The Order in the Skies
…Something else has to
be behind things, somehow guiding them. And that, one might say,
is a kind of mathematical proof of divinity.
Guy Marchie, American Science Writer 44
During the night of July 4th in 1054, Chinese astronomers
witnessed an extraordinary event: a very bright star that suddenly
appeared near the constellation Taurus. It was so bright that it
could easily be seen even in daytime. At night it was brighter than
What Chinese astronomers observed was one of the most
interesting and catastrophic astronomic phenomena in our universe.
It was a supernova.
A supernova is a star that is shattered by an explosion.
A huge star destroys itself in an immense blast and the material
of its core is scattered in every direction. The light produced
during this event is a thousand times brighter than normal.
explosions known as supernova cause matter to move
throughout the universe. The enormous distances between the
universe's stars and galaxies moderate the risk that such an
explosion will affect other bodies.
Scientists today think that supernovas play a key role
in the formation of the universe. These explosions are what cause
different elements to be carried to different parts of the universe.
It is supposed that the material ejected by these explosions subsequently
combines to form a new galaxy or a star somewhere else in the universe.
According to this hypothesis, our solar system, the sun and its
planets including Earth, are the products of some incredibly ancient
supernovas may seem to be ordinary explosions, they in fact are
minutely structured in their details. In Nature's Destiny Michael
Denton writes :
distances between supernovae and indeed between all stars is critical
for other reasons. The distance between stars in our galaxy is about
30 million miles. If this distance was much less, planetary orbits
would be destabilized. If it was much more, then the debris thrown
out by a supernova would be so diffusely distributed that planetary
systems like our own would in all probability never form. If the
cosmos is to be a home for life, then the flickering of the supernovea
must occur at a very precise rate and the average distance between
them, and indeed between all stars, must be very close to the actual
The ratio of supernovas and
stars' distances are just two more of the fine-tuned details of this
miraculous universe. Examining deeper the universe the arrangement
we see is beautiful both in the organization and design.
We have adorned the nearest heaven
with an adornment, the stars.
(Surat as-Saffat: 6)
Let's recap a few points that we
made earlier. The universe following the Big Bang was a nebula of
just hydrogen and helium. Heavier elements were produced later by
means of intentionally-designed nuclear reactions. Yet the existence
of heavier elements is not a sufficient reason for the universe to
become a suitable place for life. A much more important issue is how
the universe was formed and ordered.
Why is There So Much Space?
We shall start by asking how big the universe is.
The planet Earth is a part of the solar system. In this
system there are nine major planets with fifty-four satellites,
and an uncounted number of asteroids all revolving around a single
star called "Sun", a middle-sized star compared with others in the
universe. Earth is the third planet from the sun.
Let us first try to understand the size of this system.
The diameter of the sun is 103 times that of the earth. To visualize
this, the planet Earth has diameter of 12,200 kms. If we scaled
that down to the dimensions of a glass ball, the sun would be about
the size of soccer ball. But the interesting thing is the distance
between the two. Keeping to the same scale, the two balls should
be 280 meters apart. Some of the objects representing the outer
planets would have to be set several kilometers away.
Big though this might seem, the solar system is a quite
miniscule in size compared with the Milky Way, the galaxy in which
it is located. There are over 250 billion stars in the Milky Way–some
similar to the sun, others bigger, others smaller. The star nearest
to the sun is Alpha Centauri. If we wanted to add Alpha Centauri
in our model system, it would have to be located 78,000 kilometers
That's too big for almost anyone to grasp, so let's reduce
the scale. We'll assume the earth to be as big as a dust-particle.
That would make the sun as big as a walnut about three meters from
the earth. On this scale, Alpha Centauri would have to be located
640 kilometers from the sun.
The Milky Way consists of about 250 billion stars with
similarly mind-boggling distances between them. The sun is located
closer to the edge of this spiral-shaped galaxy than it is to the
Even the Milky Way is dwarfed by the vast size of the
whole universe. It is just one of many galaxies–nearly 300 billion
of them according to recent calculations. And the distances between
galaxies are millions of times greater than that between the sun
and Alpha Centauri.
