Does the sub-atomic world provide a proof for creation?
Out of the three famous papers that Albert Einstein published in 1905, On
a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light
explicitly stated the quantum hypothesis for electromagnetic radiation, and
On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary Liquids Required
by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat developed the theory that led to the
establishment of the sub-atomic nature of matter.
Following the classical Newtonian physics and under the spell of developments
in science, physicists of the 19th century claimed that they could explain every
phenomenon in the universe. E. Dubois Reymond, at a meeting held in memory of
Leibniz in the Prussian Academy in 1880 was a bit humbler: ‘There have remained
seven enigmas in the universe, three of which we are unable to solve yet: The
essential nature of matter and force, the essence and origin of movement and
the nature of consciousness. The three of the rest that we can solve although
with great difficulties are: The origin of life, the order in the universe and
the apparent purpose for it and the origin of thought and language. As for the
seventh, we can say nothing about it. It is the individual free will’ (quoted
in A. Adivar, Ilim ve Din (‘Science and Religion’), Istanbul 1980, p.282).
The sub-atomic world threw all scientists into confusion. This world and
the ‘quantum cosmology’ which it introduces, rather than being a heap or assemblage
of concrete things, is made up of five elements: the mass of the electron in
the field where an action occurs (M), the mass of the proton (m), the electrical
charge which these two elements carry, the energy quanta (h)—the amount of the
energy remaining during the occurrence of the action—and the unchanging speed
of light (c). These five elements or the universe can even be reduced to action
or energy waves traveling through space in tiny packets or quanta. Since the
quanta required for an action are special to it and exist independently of the
quanta required for the previous action, it becomes impossible to predict the
exact state of the universe. If the universe is in t1 state now, it cannot be
predicted that it will be the same in t2 state. Paul Renteln, assistant professor
of physics at California State University, writes (American Scientist, Nov.-Dec.,
Modern physicists live in two different worlds. In one world we can predict
the future position and momentum of a particle if we know its present position
and momentum. This is the world of classical physics, including the physics
described by Einstein’s theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity.
In the second world it is impossible to predict the exact position and momentum
of a particle. This is the probabilistic, subatomic world of quantum mechanics.
General relativity and quantum mechanics are the two great pillars that form
the foundation of 20th-century physics, and yet their precepts assume two different
kinds of universe.
The real nature of this sub-atomic world and the events taking place in it
make it impossible to construct a theory to describe them, because they cannot
be observed. One reason for their unobservability is that, as Renteln writes
in an attempt to propose a theory which he calls quantum gravity to reconcile
the two different worlds of classical and quantum physics, ‘the events take
place at a scale far smaller than any realm yet explored by experimental physics.
It is only when particles approach to within about 10-35 meter that their gravitational
interactions have to be described in the same quantum-mechanical terms that
we adopt to understand the other forces of nature. This distance is 1024 times
smaller than the diameter of an atom—which means that the characteristic scale
of quantum gravity bears the same relation to the size of an atom as an atom
bears to the size of the solar system. To probe such small distances would require
a particle accelerator 1015 times more powerful than the proposed Superconducting
At the outset of this century, electrons surrounding the nucleus of an atom
were thought to orbit the nucleus like planets in a miniature solar system.
However, later researches modified that view. The electron is now understood
to be more of an energy field cloud fluctuating around a nucleus.
The nucleus itself seemed to be composed of two smaller constituents—protons
and neutrons. However, in the 1960s, physicists Murray Gell-Mann and George
Zweig confirmed by experiments that protons and neutrons were made up of even
more elementary particles, which Gell-Mann called ‘quarks’. Quarks cannot be
seen, not just because they are too small but also because they do not seem
to be quite ‘all there’.
Quarks are better described as swirls of dynamic energy, which means that
solid matter is not, at its fundamental level, solid at all. Anything you hold
in your hand and which seems solid, is really a quivering, shimmering, lacy
lattice of energy, pulsating millions of times every second as billions of fundamental
particles gyrate and spin in an eternal dance. At its most fundamental level,
everything is energy held together by forces of incredible power.
This is not all that makes us unable to predict even the nearest future of
the universe. According to Werner Heisenberg’s theories, at just the time when
we can know either where a particle is or how fast it is traveling, we cannot
know both. This is because the very act of measuring the particle alters its
behavior. Measuring the particle’s speed changes its position, and measuring
its position changes its speed.
However, the unpredictability in the sub-atomic world does not change anything
in our everyday, predictable world. Everything works according to the basic
laws of classical Newtonian physics. (Groping in the Light, 1990, pp. 11-17).
