Yes — There is a God*

by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui

The Light (Pakistan), 8th/16th June 1976 Issue (Vol. 56, Nos. 22–23, pp. 1–2, 18–20)

*Footnote to the title by the Author: A renowned biologist Dr. Lecomte du Nouy (formerly of the Rockefeller and Pasteur Institutes), who is also familiar with modern findings in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Philosophy, has written a remarkable book, Human Destiny, in which he has shown by strictly scientific reasoning the fundamental fallacies of the materialistic philosophy. Dr. du Nouy is thoroughly constructive from the standpoint of both science and religion, and finds religious faith behind the drama of evolution, and has shown himself as God’s newest witness. A short review of this remarkable book was made by a writer, Fulton Oursler in The Reader’s Digest magazine, some time ago. I found it so refreshing and convincing that I have taken some important extracts from the same for the benefit of the readers of The Light.

Ever since Darwin advanced his theory of evolution, disbelief in many of the fundamental religious doctrines had been spreading. It became popular to look upon man as a mere biological accident, to deny the existence of the human soul and its freewill to choose between good and evil, to regard life as without purpose and meaning. Sceptics insist that the death blow to faith was given by science. In his extraordinary book Human Destiny, Dr. Lecomte du Nouy reveals a new theory of evolution; and by science and reason, he seeks to turn into realities those old, disputed hopes of mankind — freewill, a meaning for life, the importance of the individual, immortality and God.

Is Science all in all:

As a biologist, Dr. Nouy begins by confessing the fallibility of science. We are not to give it a blind trust. Nothing in this world can be absolutely known. Our five senses are imperfect; our technical instruments are never precise enough.

Nor can we even perceive reality. Flour and soot mixed together give a powder that looks grey. But a microscopic insect moving among the grains of that powder will see white and black boulders. On the insect’s scale of observation there is no such thing as a grey powder. All our ideas of truth must be relative in a universe whose very scale is beyond our grasp.

In this mighty Cosmos, science tops with tiny fractions of knowledge, but the chasms separating known facts are vast and deep. We are living on a globe which is about 2,000 million years old. On this vast stage was played the drama of evolution. But how did the curtain go up? So far it has been impossible to ascertain how life began. No one has even explained the origin of vertebrates to which you and I belong.

The whole history of evolution is spotted with improbable mysteries. Every great step forward was made against the most rigid scientific law of probability, each advance an unlikely conquest from lower to a higher level.

For example, there is that moment when life changed its technique of begetting. For millions of years, protoplasmic cells just kept on multiplying and separating, breaking apart and renewing — seeming to possess immortal life. Suddenly, mysteriously, there came into life a singular new mode of begetting by sexual generation. And how odd it does seem that, as in the story of Adam and Eve, when sex came into life, death came with it.

Often truth comes to man through intuition (or revelation) while knowledge is acquired by intelligence, and both sources must be respected.

Basic Facts about Evolution:

Five basic facts about evolution are undeniable:

  1. The beginning of life in extremely simple forms;
  2. Evolution into more and more complex forms;
  3. The result of this age-long process — man with a human brain;
  4. The birth in man of abstract thought;
  5. The spontaneous growth of moral and spiritual ideas in different parts of the world.

Not one of these five facts can be explained scientifically. We must bridge the gaps by setting up an hypothesis.

Often an hypothesis is a necessity. In working out his theory of relativity Einstein used more than a dozen unprovable postulates — yet, thanks to his work, we released the energy of the atom. Dr. Nouy’s hypothesis sees a pattern, a moral purpose in evolution. It is based on the impossibility of attributing to the simple play of chance the beginning of life and its ascent to the wonders of the human brain.

For years, materialists have been telling us that chance held an absolute despotism over all things mortal. But Dr. Nouy replies: “Man is free either to follow his animal instincts, which give him physical pleasure, or to seek another kind of goal. To reach that different goal he has to struggle against powerful animal instincts in himself. Often the fight means agony to him. Yet some men do make that fight in spite of pain. Such a choice exists for man alone.

