Lesson 13: Resurrection Part 3
In the discussion of monotheism, a discussion of God's Qualities of Grace, Justice and Wisdom, we said: "God is the Absolute Being and the Source of existence. He has Absolute Knowledge, Power, Life, Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and endless Grace. Now with attention to these Qualities and particularities we have mentioned, we shall discuss them one by one.
God's Graciousness and Bounty consists of the fact that God does not hold back His Bounty and Compassion from any creature. Every creature based on its worthiness and to the extent of its ability receives His Grace and Compassion. Each one of the creatures of the world within the degree of its being and the level of its ability receives God's Grace. It is not because of God that a creature does not receive as much of God's Grace as it is prepared to receive. That which every creature does not have is because within the totality of conditions it does not have the possibility or the ability.
Now, if creatures have the present possibility to receive the extensive Grace and Mercy but it continuously prevents itself from receiving this, it will not agree with God's having Grace. Rather, the opposite is true in receiving God's Grace.
The human being amidst other creatures is a being who has abilities and special possibilities. In addition to instincts it also contains very high motives which cannot be accounted for in this world. They are at the level of eternity. The human being performs many of its deeds under the influence of the highest ethically motivated goals as well as scientific, intuitive, religious and Divine goals. Often the human being sacrifices his or her material and animal life for higher, more human goals and in this way moves beyond his or her material needs.
According to the interpretation of the Holy Quran, the human being bases his or her acts upon faith and good deeds. In this system he or she seeks eternal life. The great desire for eternal life is part of the human being, both the desire for it and the inclination towards it. All of these reflect the ability and potentiality of the human being for eternity.
If there were no such thing as eternal life, God would have denied the human being something which it is capable of attaining and such a way is not consistent with God's Grace and Mercy.
The word justice in its extensive sense means that a right is given to its rightful owner without any kind of discrimination. If a teacher were, for instance, at the time of an examination to give a group of students a grade lower than their rightful grade, he would not have acted with justice. The same is true if he were to give some a higher grade. Justice means to negate discriminations and to take one's worthiness into consideration.
The human being in the system of faith and good deeds reaches a level higher than nature and beyond the particles of material relations. Whereas in a system which opposes faith and good deeds like the atheist system, a follower’s acts will also be beyond nature and animals and they take on a spiritual and eternal quality, which is described in the Holy Quran to be even lower than that of animals.
The Holy Quran contains many verses which prove the resurrection based upon God's Justice like,
"What! Deem those who have wrought evil that We will make them like unto those who believe and do good, that equal shall be their life and their death. Ill it is what they judge." (45:21)
Based upon the acceptance of monotheism and a belief in the existence of a Wise Source, Knowing and Powerful and with attention to the fact that with all of its wonders is the product of His hands Who with the greatest of care built this world can never accept the fact that death is the end of human life and the belief in such a Source like the belief in life after death are assured.
If we believe the human being to be intelligent and aware who has the ability to discern, we would never anticipate that he build with the best of plans and using the best of materials then after a few moments of its life, for no reason whatsoever, destroy it. Would we then not doubt his intelligence?
How is it possible that a world in its greatness and the human being who has been placed upon it be left without any goal and after the passing of some time, dies and will be forgotten forever.
A study of the created world both from the point of view of greatness and from the point of view of care will prove this fact that the world is far more extensive than we can imagine and full of glory and secrets.
The atom which is considered to be the smallest creature is full of wonder, the movement of the electrons around a nucleus, the distance to the center of the atom, their speed and accuracy and the potential energy within each atom causes great wonder.
In the world of cells we are faced by another wonder, motion, reproduction, the transformation of food into energy, the multitude of numbers, all of this increases one's faith in the wonders of the world.
The human being, this unknown creature, more than any other creature, makes us familiar with the wonders of the world of creation. In addition to its material aspect, and its animal characteristics, it has a spiritual dimension. It contains intelligence, will-power and the power of choice. In the midst of such powers, it continuously struggles with nature and with its successes it dominates over nature. The creations, discoveries and inventions of the human being bear witness to the greatness of its spiritual dimension.
The order and accuracy within each one of the phenomenon of the world of creation is to such an extent that we can say that the world has been created upon the basis of a series of mathematical formulas. On the other band, the human being who is considered to be the highest form of creature of the world of creation and the world was created for it, has a short life. This very short life is filled with many natural and social difficulties, diseases, anxieties, and a thousand other bitter experiences subsists and still finds no benefit from life when death arrives and its hand is then curtailed from everything.
Is this believable that this great system and the wonders of creation in general and the human being, this wondrous small world ends here? Does this not resemble the ceramist whereby after building a ceramic vase, then breaks it? Is this not like the person who builds a glorious palace and then after a few hours destroys it. Does this fit the idea of science, knowledge and wisdom of God? Does this not seem like a useless effort? The Holy Quran says,
"And We created not the heavens and the earth and what is between them in sport. We created them not but with the truth but most of them know not." (44:38-39)
That which the Holy Quran states in short sentences is a truth which can be found in all of nature. Now we turn to a short discussion about this.
If human awareness of the various systems of its body and the method of action of each one of them and the goal which each one has, if this is not the greatest knowledge which a human being contains, it is one of its clearest knowledge and is a good point to begin to understand the preceding.
In the various systems of the body, nothing was created without a goal. Eyes to see, ears to hear, hands and feet for movement and meeting one's needs, the tongue to speak. Each one has its own goal.
If each one of the organs of our body, from the smallest member to the largest, has a goal, it follows that the total body also has a goal. How could it be that each part have a goal - even an eyelash - and the total unit which is formed not have a goal.
