Was Creation Quick or Slow?
Ansar Al 'Adl
The allegation is as follows:
Quick or Slow Creation? Allah creates the heavens and the earth in six days [7:54] and many Muslims want to be modern and scientific, and make that six eons, but then again, He creates instantaneously [2:117], "Be! And it is".
Verses in question:
7:54 Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne...
2:117 To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: "Be," and it is.
Most people would not consider this a contradiction and even the author of the list himself indicates that he would not be surprised to see an easy reconciliation. There are a number of points we can mention in this regard.
1. Kun Fayakun, which has been translated as "Be and it is" (or "Be and it happens") does not necessarily refer to instantaneous creation. As it has been explained rather nicely in this article, it simply specifies the certainty of the result and not necessarily the instantaneous nature. Proof of this lies in the passage that we have discussed before:
3:47. She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me." He said: "So (it will be) for Allâh creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: "Be!" and it is.
Mary wonders at how she shall give birth to a child and the answer given is Kun Fayakun. Obviously, this is not referring to an instant process but rather a gradual process.
2. Even if we wish to take Kun Fayakun as instantaneous, it could imply the instantaneous initiation of a creation, it does not need to refer to the instantaneous completion of a creation.
3. Although the alleged contradiction has been adequately answered, one may still wonder why God would create the heavens and the earth in 6 periods, if He has the potential to create them immediately, which He obviously does. There are a number of points we can mention in response to this. Allah is Almighty and there is infinite wisdom in everything that He chooses to do, and He has mentioned the creation in six periods in the Qur'an. We may not understand the wisdom behind a certain event, but we may contemplate some possibilites. Following asre some possible reasons:
a) Allah may have intended to show His creation the importance of planning and design. The gradual development of our surrounding environment is a sign of God and a token of His mercy.
b) Performing an action in a short time is more indicative of power, while a longer period is more indicative of wisdom.
c) Ibn Al-Jawzi provided various reasons, one being: Creation was accomplished step by step, lest anyone think that this happened as the result of an accident of nature (Zaad al-Maseer (3/162))
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