If the atheists claim that God does not exist, then they are, in a way, right. He surely 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 do not know anything about it, not even how to reach out to it through intellect or information. It is the realm of the multiverses.
He does not exist in the multiverses of the 8 or 26 dimensions that the physicists of today talk about, warning us in the same breath that such universes will never be visible to us, even if the String theories can offer sound proof, and even if these multiverses overlapped each other within the same physical boundaries.
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, 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 creation 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, as described by the scientists, then we would have physically discovered Him by now. Or, perhaps. But He does not. He is beyond and above any ‘realm’ of existence.
Let alone the Realm of the Inexistent, we humans have been denied 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 the physical world, with no success in sight, despite the thousands of 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 successfully theories of matter at the Quantum level, are 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 explain; but such feelings, heavy on the scientists too, do not allow them to seek a holiday from physics.
To many, (the well-fed non-scientists, as well as the very-well-fed 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.
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.
The conclusion 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, comfortable.
So, how do we know whether God exists or not? Well, one way is in the same old way in which as 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 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 body was 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.”
Broadly, there are three ways in which God can be discovered; through:
- Our intuition,
- His Attributes, and
- His signs spread around us.
There is no human but he has faith in God planted in his soul right from birth, so that, as the saying goes, if God did not exist, we would have had to invent one. You search for something that exists. You may plant atheism in the heart of a child, from the day he began to utter the first syllable, and educate him in scientific disciplines based on that belief, as they do in the West, but come manhood, and he begins to ask, “Does God exist?” That question comes from the deepest recess of his soul. Some scientists say that humans carry a God-gene. But we are not too sure about it (not all that the scientists say may be believed) because, faith in God is planted in the soul. This evidence is different from the ontological argument of Anselm, Descartes, Plantinga or others viz. since God exists in imagination, He exists in reality. In contrast, our argument, as presented here is that God does not exist imagination, but in reality. That is, the one in the heart of every human is not an imaginary idea, it is an existent idea. It has been there, generation after generation, since first man put his foot on the soil. The Qur’an is alone among revealed literatures or their expounders, in propounding this argument. It is the most powerful reality, which has been leading humans of every generation to new quest.
Without God, the world is inexplicable. As someone said, if you found dozens of pieces of paper in shreds, which had a script, you sat down and pieced them together, but found that neither the bits and pieces sit well together, nor the script, because a single piece is missing, and, after years of search you found a piece, far away from where you expected it to be, but which completes the page, and, completes the script, so that it makes a sensible statement, then you have found the right piece. Without it, the page is incomplete, and the Script is incomplete. That single missing piece of paper that explains the world is God.
Things are known by their qualities. Call them specifications, if you will. If you mention something that has four legs, a flat surface, a meter high, your listeners know that you are talking of a table. If you say that you have in mind a little gadget that has a little screen, that can send messages, receive messages, (and can be used for spying on the people and locate them), the audience knows that you are talking of a mobile phone. Most of the time, the people are ordering things by giving out their specifications. They don’t have to actually look at it to be sure they are ordering the right thing.
God in Islam is known through His Qualities. That is what converts Him from a God, to Allah. Not surprisingly, the Qur’an presents His Attributes and Qualities, almost in every verse. It is the Book of God, and the Book about God. He is Kind, Compassionate, the Unique, the Provider, the Maker, the Destroyer, the Subduer, the All-hearing, the All-knowing, the All-seeing, the All-powerful, and so on. The Prophet said, “Allah has ninety-nine, one less than hundred; whoever mastered them, entered Paradise.” (By mastering them the allusion is to practicing them to their fullest degree). So, he who knew Allah’s Names (or, Attributes) knew Him. He who knew Him here, will recognize Him there, in the Field of Resurrection. He who did not know Him here, through His Qualities, will fail to recognize Him on the Day of Judgment when every worshipper of a deity will be asked to follow the deity he or she believed in and was devoted to. Those deities will appear like gods, perhaps endowed with the false attributes attributed to them. Their devotees will recognize them. They will lead them off the Field of Resurrection, straight into the Fire.
Consciousness, design, beauty, order, etc. are too difficult to deny as signs by which humans can recognize God. They speak out too loudly to ignore. Imam Shafe`i was asked, “How do you figure out there is God?” He gave out a wise answer: “Differences in color, shapes, and design lead us to believe that God exists.” The reasoning should be obvious. If God did not exist, then varieties should not have occurred: rocks would have remained rocks, dust, dust, and all of one color. Who brought in the colors? The answer: He who is All-seeing. Matter cannot see, genes cannot see (genes are matter), so, how did the creation know that the world need not remain colorless; it should be in colors?
In a tiny, invisible single molecule of water, there are three atoms: two of hydrogen, one of oxygen. Each of these two classes of atoms has nothing special in it. But, put them together, joined at a certain angle, and now it is a matrix of life. That tiny single molecule, named water, now has 20 messages hidden in it: Although easily joined together, the three atoms can be separated into oxygen and hydrogen atoms only if heated to 2000 deg. C. (So, humans can easily create the matrix of life, but cannot destroy it so easily). Water’s thermal conductivity is four times more than the thermal conductivity of any other liquid. The surface tension of water is quite high so that if the root of a plant has exhausted sucking the water around it, it will not go thirsty next. Water molecules from below rise up to say as if: here is your dinner. But more, because of this strange property, water rise up, little by little to the top of the tall trees, without any effort by the tree itself. Dip a piece of cotton partially in water and watch how water molecules rise up telling the gravitational force to mind its own business and not interfere. Water’s viscosity, made lower or higher than what it is, would have either prevented any movement of animals in water, or, it could not be moved within cells of the living. There are twenty such messages within each molecule you see rising up from boiling water as you heat it, messages which were not there before oxygen and hydrogen combined. Who brought in these messages?
Who brought the world into existence? The atheist says it happened by itself. But the human soul rejects the answer as an unacceptable and unsatisfactory one. He says matter came out of nothing. He calls the world a “free lunch.” Actually, to say that the world came out of nothing, is to say, “I don’t know,” but which the high priests of the religion of science cannot say. Like the pretender saints, rishis and peers, the scientists wish to create the impression that they know all. (In actual fact they know quite a bit less than what they claim).
Asked to explain how he knew that the world came out of nothing, the scientist says, “In the final analysis, as the universe shrinks, we are left with energy and the gravitational force. One is positive and the other negative. They cancel out each other by annihilating each other, so that you are left with nothing.”
You can see how he deceives. He turns the facts upside down but nobody tells him that he is broken of mind. He does not say that out of nothing came out gravity and energy, but to the awestruck listeners he turns the argument around and says, energy annihilates gravity and so you end up with nothing. But nobody asked him how the universe ended up. He was asked how it started. It is another thing that the newest discovery is that the world is not going to end in a crunch, but will go on expanding.
Perhaps to hide his shame or deflect the masses, the scientist asks, Can God create a stone so heavy, He cannot lift it? This is being pretty clever. 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 cannot lift it, then, the created thing would be God and lift the smaller 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 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 socket, that he can keep in his pocket? These are self-contradictory questions, unbefitting of a reasonable mind.
Denial of God, is a vast subject. We can only deal with it in parts. A few other points, then, some other time, Allah willing.