George Greenstein, in The Symbiotic Universe, comments
on this unimaginable vastness:
the stars been somewhat closer, astrophysics would not have been
so very different. The fundamental physical processes occurring
within stars, nebulas, and the like would have proceeded unchanged.
The appearance of our galaxy as seen from some far-distant vantage
point would have been the same. About the only difference would
have been the view of the night time sky from the grass on which
I lie, which would have been yet richer with stars. And oh, yes-one
more small change: There would have been no me to do the viewing…All
that waster space! On the other hand, in this very waste lies our
Greenstein also explains the reason
for this. In his view, the huge distances in space makes it possible
for certain physical variables to be arranged so as to be exactly
suitable for human life. He also notes the importance of this huge
space in allowing Earth to exist while minimizing the risk of collision
with other stars.
In short, the distribution of celestial bodies in space
is exactly what it must be for human life to exist on our planet.
These huge spaces are the outcome of an intentional design for a
purpose and not a result of coincidence.
Entropy and Order
In order to understand the concept
of order in the universe, we need first to talk about the Second Law
of Thermodynamics, one of the fundamental universal physical laws.
This law states that, left to themselves, organized systems
will become unstable and less organized as time advances.
This law is also called the Law of Entropy. In physics, entropy
is the amount of disorder in a system. The transition of a system
from a stable condition into an unstable condition is the same as
an increase in its entropy. The instability is directly related
to the entropy of that system.
This is commonplace knowledge, many examples of which
we may observe in our daily lives. If you abandon a car in some
exposed place for a year or even a couple of months, you certainly
wouldn't expect it be in just as good condition as you left it when
you return. You'll probably notice flat tires, broken windows, corroded
parts in the engine and body, etc. Similarly if you neglect to straighten
up your house for a few days and you'll immediately see it getting
dustier and more disorganized as time goes by. This is a kind of
entropy; however you can undo it by cleaning and picking things
up and by taking out the trash.
car deteriorates and falls apart. Everything in the universe
is subject to entropy: the law says that, left to itself, everything
becomes less stable and less organized with the passage of time.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is widely accepted as
valid and binding. Einstein, the most important scientist of our
century, said that this law was the "first law of all sciences".
The American scientist Jeremy Rifkin comments in Entropy: A New
Entropy Law will preside as the ruling paradigm over the next period
of history. Albert Einstein said that it is the premier law
of all science: Sir Arthur Eddington referred to it as the supreme
metaphysical law of the entire universe.47
It is important to note that
the Law of Entropy by itself renders many of the claims of materialism
invalid right from the start. For if there is a definite design and
order in the universe, the law holds that, in the course of time,
this situation will be undone by the universe itself. There are two
conclusions to be reached from this observation:
1) Left to itself, the universe cannot exist for eternity.
The second law says that without external intervention of some sort,
entropy will eventually be maximized throughout the universe causing
it to assume a completely homogenous state.
2) The claim that the order we observe is not the result of external
intervention is also invalid. Immediately after the Big Bang, the
universe was in precisely such a completely disorganized state as
would exist if entropy had been maximized. But that has changed
as we can plainly see by looking around. That change took place
in violation of one of nature's fundamental laws–the Law of Entropy.
There is simply no way to account for this change except to posit
some sort of supernatural creation.
Every galaxy in the universe is proof
of the organized structure that everywhere exists. These magnificent
systems, with an average of 300 billion stars each, display
an evident balance and harmony.
An example will perhaps make the second point clearer.
Imagine the universe to be a huge cave full of a jumble of water,
rocks, and dirt. We leave the cave alone for several billion years
and then come back and take a look at it. Upon our return we notice
that some of the rocks have gotten smaller, some have disappeared,
the level of dirt is higher, there's more mud, and so on. Things
are more disordered, which is normal–just as we might expect. If,
billions of years later, you find rocks delicately carved into statues,
you would definitely decide that this order cannot be explained
away by laws of nature. The only rational explanation is that "a
conscious mind" caused these things to be.