Why is this so and how should our view of the world and events be?
Scientists who believe in the existence of God and His creation of the universe
suggest that creation was not a single event. That is, God did not create the
universe as a single act and then leave it to operate according to the laws
He established. Rather, creation is a continuous act (creatio continua). In
other words, roughly like the movement of energy or electricity and its illuminating
our world by means of bulbs, existence continuously comes from God and returns
to and perishes in Him. Through the manifestation of all His Names, God continuously
creates, annihilates and re-creates the universe. Some medieval Muslim scholarly
saints such as Muhy al-Din ibn al-’Arabi and Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi called
these pairs of acts as the continuous cycle of coming into existence and dying.
Because of the incredible speed of this movement, the universe appears to be
uniform and continuous. Rumi likens this to the fast spinning of a staff on
one end of which there is fixed a light. When spun at speed, the light on the
end of the staff appears as if a circle of light.
Unable to explain the extreme complexity of existence and the events taking
place, some scientists assert that everything is in chaos and attribute the
formation of universe as it is to mere chance. According to them, other universes
could have formed, they simply did not, and there is no reason that the universe
is the way it is. Given that it is impossible for even three or more unconscious
things moving at random to come together by themselves to form even the simplest
entity, it is highly questionable whether a rational person can accept that
the wonderful order prevailing in the universe according to which we can direct
our lives can be explained without attributing it to a supernatural intellect.
A. Cressy Morrison writes (Man Does Not Stand Alone, New York, pp.98-9.):
The proverbial penny may turn up heads ten times running and the chance of
an eleventh is not expected but is still one in two, but the chance of a run
of ten heads is very small. Suppose you have a bag containing one hundred marbles,
ninety-nine black and one white. Shake the bag and let out one. The chance that
the first marble out is the white one is exactly one in one hundred. Now put
the marbles back and start over again. The chance of the white coming out is
still one in a hundred, but the chance of the white coming out first twice in
succession is one in ten thousand.
Now try a third time, and the chance of the white coming out three times
in succession is one hundred times ten thousand or one in a billion. Try another
time or two and the figures become astronomical.
The results of chance are as closely bound by law as the fact that two and
two make four.
All the nearly exact requirements of life could not be brought about on one
planet at one time by chance. The size of the earth, the distance from the sun,
the thickness of the earth’s crust, the quantity of water, the amount of carbon
dioxide, the volume of nitrogen, the emergence of man and his survival—all point
to order out of chaos, to design and purpose, and to the fact that, according
to the inexorable laws of mathematics, all these could not occur by chance simultaneously
on one planet once in a billion times. It could so occur, but it did not so
Attributing the impossible to chance is a trick of the human mind, its stubborn
resistance, which confuses a theoretical possibility with the actual facts.
For example, it is possible that the Pacific Ocean has now changed into milk,
but actually it has not.
As it is impossible to construct a building on a flowing stream, God Almighty
spread over the unpredictability of the sub-atomic world the veil of the speed
of its movement and made the universe dependent on what we call laws. It is
for this reason that everything in the outer face of nature works according
to the basic laws of classical Newtonian physics. However, it is a matter of
controversy between the two schools of Ahl al-Sunna wa l-Jama’a whether the
universe has a continuous existence working according to established laws and
things accordingly have perpetual properties or God continuously creates the
universe and orders each component of it what to do at every moment. The followers
of the Maturidi School assert that God created the universe and set it to operate
according to certain laws which He established, giving each thing certain properties.
For example, fire burns because God gave it the quality of burning. Whereas,
the followers of the Ash’ari School maintain that the universe does not have
a perpetual, established existence and reality. Nor do things have essential
qualities of themselves. God creates the universe anew each ‘moment’ and directs
it continuously by ordering each thing to do what it must do. For example, fire
does not essentially have the quality of burning, rather, God gives it the order
to burn and it burns. Since according to the dictates of life in the universe,
He usually orders it to burn, we think that fire essentially has the quality
As we accept the ‘relative’ truth of both Newtonian and quantum physics at
the same time, we can also accept the truth of the views of both schools. As
a matter of belief and as life at the most fundamental level of existence as
in the sub-atomic world points out, God is continuously active, creating the
universe anew and directly administering it. While at practical level, life
will be impossible for us if we do not accept or assume the uniform continuity
or stability of existence. What would life be if we were conscious that the
sun would not rise tomorrow morning or that we might not live a second longer,
although it is theoretically conceivable both that the sun might not rise tomorrow
and that we might not survive a second longer?