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The manifestations of God in nature

The world of matter and nature, conceived as a created whole, is the best, clearest and most universal evidence for the knowledge of God. The wise will of that Eternal Principle can be discovered in the very processes of material change. It is apparent that His eternal rays bestow life and sustenance on all beings, and that all of creation derives both its existence and its advancement from Him.To study the different beings in the universe, the mysteries of the book of creation, the pages of which all bear witness to the operation of a lofty intelligence in its creation, provides, then, evidence on which to base knowledge and belief in a wise Creator Whose power is but slightly manifested in the order of beings for all their splendor and vastness. It is, moreover, a simple and straight forward proof that lacks the complexity and weightiness of philo sophical evidence.

It is a path for study and contemplation that is open to all; everyone can benefit from it, both thinkers and scholars and the simple masses of humanity. Everyone, to the extent permitted by his capacity and vision, can see in all the phenomena of creation indications of connected ness, harmony, and purposefulness, and find in every one of the countless particles of creation a firm proof for the existence of the source of being. The complete adaption of every species of animal to its condi tions of life is a great sign of God; each has been created with all the particular instruments needed for its conditions of life.

Moses, the one who spoke with God, peace be upon our Prophet and him, made use of this proof in order to demonstrate the existence of God to the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh said to Moses and his brother: "Who is your Lord?" Moses, peace be upon our Prophet and him, replied, "Our Lord is the one Who endowed all things with a particular form of creation." Likewise, Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, said to Mufaddal, "Look carefully at the structure of the bird's creation; see how it has been created light and small in volume to enable it to fly.It was given only two legs instead of the four given to other animals and only four of the five toes they have on each foot. Birds have slim, pointed breasts to enable them to fend the air easily and fly in every direction. The long legs of the bird fit easily beneath its tail and its wings, and its whole body is covered with feathers so that air might penetrate them and aid it to fly. Since the food of birds consists of seeds and the flesh of animals that they consume without chewing, they have no need of teeth. Instead, God created for birds a hard and sharp beak that cannot break when tearing off meat or suffer injury when gathering seeds. To enable this creature to digest the food it has not chewed, it has been given a powerful digestive system and a warm body.

Furthermore, reproduce by laying eggs so they can remain light enough to fly; if their offspring were to grow in their stomaches, they would become too heavy to fly." Then the Imam referred to a general law, saying, "Thus all the peculiarities of a bird's creation conform to its environment and its manner of life." The question of animal speech-the means by which animals communicate with each other-is another divine sign.

They pos sess a special kind of language that enables them to communicate with each other. The Noble Quran thus relates the story of an ant addressing the Prophet Solomon, peace be upon our Prophet and him, "An ant said, 'O ants, enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his army unwittingly trample you underfoot." Modern scientists have discovered a sophisticated system of communication among the animals that is more complex and precise than our own system of communication.Crissy Morrison writes, "If we put a female moth next to the window of our room, it emits soft signals that a male moth picks up from an incredible distance and it sends its own signals in return. However much you may wish to disturb this communication, you will be unable to do so. Does this weak creature carry some kind of transmitter, or does the male moth have a receiver concealed in his antennae?"A cricket rubs its legs together, and the sound can be heard up to a kilometer away on a quiet, still night.

In order to summon its mate, the male cricket sets sixty tons of air in motion and the female cricket sends a warm response to his wooings by some physical means, although apparently no sound is audible from her. Before the invention of radio, scientists used to imagine that animals communicated with each other by means of smell. Suppos ing this hypothesis to be true, it would still be something of a miracle, because the smell would have to move through the air to reach the nostrils of the female insect. This is quite apart from the question of whether a wind is blowing or not and how the female insect is to pick up the smell and tell where it is coming from, enabling her to know where her suitor is located.

