Sunday, April 8, 2007

156)"The creation according to Islam is not a unique act in a given time but a perpetual and constant event..."

I picked out what I think are some fascinating quotes from my previous post(no. 155) by the Jewish scientist Dr. Sharon Moalem and showcase them in this post along with some key sayings by our present Imam(Aga Khan IV), previous Imam(Aga Khan III) as well as other well-known scientists and writers, for your viewing pleasure:

Dr. Sharon Moalem:
"There wasn't, like, a flash. It was a slow process, sparked by long hours in the lab, and the realization that life is in a constant state of creation, and that there was a unifying force in the things I was studying -- whether you call it nature or God," says Dr. Moalem, who is now 33.

The bigger picture, he came to feel, involves God. "Everything that exists is in essence a part of God, a universal creation that is still continually unfolding and evolving."

He says he doesn't see God as a Zeus-like deity who throws down lightning but as the force that permeates all of existence, both the known and the unknown aspects of the universe.

He doesn't see any conflict between God and evolution. "Evolution is just another way creation is continuously unfolding."

He dislikes the notion that scientists are either enlightened and don't believe in God, or are a throwback to a time of ignorance. He does not think science should take on the markings of a religion."If you are using science not as a tool, but as a world view, you run the risk of shutting out something you can't measure. Just because you can't measure it doesn't mean it doesn't exist."Journeys -- both spiritual and scientific -- are defined in part by their starting points.

If Dr. Moalem had been brought up in an Orthodox household, he might have rebelled against religion, or kept that part of his life separate from his work, rather than turning to God to help explain the connectedness and complexity of life he discovered as an evolutionary biologist.
Globe and Mail, Saturday, April 7th 2007

Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation (Aga Khan IV, Speech, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983)

Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God’s signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order. Even in the Ayeh of Noor, divine is referred to as the natural phenomenon of light and even references are made to the fruit of the earth(Aga Khan III, 1952, 'What have we forgotten in Islam?')

....the outer universe interpreted as an infinite reality of matter, as a mirror of an eternal spirit, or indeed (as Spinoza later said) an absolute existence of which matter and spirit alike are but two of infinite modes and facets(Aga Khan III, London, U.K., 1936)

There is a fundamental difference between the Jewish idea of creation and that of Islam. The creation according to Islam is not a unique act in a given time but a perpetual and constant event; and God supports and sustains all existence at every moment by His will and His thought. Outside His will, outside His thought, all is nothing, even the things which seem to us absolutely self-evident such as space and time. Allah alone wishes: the Universe exists; and all manifestations are as a witness of the Divine will (Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954).

Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God. (Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954).

Imam Hassan has explained the Islamic doctrine of God and the Universe by analogy with the sun and its reflection in the pool of a fountain; there is certainly a reflection or image of the sun, but with what poverty and with what little reality; how small and pale is the likeness between this impalpable image and the immense, blazing, white-hot glory of the celestial sphere itself. Allah is the sun; and the Universe, as we know it in all its magnitude, and time, with its power, are nothing more than the reflection of the Absolute in the mirror of the fountain (Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954).

It is my belief -- and because it is a belief, you can discuss it but not disprove it -- that there is a great Spiritual Power and that there is a spark of that spiritual power within each of us. And I believe that there is a spark of the same spiritual power in all life.
-- Jane Goodall, chimpanzee-behaviour expert, environmentalist, animal-rights activist, author of Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey.

You use the tools of science to understand how nature works, but you also recognize that there are things outside of nature, namely God, for which the tools of science are not well designed to derive truth. The middle-ground position is that there is more than one way to find truth, and a fully formed effort to try to answer the most important questions would not limit you to the kinds of questions that science can answer, especially the eternal one: Why are we all here, anyway?
-- Francis Collins, geneticist, Christian, director of the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute, author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. . . . His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work. . . .
-- Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (1879-1955), did not believe in a personal God, is best known for his theories of relativity.

Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for him. One hears it said that 'God is the ultimate' or 'God is our better nature' or 'God is the universe." Of course, like any other word, the word 'God' can be given any meaning we like. If you want to say that 'God is energy," then you can find God in a lump of coal.
-- Steven Weinberg, 1979 winner of the Nobel prize for physics, atheist, author of Dreams of a Final Theory.
Steven Weinberg's co-winner of the 1979 Nobel prize for Physics was the Pakistani scientist Abdus Salam, about whom I have blogged here:

As a scientist, I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect.
-- Richard Dawkins, Oxford University evolutionary biologist, atheist, author of The God Delusion.


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3