Refuting False Notions About the Origin of Existence*



KNOW, O FRIEND, that those who say: “Things are formed by themselves,” “Causes have brought it about,” or “Nature requires it [to be so]” cause much confusion, for such statements are false. You exist. So, according to the first statement, you are your own creature. According to the second one, [material] causes have brought you about. According to the last one, some unconscious, deaf, and blind laws or forces [attributed to nature] or lifeless things called “nature” required your existence. But the truth is that you are a creature of God, the Almighty.

As for the first statement, things cannot be formed by themselves, because each particle or atom forming your body would have to have an eye to see your whole body and all of creation, as well as consciousness [to be aware of all requirements of life and existence]. Your perfect composition, the perfection of art in you, requires this, for all particles of existence are in vital and substantial relations with each other and with all creation.

To print a book, a printing house must have as many iron letters or keys as needed to print it. If you made yourself, you must contain as many molds as the number of atoms in you, for they are in conscious relation and communication with each other. Your composition is uniform, meaning that all parts are in close interrelation with each other. Therefore, like the stones forming an arch or a dome, all your atoms or building blocks should be both dominant over and dominated by each other. They also should be like the manifestations of the Names and Attributes of the One Who rolls up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books—both opposite and complementary to each other.

Causes cannot create anything by themselves. For example, if bottles containing medical ingredients fall off the shelf and become mixed on the floor, would the desired medicine be produced? Using the same analogy, could you be formed by chance or random causes? How could innumerable deaf, blind, and unconscious causes come together and create something that has perfect order? By coming together they only increase in deafness and blindness. Each human being is a perfect work of art [intelligent, conscious, and equipped with endless and extremely complex feelings, senses, and faculties, and feeling infinite need]. How can that which is deaf, blind, and unconscious bestow hearing, sight, and consciousness on something else?

Assume that innumerable causes come together in a most orderly fashion and in exact measure to create a cell in your eye. With the same amount of effort, then, the universe’s basic parts or elements, including huge heavenly objects, should be able to assemble themselves in your palm or in each of your cells. Why? Because if you work in a house, this means the house contains you. All of the universe’s parts and contents are related to humanity. So if causes created you, the entire universe should be able to operate within each of your body’s parts and be contained by one of your cells. This is a most inconceivable sophistry.

Nature cannot create because it is something supposed to exist, a name bestowed by those who do not know the real facts of the matter. However, in its true meaning, it is a Divine art, a painting by the All-Merciful.

“Natural forces” are only manifestations of the Power of the All-Merciful, All-Knowing, All-Aware, All-Willing. “Chance” is only a mistaken supposition put forward by those who are unaware of or deny the Single Maker. In many of my treatises included in this book, I have argued that this wonderful art [that constitutes the essence of what they call nature] is really the work of the Power of the All-Aware, All-Seeing, having all the attributes of Perfection.

Could something restricted, solid, inanimate, whose existence or non-existence is equally possible (meaning that one must prefer its existence and create it), have woven the universe’s garment? Could a gnat have participated in weaving these perfectly designed and adorned garments in which those words are dressed? The only explanation for your existence and that of creation is that everything that has been created is a creature of an Eternal Maker, and that they all testify to this fact.

There are other witnesses: the Qur’an and all other revealed books; the writings of saints and believers in God’s existence and Unity; all that exists and happens in the universe; the lord of creation and all other Prophets, saints, and angels; Prophet Muhammad; humanity and jinn with all their “natural” needs; and God—all of these testify that there is no god but He (3:18).

KNOW, O FRIEND, that the falsehood of attributing creation to things themselves, nature, or causes can be explained through the example of a fruit-bearing tree. If you attribute this tree to God, the One and Single, you attribute it to its seed and to the laws of germination, creation, and growth issuing from the Necessarily Existent Being, the One and Single, and on which that seed depends. The tree is dependent on the laws issuing from a Single Creator because of the ease coming from the Oneness of Him Who governs its germination, growth, and life. It is just as easy for that Single Creator to grow that seed into a large coconut palm bearing countless fruits or into a very small one with only a few fruits.

But if you attribute a tree to itself, causes, or nature, then each fruit, blossom, leaf, branch, and twig on it would need whatever the whole tree does, for each part is an epitome of a whole. Thus, whatever is needed by the whole is needed by each part.

Consider these two alternatives. The first one, which is done by God with perfect ease, makes creation necessary and inevitable, whereas the second one is so unbelievably difficult that it renders the creation of anything inconceivable.

In short: If you attribute creation to things themselves, you must accept that every cell of your body can encompass the universe. If you attribute creation to material causes, you must affirm that every cell is like a room in which all causes operating in the universe are included, for all cells are the same and display the same structure. This uniformity leads you to unity in diversity, to the interrelatedness seen in the universe, and therefore to the Maker’s unity. Something unified, displaying uniformity, and composed of countless interrelated parts in a basic relationship with each other could not have been created by more than one Creator. How can a cell in which even a gnat’s two wings cannot be included contain the many material, bodily causes needed for it to function?

Something having external, material existence is more established, stable, and fixed than something having only an ideal, immaterial existence. A tiny particle of the former can contain a mountain of the latter. [For example, a mountain’s reflection can fit into a small mirror. Since whatever exists is contingent, its existence or non-existence was equally possible. Its coming into existence was the result of a preference by One having the absolute authority of preference, the One with an absolutely necessary existence without which nothing could exist. Therefore,] that necessary existence is more established, stable, and fixed than all material existence. It is the Real Existence, and so cannot be contained by contingent existence.

Contingent things—whatever exists other than the Necessarily Existent One—are reflected in the mirror of the Eternal, all-encompassing Knowledge, while their real existence consists in their existence in that Knowledge [as meaning]. They come into material existence through the manifestation of the lights of Necessary Existence, and thus show the Necessarily Existent One’s existence. Their material existence in the corporeal world, the result of their transference from the all-encompassing sphere of Knowledge, can never be of the same essence and quality, or of the same existential degree, as that of Real Existence.


Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

*From The Seedbed of Light / The Sixth Treatise / Second Addendum