THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION – BIBLE AND QUR’AN:
By: Aftab Ahmad Khan
The science has formulated a ‘Theory of Evolution’ to explain the creation of human being. Word ‘Theory’ means; something taken as true without proof for the sake of argument or investigation, its opposite is ‘fact’; a thing known for certain to have occurred or to be true; a datum of experience. Evolution is a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. The idea of human evolution was first presented by the Muslim thinkers; Al Jahiz (776-868 C.E) and Ibn Miskawayh (930-1030 C.E) also mentioned by the great Sufi mystic and poet Maulana Jalal-ad-Din ar-Rumi (1207-1273 C.E): “Low in the earth, I lived in realms of sore and stone; And then I smiled in many tinted flowerers; Then roving with the wild and wandering hours, O’er earth and air and ocean’s zone, In a new birth, I dived and flew, And crept and ran, And all the secret of my essence drew Within a form that brought them all to view- And lo, a Man! And then may goal, Beyond the clouds, beyond the sky, In realms where non may change or die- In general form; and then away Beyond the bounds of night and day, And Life and Death, unseen or seen, Where all that is hath ever been, As One and Whole.”[Translation, quoted from “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam ”by Muhammad Iqbal, the great poet philosopher of 20th century]. The British naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882 C.E) further developed the theory of biological evolution, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Accordingly it is hypothesize that: ‘An evolutionary divergence exist between the lineages of humans and the great apes (Pongidae) on the African continent 5–8 million years ago. Homo habilis, inhabited sub-Saharan Africa until 1.5 million years ago. Homo habilis, in turn, appears to have been supplanted by a taller and more humanlike species, Homo erectus. This species lived from 2,000,000 to 250,000 years ago and gradually migrated into Asia and parts of Europe. Archaic forms of Homo sapiens with features resembling those of both Homo erectus and modern humans appeared 400,000 years ago in Africa and perhaps parts of Asia, but fully modern humans emerged only 250,000–150,000 years ago, probably having descended from Homo erectus.’
Origin of Life:
If a (human) species can develop only from a preexisting species (apes), through the process of evolution, then how did life originate? Among the many philosophical and religious ideas advanced to answer this question, one of the most popular was the theory of Spontaneous Generation, according to which, living organisms could originate from nonliving matter spontaneously. Research by Tyndall, together with findings of Pasteur (1822-1895), put an end to the doctrine of spontaneous generation. Biopoiesis, is an other the process by which living organisms are ‘thought’ to develop from nonliving matter. According to this theory, conditions were such that, at one time in Earth's history, life was created from nonliving material, probably in the sea, which contained the necessary chemicals. During this process, molecules slowly grouped, then regrouped, forming ever more efficient means for energy transformation and becoming capable of reproduction. Thus the evolutionary theory claims that life started with the formation of the first living cell by chance. The claim that nonliving materials can come together to form life is an unscientific one, that has not been verified by any experiment or observation. Life is only generated from life. Each living cell is formed by the replication of another cell.
In the 1920s a Soviet biochemist, A.I. Oparin, suggested the concept of "Chemical Evolution." He and other scientists suggested that life may have come from nonliving matter under conditions that existed on the primitive Earth, when the atmosphere consisted of the gases methane, ammonia, water vapour, and hydrogen. According to this concept, energy supplied by electrical storms and ultraviolet light may have broken down the atmospheric gases into their constituent elements, and organic molecules may have been formed when the elements recombined. Despite all his theoretical studies, Oparin was unable to produce any results to shed light on the origin of life. He says in his book The Origin of Life, published in 1936: ‘Unfortunately, however, the problem of the origin of the cell is perhaps the most obscure point in the whole study of the evolution of organisms.’ Professor Klaus Dose, the president of the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Johannes Gutenberg, states: ‘More than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.
Instead of accepting the reality, some scientists came up with the flimsy argument that under present biospheric conditions new forms of life are not likely to be created from nonliving matter. Others feel that life is continuously being created but that the new forms are not so well adapted to the environment as existing ones and are thus unable to compete successfully. Such illogical conclusion has been made-up; despite all the power of the human intellect, knowledge and technology, no one in the world has ever succeeded in forming a living cell by bringing inanimate materials together, not even in the most advanced laboratories. Thus this claim is contrary to the most basic principles of science, hence self contradictory. There is general consensus among the biologists, that it may never be possible to determine experimentally how life originated or whether it originated only once or more than once.
