Why did God Create Evil?

My friend resumed his questions, addressing me derisively:

How do you people claim that your God is perfect, gracious, merciful, beneficent, and compassionate while he has created all this evil in this world? Diseases, feeble old age, death, earthquakes, volcanoes, microbes, poisons, scorching heat, freezing cold, cancer sufferings that spare neither the newborn child nor the feeble old man. If God is love, beauty, and good, how does he create hatred, ugliness, and evil?

The topic that my friend has triggered is one of the main philosophical problems around which opinions have differed and schools of thought have split.

We say that God is all mercy, all good, and he does not instruct evil, though he has allowed its existence for a wise purpose.

Say: Surely Allah does not enjoin indecency; do you say against Allah what you do not know? Say: My Lord has enjoined justice, and set upright your faces at every time of prayer and call on Him” (Quran 7:28-29)

God does not instruct except with justice, love, philanthropy, forgiveness, goodness, and he does not accept except what is good.

Then why has he allowed the unjust to treat unjustly, the killer to kill, and the robber to rob?

The reason is because God wanted us to be free, while freedom necessitates error. Freedom would be of no meaning without the right of trial, error, correct judgment, and the unrestricted choice between sin and obedience.

God was quite capable of making us all benevolent by compelling us to obey him, and that would have necessitated that he deprives us of the freedom of choice. Though under God’s law and plan, freedom with suffering is more honorable to man than slavery with happiness. For that reason, he has allowed us to make mistakes, suffer, and learn; and that is the wisdom behind human freedom.

Nevertheless, an honest and unbiased observation at the universe would reveal to us that good is the rule, while evil is the exception.

Health is the rule, sickness is the exception; we spend most of our years in health, while sickness pays us a visit occasionally. Similarly, earthquakes are a total of few minutes compared with the age of the earth that is calculated in millions of years, and the same concept with volcanoes. Wars are short convulsions in the life of nations in between long extended periods of peace.

Then we get to notice a bright side in all what we see as bad. With sickness comes immunity, while pain nurtures strength and tolerance. Earthquakes vent the pent-up pressure inside the earth, preventing its crust from blowing up and restoring mountains to their places as ‘belts’ and ‘weights’ that stabilize the crust. Volcanoes spew up minerals and other hidden resources thus covering the land with rich soil.

Wars bind nations, combining them into groups and alliances, then into a group of united nations, finally forming a security council that serves as an international court for complaints and conciliations. In addition, the greatest of inventions came out during wars; penicillin, atomic power, rockets, jet planes, all came out of the crucible of wars.

From snake poison comes the antidote, and serums are made from microbes. If it wasn’t for our forefathers’ death we wouldn’t be in our positions today. And Evil in the universe is like shaded spaces in a painting, seeing them from very near gives you the sense of a defect or a fault, while taking a step backward to see the picture as a whole shows you how it is necessary and indispensable, fulfilling an aesthetic function within the structure of that art work.

Had we known health if it wasn’t for disease? For health remains an invisible crown on the healthy, right until sickness comes to visit. Similarly, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish beauty if it wasn’t for ugliness, neither the norm if it wasn’t for the odd.

For that reason, the philosopher Abu Hamid Al Ghazali says: The universe’s imperfection is the essence of its perfection, just as the curvedness of the bow is the essence of its eligibility, if it was straightened it wouldn’t throw an arrow.

Another role for hardships and sufferings is that they sort out people, revealing their true nature.

If it wasn’t for hardships all people would rule supreme, bounty beggars and boldness kills.” Al-Mutanabbi

They are the tests through which we get to know ourselves, and the trials upon which our degrees in the sight of God are determined. After all, this whole world we’re living in is nothing more than a chapter in a novel that contains several chapters, and death is not the end of the story but rather its beginning. It wouldn’t be rightful to judge a play on the basis of one act, neither to reject a book because the first page wasn’t so appealing to us; judgment here would be invalid. It is impossible to understand the complete wisdom behind something except at its end.

