Chapter 1

Chapter 1 (Continued)

The Formation Adventure of the Atom
The Signs of the Qur'an
The Structure Of The Atom
The Second Step On The Path To Matter: Molecules
An Interesting Property of Water
Power Of The Atom
Atoms That Come Alive
Feeding And Hunting

The SIgns of the Qur'an

In addition to explaining the universe, the Big Bang model has another important implication. As the quotation from Anthony Flew cited above points out, science has proven an assertion hitherto supported only by religious sources.

The truth that is defended by religious sources is the reality of creation from nothingness. This has been declared in the scriptures that have served as guides for mankind for thousands of years. In all scriptures such as the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Qur'an, it is declared that the universe and everything in it were created from nothingness by Allah.

In the only book revealed by Allah that has survived completely intact, the Qur'an, there are statements about the creation of the universe from nothing as well as how this came about that are suggestive of 20th-century ideas and yet were revealed fourteen centuries ago.

First of all, the creation of this universe from nothingness is revealed in the Qur'an as follows:

He (Allah) is the Originator of the heavens and the earth… (Surat al-An'am: 101)

Another important point revealed in the Qur'an fourteen centuries before the modern discovery of the Big Bang and findings related to it is that when it was created, the universe occupied a very tiny volume:

Do those who are disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not have faith? (Surat al-Anbiya': 30)

There is a very important choice of words in the original Arabic whose translation is given above. The word ratq translated as "sewn to" means "mixed in each, blended" in Arabic dictionaries. It is used to refer to two different substances that make up a whole. The phrase "We unstitched" is the verb fataqa in Arabic and implies that something comes into being by tearing apart or destroying the structure of ratq. The sprouting of a seed from the soil is one of the actions to which this verb is applied.

Let us take a look at the verse again with this knowledge in mind. In the verse, sky and earth are at first subject in the condition of ratq. They are separated (fataqa) with one coming out of the other. Intriguingly, cosmologists speak of a "cosmic egg" that consisted of all the matter in the universe prior to the Big Bang. In other words, all the heavens and earth were included in this egg in a condition of ratq. This cosmic egg exploded violently causing its matter to fataqa and in the process created the structure of the whole universe.

Another matter in the Qur'an that could be interpreted as the expansion of the universe, which was discovered in the late 1920s. Hubble's discovery of the red shift in the spectrum of starlight is revealed in the Qur'an as :

It is We Who have built the universe with (Our creative) power, and, verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 47)

In short, the findings of modern science increasingly point towards the truth that is revealed in the Qur'an and do not support materialist dogma. Materialists may claim this all as "coincidence" but the plain fact is that the universe came into being as a result of an act of creation on the part of Allah. The only true knowledge about the origin of universe is to be found in the word of Allah as revealed to us.

Creation of Matter Moment by Moment

As the Big Bang theory showed once more, Allah created the universe from nothing. This great explosion involves many fine gradations and details, prodding one to reflection, and these matters unaccountable for by coincidence.

The temperature at each moment of the explosion, the number of atomic particles, the forces involved, and their intensity must be of very precise values. Even if only one of these values was not specified, the universe we live in today would not be formed. This end would be inevitable if any one of the abovementioned values deviated by any value mathematically close to "0".

In short, the universe and its building blocks, the atoms, have come to exist in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang after having not existed, thanks to these balances created by Allah. Scientists conducted numerous researches to understand the chronology of the events that took place during this process and the order of the rules of physics in effect at each phase. The facts all scientists who have worked on this subject today admit are as follows:

  • Moment "0": This "moment" when matter and time were non-existent, and when the explosion took place is accepted as t (time) = 0 in physics. This means that nothing exists at time t=0. In order to be able to describe earlier than this "moment" when creation was initiated, we must know the rules of physics that existed then, because the current laws of physics do not count for the first moments of the explosion.

The events that may be defined by physics start at 10-43 seconds, which is the smallest time unit. This is a time frame incomprehensible to the human mind. What happened in this small time period of which we cannot even conceive? Physicists have hitherto been unable to develop a theory that explains in full detail the events that took place at that moment.1

This is because scientists do not have the data required to make the calculations. The scope of the rules of mathematics and physics is at a dead-end at these limits. That is, both what went before and what happened at the first moments of this explosion, every detail of which rests on highly delicate balances, have a reality beyond the confines of the human mind and physics.