Some scientists, on the basis of the ubiquitous genetic code found in all living organisms on Earth, presumed that life appeared only once and that all the diverse forms of plants and animals evolved from this primitive creation. However the genetic code, once thought to be identical in all forms of life, has been found to diverge in certain organisms and in the mitochondria of some eukaryotes (a single-celled or multicellular organism whose cells contain a distinct membrane-bound nucleus). The similar organs or similar genes among different species resemble each other, not because they have evolved by chance from a common ancestor, but because they have been designed deliberately to perform a particular function. Modern scientific discoveries show that the claim that similarities in living things are due to descent from a "common ancestor" is not valid, and that the only rational explanation for such similarities is "common design."
In the 1990s, research into the genetic codes of living things worsened the quandary faced by the theory of evolution in this regard. In these experiments, instead of the earlier comparisons that were limited to protein sequences, "ribosomal RNA" (rRNA) sequences were compared. From these findings, evolutionist scientists sought to establish an "evolutionary tree." However, they were disappointed by the results. All this leads to just one conclusion: Like all living things, plants were also created. From the moment they first emerged, all their mechanisms have existed in a finished and complete form. Terms such as 'development over time," "changes dependent on coincidences," and "adaptations which emerged as a result of need," which one finds in the evolutionist literature, have no truth in them at all and are scientifically meaningless. The thorough examination of the scientific evidence for the origin of life, and what emerges clearly demonstrates that life was not the result of chance, as claimed by Darwinism and materialist philosophy in general. Living species could not have evolved from one another through a string of coincidences. On the contrary, all living things were independently and flawlessly created. As the twenty-first century dawns, science offers but one answer to the question of the origin of life: Creation. The important thing is that science has confirmed the truth which religion has been witness to from the dawn of history to the present day.
According to the theory of Evolution in nutshell: Some thing came from sea, gradually through evolution it developed in to a creature, then small monkey, bigger monkey, chimpanzee and then human. This raises many questions; Who created monkeys through some creature from the sea? If some thing from sea became monkey why it could not directly become human being? If monkey became human then why there are still so many monkeys? Apart form fiction movies, are there still some monkeys (part human-part monkey) in the process of becoming human? If not, why? Is there some more advanced form of human? If not; Why the evolution process has stopped? Can the theory of evolution be reversed (retrogression), human to monkey? These questions are partially answered by evolutionist, through unscientific conjecture. God created the universe and all the living things in it from nothing. And it was God who created the first human (Adam) from clay and spirit and blessed him with countless characteristics, including the most important; knowledge & intellect. The later humanity is created out of the first couple. This truth has been sent down to man since the dawn of time by the messengers of God and His prophets, revealed in holy books. Every prophet has told the communities he addressed that God created man and all living things. The Bible and the Qur'an all tell of the news of creation in the same way. Harun Yahya, the renowned Turkish scholar, in his famous books: ‘The Evolution Deceit’ & ‘Darwinism Refuted’; has systematically analyzed the Theory of Evolution in the light of modern science, citing all the authentic references.
Biblical Account of Creation of Adam: The Biblical account of creation of Adam, though generally similar to Islamic traditions, but with some glaring differences. In the Bible, there are two accounts of their creation. According to the Priestly history of the 5th or 6th century BC (Genesis;1:1-2:4), God on the sixth day of Creation created all the living creatures: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”(Genesis;2:7); “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”(Genesis;1:27) [“We have indeed created man in the best stature;”(Qur’an;95:4)]. God then blessed the couple, told them to be "fruitful and multiply," and gave them dominion over all other living things. According to the lengthier Yahwist narrative of the 10th century BC (Genesis; 2:5-7, 2:15-4:1, 4:25), God, or Yahweh, created Adam at a time when the earth was still void, forming him from the earth's dust and breathing "into his nostrils the breath of life." God then gave Adam the primeval Garden of Eden to tend but, on penalty of death, commanded him not to eat of the fruit of the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." Subsequently, so that Adam would not be alone, God created other animals but, finding these insufficient, put Adam to sleep, took from him a rib, and created a new companion, Eve.
