Provident God of the Abrahamic Faiths: Plain Water will Tell you the Story

Epigraph:

Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? (Al Quran 21:31)

By Thomas David Parks: Ex Research Chemist, Ph.D., University of Illinois. Formerly Chairman Department of Chemistry, Stanford Research Institute; and Director of Research, Clorox Chemical Company. Specialist in microchemistry, electrolytic phenomena, X-ray diffraction and synthetic resins.

Whittaker Chambers in his book Witness tells of a simple incident which was probably the turning point of his life (and perhaps of the affairs of mankind). He was watching his little daughter and unconsciously became aware of the shape of her ears. He thought to himself how impossible that such delicate convolutions could have come about by chance. They could have been created only by premeditated design. But he pushed this thought out of his agnostic mind because he realized that the next step in logical sequence would have to be: design presupposes God — a thesis he was not yet ready to accept.

I have known many scientists among my professors and fellow research workers who have had similar thoughts about observed facts in chemistry and physics, even though they have not spoken from the depths of despair that Whittaker Chambers found himself in.

I see order and design all about me in the inorganic world. I cannot believe that they are there by the haphazard, fortunate coming together of atoms. For me this design demands an intelligence, and this intelligence I call God.

Probably to a chemist the periodic arrangement of the elements is the most arresting. One of the first things a freshman chemistry student learns is the periodicity or order found in the elements. This order has been variously described and classified but we usually credit Mendeleev, the Russian chemist of the last century, with our periodic table. Not only did this arrangement provide a means of studying the known elements and their compounds but it also gave impetus to the search for those elements which had not yet been discovered.  Their very existence was postulated by vacant spaces in the orderly arrangement of the table.

Chemists today still use the periodic table to aid them in their study of reactions and to predict properties of unknown or new compounds. That they have been successful is sound testimony to the fact that beautiful order exists in the inorganic world.

But the order we see around us is not a relentless omnipotence. It is tempered with beneficence — a testimony to the fact that good and pleasure are as much a concern of Divine Intelligence as the immutable laws of Nature. Look around you at the exceptions and deviations that do, in fact, defy the laws of cold rationality.

plitvice-waterfalls

Plitvice Waterfalls

Take, for example, water. From its formula weight –18 — one would predict it would be a gas at ordinary temperatures and pressures. Ammonia — with a formula weight of –17– is a gas at temperatures as low as minus 33° C. at atmospheric pressure. Hydrogen sulfide, closely related to water by position in the periodic table and with a formula weight of 34, is a gas at temperatures down to minus 59° C. The fact that water exists as a liquid at all, at ordinary temperatures, is something to make one stop and think.

Read furtherPlain Water will Tell you the Story – PDF File

(This article is reproduced from a book the Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe edited by John Clover Monsma, published in 1958. This book is a collection of short articles by different scientists about their views about God.  The pictures and the Periodic Table diagram have been added by the Muslim Times)

The Muslim Times’ Chief Editor’s comments:

Christian apologists want to make a case for Christianity based on laws of nature and science, by showing that there ought to be a Transcendent Creator of our universe.  They make this case, in one breath, and in the very next, deny all of science, by insisting on Eucharist, man-God of Jesus, who is not Transcendent, resurrection and miracles that violate laws of nature.

Atheists are right in exposing the irrationality of the Christian dogma. However, the Christians are right in as far as their claim that there needs to be a Creator of this universe, Who employed natural means to do His work. However, both parties in their self-conceit are not listening to how Islam resolves their conflict; Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and presented in the Muslim Times.

In a trilateral discussion between atheists, Christians and Muslims, I believe we can appreciate reality better and come up with better theology, especially if the discussion not only involves the Creator and purpose of the universe, but, also His complete Transcendence, Original Sin and evolution of life on our planet, Trinity, Mother Mary and Eucharist.

11 replies

  1. The water has numerous physical properties that make it very suitable for life. One of these is called anomalous expansion below 4 degree centigrade. Matter contracts as its temperature falls and expands as it heats up. For water we have a strange exception which turns out to be a very suitable manipulation, which allows life to survive freezing temperatures. This property of water is unique. As water cools towards freezing and ice forms it expands and as such becomes lighter and rises to the surface. As a result we can have liquid water beneath the top layer of ice and the aquatic life can survive the freezing winter. Incidentally, it also allows for ice fishing!

    The thermal conductivity of water, which is the capacity to conduct heat, is four times greater than any other common liquid. This helps warm blooded animals in passing heat from the inside of the body to outside. In contrast the thermal conductivity of ice is low. This fact helps the fish in cold harsh winters. They are insulated from the low atmospheric temperature by the covering of, insulating blanket of ice on the top.

    Lawrence Henderson was professor of Biochemistry in Harvard in early twentieth century. He is well known to all biochemistry and medicine students for Henderson-Hasselbach equation. He argues, “it turns out that not one or two, not most, but all the thermal properties of water are mutually adaptive not only for the maintenance of thermal stability on a planetary scale but also for the buffering of individual macroscopic life forms against sudden temperature changes”. He adds, “amazement mounts at the wonderful elegance and parsimony in the way the various thermal adaptations of water conspire to achieve so many life sustaining ends.”

    To a Muslim this certainly reminds of the verses of Surah Mulk:

    You see not any imperfection in the creation of the Gracious God. Return your gaze, do you see any flaw. Then return your gaze again and again. Your gaze comes back to you dazzled, perplexed and fatigued, having found no incongruity. (Al Quran 67:4-5)

    • JazakAllah for humbling us and bringinf to light the Greatness of Allah, the Creator of everything. A very awe inspiring article.

  2. “I see order and design all about me in the inorganic world. I cannot believe that they are there by the haphazard, fortunate coming together of atoms. For me this design demands an intelligence, and this intelligence I call God.”

    This passage is perhaps the most compelling statement that we all come to rest on when pondering over the creation of Allah.

    Human intelligence cannot resist and has to yield to the fact that there is a creator, our lord, our God who has blessed us with plenty of blessings and benefits of His creation. Inevitably we say Subhan Allah, Alhumdo Lillah.

  3. Oh, what a wonderful article! Thank you Zia sb., for posting it. The Qur’anic verse quoted above is so very true. It’s amazing that such truths were revealed over a millennia ago.

    That in itself should lead thinking humans to the conclusion that there IS a God Who is ever present and constantly revealing his surprises to incredulous and amazed human beings some of whom are still insisting that He does not exist. How blind of them!

    Alhamdulillah for all that He does, Alhamdulillah!

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