So the order of this universe is the most overwhelming
proof of the existence of a superior consciousness. The Nobel prize
winner German physicist Max Planck explains the order in the universe:
At all events, we should say, in
summing up, that, according to everything taught by the exact
sciences about the immense realm of nature in which our tiny planet
plays an insignificant role, a certain order prevails - one independent
of the human mind. Yet, in so far as we are able to ascertain
through our senses, this order can be formulated in terms of purposeful
activity. There is evidence of an intelligent order of the universe.48
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER PHYSICIST MAX PLANCK:
"A certain order prevails in our universe. This
order can be formulated in terms of purposeful activity"
Paul Davies explains the triumph of this marvelous equilibrium
and harmony over materialism thus:
Everywhere we look in the Universe, from the far flung galaxies
to the deepest recesses of the atom, we encounter order... Central
to the idea of a very special, orderly Universe is the concept of
information. A highly structured system, displaying a great deal
of organised activity, needs a lot of information to describe it.
Alternatively, we may say that it contains much information.
We are therefore presented with a curious
question. If information and order always has a natural tendency
to disappear, where did all the information that makes the world
such a special place come from originally? The Universe is like
a clock slowly running down. How did it get wound up in the first
Einstein refers to this order as an
unexpected event, and also says that it should be regarded as a
Well, a priori [reasoning from cause to effect] one should expect
that the world would be rendered lawful [obedient to law and order]
only to the extent that we [human beings] intervene with our ordering
intelligence... [But instead we find] in the objective world a high
degree of order that we were a priori in no way authorized to expect.
This is the 'miracle' that is strengthened more and more with the
development of our knowledge.50
In short, the order in the universe demands deep and
extensive understanding and knowledge. It is designed, organized,
and preserved by Allah.
Allah reveals how the heavens and earth are preserved
by His supreme power in the Qur'an:
Allah keeps a firm hold on the heavens and
earth, preventing them from vanishing away. And if they vanished
no one could then keep hold of them. Certainly He is Most Forbearing,
Ever -Forgiving. (Surah Fatýr: 41)
The divine order in this universe reveals the weakness
of the materialistic belief of a universe that is a mass of ungoverned
matter. This is revealed in another verse:
If the truth were to follow their whims and
desires, the heavens and the earth and everyone in them would have
been brought to ruin…(Surat al-Muminun: 71)
The Solar System
"We find in the objective world a high degree of order."
The solar system is one of the most wonderful examples
of this beautiful harmony to be witnessed. There are nine planets
with fifty-four known satellites and an unknown number of smaller
bodies. The major planets counting outward from the sun are Mercury,
Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Earth is the only one on which life is known to exist. It is surely
the only one on which human beings can live and survive unaided
thanks to abundant land and water and to a breathable atmosphere.
Isaac Newton, one of the pioneers and founders of modern physics
and astronomy, saw in the structure of the universe magnificent
evidence of divine creation.
In the structure of the solar system, we encounter another
beautiful example of equilibrium: the balance between a planet's
centrifugal force countered by the gravitational attraction of its
primary. (In astronomy, a primary is something that another body
revolves about. Earth's primary is the sun; the moon's primary is
Earth.) Without this balance, everything in the solar system would
fly off into the chilling depths of outer space. The balance between
these two forces results in paths (orbits) that the planets and
other bodies follow around their primaries. If a body moved at too
slow a speed, it would plunge into the primary; if it moved at too
fast a speed, the primary would be unable to hold onto it, and it
would fly off into space. Instead, every body moves at just the
right speed to keep it in orbit. Moreover, this equilibrium has
to be different for each body because the distance of planets to
the sun differs. So do their masses. Therefore, they have to have
different orbital speeds not to plunge into the sun or not to fly
off into space.
