3 Reasons For God

There are many rational reasons for believing in God. This article will briefly explain three simple reasons for God’s existence.

Order in the Universe

When we reflect upon the nature of our world, we see order everywhere from the water cycle to the movement of the earth around the sun. Commenting on the order found in the universe, the physicist Stephen Hawking explains that the overwhelming impression ‘’is one of order, the more we discover about the universe, the more we find that it is governed by rational laws.’’[1]. This observation is shared by the vast majority of scientists.

Since the universe has order and is governed by the ‘laws of science’, we should question how this order came about. The most effective way to answer this question is to reason to the best conclusion. Take your mobile phone for example, your phone is made of glass, plastic and metal. Glass comes from sand, plastic comes from oil and metal is extracted from the ground. Imagine you were walking in a desert (where there is lots of oil, sand and metals in the ground), and you found a mobile phone lying around. Would you believe that it came together by itself? That the Sun shone, the wind blew, lightning struck, the oil bubbled to the surface and mixed with the sand and metal, and over millions of years the mobile came together by chance?

No one would believe such an explanation. A mobile phone is clearly something that was put together in an organised way, so it would be rational to believe that it must have an organiser. In the same way, when we see the order in the universe, isn’t it rational to say that the universe has an organiser?

This ‘organiser’ is best explained by the existence of God. God is the one who bought about the order in the universe.

Beginning of the Universe

If something has always existed it doesn’t need a creator. In the first part of the 20th century some physicists held the view that the universe had always existed. If the universe had always existed it wouldn’t need a creator.

However, according to Cosmology the universe had a beginning some 14 billion years ago with a cosmic event commonly known as the ‘Big Bang’ [2].

Imagine you heard a loud bang, and you asked ‘where did that sound come from?’ Would you be satisfied with the answer that it came from ‘nothing’ and it ‘just happened?’ Of course not. You would say ‘what was the cause of that loud bang?’ In the same way, rationally the ‘Big Bang’ must also have a cause that bought it about. Now we can ask since the ‘Big Bang’ has a cause, what was the cause of that cause? Then we can ask, what was the cause of that cause? And so on and so on. But this can’t go on forever and must end with a first cause, because of the following example:

Imagine a sniper who has just found his target and calls back to base to get permission to shoot. The person at the base tells the sniper to hold on while they seek permission from someone else higher up. So the guy higher up seeks permission from the guy even higher up and so on and so on. If this goes on forever, will the sniper ever get to shoot the target?

The obvious answer is that he wouldn’t be able to shoot. The only way the sniper can shoot is if someone gives permission without asking for anyone else’s permission. That person would be the first cause of the sniper shooting. In the same way, the Big Bang must have a first cause.

We can conclude that this first cause must be powerful as it bought the whole universe into existence, and it must be intelligent as it caused the ‘laws of science’ which govern the universe. Also, this first cause must be timeless, spaceless and immaterial, because time, space and matter began at the ‘Big Bang’. Finally, since it is uncaused it must have always existed.

All of these attributes of the first cause make up the basic concept of God. God is the uncreated first cause of the universe.

Human Nature

Throughout the history of the world, the majority of people have believed in God. There seems to be something built in the human mind that makes us want to believe.

Over the last decade some really startling facts have been found that show that children have an innate belief in God. Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford Centre for Anthropology and Mind, states “The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children’s minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose…” He adds that “If we threw a handful [of children] on an island and they raised themselves…they would believe in God”.[3]. To put it simply, his answer as to why anyone would believe in God is that, our minds are designed to do so [4]. Disbelief in God is something which is unnatural to the human being. Oxford University development psychologist Dr Olivera Petrovich, who is an expert in the Psychology of Religion states that, belief in God develops naturally and that ‘‘atheism is definitely an acquired position’’ [5].

So where did this natural belief in a creator come from? We can’t say it is taught by society as this belief is innate, and studies show that it is independent of societal pressures and is cross-cultural [6].

The best explanation for this belief is that God has put this into humanity.You have just read three independent reasons why it makes sense to believe in God. Belief in God is not only rational but it’s also part of human nature. There are many questions raised by the existence of God, such as why is there evil and suffering in the world? Doesn’t evolution disprove God? Do we have a purpose in life? For answers to these and other such questions please click on the other articles in this section.

