God Is Not a Physical Object
We live in a world where millions doubt the existence of God: a world of science and technology in which people only accept what they can prove, see, measure, weigh or touch. Understandably, abstract concepts are accepted with caution. Belief in the existence of God is, therefore, treated with suspicion, disdain and often with amusement.
Certainly, the sophisticated western mind calls for more than nebulous unproved theories upon which to base faith. Nevertheless, were you to visit any country in the world, you would find that the majority of people believe that a supernatural Being (we’ll call Him God) does exist. In other words, believers in a God of some sort outnumber unbelievers. Many people believe that there are thousands of gods, not just one: though they will readily agree that over and above the lesser gods is One Almighty God.
One important point we need to understand in the first place is that the existence of God cannot be proved in the same way, as you prove the existence of a physical object. This is simply because God is not a physical object. Any physical object is subject to your five senses. In simple terms, you can see, hear, smell, touch or taste a physical object. This is not possible in the case of God, as He (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala / swt) is a Transcendental Being [existing on a level beyond our sensual perception].
There are people who argue that the only form of knowledge available to humans is experiential knowledge or experimental knowledge, gained primarily by the use of outer senses. This led to the belief that human beings are constituted in such a way that the knowledge of reality is always unavailable to them; and so it resulted in a renewal of attention to the everyday world of appearances. The knowledge of here and now became the only object of human knowledge and concern. Thus from this point of view, the project of seeking knowledge of reality behind appearances must be abandoned, because it is beyond the scope of human understanding.
Now think: Can’t there be a way of “being” [existing] that is not susceptible of being perceived by the limited capabilities of humans through their defective senses?
I hope that the implications of the two expressions I used above [‘limited capabilities’ and ‘defective senses’] are evident to any thinking person. The claim that something does not exist, because you haven’t seen or heard it is untenable. When we consider the limitations of our sensual perception and of our reasoning powers, it is not necessary that we understand everything. We can speak meaningfully about everything simply on the basis of our perception. So to speak of “proof” with regard to a Transcendental Being becomes irrelevant.
What we can do is to point out facts which lead to a constant and inescapable awareness of the presence of God. It is clear that logically we cannot rule out the possibility of more things existing than can be perceived by our senses or can be arrived at by our reasoning. As for Man, there are two dimensions to his existence: One of matter and the other of spirit. Reduced merely to the level of material existence, Man becomes a machine or a mere animal at best.
But think of a machine that rebels against being a machine; or of an animal that refuses to be an animal. That is what man is! What is it that makes him rebellious, angry, disappointed, frightened or hopeful? What is his dimension that gives him his imagination, his artistic genius, his creative urge? Why does he have nightmares and sweet dreams?.
It is not matter that does it; evidently it is his spirit that makes him so different from animals. So to base our knowledge of the world and our philosophy of life simply on the material side of our existence to the complete exclusion of the spiritual dimension, is undoubtedly faulty. The strength of Islam as a philosophy and as a way of life is that it does not separate man’s material life from spiritual life, and that it seeks a balance between the two dimensions of human existence.
We should understand that human spirit is a reality incommensurable with material realities, and that it owes its existence only to God. Thus dear friends, if we ponder over the phenomena of the world around us and over the complexities of our own existence, we are bound to conclude that God is the Reality behind all appearances. The Qur’an says in Surah 2, verse 164, the meaning of the following:
“Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men, and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth, there are signs for a people who understand.” (Al-Baqarah 2:164)
That is to say the external signs we see in the universe should necessarily lead a wise person to the Ultimate Reality behind it all. And that is how we arrive at the realization that God Almighty is the Moving Power behind all life and all existence.
What would constitute objective proof of God? Well, consider the following self-evident and universally recognized truth: Concept and design necessitate an intelligent designer. It’s simply cause and effect. In our search for proof of God’s existence, let’s examine the various scientific and mathematical realities in our world.
Taken with slight editorial modifications from Islamicoccasions.com.