Then what is it that the mocking enquirer sees as an alternative? Does he want us to live a life that is void of death, disease, growing old, disabilities, limitations, sadness, and sufferings? Does he in fact enquire utter perfection? In fact, utter perfection belongs to God alone, and The Utterly Perfect is one with no plurality; Why would he? What does he lack that is found in someone other than himself?

This means that our friend won’t be satisfied unless he himself becomes God, which is the ultimate trespass.

So let us, in our turn, mock him, and those like him, who dislike everything. Those who want it a paradise; what have they done to deserve it? What has our friend presented for humanity to set himself up as The Almighty God who orders a thing to become and it simply comes into existence?

In fact, my grandmother had more sense than our friend here, the professor with a PhD degree and graduating from France, by simply putting it:

Good from God.. Evil from ourselves”

Simple words, but an honest summarization to the whole problem.

God sends the winds and flows the river, yet the greedy captain overloads his ship with passengers and goods leading to its sinking, then he moves on to curse divine providence and fate. What does God have to do with this? God sent the wind and flowed the river for good reasons, but greed and avarice of the soul have turned this good into evil.

How can those fine words be more true: “Good from God.. Evil from ourselves”

This is my (Mohamed the blog owner) first attempt to translate Arabic books that I find interesting and worth reading, in a simple and easy way to follow. If you have any comments please don’t hesitate to leave them, and of course feel free to share this wherever and whenever you like.

God Bless

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He Begot None, Nor He Was Begotten

My friend is a man who loves arguments and talks. He thinks that we, naive believers as we are, feed on illusions, fool ourselves with ideas of Paradise, and that we miss the pleasures of this world and its attractions. Talking about my friend, he graduated from France, got his PhD, lived with the hippies, and came to disbelieve in everything.

He addressed me sarcastically:

You people say that God exists, and the main evidence that you hold on tightly is ‘The Law of Causation’ which dictates that for every work there is a worker, for every creation there is a creator, for every being something brought it into existence. A piece of fabric denotes a weaver, a piece of art denotes an artist, and an inscription denotes an inscriber. Therefore, the universe, following this concept, is the most convenient denotation for The Almighty God who created it. We came to believe in this creator. Don’t we have the right, following this same concept, to ask who created this creator? Who created this God you’re talking about? Doesn’t your own deductions lead us to this? Following the same Law of Causation? What are your thoughts regarding this bump, if you please?

We inform him that his question is invalid, and there’s no bump or anything of that sort. You agree on accepting God as the creator, and then you ask who created him. You’re making him the creator and a creation in the same sentence, and that’s a contradiction.

Another side of your invalid question is that you imagine the abidance of the creator to the laws of his creations. The law of causation belongs to us, residing in time and space. While God has created time and space, it is not right to imagine him confined within time and space, neither with their laws. God created this law of causation. Hence, it is not right to imagine him confined within it.

And you, falling in this fallacy, are more like a string doll, imagining that humans who created it must be moving with strings too. If we would inform it that humans move freely, it would say: It’s impossible for someone to move freely! In my world, I see everyone move with strings.

Similarly, you don’t imagine God existing without the need of someone bringing him into existence, just because you see everything around you in need of something to bring it into existence. Then you’d be like those who think that God needs a parachute to descend to people, or a fast car to reach his prophets. Exalted and raised, is He from all those descriptions, far above.

In his book, Critique of Pure Reason, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant realized that the mind cannot comprehend matters of core nature. Instead, it was naturally designed to perceive matters of the apparent. It is unable to perceive an intrinsic quality like divine existence. For that reason, we’ve come to know God through conscience, and not through reason. Our yearning for justice was our indication of the existence of The Just, just like how our thirst is an indication of the existence of water.

Aristotle moved on with the flow of causation, saying that the chair came from wood, wood came from the tree, the tree came from the seed, the seed came from the farmer, etc. Eventually he was compelled to say that this serial flow in time has to end with an act that isn’t in need of a cause; a primary act, or a primary trigger that is in no need of someone triggering it; a creator in no need of a creator. That’s what we assert about God.

On the other hand, Ibn Arabi‘s response to that question, of who created the creator, was that it denotes a distorted mind. That God is the one who substantiates existence, not the other way around. Just like saying that it is light that indicates day, while the other way around would be a reverse logic.