References
[1] Antony Flew, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

[2] Derek Raine, An Introduction to Science of Cosmology (Astronomy & Astrophysics)

[3] Justin L. Barrett, Why Would Anyone Believe in God?

[4] http://www.cam.ox.ac.uk/publications-original/why-would-anyone-believe-in-god/
[5] Dr Olivera Petrovich, Childs Theory of World

[6] Justin L. Barrett, Jonathan A. Lanman, The Science of Religious Beliefs

Why Islam

Before we look at the Islamic answer to the purpose of life this article explains the reasons why Islam is the truth.

Ever since the dawn of mankind, we have sought to understand nature and our place in it. In this quest for the purpose of life many people have turned to religion. Most religions are based on books claimed by their followers to be divinely inspired, without any proof. Islam is different because it is based upon reason and proof.

There are clear signs that the book of Islam, the Quran, is the word of God and we have many reasons to support this claim:

There are scientific and historical facts found in the Quran which were unknown to the people at the time, and have only been discovered recently by contempory science.
The Quran is in a unique style of language that cannot be replicated, this is known as the ‘Inimitability of the Quran.’
There are predictions made in the Quran and by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which have come to be pass.
This article lays out and explains the scientific facts that are found in the Quran, centuries before they were ‘discovered’ in contemporary science. It is important to note that the Quran is not a book of science but a book of ‘signs’. These signs are there for people to recognise God’s existence and affirm His revelation. As we know, science sometimes takes a ‘U-turn’ where what once scientifically correct is false a few years later. In this article only established scientific facts are considered, not just theories or hypothesis.

Scientific Facts in the Quran

The Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the 7th century.

Science at the time was primitive, there were no telescopes, microscopes or anything even close to the technology we have today. People believed that the sun orbited the earth and that the sky was held up by big pillars at the corners of a flat earth. Within this backdrop the Quran was revealed, and it contains many scientific facts on topics ranging from astronomy to biology, geology to sociology.

Some people may claim that the Quran was changed as new scientific facts were discovered but this cannot be the case because it is a historically documented fact that the Quran is preserved in its original language [2]. The Quran was written down and memorised by people during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). One of the copies of the Quran which was written a few years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is preserved in a museum in Uzbekistan. This copy is over 1400 years old and is exactly the same as the Arabic Quran that we have today[3].

The following are nine scientific facts found in the Quran:

1. Origin of Life

Water is essential for all living things. We all know that water is vital to life but the Quran makes a very unusual claim:

We made every living thing from water? Will they not believe? [21:30]

In this verse water is pointed out as the origin of all life. All living things are made of cells. We now know that cells are mostly made up of water [4]. For example, 80% of the cytoplasm (basic cell material) of a standard animal cell is described as water in biology textbooks.

The fact that living things consist mostly of water was discovered only after the invention of the microscope. In the deserts of Arabia, the last thing someone would have guessed is that all life came from water.

2. Iron

Iron is not natural to the earth. It did not form on the earth but came down to earth from outer space. This may sound strange but it’s true. Scientists have found that billions of years ago the earth was stuck by meteorites. These meteorites were carrying Iron from distant stars which had exploded [5].

The Quran says the following on the origin of Iron:

We sent down Iron with its great inherent strength and its many benefits for humankind [57:25]

God uses the words ‘sent down’ for Iron. It is clear from the verse that Iron is not an earthly material, but was sent down for the benefit of humanity. The fact that Iron came down to earth from outer space, is something which could not be known by the primitive science of the 7th century.

3. Sky’s Protection

The sky plays a crucial role in protecting the earth. The sky protects the earth from the lethal rays of the sun. If the sky did not exist then the sun’s radiation would have killed off all life on earth. It also acts like a blanket wrapped around the earth, to protect it from the freezing cold of space. The temperature just above the sky is approximately -270oC. If this temperature was to reach earth then the planet would freeze over instantly. The sky also protects life on earth by warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night [6]. These are some of the many protective functions of the sky.