"Today, thanks to highly complex mechanical means, we have gained the ability to communicate with each other over great dis tances. Radio is a remarkable invention, enabling us to communi cate with each other instantaneously. But the use of this invention is dependent on a wire and our being present in a certain place. The moth is still way ahead of us." Choosing the empirical sciences as a means of studying the infi nite mysteries of the world has another advantage in addition to ly ing within the reach of everyone.

It is that awareness of the wonders of creation and the order prevailing in it which naturally links man to the God Who has created it; such awareness displays to man the attributes of perfection, knowledge and limitless power that characterize the Creator and Source of all being. This precise order indicates an aim, a plan, broad and extensive wisdom.What creativity, what power, what knowledge He has in vested in all the world of being, in the smallest and the greatest of His creation alike in the earth, in the atmosphere, in the heavenly bodies, in the heart of stones, in the heart of atoms! When we speak of "order" it should be understood that the concept of order is applicable to a phenomenon when its different parts are somehow interrelated in such a way that they harmoni ously pursue a specific aim; the collaboration of the parts with each other must also have been taken into account.

Although those who deny the existence of order in the universe generally do not deny the existence of an active cause (since they accept the law of causality), what is by the principle of mutual acquaintance in nature is the ultimate cause, and this implying as it does the intervention of aim and purpose in natural phenom ena they do reject. In numerous of its verses, the Noble Quran invites men to ponder on the order of creation so that the mass of people should be able, in the simplest way possible, to become aware of the existence of the Unique Creator.

These are some of the verses in question: "In the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alternation of the night and the day, in the sailing of ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which God sends down from the skies and the life He gives therewith to a land that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth-in all of these matters, there are for the wise, clear proofs of the knowledge and power of the Creator.""God it is, that Pure Essence, that has raised the heavens without any pillar, as you see, and then adorned His throne in the midst of creation with perfect power. He has subjected the sun and the moon to His will so that each of them rotates in due course. He has imposed firm order on the affairs of the world and set forth the signs of His power with detailed proofs, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord." "He it is Who spread out the earth and raised the mountains upon it.

He made the rivers course and brought forth every kind of fruit, and He created all things in pairs. He covered the bright day with the dark night. Certainly in these matters are clear proofs for the thoughtful of the power of the Creator." If we accept and have recourse to every theory that has been put forward by the specialists and researchers, even the theory of evolution concerning the appearance of the various species found in the world, none of the theories in question will be comprehen sible without the presence of an absolute power, the intervention of a will, an awareness, and a final purpose and aim.

Gradual creation within the system of nature also clearly displays the intervention of will and awareness in its processes; all the stages in the movement and progress of nature have been based on a very exact choice and calculation, and nature has never diverged in the slightest in millions of years from its ordained path.It is true that in the initial stages of deriving proof for the exis tence of God from the orderliness of the universe, use is made of empirical data, and that some parts of the argument are constructed with the help of the senses, the study of nature and empirical observation. However, in reality, the argument is not an empirical one but rather a rational one, guiding us away from nature toward the transcendent reality that lies beyond nature. Empirical proofs concern the relationship between two parts of nature, each of which must be sensorially perceptible to permit the relationship between the two phenomena to be established.

When we estimate the degree of knowledge and awareness of a person by examining his works and achievements, we are not engaged in an empirical discovery, for the degree of knowledge and intelligence of a person is not a tangible quantity for us subject to direct experimentation on our part. Of course, man directly experiences will, intelligence, and thought within his own being, but he does not have a similar awareness of their existence in others; they are inaccessible to him.

It is through the works and achievements of men that we become aware of the existence of intelligence and thought in them, although there is no empirical proof of their existence in them. Now the discovery of intelligence in others by way of their works and achievements rests on a rational proof, not an empirical deduction in the sense of intelligence and its workings being directly suscep tible to direct examination so that their interrelations might be discovered.This discovery also does not rest on a logical compari son in the sense of positing an identity between one individual and all others. Given, then, that the recognition of thought and intelligence in men does not take place by way of empirical proof, it is obvious that the argument of orderliness in the universe and its connection with the divine essence also does not belong to the category of empirical proofs.   

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