Chapter 1: Creation of The Universe
Have you ever wondered how the endless universe we live in came into existence? How did the enormous Earth, Sun, Moon and stars come into being? Did you know that the universe is full of many interesting things as well as the Earth, Moon and the Sun? Did you know that a very delicate balance exists in the universe that provide exactly the right conditions for life?
Now let's start learning the answers to these questions, and how Allah created the universe.
Once Upon a Time There Was No Universe!
In ancient times, man's knowledge of space was quite limited. The equipment needed to explore the sky was not as advanced as it is today. Therefore, people sometimes had strange ideas about how the universe originated. The idea that the universe had always existed was the funniest. That is to say, before man had telescopes and instruments to examine the heavens with, some ignorant people suggested that the universe did not have a beginning but had existed for ever and would continue to exist for ever.
However, that was illogical! Your house and school building were built on particular dates. Even the lines you are reading were written at a certain time. Similarly, you, your mother and father have birthdays. That means everything, whether living or non-living, comes into existence at a certain time. Saying, "The universe has no date of origin, because it has always existed" is ridiculous. No one believes that now.
Let us give you an example: on your morning journey to school, imagine that you took a different route and found a statue. What would you think? You would certainly think, "A sculptor made this statue and placed it here," wouldn't you? Well, what would you say if one of your friends said, "No, this statue has always been here; nobody carved it"? You would probably tell him, "Don't be ridiculous! Every work of art has a maker!" Wouldn't you?
Those who claim that the universe has always existed have a more ridiculous way of thinking than your friend who argues that the statue has always been there. A statue is only a piece of sculpted rock, but the universe consists of many heavenly bodies and systems much more delicate and intricate than a piece of rock.
Thanks to astronomical discoveries, the mistaken nature of this assertion that the universe has always existed became obvious. These studies revealed that, like everything else, the universe also had a beginning.
The first man who proved that the universe had a beginning was the astronomer Edwin Hubble. (Let us remind you that an astronomer is a person who studies space, the stars and galaxies.) Hubble worked with a giant telescope. One day in 1929, he realised that the stars were moving.
These are not ordinary random movements. Stars are continually moving away from us. Furthermore, they are also moving away from each another. A universe in which everything moves away from everything else means a universe that is constantly growing larger.
Not until a hundred years ago did people understand this. Today, all scientists agree that stars are moving away from each other as well as away from Earth.
This movement of the stars is a very important piece of information about the creation of the universe. The fact that the stars are steadily moving away from each other indicates that they were at one time closer together. Scientists computed that 15 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was gathered together in a single point as small as the tip of a needle. Our universe came into being when that tiny point exploded.
Now let us note down one by one what we have seen so far:
- Stars move continually;
This would continue until the entire universe was gathered together at one point.
If we went a little further, this point would also disappear. This means that the universe came into existence from nothing; that is, Allah created it in an instant.
You might get a better idea of what "nothing" means by answering these three simple questions:
1. How old were you one year ago?
You might answer "A year younger."
2. If you counted your age back year by year, what age would be the last one you would get to?
Your answer would be "one". A year after your birth, you were one year old. At birth, however, you were not old enough to have an age. This could be expressed as "zero age".
3- Think about the year before your first birthday! How old were you then? Where were you?
You should have answered that by saying, "I wasn't around then."
You didn't exist at all before your mother became pregnant.
If we also turned time back for your body, you would see that your body would also disappear at the end of this operation. For every year we went back, your body would become smaller and smaller, until finally you would become a baby in your mother's womb. If this operation were carried still further, you would reach the time when your mother was not yet pregnant.
There was no universe before Allah created it. When we rewind time, the universe also becomes younger. It gets smaller until it becomes an insignificant point and finally disappears. All these indicate that the universe has been "created".
Meanwhile, let's remind ourselves that we use the word "creation" when we want to explain that something is brought into being from nothing. Only Allah can cause something to exist from nothing. In other words, only Allah can "create" something. People can also make things that did not exist before. For instance, they can paint pictures. They can build ships. However, the truth is that people can cause something to exist using the materials available in this world and by imitating things already existing in this world. Therefore, we cannot call this "creation". Creation is bringing something into being from nothing without prior examples. Allah has created everything in the universe, including Earth, from nothing.
Man imitates what Allah has already created, even if painting a picture. If we asked you to draw a picture of a landscape on a sheet of paper, what would you draw? Most possibly you would paint the Sun, a mountain, a few green trees, a rainbow and the sea. However, have you ever thought that it would be impossible for you to draw a tree if you had never seen one? Think of a person who is blind from birth. He can only know that the Sun is round and bright, if somebody describes it to him. He can only have an idea about something if he sees it.