This creation, which started at before time, has led moment by moment to the formation of the material universe and the laws of physics. Now let us take a look at the incidents that occurred with great precision within a very short time during this explosion.

As mentioned above, in physics, everything can be calculated from 10-43 seconds onwards, and energy and time can be defined only after this moment. At this point of the creation, the temperature is 1032 (100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) K. To draw a comparison, the temperature of the sun is expressed in millions (108) and the temperature of some stars much larger than the sun is expressed in billions (1011). That the highest measurable temperature at present is limited to billions of degrees reveals how high the temperature was at 10-43 seconds.

When we go one step further than this period of 10-43 seconds, we come to the point at which time is at 10-37 seconds. The time lapse between these two periods is not something like one or two seconds. We are talking about a time lapse as short as one over quadrillion times quadrillion of a second. The temperature is still extraordinarily high, at 1029 (100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) K. No atoms were yet created at this stage.2

One more step, and we are at 10-2 seconds. This time period indicates one hundredth of a second. By now, the temperature is 100 billion degrees. At this point, the "early universe" has started to form. Particles like the proton and neutron forming the nucleus of the atom have not yet appeared. There is only the electron and its antiparticle, the positron (anti-electron), because the temperature and speed of the universe at that point only allow the formation of these particles. In less than a second after the explosion has taken place out of nothing, electrons and positrons have formed.

From this moment on, the time of the formation of each sub-atomic particle is very important. Every particle has to emerge at a specific moment so that the current rules of physics may be established. It is of great importance which particle is to form first. Even a slight deviation in the sequence or timing would make it impossible for the universe to take its current shape.

Let us stop now and do some thinking.

The Big Bang theory provides evidence for Allah's being by showing that all matter comprising the universe originated from nothingness. It did even more and showed that the building blocks - the atoms - also came into existence from nothing less than one second after the Big Bang. The enormous equilibrium and order in these particles are worthy of note. The universe owes its present state to this equilibrium that will be described in more detail in the pages ahead. It is again this equilibrium that allows us to live a peaceful life. In short, perfect order and un-changing laws, "the laws of physics", have formed following an explosion that would normally be expected to create great turmoil and disorder. This proves that each moment following the creation of the universe, including the Big Bang, has been designed perfectly.

Now, let us continue looking at the developments from where we left off.

The next step is the moment at which a time of 10-1 seconds has elapsed. At this moment, the temperature is 30 billion degrees. Not even one second has elapsed from t = 0 moment to this stage. By now, neutrons and protons, the other particles of the atom, have started to appear. The neutrons and protons, the perfect structures of which we will analyse in the following sections, were created out of nothing within a time period even shorter than a second.

Let us come to the first second after the explosion. The massive density atthis time again gives a colossal figure. According to calculations, the density value of the mass present at that stage is 3.8 billion kilograms per litre. It may be easy to express this figure, termed as billions of kilograms, arithmetically, and to show it on paper. Yet, it is impossible to conceive of this figure exactly. To give a very simple example to express the magnitude of this figure, we can say "if Mount Everest in the Himalayas had this density, it could swallow our world in a moment with the force of gravitation it would possess."3

The most distinctive characteristic of the subsequent moments is that by then, the temperature has reached a considerably lower level. At that stage, the universe is approximately 14 seconds old, has a temperature of 3 billion degrees and continues to expand at a dramatic speed.

This is the stage where the steady atomic nuclei, like hydrogen and helium nuclei, have started to form. One proton and one neutron have for the first time found conditions conducive to their co-existing. These two particles, which have a mass straddling the line between existence and non-existence, have, because of the force of gravitation, started resisting the tremendous rate of expansion. It is obvious that a dramatically conscious and controlled process is in progress here. A massive explosion gives way to great equilibrium and precise order. Protons and neutrons have started to come together to form the atom, the building block of matter. It is certainly totally impossible for these particles to have the power and consciousness to establish the delicate balances required for the formation of matter.

During the epoch following this formation, the temperature of the universe has dropped to one billion degrees. This temperature is 60 times the temperature at the core of our sun. Only 3 minutes and 2 seconds have elapsed from the first instant to this one. By now, sub-atomic particles like photons, protons, anti protons, neutrinos and anti-neutrinos are abundant. The quantities of all the particles existing in this phase and their interactions with each other are extremely critical. So much so that the slightest variation in the quantity of any particle will destroy the energy level set by them and prevent the conversion of energy into matter.

