The Order in the Skies
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 the moon.
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.
gigantic 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
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 supernova.
Although supernovas may seem to be ordinary explosions, they in fact
are minutely structured in their details. In Nature's Destiny Michael
The distances between supernovae and
indeed between all stars is critical for other reasons. If the distance
between stars in our galaxy 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 observed figure.45
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
Why is There So Much Space?
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.
We shall start by asking how big the universe is.
We have adorned the nearest heaven with
an adornment, the stars.
(Surat as-Saffat: 6)
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 bead, 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
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 away.
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
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 center.
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
Had 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 safety.46
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
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.
An abandoned 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 World View:
The 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
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
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 place?49
Einstein refers to this order as an unexpected event, and also says
that it should be regarded as a miracle:
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 Fatir: 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
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
The Place of the Earth
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 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:
Without 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 solar system.52
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 explains:
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 universe.53
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
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)