10 Jan 2009

Are you as intelligent as you think?

Happiness is a commodity which we all strive for, whether it be through the purchase of expensive houses and cars, going on luxury cruises and relaxing with a cool drink on some beach in the Mediterranean, considering there to be only one life and that therefore one should make the most of it. Or we should live through the observance of a divinely revealed lifestyle with the hope of an eternal Paradise in the Hereafter.

The choice of lifestyle is obviously of paramount importance since one would not wish to be busy in the temporal pleasures of the world if eternal Hellfire awaits; nor would one wish to have restricted one’s sphere of enjoyment in the false hope of Paradise.

Any enlightened person will have, at some point in their life, considered whether or not a supreme being, originator or creator of the universe exists, and if this question yields a positive answer then it must naturally follow that one needs to know what kind of relationship, if any, one should have with such a God in order to derive the maximum amount of benefit in this life and in the next and in order to avoid harm.

Before presenting any kind of evidence, either in favour of or against the existence of a Creator, one must consider the rules of evidence, i.e. what can one irrefutably consider as reliable evidence. There are seven possibilities…

Science – This is considered to be the most objective and impartial of the evidences. Empiricists, however, only conclude that something exists if it is within their direct sensible perception. Hence, since a creator is not perceivable, science cannot answer our question.

Mathematics – This is an abstract science which has no reality unless the numbers are quantified, e.g. 1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples, and since the creator is not quantifiable mathematics is inappropriate.

Logic – The proponents of pure logic make assumptive statements which are easily manipulated to reach a desired conclusion and hence logic is also inappropriate.

Philosophy – This involves notions used to formulate opinions which are often abstract and false, not a reliable source of evidence.

History – Each individual’s interpretation is valid but since no-one was usually around at the time it is difficult to prove matters beyond dispute.

Blind faith – This is an emotional bond between a person and his faith which is not a tangible reality to others and therefore not available to measure the existence of a creator.

Rationality – This is based on the reality perceived. It focuses on the definite aspect of things and therefore its conclusions never contradict, there being only ever one answer to each question, e.g. that there is writing on this page.

At this point some ground rules must be laid before we tackle our fundamental question. Firstly, we are dealing with that reality which we are all able to understand under normal circumstances. Secondly, that our aim is not to explain the essence of the creator, if he exists, but merely to quantify the steps leading up to his existence or non existence. Thirdly, that we are only concerned with the definite aspects of reality, not assumptions or theories concerning it. Let us now proceed: Using rationality, the universe can be either finite or eternal. If something is eternal then rationally it can have no cause and hence it must be self-subsistent and infinite. If the universe is infinite it must have an infinite number of stars and, hence, light which should illuminate the infinite amount of darkness and consequently there should be no night, the light having had an infinite amount of time to reach us. This is clearly not the case. Hence, the universe is not eternal but finite.

If the universe is finite, like all of its component parts, e.g. man and other life forms, all having a beginning and an end, then, just like its component parts, it must be subject to the laws of nature such as cause and effect since matter does not effect the laws of nature but rather abides by them, even at point zero, since if matter can instigate a change in the laws of nature then such a change should also exist today.

There can therefore only be three possibilities:

1. The universe appeared out of nothing
2. The universe exists as an infinite chain of cause and effect
3. The universe was caused by an unlimited Creator

The first option is contrary, as we have stated, to the fact of cause and effect. The second option is similarly incorrect since the first effect must necessarily have had a cause and cannot have instigated itself. The third option is possible and, however fantastic or unbelievable this may seem, it can be the only explanation, i.e. that the universe and all of its components, including man, can only have been the result of an all-powerful and unlimited entity.

If therefore we conclude that a creator exists, which we must, then our next question must surely be what relationship do we have, if any, with the Creator? That is, how is one to derive the maximum amount of benefit from the Creator? And what is the purpose, if any, of creation? Although one can prove the existence of a Creator rationally, one cannot determine our relationship with it, since the Creator’s essence or attributes are beyond our sensible perception, and hence beyond rationality. Our search through the annuls of history should inform us whether this Creator ever communicated with us.

We therefore invite you to think for yourself, to contemplate upon the perfection with which man has been created, the precision with which he operates defies pure chance.

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