-incorrectness, of the content. I mention translation, because, like Greek philosophy, most people must appreciate Qur'an al Kerim, in its full meanings, from a translation.

Personally, I say, that Qur'an al Kerim touches the meaning of life here: That it's meant to be experienced, foremost. Life as a classroom, test field, and finally launch market, is part of this experience. It triggers those who find happiness in gaining knowledge. And nearly all of us enjoy gaining knowledge; it is part of human nature to inquire. And, it's made one of humanity's assignments during lifetime.

Some Qur'anic verses:
16:8; 16:66; 22:5; 30:30; 32:5-9; 36:36; 44:38; 46:3; 55:17; 55:33; 67:3; 70:40

'And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and as an adornment; and He has created things of which ye have no knowledge.' (16:8)

'And lo! in the cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from betwixt the refuse and the blood, pure milk palatable to the drinkers.' (16:66)

'O mankind! if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that ye attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dieth (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knoweth naught. And thou (Muhammad) seest the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it doth thrill and swell and put forth every lovely kind (of growth).' (22:5)

'So set thou thy face truly to the religion being upright, the nature in which Allah has made mankind: no change in the work by Allah: that is the true Religion. But most among mankind know not.' (30:30)

'He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. (5) Such is the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, the Mighty, the Merciful, (6) Who made all things good which He created, and He began the creation of man from clay; (7) Then He made his seed from a draught of despised fluid; (8) Then He fashioned him and breathed into him of His Spirit; and appointed for you hearing and sight and hearts. Small thanks give ye! (9)' (32:5-9)

'Glory to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own kind and things of which they have no knowledge.' (36:36)

'We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them merely in sport. We created them not except for just ends, but most of them do not know.' (44:38)

'We created not the heavens and the earth and all between them but for just ends, and for a term appointed. But those who reject Faith turn away from that whereof they are warned.' (46:3)

'Lord of the two Easts, and Lord of the two Wests!' (55:17)

'O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! Not without authority shall ye be able to pass!' (55:33)

'He Who created the seven heavens one above another, no want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of the Most Gracious. So turn thy vision again: seest thou any flaw?' (67:3)

'But nay! I swear by the Lord of the rising-places and the setting-places of the planets' or 'Yet no, I swear by The Lord of the Easts and the Wests' (70:40)

Sources:
Quran Explorer
https://www.kalamullah.com/Books/BibleQuranScience.pdf



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Absolute Truth is More Than an Abstract Exercize

"Everybody their own truth" is seen as an ultimate truth, but how about "absolute truth -- is it logically possible"? Reading "Incoherence of the Incoherence," written by the Islamic philosopher Averroes, Ibn Rushd, brought absolute truth, as a conceivable concept, nearer to me. It is true, that minus multiplied by minus, results in a positive. This is not merely a mathematical agreement to make arithmetic easier -- the linguistic approach may display its true meaning. Saying "our neighbor never didn't have a dog" means that our neighbor always had a dog. This is a simple example. Truth says something about possibility. Is a certain phenomenon possible? It is not possible to divide a number by zero. Vice versa, multiply a real number by zero and then expect another real number other than zero as an answer. Possible? What do you think. Another example. Two plus three is five. Not four, not ten. Numbers are absolute eternal standards; they aren't produced items with a limited life span.

A more difficult next step would be considering existence versus non-existence. Do we ever consider what it really means: Non-existence. Is it possible to create non-existence. It is possible to create a void, an empty whole, but this is not the same as not existing. Non-existence is the absolute nothing and such is not possible in combination with existence, because matter, space, and form stand in the way as concrete, truly existing phenomena. It is possible to change a fire into air, but not into entirely nothingness. Creation and non-existence do not match, creation and change of form and matter, however, do very well. Creation of empty nothingness means disappearance of matter and form, and this implies, that these latter two have to move somewhere else. This somewhere else means an existing place or a new shape.

Averroes' main opponent, the theologian Al Ghazali, believes that God's will is enough to create non-existence and new existence alike, and also that His will was enough to create the universe from nothing. His line of thinking has been followed by the majority of the Islamic world, however, also in the Christian world it has contemporary followers. Modern thinkers consider the possible occurrence of a "big bang" to be the initial creation, by a Force that may be called God. Other modern thinkers contemplate a possible intelligent design by a Maker that consciously and deliberately develops new species and landscapes, or even new galaxies. Al Ghazali saw no limit to Divine power; Ibn Rushd, however, believed in absolute possibility versus absolute impossibility. Divine Omnipotence to Ibn Rushd does not mean creating the impossible, but abstaining from the impossible and being able to create everything that is possible.

The second issue is time. Creationist believers think that God in His Omnipotence creates within time. Time can be abolished and re-created by His will, and time was created when the universe was created. However, is it possible to create the universe from the non-existing? Who would do that? An existing force: God. This means that absolute nothingness is impossible. If God is eternal and limitless, it is inconceivable that God should have originated from something or somewhere. Not even God can exist in the non-existing, so creation in the non-existing is equally contradictory. It's a jolly idea, nothing further. In order to understand, it is better to consider the universe. Is the universe just our heavens and earths with their galaxies? What if there is another universe bordering "our" universe, or that ours was preceded by an older one and will be followed by another universe. And a heavenly trash can for everything that has been destroyed by our Lord. This does not solve the main issue, namely that all this belongs to the same divine creation. Therefore, it is impossible to conceive non-existence as a creation, as the difficulty of matter will stand in its way. There will always be God left and the other parts of His creation. Considering all this, it is possible to conceive a destruction of the universe when it is preceded and followed by creation of something else. On a limited level, it is possible to imagine non-existence. Time in all this is an objective standard and integrated eternal part of existence. Time measures the lives, temporary existences and movements of individual items in creation, and it is no creation by itself, according to Ibn Rushd.

Al Ghazali, however, says that time was created when the universe was first created. At first sight it seems possible to invent a time zone for each planet, each galaxy, but that does not solve the issue of creation itself, existence as a whole. If there were more time systems possible in existence, it would be possible to imagine a shift of universes in their order of appearance. An existing universe could trade places with a future universe. The hereafter could trade places with the present life. This is not possible, and it shows why it is not possible to imagine more than one universe or creation. Time and non-existence as a creation by God seems a nice exercise of thought rather than real truth, to Ibn Rushd. There is only one universe, and it answers to certain natural truths that we nowadays call laws of nature. Time dictates the order of events independently and equally for no matter which item or event in the universe. Like numbers, time is an absolute eternal standard and not bound to any individual item with a limited life span. Is this Divine will?