Take electrons and positrons for example: when electrons and positrons come together, energy is produced. Therefore, the numbers of both particles are very important. Let us say that 10 units of electrons and 8 units of positrons meet. In this case, 8 of the 10 units of electrons interact with 8 units of positrons and produce energy. As a result, 2 units of electrons are released. Since the electron is one of the particles forming the atom that is the building block of the universe, it has to be available in required quantities in this stage so that the universe may exist. To take up the abovementioned example, if the number of positrons was more than that of the electrons, then positrons would be left over instead of electrons as a result of the energy released and the material universe would never be formed. If the numbers of positrons and electrons were equal, then only energy would be produced and nothing left to form the material universe. Yet, this excess in the number of electrons has been arranged in such a way as to match the number of protons in the universe in the time that follows this moment. In the atom that will form later on, the numbers of electrons and protons will be equal.

The numbers of particles that emerged in the aftermath of the Big Bang were determined with so precise a calculation, finally leading to the formation of the material universe. Professor Steven Weinberg remarks on how critical is the interaction between these particles:

If the universe in the first few minutes was really composed of precisely equal numbers of particles and antiparticles, they would all have annihilated as the temperature dropped below 1,000 million degrees, and nothing would be left but radiation. There is a very good evidence against this possibility - we are here! There must have been some excess of electrons over positrons, of protons over antiprotons, and of neutrons over antineutrons, in order that there would be something left over after the annihilation of particles and antiparticles to furnish the matter of the present universe.4

A total of 34 minutes and 40 seconds have passed since the outset. Our universe is now half an hour old. The temperature has dropped from degrees expressed in billions to 300 million degrees. The electrons and positrons continue producing energy by colliding with each other. By now, the quantities of the particles that are to form the universe have been balanced to allow the formation of the material universe.

Once the rate of the explosion slows down, these particles, almost lacking a mass, start to interact with one another. The first hydrogen atom forms by an electron settling into the orbit of a proton. This formation introduces us to the fundamental forces we will commonly encounter in the universe.

It is no doubt impossible for these particles, which are products of a design far beyond human comprehension and have distinct structures resting on extremely delicate balances, to have come together through coincidence and to act towards the same goal. This perfection leads many researchers working on the subject to a very important conclusion: it is a "creation" and there is a matchless supervision of every moment of this creation. Each particle that is created after the explosion is supposed to form at a specific time, at a specific temperature and at a specific velocity. It seems that this system, which runs almost like a wound-up clock, had been programmed with such fine-tuning before becoming active. This means that the Big Bang and the perfect universe that originated as a result of the Big Bang had been designed before the inception of the explosion and afterwards put into action.

The will that arranges, designs and controls the universe is certainly that of Allah, the Creator of everything.

This design is observable not only in the atom, but in every object in the universe, big or small. These particles, which initially dashed away from each other at the speed of light, not only caused the formation of hydrogen atoms, but also gave rise to all the enormous systems contained within the universe today, as well as the atoms, molecules, planets, suns, solar systems, galaxies, quasars etc., according to a magnificent plan, and in perfect order and balance. While it is impossible for the particles required to form an atom to come together by chance and establish delicate balances, it would be far more unreasonable and illogical to claim that planets, galaxies, and in short, all systems that provide the workings of the universe to form by chance and develop balances by themselves. The will that makes this unique design is that of Allah, the Creator of the entire universe.

Other atoms formed following the hydrogen atom, which was a miracle on its own. At this point, various questions come to mind such as "How did other atoms form? Why didn't all protons and neutrons form only the hydrogen atom? How did the particles decide which atoms they would form and in what quantities?" The answer to these questions again takes us to the same conclusion. There is a great power, control and design in the formation of the hydrogen atom and all the other atoms that followed. This control and design exceeds the capacity of the human mind and points to the fact that the universe is obviously a "creation." The laws of physics that were established in the aftermath of the Big Bang have not changed at all during the approximately 17 billion years that have passed. Furthermore, these laws are based on such precise calculations that even millimetric deviations from their present values may cause results upsetting the general structure and order in the entire universe. The words of famous physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking addressing this point are quite interesting. Hawking explains that these phenomena are based on much finer calculations then we can imagine:

If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size.5

The Big Bang, which is built on such fine calculations, evidently reveals that time, space and matter did not come into being spontaneously, but were created by Allah. It is absolutely impossible for the events described above to have formed as a result of sheer coincidence and to lead to the formation of the atom, the building block of the universe.