The Quran asks us to consider the sky in the following verse:

We made the sky a protective ceiling. And yet they are turning away from Our signs! [21:32]

The Quran points to the sky’s protection as a sign of God. The protective properties of the sky were discovered by scientific research conducted in the 20th century.

4.Mountains

The Quran draws our attention to a very important characteristic of mountains:

Did We not make the earth a resting place? And the mountains as stakes? [78:6-7]

The Quran indicates that mountains have deep roots by using the word stakes to describe them. In fact mountains do have deep roots [7], and the word stakes is an accurate description for them. A book titled ‘Earth’ by Geophysicist Frank Press explains that mountains are like stakes, and are buried deep under the surface of the earth [8].Mount Everest (pictured below), the height of which is approximately 9 km above ground, has a root deeper than 125 km.

The fact that mountains have deep ‘stake’ like roots was not known, until after the development of the theory of plate tectonics in the beginning of the 20th century [9].

5. Expansion of the Universe

At a time when the science of Astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described in Quran:

And it is We who have built the Universe with [Our creative] power and keep expanding it. [51:47]

The fact that the universe is expanding was discovered in the last century. The physicist Stephen Hawking in his book ‘A Brief History of Time’ writes, “The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.”[10].

The Quran mentioned the expansion of the universe even before the invention of the telescope!

6. Sun’s Orbit

In 1512 the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus put forward his theory that the Sun is motionless at the centre of the solar system, and that the planets revolve around it. The belief that the Sun is stationary was widespread amongst astronomers until the 20th century. It is now a well-established scientific fact that the Sun is not stationary, but is moving in an orbit around the centre of our Milky Way galaxy [11].

The Quran mentions the orbit of the Sun:

It is He who created night and day, the Sun and the Moon, each floating in its orbit. [21:33]

The Quran would have been wrong according to astronomers just a couple of decades ago. But we now know that the Quranic account of the Sun’s motion is consistent with modern Astronomy.

7. The Ocean

The Quran uses imagery to covey its deep meanings, here it describes the state of the unbelievers as:

Darkness out in a deep ocean which is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. When one puts out his hand [therein], he can hardly see it. Those God gives no light to, they have no light. [24:40]

It is commonly thought that waves only occur on the surface of the ocean. However oceanographers have discovered that there are internal waves that take place below the surface of the ocean. These waves are invisible to the human eye, and can only be detected by specialist equipment [12]. The Quran mentions darkness in a deep ocean above which are waves, above which are waves, then clouds above that. This description is not only remarkable because it describes the internal waves in the ocean, but also because it describes darkness deep in the ocean. A human being can dive no more than 70 metres without breathing equipment. Light is present at that depth, but if we go down 1000 metres it is completely dark [13]. 1400 years ago there were no submarines or specialist equipment to discover internal waves or the darkness deep inside the oceans.

8. Lying and Movement

There was a cruel oppressive tribal leader named Abu Jahl who lived during the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). God revealed a verse of the Quran to warn him:

No Indeed! If he does not stop, We will seize him by the forehead, his lying, sinful forehead. [96:15-16]

God does not call this person a liar, but calls his forehead (the front part of the brain) ‘lying’ and ‘sinful’, and warns him to stop.

This verse is significant for two reasons. The first is that the front part of our brain is responsible for voluntary movement [14] .This is known as the frontal lobe. A book titled ‘Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology’ which includes the results of research on the functions of this area states: The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area [15]. The part of the brain that is responsible for movement is said to be seized if the man does not stop.

Secondly, numerous studies have shown that this same region (frontal lobe) is responsible for the lying function of the brain [16].One such study at the University of Pennsylvania in which volunteers were asked questions during a computerized interrogation, it was found that when the volunteers were lying there was significantly increased activity in the prefrontal and premotor cortices (frontal lobe region) [17].

The front part of the brain is responsible for movement and lying. The Quran links movement and lying to this area. These functions of the frontal lobe were discovered with medical imaging equipment which was developed in the 20th century.

9. Pain Receptors

For a long time it was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was dependent on the brain. However it has been discovered that there are pain receptors present in the skin [18]. Without these pain receptors, a person would not be able to feel pain.