Dear Children! As these examples show, only Allah has the power to create something without a prior example. The Qur'an, the Book Allah sent to all humanity as a guide, informs us:
Now, it is time to learn how Allah created the universe. You should be curious to hear how such a great event took place.
The Big Bang And The Expansion of The Universe
You know that billions of years ago the universe was only a tiny speck. It is now time to learn how all of a sudden this tiny speck started expanding.
You probably watch cartoon films on TV. Generally, an enemy chases the hero in these films and the hero does anything he can to escape. One of the things he frequently does is to use dynamite. For example, Bugs Bunny's enemies place dynamite in his home, or Road Runner's enemies lay dynamite in his path. In each case, these heroes manage to escape the dynamite with great skill.
Now, try and visualise one of these explosions. For instance, the hunter chasing Bugs Bunny puts explosives in his underground home. What happens when they explode? The soil is scattered around and the pieces move away from one another, right? Before the explosion, the pieces of soil remain together. However, after the explosion, the tiny pieces of soil scatter around and move away from one another.
Billions of years ago, the universe came into being after an explosion. Many pieces came into existence with this explosion. These pieces moved away and scattered around, just like the bits of soil scattering around. Then they started to form the universe and the planets etc.
This explosion, which was the beginning of the creation of the universe by Allah, has come to be called the Big Bang. The moment this great explosion took place, the universe started constantly growing and expanding, and is still expanding today.
Before continuing with the next section, let's recap a few points we made earlier:
1- A long time ago, there was no universe;
2- The universe came into being with the explosion of one tiny speck;
3- After the explosion, incredible numbers of particles came into existence which came to make up our universe, and these particles started moving away from one another;
4- The universe expands as the objects in it move away from each other.
These are all evidence of Allah's infinite might. Even if all the people in the world came together, they could never make even a bad imitation of the universe. Even if all the materials available on earth were gathered together, man would still fail to imitate an explosion as big as the Big Bang. All power belongs to Allah, the One Who creates everything. Reading the next passage, you will better understand the infinite nature of Allah's power and wisdom.
Order Emerges Out of An Explosion
Dear children, as you can also imagine, no explosion brings about an orderly structure. On the contrary, an explosion destroys existing order. It damages everything around it. A high-explosive bomb can reduce huge buildings to nothing. The most powerful bomb in the world is the atom bomb. When dropped, this bomb devastates everything in its target, in some cases entire cities.
The Big Bang created a more powerful explosion than billions of atom bombs. The big bang, however, mysteriously produced the opposite effect and established a perfectly orderly world. The world we know, carefully designed to suit our needs, came into existence after this explosion.
How do you think the Big Bang produced such perfect order?
Allah created the universe from nothing by means of that big explosion. Obviously, our Lord also makes the perfect order in the universe.
Any answer other than the one above is wrong. For instance, saying that this order came into existence by chance after the explosion is irrational. Let's make an analogy to better explain why:
What would happen to the sand if a bomb were dropped on the beach? The sand particles would be scattered randomly this way and that, wouldn't they? What would you think if someone said that a castle came into existence because of an explosion on the beach? You would probably think him insane or think that he was telling a lie. Similarly, a person who claims that the order in the universe came into being by itself is mad. There are countless details, examples of balance and perfect order in this giant universe, which are incomparably more complex than a sandcastle.
In conclusion, the perfect order in the universe proves that the universe did not come into being by itself. Every order and balance existing in the universe is a sign of Allah's infinite wisdom.
Information The Qur'an Provides About The Universe
The Qur'an is the Noble Book Allah sent to people. It provides the most accurate information on every issue. That is because every line of the Qur'an is the Speech of Allah, the Exalted in Power. However, during the period the Qur'an was revealed, science and technology were not as advanced as in our day. Therefore, until recently, no one could conduct research on the information the Qur'an provided. Today, however, there has been great progress in science and technology. Almost all developments in science are in agreement with the information the Qur'an gives. For instance, the Qur'an informs us that the heavens and the earth – i.e. the universe – were initially sewn together, but then Allah unstitched them. In the Qur'an, this scientific fact is described as follows:
Do those who are disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them… (Surat al-Anbiya': 30)
Let's examine the verse together:
Finally, the statement "We unstitched them" makes clear that the universe broke into pieces with the explosion.
This example proves two important facts:
In this chapter, we saw that Allah created the entire universe from nothing. Now let's set out on a journey through the universe, which is one of the demonstrations of Allah's infinite power and knowledge.