Unsurprisingly, many scientists working on the subject have accepted the existence of an infinite force and its might in the creation of the universe. The renowned astrophysicist Hugh Ross explains that the Creator of the universe is beyond all dimensions:

By definition, time is that dimension in which cause-and-effect phenomena take place. No time, no cause and effect. If time's beginning is concurrent with the beginning of the universe, as the space-time theorem says, then the cause of the universe must be some entity operating in a time dimension completely independent of and pre-existent to the time dimension of the cosmos. …It tells us that the Creator is transcendent, operating beyond the dimensional limits of the universe. It tells us that God is not the universe itself, nor is God contained within the universe.6

The most important aspect of the Big Bang is that it gives mankind the chance to understand Allah's power better. The origination of a universe with all the matter it contains from nothing is one of the greatest signs of Allah's might. The delicate equilibrium in the energy at the moment of the explosion is a very big sign directing us towards thinking about the infinity of Allah's knowledge.

Fundamental Forces In the Universe

We mentioned that the laws of physics in the universe originated after the Big Bang. These laws are based on the "four fundamental forces" known to modern physics today. These forces were formed along with the formation of the first sub-atomic particles at specifically appointed times in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang to form the entire order and system of the universe. Atoms, which make up the material universe, owe their existence and extremely even distribution across the universe to the interaction of these forces. These forces are the force of mass attraction known as the gravitational force, the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. All have a distinct intensity and field of impact. The strong and weak nuclear forces operate only at the sub-atomic scale. The remaining two - the gravitational force and the electromagnetic force - govern assemblages of atoms, in other words "matter." The flawless order on the earth is the outcome of the highly delicate proportion of these forces. A comparison of those forces produces a very interesting result. All the matter that was created and dispersed across the universe following the Big Bang was shaped by the effect of these forces, which have wide gulfs between them. Below are the stunningly different values of these forces shown in international standard units:

These fundamental forces allow the formation of the material universe through a perfect distribution of power. This proportion between the forces is based on such a delicate balance that they can cause the due effect on particles only at these particular proportions.

1. The GIant Power In the Nucleus: The Strong Nuclear Force

Up to this point, we reviewed how the atom was created moment by moment and the delicate balances acting in this creation. We saw that everything around us, including ourselves, is made up of atoms and these atoms consist of many particles. What then is the force that holds all the particles that form the nucleus of the atom together? This force, which keeps the nucleus intact, and which is the most powerful force defined by the laws of physics, is the "strong nuclear force".

This force ensures that the protons and neutrons in the nucleus of the atom stay together without flying apart. The nucleus of the atom is formed in this way. This force is so strong that it almost causes the protons and neutrons within the nucleus to bind to each other. This is why the minute particles that possess this force are called "gluon" meaning "glue" in Latin. The strength of this bond is adjusted very sensitively. The intensity of this force has been specifically arranged to provide that the protons and neutrons keep at a certain distance to each other. If this force had been just slightly stronger, the protons and the neutrons would bump into each other. If this force had been slightly weaker, they would be dispersed. This force has just the proper degree required for the formation of the nucleus of the atom after the first seconds of the Big Bang.

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were indicative of how destructive the strong nuclear force becomes once it is liberated. The only reason atomic bombs, which will be reviewed in more detail in the chapters ahead, are so effective is the liberation of tiny amounts of this force hidden in the nucleus of the atom.

2. Safety Belt of the Atom: the Weak Nuclear Force

One of the most important factors maintaining order on the earth is the balance within the atom. This balance ensures that things do not suddenly fall apart or emit harmful radiation. The "weak nuclear force" is responsible for this balance between protons and neutrons in the nucleus of the atom. This force plays an important role in maintaining the equilibrium of the nuclei that contain high numbers of neutrons and protons.

As this balance is maintained, a neutron, if required, may be changed into a proton. Since the number of protons in the nucleus changes at the end of this process, the atom changes too and becomes a different atom. Here, the result is very significant. An atom transforms into a different atom without disintegrating and continues its existence. This safety belt protects living organisms against the dangers that would otherwise arise from particles breaking free uncontrollably and giving harm to people.

