Thursday, July 01, 2010

How does the Qur'an argue for the resurrection?


Although scientific findings like the second law of thermo-dynamics show that existence is on the way to destruction, it is enough for the destruction of the universe that a planet collides with another. If the beginning of existence is a big bang, why should its end not be another big bang or collision? Existence, with all its divisions, is an extremely delicately calculated organism, a system with parts subtly dependent upon each other. A human body is made up of about sixty million million cells. As a single deformed, cancerous, cell may cause the death of the whole body, so any serious deformation in any part of the universe may lead to its death. Or death sometimes comes unexpectedly and without any visible, diagnosed reason. So, why is it not just as possible for the universe to die all of a sudden, unexpectedly, without a visible reason or because of a ‘disease’ like ‘heart-attack’, or who knows that our old world is not suffering the terminal phase of cancer because of our misuse of it?

God’s all-embracing acts in the universe and the first creation
The Qur’an deals with the issue of resurrection and argues for it. One, it gives examples of God’s comprehensive acts in the macro-cosmos and at times it presents to our consideration God’s overall disposal of all of the three cosmoses (macro-, normo- and micro-cosmoses) together. In order to prove the Resurrection, the Qur’an also presents to our consideration the phenomenon of the creation of the universe, which it defines as the first origination (56:62), while describing the raising of the dead as the second origination (53:47). Two, it shows similar events in the world and makes comparisons between them and the Resurrection.

For example, in the following verse, the Qur’an stresses God’s Power and, by mentioning His universal acts like raising the firmaments without any pillars and subjecting the sun and the moon to His command, calls us to have conviction in the meeting with Him in the other world:

God is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see, then He established Himself upon the Throne (of authority; having shaped the universe and made it dependent upon certain laws, He exercises His absolute authority over the whole of the universe), and subjected the sun and the moon (to His command); each runs (its course) for an appointed term. He regulates all affair, expounding the signs, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord. (13:2)

The universe is like a book unfolded, and its destruction will be like rolling it up again
The Qur’an likens the universe to a book unfolded. At the end of time, its destruction will be as easy for God as to roll up a book. As He unfolded it at the beginning, He will roll it up and, through the manifestation of His absolute Power without the part of any material causes, re-create it in a much better and different form:

On that day We shall roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books. As We originated the first creation, so We shall bring it forth again. It is a promise (binding) upon Us. Truly We shall fulfill it (as We promised it). (21:104)

Bringing the dead back to life again is not more difficult for God than creation of the universe
Have they not seen that God, Who created the heavens and the earth and was not wearied by their creation, is able to give life to the dead? Surely He has power over every-thing. (46:33)

As pointed out above, besides presenting to people’s consideration God’s absolute Power and comprehensive acts in the universe, in order to prove the Resurrection, the Qur’an also gives examples of resurrection in the world and mentions similar events in human life.

Innumerable examples of the Resurrection in nature and man’s life
In the verses below, the Qur’an likens the Resurrection to the rejuvenation or revival of earth in spring-time following its death in winter and mentions how God disposes atoms and molecules in the process of man’s creation through stages. Nature experiences death in winter but when spring comes, earth rouses to life again and dried out pieces of wood come into leaf, blossom and yield fruit, all of which are similar but not identical to all the previous ones that came into being in previous years. Innumerable seeds of vegetation that fell into earth in previous autumn germinate under earth and grow into very many different plants without the least confusion. The raising of all the dead on the Day of Judgment will be like this:

Among His signs is that you see the earth dry and barren; and when We send down rain on it, it stirs to life and swells. Surely God Who gives the dead earth life will raise the dead also to life. Indeed, He has power over all things. (41:39)

O mankind! If you are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, (consider that) We created you of dust, then of semen, then of a fertilized ovum suspended on the wall of the womb, then of a lump of flesh shaped and unshaped, so that We demonstrate to you Our power. And We keep in the wombs what We please to an appointed term, and afterwards We bring you forth as infants, then We cause you to grow up, that you reach your prime. Among you some die (young) and some are sent back to the feeblest phase of age so that they know nothing after they had knowledge. You sometimes see the earth dry and barren. But when We pour down rain on it, it trembles, and swells, and grows of every pleasant pair. That is so because God is the Truth, and He it is Who gives life to the dead, and He is powerful over all things. (22:5-6)

Does man think that he will be left to himself uncontrolled (without purpose)? Was he not a drop of fluid which gushed forth? Then he became a clinging clot; then He shaped and fashioned, and made of him a pair, the male and female. Is He then not able to raise the dead to life? (75:36-40)
Look at the prints of God’s Mercy: how He gives life to the earth after its death. Lo! He verily is the Reviver of the dead (in the same way), and He is able to do all things. (30:50)

God has brought you forth from the earth like a plant. And to the earth He will restore you. Then He will bring you back fresh. (71:17–8)

Two mighty ‘streams’ flow in creation opposite to each other
A close examination of what goes on in the universe will make it clear that within it are two opposed elements that have spread everywhere and become rooted: with their results like good and evil, benefit and harm, perfection and defect, light and darkness, guidance and misguidance, belief and unbelief, obedience and rebellion, and fear and love, the opposed elements clash with one an-other in the universe. The universe manifests, through such continuous conflict of opposites, incessant alterations and transformations so as to produce the elements of a new world. These opposed elements will eventually lead to eternity in two different directions and materialize as Paradise and Hell. The eternal world will be made up of the essential elements of this transitory world, and these elements will then be given permanence. Paradise and Hell are in fact the two opposite fruits which grow on the two branches of the tree of creation; or they are the two results of the chain of creation. They are the two cisterns which are being filled by the two streams of things and events, and the two poles to which beings are flowing in waves. They are the places where Divine Grace and Divine Wrath manifest themselves, and they will be filled up with their particular inhabitants when the Divine Power shakes up the universe with a violent motion.

In this world, while oppressors depart still possessed of their oppressive power, and the op-pressed still subjected to their humiliation. Such wrongs are necessarily deferred for the attention of a supreme tribunal; essentially they are not ignored. Indeed, punishment is sometimes enacted even in this world. The torments endured by the disobedient and rebellious peoples in past ages teach us that man is not left unanswerable but, rather, is ever subject to such correction as God Almighty’s Splendor and Majesty may choose to apply to him. So, as declared in the verse, Keep apart on this day, O you criminals (36:59), God will separate the good from the wicked in the Hereafter and treat each group according to how they lived in this world. This is simply what His absolute Justice re-quires.

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