Refutation of Darwin’s Theory by Christians:
Religiously motivated attacks started during Darwin's lifetime. In 1874 Charles Hodge, an American Protestant theologian, published What Is Darwinism?, one of the most articulate assaults on evolutionism. Hodge perceived Darwin's theory as "the most thoroughly naturalistic that can be imagined and far more atheistic than that of his predecessor Lamarck." He argued that the design of the human eye evinces that "it has been planned by the Creator, like the design of a watch evinces a watchmaker." He concluded that "the denial of design in nature is actually the denial of God." Other Protestant theologians saw a solution to the difficulty in the idea that God operates through intermediate causes. The origin and motion of the planets could be explained by the law of gravity and other natural processes without denying God's creation and providence. Similarly, evolution could be seen as the natural process through which God brought living beings into existence and developed them according to his plan. Thus, A.H. Strong, the president of Rochester (N.Y.) Theological Seminary, wrote in his Systematic Theology (1885): "We grant the principle of evolution, but we regard it as only the method of divine intelligence." The brutish ancestry of man was not incompatible with his excelling status as a creature in the image of God. Strong drew an analogy with Christ's miraculous conversion of water into wine: "The wine in the miracle was not water because water had been used in the making of it, nor is man a brute because the brute has made some contributions to its creation."
The fundamentalist, evangelic Christians [An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in 1920 in opposition to Liberalism and secularism, emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teachings] remain opposed to the theory of evolution. They believe in Creationism (also called Creation Science, or Scientific Creationism), a counterrevolutionary, fundamentalist theory or doctrine, that postulates that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing. Biblical Creationists believe that the story told in Genesis of God's six-day creation of all things is literally correct. Scientific Creationists believe that a creator made all that exists, but they may not hold that the Genesis story is a literal history of that creation. Some conservative religious groups, however, have argued that Darwinian evolution alone cannot account for the complexity of the living world and have insisted that certain biblical descriptions of creation are revealed scientific truth. In the early 20th century, some areas in the U.S. banned the teaching of Darwinian theory, which led to the famous Scopes Trial (“Monkey Trial”) of 1925. Many creationists now work toward ensuring that schools and textbooks present evolution as a theory that is no more provable than biblical creation.
Arguments for and against Darwin's theory came from Roman Catholic theologians as well. Gradually, well into the 20th century, evolution by natural selection came to be accepted by the majority of Christian writers. Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Humani Generis (1950; "Of the Human Race") acknowledged that biological evolution was compatible with the Christian faith, although he argued that God's intervention was necessary for the creation of the human soul. In 1981 Pope John Paul II stated in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: ‘The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe. Sacred scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer. . . . Any other teaching about the origin and make-up of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how the heavens were made but how one goes to heaven’.
The gradual process of evolution is not alien to the Muslim thinkers, according to Dr.Hamid Muhammad Ullah; centuries before Darwin, the Muslim thinkers; Al Jahiz (776-868 C.E) and Ibn Miskawayh (930-1030 C.E) presented the idea of human evolution in their books titled; ‘Akhwan-al-Safa’ and ‘Alfawz ul Asghar’ which mention that: God first created the matter , which developed to mist or smoke, then water, subsequently developed in to solid mass like stones, then plantation, trees closer to animals. Amazingly these thinkers were not condemned for such non conventional ideas. The date palm tree is very close to the animals, it has distinct male and female trees. Even if all the trunks of normal tree are chopped off, it still survives but if the top of date palm tree is removed the tree dies; hence it is closest to the lowest form of animals and highest form of plants. It develops in to the lowest form of animal, which develops in to monkey, to human to angel. Finally is the return to God (Qur’an;2:46,156, 21:93, 23:60). It is generally perceived that; God created the first man with clay as a sculpture, breathed spirit, this was Adam, may be it happened as such but God repeatedly mentions in Qur’an;40:67, 35:11, 22:5 and 18:37; that He created the man “from dust, then from a sperm”; obviously the sperm is not created from dust. The sperm is created from animal or man, hence God passed over all the intermediary stages by referring to the ‘dust’ as the origin, the medium is the sperm of man which grows as a child in the womb of women. Qur’an also mentions: “when He has created you in gradual stages (atwaaran)?” (Qur’an;71:4); the word atwaara is derivate of tatur (evolution), hence it may also imply that God created human through evolutionary stages i.e. solid mass – plants – animal: this being an other perspective of human creation.