3. The Force That Keeps Electrons In OrbIt: The Electro-magnetIc Force

The discovery of this force ushered in a new age in the world of physics. It was then understood that each particle bears "an electrical charge" according to its own structural characteristics and that a force exists between these electrical charges. This force provides that particles with opposite electrical charges attract each other and particles with the same charge repel each other, therefore ensuring that the protons in the nucleus of the atom and the electrons travelling in the orbits around it attract each other. In this way, the "nucleus" and the "electrons", the two basic elements of the atom, stay together.

The slightest change in the strength of this force would cause electrons to shoot away from the nucleus or to fall into the nucleus. In both cases, it would become impossible for the atom and therefore, the material universe to exist. Yet, from the first moment this force formed, the protons in the nucleus attracted the electrons at the exact force required for the formation of the atom thanks to the value of this force.

    One can stay in an environment without gravity only for a certain period using special equipment. Living beings can only survive in a system where gravity exists.

4. The Force HoldIng the UnIverse Together: The GravItatIonal Force

Being the only force we can ordinarily perceive, it is also the one about which we know least. Commonly known as gravity, this force is actually called the "mass attraction force". Although it is the least powerful force compared to the other forces, by it very large masses attract each other. This force is the reason why the galaxies and stars in the universe stay in each other's orbits. The earth and other planets remain in a certain orbit around the sun again with the help of this gravitational force. We are able to walk on the earth because of this force. If there were a decline in the value of this force, the stars would fall, the earth would be ripped from its orbit and we would be dispersed from the earth into the space. In the case of the slightest increase, the stars would collide with each other, the earth would run into the sun and we would be pulled into the earth's crust. These may seem very remote possibilities to you now but they would be inevitable if this force had deviated from its present value even for a very short time.

All scientists doing research on this subject admit that the precisely determined values of these fundamental forces are crucial for the existence of the universe.

Addressing this point, the famous molecular biologist Michael Denton states in his book Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe:

If, for example, the gravitational force was a trillion times stronger, then the universe would be far smaller and its life history far shorter. An average star would have a mass a trillion times less than the sun and a life span of about one year. On the other hand, if gravity had been less powerful, no stars or galaxies would have ever formed. The other relationships and values are no less critical. If the strong force had been just slightly weaker, the only element that would be stable would be hydrogen. No other atoms could exist. If it had been slightly stronger in relation to electromagnetism, then an atomic nucleus consisting of only two protons would be a stable feature of the universe-which would mean there would be no hydrogen, and if any stars or galaxies evolved, they would be very different from the way they are. Clearly, if these various forces and constants did not have precisely the values they do, there would be no stars, no supernovae, no planets, no atoms, no life.7

Renowned physicist Paul Davies states his admiration for the predetermined values of the laws of physics in the universe:

When one goes on to study cosmology, incredulity mounts. Recent discoveries about the primeval cosmos oblige us to accept that the expanding universe has been set up in its motion with a cooperation of astonishing precision.8

Supreme design and perfect order prevail in the entire universe constructed on a foundation provided by these fundamental forces. The owner of this order is, beyond doubt, Allah, Who created everything flawlessly out of nothing. Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, holds the stars in their orbits with the weakest of forces, and holds together the nucleus of the minute atom with the strongest of forces. All forces act according to the "measures" He has determined. Allah refers to the order in the creation of universe and the equilibriums "determined most exactly" in one of His verses:

He to whom the dominion of the heavens and the earth belongs. He does not have a son and He has no partner in His dominion. He created everything and determined it most exactly. (Surat al-Furqan: 2)

1. David Filkin, Stephen Hawking's Universe:The Cosmos Explained, Basic Books, October 1998, pp. 85-86
2. Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time A Reader's Companion (Edited by Stephen Hawking; prepared by Gene Stone), New York, Bantam Books, 1982, p. 62-63
3. Henry Margenau, Roy Abraham Vargesse, Cosmos, Bios, Theos, La Salla IL: Open Court Publishing, 1992, p. 241
4. H. P. Lipson, "A Physicist Looks at Evolution", Physics Bulletin, vol. 138, 1980, p. 138

Allah is Known Through Reason
The Creation of the Universe
Allah's Artistry in Colour
For Men of Understanding
The Design in Nature
The Miracle in the Ant
The Miracle in the Atom
The Miracle of the Immune System
The Miracle in the Spider
The Secrets of DNA
The Miracle of the Creation in Plants
The Existence of God
Tell Me About the Creation

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