Consider the following verse on pain:

We shall send those who reject Our revelations to the (Hell) Fire. When their skins have been burned away, We shall replace them with new ones so that they may continue to feel the pain: God is Almighty, All-Wise. [4:56]

God tells the people who reject his message that when they are in Hell and their skins are burnt off (so they can’t feel any pain), he will give them new skins so that they continue to feel the pain.

The Quran makes it clear that pain is dependent upon on the skin. The discovery of pain receptors in the skin is a fairly recent discovery for Biology.

Conclusion

These are just some of the many scientific facts found in the Quran. It is important to note that the Quran is not a book of science, but that it is consistent with science. To claim that scientific facts in the Quran are due to coincidence would be irrational. The best explanation is that God revealed this knowledge to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Just like the Quran contains knowledge about the natural world, it also contains information about the inner dimensions of our souls. It relates to our feelings, wants and needs. The Quran informs us that we have a purpose in life, and that following God’s guidance will lead us to inner peace in this life, and Paradise in the hereafter. And that rejection of his message will lead to depression in this life and Hellfire after death.

We shall show them Our signs in the Universe and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is the witness of all things? [Quran 41:53]

Please click on the ‘Purpose of Islam’ article to find the meaning of life according to Islam.

References
[1] Antony Flew, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

[2] The Magnificent Qur’an: A Unique History of Preservation

[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4581684.stm
[4] Bruce Alberts, Essential Cell Biology

[5] M. E. Walrath, History of the Earth’s Formation

[6] Joseph M. Moran, Meteorology: the Atmosphere and the Science of Weather [7] Terry A. Hicks, How Do Mountains Form? [8] Frank Press and Raymond Siever, Earth

[9] Naomi Oreskes, Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth [10] Stephen Hawking, A Brief History Of Time

[11] Lambert M. Surhone, Orbital Period: Orbit, Sun, Earth, Conjunction, Orbital Node, Apsis, Semi-Major Axis

[12] M. Grant Gross, Oceanography: A View of Earth

[13] Danny Elder, Oceans

[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2289137
[15] Rod R. Seeley, Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology

[16] http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/20/1/205.full.pdf
[17] http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/2002/3/diogenes-new-lamp
[18] Michael Darmon, Molecular Biology of the Skin.

Stressful gaming!

Can we ever feel peace? Does real peace exist? To feel true peace of mind, we have to search for it.

In some situations, isn’t it difficult to feel at peace? After all, there are certain things that upset the peace for almost all of us. For example, isn’t it irritating when we are relaxing at home, and suddenly a car alarm starts going off? Or when we can hear a tap dripping? How about when there is a fly buzzing near our ear? Or when we are on a long flight and can hear babies constantly crying? In such conditions, a lot of us would think to ourselves, “I need some peace and quiet!” In fact, the longer the noise continues, the more we start to crave peace.

We all search for peace in different things, but what gives us real peace? To answer this, let’s imagine that you are sitting on a quiet beach. A light breeze is gently blowing in your hair. The sun’s rays are warmly tickling your skin. You can hear the sound of water splashing around you. You can see an orange sun setting above you. Would you feel at peace? Most of us would say, “Yes, in fact, I would like to be there right now!” But what if the day before, you had been told that you have a brain tumour? Sitting on the beach, knowing that you may only have a few months left to live, would you still feel at peace? Somehow, this peaceful scene does not seem so peaceful anymore.

External peace is like a mirage. From a distance, it appears to give us peace. But when we look closely, we see that it isn’t the real thing. Sitting on the beach looked like an image of peace, but the knowledge of the brain tumour shattered our illusion. To explore this idea further, imagine your ideal house. Perhaps this house of luxury has ten bedrooms? Maybe there are fast cars parked in the driveway? There might even be a maid to look after the chores for you? Whilst picturing our dream house, we may be thinking, “Life would be so relaxing and peaceful there!” Yet there are people who live in this house, but dread the sound of their alarm clock every morning, because they can’t bear life. The closer we get to the dream house, the clearer it becomes that we are looking at a mirage.

Why do we know of people who have everything on the outside, but they feel that life is not worth waking up for? But if external peace is not enough, then what gives us real peace?

The answer according to Islam is simple; just like we have physical needs of things such as water, we also have spiritual needs. Fulfilling our spiritual needs will give us inner peace.

