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Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 12 Dec 2019

     

How can atheistic evolutionary science clarify creation-related matters in scriptures?

Dr. Nikhil asked: In a question answered by You on August 27, 2019, about how Allah created living beings as stated in the Quran, You suggested that the devotee should refer to Darwin’s theory of evolution. But Darwin’s theory of evolution and biology in general, does not include God to explain how life evolved.

Darwin’s original theory of evolution, which is based on natural selection, later gave way to the ‘modern evolutionary synthesis’, which unified Darwin’s evolution with the genetics of Gregor Mendel. Even this modern evolutionary synthesis is also mainly based on natural selection. Personally, Darwin was most probably a theist. It is said that he lost his faith in traditional Christianity, later in life. But it is claimed that he returned to the Christian faith on deathbed. In any case, he did not explicitly deny God. However, the theory of evolution, be it the original Darwinian evolution or the modern synthesis, is one of the major pieces of evidence that atheists depend on, to claim that life does not need God to evolve.

This atheistic view of the origin of life is against the philosophies of all religions including, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. So, how can the devotee get more clarity about Quranic references related to the creation of life by God from the atheistic evolutionary science?]

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! I am not criticizing the theory of evolution or any other discovery of science because I am also a scientist. I fully believe in the value of science, which is based on experimental validation and not on mere theoretical imagination. Let us understand the respective roles of science and spirituality through the example of making coffee. I agree with the scientific procedure involved in the preparation of a cup of coffee. I am not denying the scientific laws of heat transfer in heating the water and milk. I also agree with the scientific laws related to the solubility of sugar and coffee powder in the hot mixture. I am only giving additional information about why the coffee was prepared in the first place. This is the role of spirituality. I am telling you that a person had a headache and wanted to drink coffee. So, he went to the kitchen, prepared the coffee and drank it. The person is the intellectual cause of the coffee (nimittam). The details about all the inert materials and processes like water, milk, heating, sugar and coffee powder are the material cause of the coffee (upādānam). The scientist only describes the material cause. I am not opposing that part at all. I am only adding the remaining part of the explanation, which makes the scientist’s part meaningful. The scientist cannot say that the milk got a headache and wished to become a cup of coffee! As you (Dr. Nikhil) are well-aware, this example of preparing coffee has been given by a wise western philosopher.

There are some philosophies, who treat God only as intellectual cause of creation and the basic inert energy as the material cause. I have completed the story of creation only as per such philosophies. Of course, the main philosophy says that God is omnipotent and so, He acts as both the intellectual cause as well as the material cause (abhinna nimittopādānam). There is no worldly example to explain this main philosophy since there is no omnipotent entity in this imaginable world. The magical creation of an object by a magician can be given as an example, but with certain limitations. The main limitation is the magic is not true, it is a trick. It is just that we, as spectators, are unable to know the hidden techniques used by the magician. But if we assume that the magical creation of the object by the magician is a true creation, it can be treated to be the perfect example of God creating the world. Actually, if you want an exact example, it is also available in this world. It is the case of a genuine miracle performed by the mere will of a God-man (Human Incarnation of God). The God-man Himself is both the intellectual and material cause of the miracle. The point to be noted here is that this example is not different from the original concept. The original concept is the unimaginable God creating the world. The case of the God-man performing the miracle is the mediated God creating an item miraculously. In both cases, God alone is both the intellectual and material cause of the created item. This is an advanced concept in the spiritual knowledge and I am not getting into its details to avoid confusion, at this initial state.

So, in this matter, I prefer to stick to the basic philosophy mentioned by Me initially, according to which, God is the intellectual cause and some primary inert material is the material cause of creation (world). As per this philosophy, God is like the potter who creates the pot out of mud. At this stage, the establishment of the existence of God is important and this basic philosophy is sufficient for the purpose.

| Shri Dattaswami | Nimittam Upaadanam abhinna nimittopaadaanam

 
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