God says in a Hadith Qudsi (Sacred Hadith):

It is I who aids in proving and finding, there is no proof leading to me.”

God is the proof which is in no need of a proof. He is the self-evident truth; and he is the evidence that substantiates everything. God is manifest in the order, precision, beauty, and in accuracy. In the tree leaf, the feather of the peacock, the wing of the butterfly, the fragrance of the flower, the chanting of perching birds, the consistency of the stars and the planets, in this symphonic poem that we name ‘The Universe’.

If we say that all of this came into existence by chance, then we’d imagine that throwing a bunch of alphabets in the air would result in its combination by itself to form an authorless Shakespeare poem.

And the Quran spares us all these arguments with a few expressive words, in a non-philosophizing decisive clarity:

Say, He is Allah , [who is] One,

Allah , the Eternal Refuge.

He begot none, nor He was begotten,

Nor is there to Him any equivalent.” (Quran:112)

Our friend asks again, sarcastically:

And why do you say God is one? Why wouldn’t there be multiple Gods with multiple specialties distributed among them?

And we shall reply to him using his concept that he acknowledges; with science and not with Quran.

The creator is one, because the whole universe is built from one resource, and is based on one plan. From Hydrogen, the ninety two elements in the Mendeleev table were formed in the same manner; through fusion and the emission of atomic energy, in which stars and suns flame-up in space. In addition, all forms of life are built of carbon composites; they are all charred when burned.

They are all according to one anatomical plan. An anatomy of a frog, a rabbit, a pigeon, a crocodile, a giraffe, and a whale reveal the same anatomical structure in all. The same arteries, veins, cardiac chambers, and bones correspond in all of them. The wing of the pigeon is the foreleg of the frog; the same bones, only a slight transformation. The long neck of the giraffe contains seven vertebrae, we find the same number in the hedgehog’s neck.

The nervous system in all consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the motor and sensory nerves. Their digestive apparatus contains the stomach, the duodenum, and the small and large intestines. The genital apparatus has the same components: the ovary, the uterus, the testicles and their ducts; while the urinary system in all consists of the kidney, the ureter, and the bladder.

The anatomical unit in each of these creatures is the cell. Whether we are dealing with plants, animals, or humans, we are met with the same features; they all breathe, breed, die, and are born in the same way.

Doesn’t all of this denote unity in techniques? What’s so strange then, in asserting that God is one? and why would The Complete multiply? Does he lack something that needs completion? It is only the incomplete who multiplies.

And if there were more than one God, they would fall among themselves each taking his own creation to his side, and the universe would fall apart. God has his own glory and pride, and these are characteristics that cannot be shared.

Our friend makes fun of the divine concept as we understand it, saying:

Isn’t it strange this God that intervenes in everything, little or big? Mastering all creatures, inspiring the bees to abide in the mountains, no leaf falls but he knows of it, no fruit grows out of its bud but he takes count of it. It is he who causes the foot to tumble in a hole, or a fly to fall in a plate of food, or a bowl. Even if the phone is dead, or the rain doesn’t fall, he’s behind all these events after all. Don’t you keep your God busy with too many trivial matters under such conception of him?

I certainly don’t understand. Does a God, in the eyes of the enquirer, become more worthy of divinity if he relieved himself from these responsibilities, took a vacation, and turned his back on the world he created? Does a God who is not operating, unconscious, not hearing, not seeing, not responding, and not caring for his creations become more worthy of being a God? And how does someone know if a certain issue is trivial, while another is much more important and of great value?

The fly, which seems insignificant in the eyes of the enquirer that it doesn’t seem to be of much importance whether it falls into a plate of food or not, has the power to change history with its unimportant fall. It could infect an army with cholera, resolving victory to the competing side, and thus changing the course of history. Wasn’t Alexander the Great killed by a mosquito?

The most trivial premises can lead to the most serious consequences, whereas the most important beginnings can issue in nothing. The All-Knowing of the unknown alone realizes the value of everything.