Those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God– truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace [Quran 13:28]

Is life Just a Game?

IMAGINE YOU WAKE UP IN A HUGE FACTORY THAT YOU’VE NEVER BEEN IN BEFORE. YOU SEE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WORKING AWAY, AND ALL THE DOORS AND WINDOWS ARE SHUT AND SEALED OFF.

People work, sleep, and spend all their time inside this factory. In this situation, what would you think to yourself? “Now I’m here I might as well join in with everyone else and play the game of life,” or would you think, “How did I get here? What lies outside the factory? Why have I been put here?” This example is like our existence here on earth. We human beings have been thrown into existence without any choice, so questions such as Where did I come from? What am I doing here? and Where am I going after I die? keep popping up in our minds. We forget these basic questions in our daily routines, but ignoring them will not make them go away.

As the Qur’an eloquently explains,“There truly are signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of night and day, for those with understanding, who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth: “Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose …”. Chapter 3 Verses 190 – 191.

Purpose gives us that deeper meaning. So we may now ask, what is our purpose?

The Islamic concept of purpose is dependent upon two basic statements:

It’s rational to believe in God
There are good reasons to believe that the Quran is the word of God.

But we can’t see god

We can’t see God but there are many things that we can’t see but we believe in them because we can see their effects.

For example, you have never seen your great great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. You have never seen his clothes, house, grave or any of his belongings. So how can you be sure he ever existed?

You know he must have existed because you exist.

Imagine that you left your house this morning in a complete mess after a party last night.

The beds were unmade, clothes were scattered across the rooms, chairs were on the floor, the dining table and kitchen was filled with dirty dishes and takeaway bags.

Now imagine you came home after work and found the house sparkling clean.

You would think to yourself who came and cleaned the house? Who arranged the furniture? Who made the beds? Who washed the dishes?

Even though you never saw the person who cleaned your house you would believe that this person exists because of the order in your house.

In the same way, the order that we see in nature and in the universe is proof of an organiser – God – even if we have never seen him.

JESUS IN ISLAM

Jesus is a figure who is loved and revered by billions of people the world over. Yet there is so much confusion surrounding the status of this colossal personality. Muslims and Christians both hold Jesus in high regard but view him in very different ways.

The questions raised in this article aim to get to the heart of the issues surrounding Jesus: Was Jesus God? Or was he sent by God? Who was the real historical Jesus?

Some ambiguous verses of the Bible can be applied erroneously to show that Jesus is in some way divine. But if we look at the clear, direct verses of the Bible, we see again and again that Jesus is being referred to as an extraordinary human being and nothing more. What emerges, when we consider the historical and logical facts about Jesus’ life, is conclusive proof not only that Jesus cannot be God, but that he never claimed to be either.

What follows are five lines of reasoning which clarify this subject for us through the Bible itself and thereby allow us to discover the real Jesus.

1. Jesus Never Calls Himself God

The Bible contains many verses in which Jesus speaks of God as a separate person to himself. Here are just a few of them:

When a man addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher”, he replied “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God.’’ [Mark 10:18]

In another instance he says “I can’t do anything by myself. Whatever I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just. I don’t seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” [John 5:30]

Jesus speaks of God as a separate being to himself: I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. [John 20:17]
In this verse he affirms that he was sent by God: This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. [John 17:3]

If Jesus was God he would have told people to worship him, but he did the opposite and disapproved anyone worshipping him: And in vain they worship Me [Matthew 15:9]

If Jesus claimed to be God than there should be hundreds of verses in the Bible which would have mentioned it. But there is not a single verse in the entire Bible in which Jesus says I am God, worship me.

2. Jesus as Son and Lord?

Jesus is sometimes referred to as ‘Lord’ in the Bible and at other times as ‘Son of God’. God is called the ‘Father’, so putting these names together it could be claimed that Jesus is the son of God. But if we look at each of these titles in context we will find that they are symbolic and not to be taken literally.

‘Son of God’ is a term used in ancient Hebrew for a righteous person. God calls Israel his ‘son’: This is what the LORD says: Israel is my oldest son.[Exodus 4:22]. Also, David is called the ‘Son of God’: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ [Psalm 2:7]. In fact anyone who is righteous is referred to as God’s ‘son’: All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. [Romans 8:14].