Many men choose one path, very few the other. But it is the few who have always played the great role in evolution. This non-conforming minority has followed an irresistible but invisible leadership; it has obeyed a great compelling Final Cause that drew it on.

The melting snow on a mountaintop becomes brooks and mighty rivers as they flow downwards towards the sea. They flow downwards, of course, in obedience to a law of finality called gravitation. In evolution, life flowed not downward but upwards, drawn by a law of equal finality. Since the beginning of the world, life has followed that ascending path, beginning with shapeless matter and ending in thinking man endowed with a conscience.

Has orthodox science been blind to these clues of pattern and design in evolution? Not at all. In life’s continuous ascent, the rigid law of chance has been so frequently flouted that the most hard-headed materialists have had to admit the presence of some unknown factor. To deal with it they had to give it a name. Cherishing some deep antipathy to the name of God, they called it “Anti-chance”. How little it matters whether you call it anti-chance or God.

For a thousand million years — until man began to think — life was governed by the one basic motive of survival. Then certain human beings appeared who were ruled by a new motive, by an idea of right and wrong for the sake of which they would willingly lose their lives.

Final Power (or God) Speaks:

Dr. Nouy says it was as if the voice of some Final Power that spoke to the human soul:

“So far you have been concerned only with living and breeding. You could kill, you could steal food or mates, and go to sleep peacefully, having obeyed your instincts. But from this day on, you shall not kill! You shall not steal! You shall not covet!

“And you shall sleep peacefully only if you have mastered yourself. You shall be ready to suffer and to give your life rather than abandon your ideals. No longer are your principal aims to live and eat. For noble ends you will endure hunger and death. And you must be noble for that is the will of the new being who has risen in you. You must accept him as master even though he curbs your desires”.

The Man of the Future:

Man does not represent the end of evolution, but only a middle stage between the past with all the memories of the beast and the future, rich in the promise of the Soul. From now on our progress will be not physical but spiritual. The man of the future will be completely liberated from destructive human passions — egotism, greed and lust of power. Though he will enjoy the pleasures of the body, he will not be ruled by them. Man will lose his bondage to the body and escape the domination of the flesh.

Clearly the evolution of the future will be with the good people of the world. But what is good and what is evil? The materialists deny the very existence of good and evil; Dr. Nouy not only affirms their existence but seeks to define them precisely.

Good and Evil:

All through evolution, he argues, there have been just two kinds of living creatures — you can call them good and bad or evolvers and adaptors. The bad kind, the adaptor, has always done the expedient thing. It has conformed and appeased. It adapts itself to environment and circumstances — and then stops progressing. The other kind of creature is stubborn and rebellious. Refusing to conform, it chooses rather to surpass itself, and so evolves into something better. In the clash of these two motives Dr. Nouy finds his difference between wrong and right.

The criterion of the adaptors is usefulness; of the evolver, freedom — liberation from all destructive restriction. Ever since the first rudiments, this test has singled out the rising scale. It was the creatures who sought freedom who carried life upwards. As Dr. Nouy puts it:

“Evolution progresses from instability to instability. It would perish if it encountered only perfectly adapted stable systems”.

Man has become capable of perfecting himself. Ideas of the beautiful come to him, aesthetic visions born in him can be materialized by his hands. He invents and he learns. No longer does the satisfaction of an appetite seem enough. The voice of his new-born conscience contradicts old orders and gives him new ones. Mastering of self is based on the liberty to choose between good and evil, it gives birth to human dignity and that is the goal of evolution. ‘Good’ must be also the respect of human personality; ‘evil’ is the contempt of this personality.

The Future Evolution of Man:

Here is the most important event so far in evolution. Henceforth, in order to evolve, man must disobey his own nature.

