In the world of physics, Newton is the hero of this revolution. It was he who put forward the theory that the universe is bound by certain unchangeable principles, there being certain laws according to which, all celestial bodies revolve. Later, many other scholars carried this research forward to the point where all events on earth and in the heavens allegedly took place according to the immutable “Law of Nature.”
After this discovery, it was but natural that the concept of an active and omnipotent God as the power, which made things move appeared meaningless. At the most this discovery allowed for a God who had initially set the universe in motion. Therefore, Newton himself, along with other likeminded scientists, believed in God as the Prime Mover. Voltaire for his part, said that God had created the universe in just the same way as a watch-maker made a watch, assembling the parts, arranging them in a particular order, but afterwards having nothing to do with it. Hume subsequently, abolished this “inactive and worthless God” by advancing the argument that we had seen watches being made, but that since we had not seen the world in the process of creation, it was not possible
Atheists maintain that the progress of science and the expansion of knowledge had enabled man to observe that which was beyond his observation in the past. Being in the dark about chains of events, we had not been in a position to understand isolated events. Now, equipped with knowledge, we no longer stood in awe of natural phenomena.
For instance, the rising and setting of the sun are now understood as matters of common knowledge.
But, in early times, these events seemed inexplicable, and man supposed that there must be a God who was responsible for them. This led to the acceptance of there being a supernatural power: he described whatever was beyond man’s knowledge as a miracle wrought by that power. But now that we know the rising and setting of the sun is the result of the earth’s revolving upon its axis, where is the need to believe that there is a God who makes the sunrise and set? Similarly, the functioning of all other things, which had been attributed to some invisible power, purported, according to modern studies, to result from the action and interaction of the natural forces now known to us. That is, after the revelation of natural causes, the need to posit, and to believe in the existence of God, or a supernatural force, vanished of itself. If the rainbow is merely a reflection of sunlight in minute droplets of water in the air, it is not, in any way, a sign placed in the sky by God. If the plague is inevitably an outbreak of this disease, it can no longer be looked on as a sign of divine wrath. If animals and plants have slowly evolved over hundreds of millions of years, there is no room for a ‘Creator’ of animals and plants, except in a metaphorical sense– quite different from that in which the word was originally and is now normally used. If hysteria and insanity are external symptoms of disordered minds, there is no place left in them for possession by devils. Citing such events in support of his argument, Julian Huxley observes with great conviction: “If events are due to natural causes, they are not due to supernatural causes.”
He holds that their ascription to Supernatural Beings is merely due to man’s ignorance combined with his passion for some sort of explanation.
To be continued, Insha Allah…
AGE OF LOGICAL POSITIVISM