In the same way, when the word ‘Father’ is used to refer to God it shouldn’t be taken literally. Instead it’s a way of saying God is the creator, sustainer, cherisher etc. There are many verses for us to understand this symbolic meaning of the word ‘Father’, for example: one God and Father of all. [Ephesians 4:6].

Jesus is sometimes called ‘Lord’ by the disciples. ‘Lord’ is a term used for God and also for people who are held in high esteem. There are many examples of the word ‘Lord’ being used for people in the Bible: So they (Joseph’s brothers) went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said. [Genesis 43:19-20]. Also, in other parts of the Bible, Jesus is even called a ‘servant’ of God by the disciples: the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. [Acts 3:13]. This clearly shows that when ‘Lord’ is used to refer to Jesus, it is a title of respect not of divinity.

3. The Nature of Jesus

The nature of Jesus was totally different to that of God. There are many parts of the Bible that highlight this difference in nature:

God is All-Knowing but Jesus by his own admission was not All-Knowing. This can be seen in the following passage when Jesus says “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows.” [Matthew 24:36]

God is independent and he doesn’t need sleep, food or water. Jesus however ate, drank, slept and depended on God: As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father. [John 6:57]. Another sign of Jesus’ dependence on God is that he prayed to God: Going a little farther, he (Jesus) fell with his face to the ground and prayed [Matthew 26:39]. This shows that Jesus himself sought help from God. God, being the one who answers prayers does not need to pray to anyone. Also, Jesus said: I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. [John 14:28].

The Bible is clear that God is unseen and is not a man: for no one may see me and live. [Exodus 33:20], God is not a man [Numbers 23:19]. Jesus on the other hand was a man who was seen by thousands of people, so he could not be God. Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that God is too great to be inside his creation: But how could God possibly live on earth with people? If heaven, even the highest heaven, can’t contain you [2 Chronicles 6:18]. According to this verse Jesus cannot be God living on the earth.

Also the Bible calls Jesus a Prophet [Matthew 21:10-11], so how could Jesus be God and be God’s Prophet at the same time? That wouldn’t make sense.

Additionally the Bible informs us that God does not change: I the Lord do not change. [Malachi 3:6:]. Jesus however went through many changes in his life such as age, height, weight etc.

These are just some of the proofs within the Bible, which make it clear that the nature of Jesus and God is completely different. Some people may claim that Jesus had both a human and a divine nature. This is a claim that Jesus never made, and is in clear contradiction to the Bible which maintains that God has one nature.

4. The Message of Jesus

The Prophets of the Old Testament such as Abraham, Noah and Jonah never preached that God is part of a Trinity, and did not believe in Jesus as their saviour. Their message was simple: there is one God and He alone deserves your worship. It doesn’t make sense that God sent Prophets for thousands of years with the same essential message, and then all of a sudden he says he is in a Trinity and that you must believe in Jesus to be saved.

The truth is that Jesus preached the same message that the Prophets in the Old Testament preached. There is a passage in the Bible which really emphasises his core message. A man came to Jesus and asked “Which is the first commandment of all?”Jesus answered, “The first of all the commandments is Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’’[Mark 12:28-29]. So the greatest commandment, the most important belief according to Jesus is that God is one. If Jesus was God he would have said ‘I am God, worship me’, but he didn’t. He merely repeated a verse from the Old Testament confirming that God is One.

Some people claim that Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. But consider the following statement of Jesus: This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.[John 17:3-4]. Jesus said this before he was caught and taken to be crucified. It is clear from this verse that Jesus did not come to die for the sins of the world, as he finished the work God gave him before he was taken to be crucified.

Also Jesus said “salvation is of the Jews” [John 4:22]. So we don’t need to believe in the Trinity or that Jesus died for our sins to attain salvation since the Jews don’t have these beliefs.

