In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Terms like Religion, Faith, God, and personal gods are not new to anyone. It seems that there is some element shared to all human experiences that reason us to look for something supreme on which to shape our lives, to ask the question Does God exist? And to assert, at least in some way, that He does.
Considering that so many societies have individually come to religious belief requires explanation. Is it mere coincidence? Is religious belief a natural psychological defense mechanism against the difficulties that life unpredictably throws at us? Or is it that this common instinct to look beyond the physical world hints us towards some truth?
Philosophers, theologians and those who do not believe in religion devise primary discussion on rational arguments, logic, and reasoning. But human reasoning itself has limits. It is incapable of comprehending all knowledge or to understand all the realities of life. From a philosophical perspective, a notable argument is provided that the claim of the existence of God is more conceivable by the fact of well-known religious belief. Peter Kreeft explained it as a natural instinct or innate desire to search for the transcendent that hints at the existence of God. Besides that, how could the existence of God be proven? Some draw on history, others on science, personal experience, philosophy and on divine sources.
Some major arguments for the existence of God, stem from looking at the signs. The biggest sign is our universe. The cosmological argument emphasizes that the organization and precise cosmic planning points towards a purposeful design that is working on the right set of laws to permit the presence of life and allows it to flourish. If the universe did not contain a life-sensitive arrangement of stars, planets and other physical phenomena, there would be no life at all. The argument goes that it is impossible for the universe to have created itself in a flawless arrangement or to have been created by nothing; consequently, there must have been a Creator who triggered the universe with the initial force and energy. This force and energy is the work of God the Exalted, the Creator that set the universe in motion. This argument was used by Imam Abu-Hanifa to confound the atheists who questioned him. Ibn Abu Al-‘Izz reported that some speculative theologians who intended to discuss the God’s Lordship approached Abu-Hanifa. He said, “Before we discuss this question, tell me what you think about a boat in the Euphrates which goes to shore, loads itself with food and other things, then returns, anchors and unloads all by itself, without anyone sailing or directing it?” They said, “This is impossible.” Abu-Hanifa said: If it is impossible with a boat, then how is it possible for the world, in its entire enormity, to move by itself?
On the other hand, the teleological argument holds that the deep and harmonious relationship between each creation also points to the fact that this can only be the work of a Creator and lord of everything through which creation obtains life-promoting benefits. The Quran refers to celestial objects, the alteration of night and day, vegetation, means of transportation and much more. God created all these with a divine accuracy, like sun and moon they are moving in their defined orbits. Until 16th century AD, the geocentric theory remained unchallenged until Copernicus asserted that Earth is the one that moves around the sun. In 1609, German astronomer Johannes Kepler published the Astronomia Nova in which he concluded that not only do the planets move in orbits around the Sun but they also revolve on their axes. This perfection in design stresses the need for a Maker that controls and directs everything including the universe. God, the Almighty Creator calls our attention to contemplate on the innumerable signs in nature that demonstrate His power and design. Thus, from the sun and the moon in the heavens to the creatures on the earth, to the inmost parts of the human being, from the life to the death – all of these direct to the power and deliberate plan of the Creator. If He brought the physical universe into being then, of course, He uses physical processes. It is human nature (fitrah) to understand these signs as evidence of the Creator’s purpose, though understanding often leads to belief.
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ mentioned that everyone is born upon their natural instinct (Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2658 b). So if signs of God are clearly indicating towards Creator and humans are born with this acceptance, then why many people disbelieve in God’s existence? The answer is that life is created as a test involving different temptations, desires and the pursuit of materialistic things. Once it is shaken by fear, danger or hardship, belief re-emerges. For instance, Pharaoh was an arrogant oppressor, who said, “I am your lord, most high,” but when he was about to drown, he said, “I believe in the One in whom the Children of Israel believe.”
Belief in the existence of God urges the need for moral values in the form of commands on what should be done and what should be avoided. These commands can only be given from the ultimate authority, which transcends the authority of creation. The disbelief not only blinds the intellect but also destroy one’s moral sense. When Wabisa ibn Ma’bad Al-Asadi asked it to the Prophet ﷺ about righteousness and sin, Prophet ﷺ said: “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the chest, even though people give you their opinion (in your favor) and continue to do so.” (Sharh Arba’een an Nawawi, Hadith: 27. It is classified as Hassan. Transmitted from the Sunan Ad-Darimi 2533 and by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal).
The noteworthy point is the Almighty God emphasizes ‘Faith’ and ‘righteous good deeds’ together. If ‘moral standards’ were adequate, then belief in God is pointless in the first place as atheists can also very well claim that they ‘abide by moral values’.
With the above discussion, it is settled that the creation and subtle arrangement of the universe depicts the fact of a designer and a creator. It follows that any idea of the plurality of God, or more than one Ultimate power in the universe is conflicting to what we see as a harmony in nature. Assuming the different possibilities can prove this. There can be two possibilities for the presence of more than one God. Either they are equal in power or one is inferior to other.
If they all have the same power and authority then it raises the question of why is another god(s) are needed if they are agreeing on everything. Some may argue that these gods could compromise, but when one talks about conciliation, it follows that one god would have to give a little here and then the other god would do the same at another instance. This means that will of one of the gods and that of the others cannot be absolute. This is a contradiction because God is one who is supreme, has definitive and uncompromising authority.
For the second assumption, the notion of weakness with regards to deity is inappropriate which again logically contradicts with the definition of the supremacy of a God that is free from every weakness, error, and defect or from any associate and partner in His work. To direct the message of God and shun false deities, prophets and messengers are sent by Him to every nation. They invited people towards His worship alone and to obey Him in what He has ordained.
Thus, it infers that the knowledge of the Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, the Creator, is arrived through His messengers, revelation which is phenomenal and clear proof of perfect wisdom. Knowledge of God means that we affirm His oneness, uniqueness, perfection and sole authority. Likewise, He created signs in His creation so one must use his eyes, mind, and heart to enrich his understanding. It demands an act of faith but not, as it is commonly mistaken, a blind faith. True pursuers of knowledge test their ideas and faith persistently in the light of true sources with an open mind and heart.
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