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According to the Qur'an, creation happens both instantaneously and gradually. How can both be possible at the same time?

His command, when He wills a thing, is to say to it ‘Be!,’ and it is’ and  ‘It is only one blast; then behold, they will be all arraigned before Us,’ show that things happen instantaneously and merely through a command.  Verses like ‘God’s handiwork, Who has made everything very well’ and ‘(He) has created everything in the best way’ point out that the existence of things is gradual through a vast power on the basis of knowledge, and a fine art depending on wisdom. How can they be reconciled?

Relying on the enlightenment of the Qur’an, I say:

  • There is no contradiction between those two kinds of Qur’anic expressions. Some things happen instantaneously, as in the original creation, and some are gradual, like the repetition of the original.

  • The infinitely perfect order and firmness and solidity, and extremely delicate and fine artistry and perfect creation vis-a-vis the ease, speed, multiplicity, and liberality which are observed in the universe, testify decisively to the existence of the truths contained in these two sorts of verses. Therefore, it is useless to make it a point of discussion whether the existence of things is both gradual and instantaneous. For this reason, with an analogy in the form of a comparison, I will point out why God does this so.

    For example, a tailor, who is a craftsman, makes something with much difficulty but artistically and skillfully, and then cuts out a model for it. After that, he can make its likes quickly and without difficulty. Sometimes, even, it becomes so easy that it is as though made through a command, and acquires so perfect an order, like a clock, that it is brought about as though by the command of a single touch.

    In just the same way, The All-Wise Maker, the All-Knowing Designer, destined for everything, particular and universal, the whole and the parts, a certain measure and proportion like a model. So, look! Making each century a model, the Eternal Designer clothes it with a new world bejeweled with the miracles of His Power. Making each year a measure, He  ‘sews’ a new system artistically fastened with the wonders of His Mercy according to it. Finally, making each day a line, He inscribes on it recruited and renewed creatures adorned with the subtleties of His Wisdom. Furthermore, just as that Absolutely Powerful One makes each century, each year, and each day a model, so too, He makes the earth, each mountain and plain, each garden and orchard, and each tree a model, continuously setting up new systems on the earth and creating new worlds. Removing a world, He replaces it with a new, perfect one. Season after season He displays the miracles of His Power and gifts of His Mercy in all gardens and orchards, where He inscribes a new wisdom-displaying ‘book,’ and sets up a fresh kitchen of His mercy. He clothes each in an ever-renewed garment full of art. Every spring He dresses all trees in raiment of brocade and adorns them with fresh jewels like pearls. He fills their hands with the star-like gifts of His Mercy.

    Thus, the One Who does these things with infinitely fine art and perfect order and varies with innumerable instances of wisdom and favor, and with perfection of power and art, the moving worlds following one another along the string of time, is, certainly, infinitely Powerful and Wise, All-Seeing and All-Knowing. Chance cannot interfere in His acts. By declaring, ‘His command, when He wills a thing, is only to say to it ‘Be!,’ and it is, and the affair of the Hour is as a twinkling of the eye, or nearer,’  the All-Majestic Being proclaims the perfection of His Power, and He proclaims that in relation to His Power the destruction of the universe and the raising of the dead are most easy and free of trouble. His command of creation consists in Power and Will, and all things are absolutely subjugated and obedient to His command, and He creates without any physical contact and gradual operation.  In order to express the absolute ease in His creation, He declares in the Qur’an of Miraculous Explanation that He does every work of His with a mere command.

To conclude:

Some verses proclaim the extremely fine artistry and infinite perfection of wisdom in beings, especially at the start of their creation, while other verses describe the extreme facility and speed and infinite obedience and lack of difficulty, especially in repeating and renewing the created beings.


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