Materialist astronomy holds that the origin and survival
of the solar system can be explained by coincidence.
the last three centuries, many of its adherents have speculated
on how this marvelous order should have come to pass and they have
failed to get anywhere. To a materialist, the equilibrium and order
of the solar system are inexplicable mysteries.
Astronomers like Kepler and Galileo, among the first
to discover this superlative equilibrium, acknowledged it as a deliberate
design and a sign of divine intervention in the whole universe.
Isaac Newton, recognized as one of the greatest scientific minds
of all times, once wrote:
This most elegant system of suns, planets,
and comets could arise from the purpose and sovereignty of an intelligent
and mighty being…He rules them all, not as a soul but as a sovereign
lord of all things, and because of His sovereignty He is commonly
called "Lord God Almighty."51
Besides this wonderful equilibrium, the place
of earth in the solar system and in the universe is also another piece
of evidence of a perfect act of creation on Allah's part.
The Place of the Earth
The latest astronomical findings have shown the importance
of the other planets' existence for Earth. Jupiter's size and position
turn for example out to be critical. Astrophysical calculations
show that, as the biggest planet in the system, Jupiter supplies
stability to the orbits of Earth and all the other planets. Jupiter's
protective role over the earth is explained in an article "How special
Jupiter is" by George Wetherill:
a large planet positioned precisely where Jupiter is, the earth
would have been struck a thousand times more frequently in the past
by comets and meteors and other interplanetary debris. If it were
not for Jupiter, we wouldn't be around to study the origin of the
To put it briefly, the structure
of the solar system was specially designed for mankind to live.
Let us also consider the place of solar system in the
universe. Our solar system is located in one of the huge spiral
arms of the Milky Way, closer to the edge than to the center. What
advantage could there be in that? In Nature's Destiny, Michael Denton
What is so striking is that the cosmos
appears to be not just supremely fit for our own being and for our
biological adaptations, but also for our understanding... Because
of the position of our solar system on the edge of the galactic
rim, we can gaze farther into the night to distant galaxies and
gain knowledge of the overall structure of the cosmos. Were we positioned
in the center of a galaxy, we would never look on the beauty of
a spiral galaxy nor would we have any idea of the structure of our
In other words, even Earth's location in the galaxy is
evidence that it was intended for mankind to live on, no less than
are all the other physics laws of the universe.
It is the plain truth that the universe is created and
arranged by Allah.
The reason that some people cannot understand this point
is their own prejudice. But any objective mind without prejudice
will easily understand that the universe is created and organized
by Allah for mankind to live in, just as is revealed:
We did not create heaven and earth and everything
in between them to no purpose. That is the opinion of those
who are disbelivers. Woe to those who are disbelievers, because
of the Fire! (Surah Sad:27)
This deep understanding is revealed in yet another verse
of the Qur'an:
In the creation of the heavens and the earth,
and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people
with intelligence: those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and
lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens
and the earth: 'Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing.
Glory to You!" (Surat Al-'Imran: 190-191)
44. Guy Murchie, The Seven Mysteries
of Life, Boston: The Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978, p. 598
45. Michael Denton, Nature's Destiny, p. 11
46. George Greenstein, The Symbiotic Universe, p.
47. Jeremy Rifkin, Entropy: A New World View, New
York, Viking Press, 1980, p. 6
48. Max Planck, May 1937 address, quoted in A. Barth,
The Creation (1968), p. 144.
49. Paul Davies, The Accidental Universe, (1982)
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Preface
50. Albert Einstein, Letters to Maurice Solovine,
1956, p. 114-115
51. Michael A. Corey, God and the New Cosmology:
The Anthropic Design Argument, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield
Publishers, Inc., 1993, p. 259
52. G. W. Wetherill, "How Special is Jupiter?", Nature,
vol. 373, 1995, p. 470
53. Michael Denton, Nature's Destiny, p. 262