Now it is the individual who counts and no longer the species. We should not despair because there are so few good people in the world. As in millions of past years, growth will still be carried on by the few. The few will prove to be the forerunner of the future race, ancestors of the spiritually perfect man, like those great prophets of yore who were inspired by God. It need not take a great length of time, as the whole process can be hurried along because of Man’s greatest tool, his brain. Thanks to the human brain the range of our senses has been increased beyond all dreams. We can see the infinitely small and the infinitely remote. We have dwarfed distance and put time in chains.

But this facile power of thought increases our responsibility. We are free either to forge ahead or to destroy ourselves. Too many look upon our inventions as symbols of true civilization. Not human comfort and convenience but human dignity must be our ideal. Intelligence, unless governed by conscience, will generally influence man adversely in the choice between good and evil. Common-sense has yet to make its first hero or martyr. That is why intelligence alone is dangerous. Alone it made the Atomic bomb. Suddenly people realised that triumph of science brutally challenged their security. For the first time the conflict between pure intelligence and moral values became a matter of life and death. Some leaders of men including dictators, wrongly considering man as a glorified animal try to regiment people. Yet the will of the “anti-chance” or God, the grand design of evolution, is that man be not regimented but remain free to evolve.

The Correct and Safe Path:

We must respect human personality because it is a worker for evolution, and a collaborator with God. Here many persons ask: If there is a God, how can He permit all the evil that is in the world. This question shows a misunderstanding of the new theory. In the beginning of evolution, progress depended solely on God. Now it no longer depends solely on Him, but also on the efforts made by man individually. By giving man conscience and free-will, God abdicated a part of His Omnipotence in favour of His creature. Thus He breathed a spark of Himself into man.

This liberty is so real, so actual, that God Himself refuses to interfere with it. If we accept the fact that a Supreme power has created the laws of life, then we must know that the creating power will not prevent these laws from operating. It is not nature that is incoherent but man who is ignorant — he still has a long way to go.

The Conception of God:

Again the intelligent man bogs down, because he cannot think of God sensibly. What does God look like? A giant with a beard, conceived in the image of man? In these scientific times the answer could be clear. Imagine God? Who can visualize even an electron? Any scientist will tell you that the electron is inconceivable. You cannot diagram its shape. No man has ever seen one. Neither the unseen electron nor the unseen God can be visualised, but they exist.

The True Education:

How can the individual co-operate in the evolution of the future? We know the laws of morality and we can abide by them. The moral instruction of youth must begin in schools. Today our young are stuffed with many useless details while vital morality is passed over in silence. Why does nobody dream of making children learn character? Surely the whole world realises the advantage which would result if the great majority of men could be trusted. The law of evolution is and always has been to struggle upwards. The divine spark is in us. We are free to disregard it, to kill it, or to come closer to God by showing our eagerness to work with Him.

To the doubters and sceptics whose despair makes them wonder whether life is worth living, every courage and hope is offered. They have but to believe and try, with faith in God, when peace and happiness would find an abode in their hearts.

Conclusion:

On reading the above, one is reminded about the Quranic truths:

لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ فِیۡۤ اَحۡسَنِ تَقۡوِیۡمٍ ۫﴿۴﴾

“Certainly We created man in the best make ….” (The Holy Quran, 95:4–8)

وَ اَنۡ لَّیۡسَ لِلۡاِنۡسَانِ اِلَّا مَا سَعٰی ﴿ۙ۳۹﴾

“And that man can have nothing but what he strives for ….” (The Holy Quran, 53:28–42)

اَنَّ الۡاَرۡضَ یَرِثُہَا عِبَادِیَ الصّٰلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۵﴾

“… that My servants will inherit the earth ….” (The Holy Quran, 21:105–108)

وَ الۡعَصۡرِ ۙ﴿۱﴾ اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِیۡ خُسۡرٍ ۙ﴿۲﴾ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَ تَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ۬ۙ وَ تَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ ٪﴿۳﴾

“By the time! — Surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience.” (The Holy Quran, 103:1–3)

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