A study of other phenomena in the world tells us that each one of them also has a special goal which it is moving towards. No creature can be found which was created without a goal, whether it be among the lifeless, the animate, each cell, several cells, creatures of the earth or of the heavens, all, from the smallest which is an atom, to the planets and galaxies, all have a determined purpose which they follow. To have a goal is a universal law which all contain.
Now, each particle in this extensive world moves towards a goal. Is it possible that the created world be created uselessly and without a purpose? Undoubtedly the created world also has a goal.
What is the goal? Again it is best to begin with the self. If we look carefully we see that the goal which each part of the body as well as the total complex has is to move towards completion and perfection. As far as other creatures are concerned, to the point that we have been able to discover, they have the same goal. All creatures move towards perfection. In general, the caravan of existence journeys towards perfection. This is not a statement of gnostics and philosophers alone. Various sciences also say the same thing like the study of atoms, the plants, the earth, psychology and sociology.
The scholars in these fields believe that however much more accurate we become in studying this world we will reach the conclusion that the whole world is in motion. In this motion an orientation is apparent. The general characteristic or this movement is perfection. As the whole world is a goal-oriented, movement, the goal cannot be itself. The goal must be external to the creature itself.
We can conclude that the philosophy of the creation of the world tells the human being that another world must exist, otherwise this world will be absurd and useless.
Is it effective to think about a life after death before one dies? This question could arise for a person in many forms. Someone may say, "That which relates to us is life in this world. We have to think of ways to make life in this world better. Whenever we leave this world then we will think about the next world." It is possible that some going even further claim that a belief in the afterlife has an adverse effect upon life in this world for it keeps the human being from putting forth efforts.
They make their judgment from the first group of thinkers. That is, they look at these two - life before death and after death - as two completely different things whereas reality is other than this. From the point of the world view and humanology in Islam, death is nothing more than a connection. Life in this world and the next are connected together. Death does not completely separate one from the other. These two have a complementary effect upon each other and life in this world and how to live for an individual in this world is effective in determining his after life.
"Then he who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it. And he who has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it.” (99:7-8)
It is clear hew the effects of life in his world upon a human being's behavior effects his life after death. To the point that it can be said, in reality, orientation and the deeds of a human being in this world builds his life after death and give form to it. "On that day shall come out people (from their graves) in (scattered) groups to be shown their own deeds.” (99:6)
That which we want to discuss is the effects of belief in the afterlife in our present life. This effect takes multiple forms, among which are:
The Role of Resurrection in the Philosophical Insight of a Human Being: A belief in a world after death gives meaning to life. Without this belief, life in this world, from the philosophical point of view, is absurd, purposeless and unbearable. The life and death of a person who does not believe in the afterlife will not have a correct sense of life. It is life after death and the continuation of human perfection and the acceptance of an extensive world which is higher and better than this world which gives meaning, purpose and form to life and removes it from absurdity.
"What think you that We created you in vain and that unto us you shall not be returned?" (23:115)
The Effect of Resurrection upon Ethics: It is clear that the gaining of ethics like truthfulness, forgiveness, sacrifice, friendship, self-sacrifice, etc. are absurd, empty and lacking in context with out a belie in resurrection and a strong spirit. They must be found in literature, poetry, the world of the imagination:
"(Saying), we feed you only for God's sake. we intend not any recompense from you nor thanks. Verily we dread from our Lord a stern day of distress." (76:9-10)
The Guarantee of the Reckoning and the Real Implementation of the Hidden and Manifest Laws: A belief in the resurrection is the strongest inner guarantee for the implementation or the laws especially at times of suffocation whereby no person may believe in anything other than a life after death.
The implementation of laws guarantees has a determining effect upon the beliefs of an individual and prevents sin, encourages good deeds without doing so to show off and all rewards In this world can be studied in this section.
"Woe unto the defrauders in measuring! Who, when they rake by measure from the people demand it in full. But when they measure unto them or when they weigh unto them, they reduce (It). What! Think they not that they shall be raised." (83:1-4)
The belief in resurrection plays an important role in disciplining and structuring a human being. Some examples of the effects of the discipline of the resurrection and role in structuring them in having a better life are sensing responsibility, moving out of indifference, surrendering the self to the creator as to the system of creation, hope in the resurrection and final well-being, tendency towards justice and truth, saturation with the motive of seeking perfection, endless consciousness, love and hope, strengthening the sense of patience and struggle before difficulties.
“And what reasons do we have that we should not believe in God and in the truth that has come to us which we earnestly crave that Our Lord should admit us (to heaven) with the righteous ones.” (5:84)
Taking that which has been said into consideration we see that a true belief in resurrection will not only not have a negative effect upon the life of this world but rather will be full of positive and constructive effects upon the individual and society. If negative effects are seen among a group of people it will be because of their deviation and misuse of it and does not relate to the principle itself. “...but those who thought they shall meet God spoke saying,
'How often by God's permission a small army did vanquish a big host and verily God is with the patient ones." (2:249)
1. God's Grace demands that death not be the end of human life. Rather a world greater and more extensive than the present world exists.
2. Based upon the belief in Divine justice, a world beyond this world must exist.
3. A belief in a Wise, Aware Source is inseparable from a belief in resurrection.
4. A belief in life after death in the insight of philosophy, discipline and structuring the individual is effective. It supports the education of ethics and guarantees the implementation of laws.
1. Prove the existence of the resurrection because of God's Grace.
2. By studying the philosophy of creation with attention to God's Wisdom what result do you reach?