5. The Early Christians

Historically there were many sects in early Christianity who had a range of beliefs regarding Jesus [1]. Some believed Jesus was God, others believed Jesus was not God but partly divine, and yet others believed he was a human being and nothing more. Trinitarian Christianity which is the belief that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one in three persons became the dominant sect of Christianity, once it was formalised as the state religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th Century. Christians who denied Jesus being God were persecuted by the Roman Authorities [2]. From this point onwards the Trinitarian belief became widespread amongst Christians. There were various movements in early Christianity which denied the Trinity, among the more well known of them is Adoptionism and Arianism.

Dr Jerald Dirks who is an expert on early Christianity had this to say on the subject: Early Christianity was quite conflicted about the issue of the nature of Jesus. The various Adoptionist positions within early Christianity were numerous and at times dominate. One can even speculate that Arian and Nestorian Christianity might well be an extremely sizable source within Christianity today, if it were not for the fact that these two branches of Christianity, which were located primarily in the middle east and in North Africa were so similar to the Islamic teaching regarding the nature of Jesus that they quite naturally were absorbed into Islam at the beginning of the seventh century.” [3]

Since there were so many sects in early Christianity, each with different beliefs about Jesus and with their own versions of the Bible, which one can we say was following the true teachings of Jesus?

It doesn’t make sense that God sends countless Prophets like Noah, Abraham and Moses to tell people to believe in one God, and then suddenly sends a radically different message of the Trinity which contradicts his previous Prophets teachings. It is clear that the sect of Christianity who believed Jesus to be a human Prophet and nothing more, were following the true teachings of Jesus. This is because their concept of God is the same as that which was taught by the Prophets in the Old Testament.

Jesus in Islam

The Islamic belief about Jesus demystifies for us who the real Jesus was. Jesus in Islam was an extraordinary individual, chosen by God as a Prophet and sent to the Jewish people. He never preached that he himself was God or the actual son of God. He was miraculously born without a father, and he performed many amazing miracles such as healing the blind and the lepers and raising the dead – all by God’s permission. Muslims believe that Jesus will return before the day of Judgement to bring justice and peace to the world. This Islamic belief about Jesus is similar to the belief of some of the early Christians. In the Quran, God addresses the Christians about Jesus in the following way:

O People of the Book, do not commit excesses in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’– stop [this], that is better for you– God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust. [4:171]

Since it has clearly been shown that Jesus is not God both according to the Bible and for historical and rational reasons – what is the next step for you?

We invite you to look further and investigate Islam. Islam is not just another religion. It is the same message preached by Moses, Jesus and Abraham. Islam literally means ‘submission to God’ and it teaches us to have a direct relationship with God. It reminds us that since God created us, no one should be worshipped except God alone. It also teaches that God is nothing like a human being or like anything that we can imagine. The concept of God is summarised in the Quran as:

Say, He is God, the One. God, the Absolute. He does not give birth, nor was He born, and there is nothing like Him*. [112:1-4]

Becoming a Muslim is not changing or losing your Christian identity. But it’s going back to the original teachings of Jesus. Guidance ultimately comes from God. We ask God to guide us and you. May God’s peace and blessing be upon you for the rest of your days.

*God is not male or female, the word ‘Him’ when used for God does not refer to gender

References
[1] John Evans, History of All Christian Sects and Denominations, ISBN: 0559228791

[2] C.N.Kolitsas, The Life and Times of Constantine the Great, ISBN: 1419660411

[3] Excerpt from ‘Islamic Trajectories in Early Christianity’ by Dr Jerald

Purpose of life

The most important question in life is ‘Why are we here?’

Well, why are we here? To amass fame and fortune? To make music and babies? To be the richest man or woman in the graveyard for, as we are jokingly told, “He who dies with the most toys wins?”

No, there must be more to life than that, so let’s think about this. To begin with, look around you. Unless you live in a cave, you are surrounded by things we humans have made with our own hands. Now, why did we make those things? The answer, of course, is that we make things to perform some specific function for us. In short, we make things to serve us. So by extension, why did God make us, if not to serve Him?

If we acknowledge our Creator, and that He created humankind to serve Him, the next question is, “How? How do we serve Him?” No doubt, this question is best answered by the One who made us. If He created us to serve Him, then He expects us to function in a particular manner, if we are to achieve our purpose. But how can we know what that manner is? How can we know what God expects from us?

