The Quran refers to the unitary origin of the Universe out of a singularity, while reminding us of the initial, unitary origin of all life forms including man in primordial ocean.
UNITARY ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE
Please observe how the Quran refers to the unitary origin of the Universe out of a ‘singularity’, while reminding us of the initial, unitary origin of all life forms including man in water, possibly of primordial ocean:
Do not those who are unappreciative see that the Heavens and the Earth were joined together, then We split them asunder, and We established in (or made of) water every thing living? Will they not then acknowledge? 21:30
A modern reader may find the above as clearly conforming with the theory of Big Bang, wherein our Universe is presumed to have begun from an infinitesimally small, infinitely dense, infinitely hot state through a tremendous ‘expansion’.
According to this prevailing cosmological model, the Universe with all its matter and space-time sprang into existence as a ‘singularity’ around 13.7 billion years ago. After its initial appearance, it expanded and cooled sufficiently to allow energy to be converted into subatomic particles and later into simple atoms. Subsequently, giant clouds of these primordial elements slowly condensed and coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies … and then progressively split up to form further structures like solar systems, planets (incl. Earth), moons and so on … a cosmic process which later generated life in terrestrial ocean that eventually evolved into numerous life forms, including man with a mind.
Our expanding universe might be traced back in time to an originating single point!
That the above verse really promotes a unitary model, like Big Bang, is confirmed by:
- Its preceding context (21:16-29), which, while insisting upon a serious purpose behind the creation (21:16-18), argues for the ABSOLUTE UNITY IN THE GOVERNANCE OF THE UNIVERSE, e.g.: If there were in the Heavens and the Earth other gods besides God, then verily they would both dissolve in chaos. Glory be to God, the Lord of the Throne, High is He above all that they ascribe. 21:22
- Its immediately following context (21:30-33) that describes the CONSEQUENCES OF THAT GREAT EXPANSION, such as Earth’s geo-biological evolution (21:30), Earth’s geomorphological evolution leading to its isostasy and stabilization (21:31), Heaven’s/ atmosphere’s shielding function in protecting terrestrial life (21:32), Earth’s axial rotation and orbital motion (21:33), orbital motion of all the celestial bodies (21:33) and so on.
- One of its following verses that predicts MANKIND’S GROWING SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, which would help to understand the ‘hidden’ messages of the Universe and the Scripture: Man is a creature of haste: on time I shall demonstrate to you My messages but do not ask Me to hasten. 21:37
- Parallel mention of BIG CRUNCH AS A COUNTERPART OF BIG BANG in a latter verse of the same chapter: The Moment when We shall roll up the Heavens as a written scroll is rolled up. As We initiated the first creation, so We shall bring it forth anew: a promise, truly shall We fulfil it. 21:104 (cf. 39:67, 6:73)
- And further elaboration of this concept of COSMIC EXPANSION in many other verses elsewhere, e.g.: Are you the more difficult to create, or is the Heaven that He has constructed?/ On high has He raised its height, then fashioned it with due proportion./ And He made its night dark and brought out its brightness./ And the Earth, after that, He spread it out. 79:27-30
THE SINGULARITY AT THE ‘ZERO MOMENT’
This idea of the unitary origin of the Universe out of a single point is emphasized over and over again throughout the Quran.
Take the passage below as an example. This apparently portrays the ‘Zero moment’ of Big Bang while complementing it with the ‘Final moment’ of Big Crunch:
He it is who created the Heavens and the Earth in truth and on the ‘moment’ when He says: ‘Be’, and it becomes. His word is the truth. And His is the dominion on the ‘moment’ the trumpet is blown. The Knower of the Invisible and the Visible; and He is the Wise, the Aware. 6:73
THE ORIGIN TRIGGERED BY A SINGLE CREATIVE IMPULSE
The Quran depicts ‘the primal origin’ of the Universe as directly springing from a single divine command that triggered the start:
To Him is due the primal origin of the Heavens and the Earth: When He decrees a matter, He says to it: ‘Be’, and it becomes. 2:117
Please observe here the grave but serene declaration about the ‘spaceless timeless’ decree ‘Be,’ and its instant consequence, ‘becoming into being’ (‘and it becomes’).