And did the enquirer imagine himself to be a trustee over God, defining his prerogatives for him? Glorified and disdained, is our Lord from this naive conception.

God who is worthy of divinity, is he whose knowledge has covered everything; who misses not one atom, whether on earth or in the sky.

The All-Hearing, The Responder, The Caring for his creations.

This is my (Mohamed the blog owner) first attempt to translate Arabic books that I find interesting and worth reading, in a simple and easy way to follow. If you have any comments please don’t hesitate to leave them, and of course feel free to share this wherever and whenever you like.

God Bless

Dialogue with my Atheist Friend (Preface)

Because God is unseen, because the future as well as the afterlife is unknown, and because whoever goes into the grave does not return, the commodity of atheism has spread, and materialistic concepts have prevailed. People worshiped themselves, gave themselves away to their desires, and buckled down to this world quarreling over its goods. Many of them believed that nothing is behind this world and that nothing is after this life. Major countries are fighting over Earth’s gold and goods. Disbelief has its own theories, materialism has its own philosophies, denial has its own recesses and gun crew, and deniers have their own sacred house, clinging to its cilia and performing pilgrimage to it during their accommodation and travel; A dignified sacred house, which they call ‘Science’.

When the ‘Human Genome’ emerged, this little booklet containing 5 million pages inside the cells of each one of us, stored in a microscopic cellular space, in the form of 3 billion chemical symbols, explaining our shares, weaknesses and strengths, and our health and sickness, it awakened the whole world, rendered them absolutely shocked.

How? When? Using which unseen pen this precise work was written about a future that is yet to come? Who wrote all this info? What are the means used? And who has the ability to register logs like this?

Then we saw Bill Clinton, the president of the biggest country in the world, showing up on Television and speaking in a humble tone: “At last, it is now possible to collect the complete information about the Human Genome, and scientists are about to break the code which God has used in writing our fate.”

Just like that, he mentioned ‘God’ in his statement.

Yes, it was a temporary awakening, followed by controversies and commotions; allot started talking in the name of religion and in the name of science, and they disputed.

Old questions regarding human freedom started to reappear; Do humans have a free will, or are they determined? If God has already predetermined our actions, then why does he hold us accountable? Why did God create evil? What about those unreached by Holy Books? What’s the religion’s situation with regards to evolution? And why do we assert that it is impossible that the Quran might be fabricated?

Once again this old dialogue with my atheist friend has returned, as well as its subjects: determinism, choice, resurrection, fate and judgment to be the contemporary topic.

This new version returns just in time to participate in solving this puzzle, and to stimulate this topic in the light of fixed science, Quranic signs, and the unshakable divine certainty.

Welcome to the tranquil, constructive dialogue.

Mustafa Mahmoud

 

This is my (Mohamed the blog owner) first attempt to translate Arabic books that I find interesting and worth reading, in a simple and easy way to follow. If you have any comments please don’t hesitate to leave them, and of course feel free to share this wherever and whenever you like.

God Bless

Momentary Fiction

It feels healthy to disconnect yourself from the real world for a while, especially when every time you take a look, you see a never ending vicious cycle of arguments, altercations, lies, insults, fighting, kidnapping, mocking, raping, etc. We sometimes need to live inside a fictional bubble, that isolates us from all the illnesses and pain that exist outside, either by reading a book, watching our favorite movies and shows, listening to music, or whatever that might help. I personally cannot withstand living in the real world continuously for so long… Can you?

Signs of illness

I feel vulnerable, confused, insecure and full of hate. Why? Well its a long story that started with hope and ended with misery. We all have to grow up someday and realize that no one is as he/she seems. Who seems like a Preacher acts like an Atheist. Who seems like the closest person to me acts like my enemy. I may be suffering from psychological issues. But the truth is, we are all mentally ill; we tend to do everything wrong to the people around us, but when they do to us the same we become rebellion and refuse to handle things. We have zero tolerance towards one another. Sometimes its the arrogance that takes over us, preventing us from even listening to each other. Each person sees what he chooses to see, listens to what makes him feel better and speaks, in his perspective, only wisdom.