The creation process is executed by God in two ways: Firstly; the instant execution through His Command (am’r) (Qur’an;3:47, 54:50). Secondly; through gradual evolution (khalaq), like the creation of universe in six eons (Qur’an;32:4, Exodus;20:11). Some of the modern non traditional scholars, well versed with the modern knowledge argue that, since the latest scientific information and knowledge was not available to the classical commentators, hence any new interpretation with in the parameters of fundamental Islamic doctrine based on Qur’an and Sunnah may be acceptable. The concepts of evolution by Al Jahiz and Ibn Miskawayh were based on their thought process not the scientific research. The significance of knowledge is self evident, Allah says: “..Are the knowledgeable and the ignorant equal? In fact, none will take heed except the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;39:9);“He also made subservient to you whatever is between the heavens and the earth; all from Himself. Surely there are signs in this for those who think.”(Qur’an;45:13);“Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an?..” (Qur’an;4:82);“Allah has revealed the most beautiful message, a Book consistent in its verses yet repeating its teachings in different ways..”(Qur’an;39:23).
Some thinkers try to get the support for ‘developmental’ process of creation by non traditional interpretation of Qur’anic verses, by synthesizing the scientific information. Allah says: “Have they not pondered upon themselves?” (Qur’an;30:8); “Has there not been over Man a long period of Time when he was nothing--(not even) mentioned?” (Qur’an;76:1); “Now let man but think from what he is created!”(Qur’an;86:5); “And ye certainly know already the first form of creation: why then do ye not celebrate His praises?(Qur’an;56:62);“every living thing created from water”(Qur’an;21:30); “Indeed We created you, then We formed you,”(Qur’an;7:11); “And Allah hath caused you to grow as a growth from the earth,”(Qur’an;71:7). (also Qur’an;2:155-156, 3:142, 4:82, 6:134-136, 7:11, 10:4, 11:56-57, 14:19, 15:21, 21:30, 22:5-6,23:14, 27:64, 29:19-20, 30:8, 35:16-17, 38:28, 46:3, 55:49-50, 56:62, 65:12, 67:1-2, 70:40-41, 71:7,13-14, 76:1, 84:16, 86:5, 89:19, 91:9-10).
The modern theory of evolution has two basic flaws. It observes in fine details the gradation of species from one-cell organisms up to the chimpanzee and man, who the theory considers to be the next in line. Advocates of the evolution theory have admitted this and sought to explain by speaking about a "missing link". The other basic flaw in this theory is that it cannot be proven in any scientifically acceptable way. Its argument is rather didactic. It makes a huge jump from scientific observation to theorization about life and existence. Thus, it imposes its theory on scientific findings. Perhaps it is appropriate to state that Muslim scientists have observed the gradation of species, not only in the animal world but also in the world of plants. They referred to the fact that there is a very fine line which separated one species from the next. They also observed that there are gaps: The one which separates the highest from the lowest, i.e. the chimpanzee from man. However, Muslim scientists did not seek to impose any arbitrary theory of life on their findings. They simply attributed this gradation to its appropriate cause, the will of Allah, the Creator of all. However on the basis of information which Allah has clearly provided in the Qur'an: “O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Aware.”(Qur’an;49:13). The first human came into existence as a result of Allah's will when He decided to appoint a vicegerent on earth. Adam, the first human was created of clay and Allah breathed of His spirit into him. Therefore, man is the result of a combination of clay and spirit. How did Allah breathe His spirit into Adam whom He made of clay and when did all this happen, these are the details which He has not chosen to disclose. The knowledge of such details will not be of any help to human in the fulfillment of the task i.e. the building of human life on earth, through His obedience (worship) and service to Allah. Had such information been of benefit to humanity in this regard, it would not have been withheld.