Reappears below a similar assertion that the present Universe with all its infinite vastness and complexities was launched as a single project, through a single creative impulse:
Is not He who created the Heavens and the Earth able to create the like thereof? – Yea, indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge!
Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, ‘Be’, and it becomes! 36:81-82
In other words, the initiation of the Universe out of ‘nothing’ (‘created the Heavens and the Earth’) is the ‘instantaneous’ outcome of one simple divine command, ‘kun fayakoon’ (‘Be,’ and it becomes)!
Here is a point of note. Though the expression ‘kun fayakoon’ in itself is fully consistent with the concept of a very long evolutionary process, we can understand it as precisely referring to an ‘instantaneous’ effect when it appears in a context that deals with the beginning or ‘zero moment’ of creation (e.g. 6:73, 2:117, 36:81-82), which is still ‘timeless’.
CREATION IS A DIALECTICAL PROCESS OF DIVERSIFICATION
Here we cite two interesting verses. Please read them carefully:
The Splitter (or ‘Originator’) of the Heavens and the Earth. He has made for you from yourselves opposites, and from the livestock opposites, multiplying you thereby. Nothing like a likeness of Him; and He alone is all-hearing, all-seeing. 42:11
‘Surely I have turned my face, being upright, wholly to Him who split up (or ‘originated’) the Heavens and the Earth, and I am not of those who associate’. 6:79
Translated above as ‘Splitter’ and ‘split up’ (also understood as ‘Originator’ and ‘originated’), the words ‘fatir’ and ‘fatara’ share common root ‘fatara’, which actually connotes ‘splitting up or breaking into pieces’ (e.g. When the Heaven is split up. 82:1; cf. 6:14, 6:79, 35:1, 82:1; 19:90, 42:5, 42:11, 73:18).
This is how the Quran describes creation as a dialectical process of diversification through splitting. Splitting of ‘one’ into ‘two’ and then, multiplying in geometric progression, into ‘many’ (note: ‘He has made … opposites, multiplying … thereby’).
EXPANSION OF THE PRIMORDIAL FIREBALL
The statement below, while specifying that the Universe is made of creative energy, concurs with the Big Bang’s claim that everything started with an abrupt, huge expansion and originally went through an extremely shrunk ‘primordial fireball state’:
And it is We who have built the Heaven with power; and most surely it is We who are expanding. 51:47
THE UNIVERSE EXPANDED
The Quran thus persistently asserts that the cosmos has expanded from a state that must have been too contracted on its initiation. This is consistent with the current scientific understanding that the Universe actually started from an infinitely dense, infinitely small space-time singularity:
Are you the more difficult to create, or is the Heaven that He has constructed?
On high has He raised its height, then fashioned it with due proportion. 79:27-28
Rendered here as ‘height’ (‘He raised its height’), the word ‘samka’ also means ‘width’ or ‘thickness’ and thereby indicates that it is the ‘diameters’ or ‘physical dimensions’ of the Universe that have gradually expanded since its origin.
This concept of an expanded Universe is further supported by several other verses, including the following:
God is He who raised up the Heavens with supports invisible to you, while He is established on the throne. 13:2
And the Heaven, He has raised it high, and has set the Balance. 55:7
The Universe continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it.
We are “incredible creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars in a galaxy soaring through the cosmos, all of which is inside of an expanding universe that began as an infinitesimal singularity which appeared out of nowhere for reasons unknown.”
Yes, the spectacle of our life is being staged on one of those billions of moving splinters, still moving away from one another, which were born in and then scattered out of that expanded, living fireball.
And apparently this great drama has been unfolding according to ‘The Cosmic Blueprint’, as Paul Davies calls it.
Regarding the Quranic references to ‘EXPANDING UNIVERSE’, please see 13:2-3, 30:25, 35:1, 35:41, 51:47-49, 52:1-7, 55:7-9 and 79:27-31.