The creation of the world and of human beings

The creation of the world and of human beings

 In The Name of God, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful

I came across this passage this morning. Due to my literary weakness, I couldn’t possibly paraphrase it. It discusses our creation and the existence of evil. So here it is verbatim, the creation of the world and of human beings:

‘Since the One God is Infinite and Absolute as well as the Infinitely Good, He could not but create. His infinitude implies that He contains within Himself all possibilities, including that of negating Himself, and this possibility had to be realized in the form of creation. Moreover, as St. Augustine also stated, it is in the nature of the good to give of itself, and the Infinitely-Good could not but radiate the reality that constitutes the world and, in fact, all the worlds.

But creation or radiation implies separation, and it is this ontological separation from the Source of all goodness that constitutes evil. One might say that evil is nothing but separation from the Good and privation, although it is real on its own level, in a sense as real as our own existential level on which we find it (1).  And yet the good belongs to the pole of being and evil to that of nonbeing.

Throughout the history of Islam there have been numerous profound metaphysical and theological discussions concerning the question of evil, as there have been in other religions, especially Christianity. But in contrast to the modern West, in which many people have turned away from God and religion because they could not understand how a God who is good could create a world in which there is evil, in the Islamic world this question of theodicy has hardly ever bothered the religious conscience of even the most intelligent people or turned them away from God. The emphasis of the Quran upon the reality of evil on the moral plane combined with the sapiential and theological explanations of this question have kept men and women confronted with this problem in the domain of faith. The strong emphasis in Islam on the Will of God has also played a role in resigning Muslims to the presence of evil in the world (which they must nevertheless combat to the extent possible), even when they cannot understand the causes involved…’

From The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, p. 10-11.

(1) Trans. Martin Lings, in Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (Cambridge, UK: Islamic Texts Society, 1991), p. 69.