Well, consider this: God gave us light, by which we can find our way. Even at night, we have the moon for light and the stars for navigation. God gave other animals guidance systems best suited for their conditions and needs. Migrating birds can navigate, even on overcast days, by how light is polarized as it passes through the clouds. Whales migrate by “reading” the Earth’s magnetic fields. Salmon return from the open ocean to spawn at the exact spot of their birth by smell, if that can be imagined. Fish sense distant movements through pressure receptors that line their bodies. Bats and blind river dolphins “see” by sonar. Certain marine organisms (the electric eel being a high-voltage example) generate and “read” magnetic fields, allowing them to “see” in muddy waters, or in the blackness of ocean depths. Insects communicate by pheromones. Plants sense sunlight and grow towards it (phototrophism); their roots sense gravity and grow into the earth (geotrophism). In short, God has gifted every element of His creation with guidance. Can we seriously believe he would not give us guidance on the one most important aspect of our existence, namely our raison d’etre our reason for being? That he would not give us the tools by which to achieve salvation?

So what does the Creator, God, tell us about our purpose in life? God states in the Quran that He created the human to be His trustee on earth. Mankind’s basic trust, our responsibility, is to believe in and worship God:

And I did not create the jinn and humankind except to worship Me… [Quran 51:56-58]

Very simple! The purpose for man’s creation is to worship the Creator. The Islamic understanding of worship allows the whole of one’s life to be an act of worship, as long as the objective of that life is the pleasure of God, which is achieved by doing good and refraining from evil. A person can turn everyday activities into acts of worship by purifying his or her intention and sincerely seeking God’s pleasure through these activities. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Greeting a person is charity. Acting justly is charity. Helping a man with his steed is charity. A good word is charity. Every step taken on the way to performing prayers is charity. Removing an obstacle from the road is charity.

Worship provides the believers with many benefits that contribute to both their spiritual and worldly well-being. The human body needs material resources for its existence, like food, drink, and a means of reproduction. As for the soul, its needs cannot be fulfilled except through nearness to God by means of faith and obedience, which can only be achieved through worship.

God should be worshipped in times of hardship and times of prosperity and only through his remembrance can the human being find inner peace:

We truly know how your heart is distressed by what they say. So celebrate the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves and worship your Lord until the sure hour (of death). [Quran 15:99] those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God- truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace [Quran 13:28]

God further states that He made this life in order to test man so that every person may be recompensed after death for what he has earned:

[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving. [Quran, 67:2]

But in order to worship Him, we have to know Him well otherwise we may form a distorted concept of Him and then go astray. In the Quran, God tells humankind what He is and what He is not. For example, in response to a question about God that was posed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), God says:

Say (O Muhammad): He is God [Who is] One, God, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent. [Quran, 112]

Does evolution disprove God?

Evolution is a process just like countless other processes on earth. It is not an argument against God. There are many mechanisms found in the natural world such as the water cycle. But the water cycle does not disprove the existence of God. Any mechanism is by default a sign of an organiser or systemiser. Evolution is also a mechanism so it must also have an intelligence who set it into motion.

Charles Darwin even after his publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ believed in God. He is quoted as saying:

[Reason tells me of the] extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capability of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogues to that of man; and I deserve to be called a theist.[1]. For most of his life Darwin believed in God, although later in life the problem of evil lead him to have more serious doubts

Imagine that we humans had created robots that eventually were able to reproduce and improve themselves according to their environment, humans died out and after millions of years the robots came up with a theory of their evolution based on bits of old machines they dug up. Their theory would not in any way disprove the existence of humans. Instead it would be a sign of a higher intelligence that bought them about. Dr Francis Collins who is one of the world’s leading experts on evolution believes that God bought about the human being via the process of evolution.

Whether someone believes in or rejects the theory of evolution as a means to how human beings came in to existence, it does not in any way conflict with belief in God.

AS WE GO THROUGH LIFE

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As we go through life, we live, laugh, and love. Our path cross for a reason, our hearts love for a reason, as we breath for a reason. Deep feelings can leave a special bond and a special place in someone’s heart as their journey thru life. I’m here for a reason, we met for a reason, and we kissed for a reason. I hope you find your reason and what you’re looking for, because I found mine. You!.