The very first revelation starts out with providing an ingredient for contradiction:
In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created -
created man, out of a mere clot of congealed blood.
-- Sura 96:1-2
Apart from the fact that "a mere blood clot" is scientifically wrong, let us see what further ideas the Qur'an presents on how God creates human beings.
It is he who has created man from water
-- Sura 25:54
And God has created every living creature from water.
-- Sura 24:45
We created man from sounding clay,
from mud moulded into shape.
-- Sura 15:26
Amongst his signs is this,
that he created you from dust.
-- Sura 30:20
Blood clot? water? clay? dust? The Qur'an doesn't really seem all that sure what God used and seems to imply that He took just anything he could get his hands on. But this is still not all in this confusion:
God createth what He willeth:
When he hath decreed a plan,
He but saith to it, "Be," and it is!
-- Sura 3:47
He just says the word "be" and it is, there is no making a mess with water, clay, blood clots or dust, just a clean "there it is". Right?
Sura 4:82 claims that there is no discrepancy in this Qur'an!
A Muslim's Response by Randy Desmond
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 12:36:30 PDT
I made a cake.
I made a cake from flour.
I made a cake from sugar.
I made a cake from eggs.
I made a cake from water.
Do you think I just "took anything I could get my hands on" to make my cake? (I think leaving out any of those ingredients would no longer render it a cake) Do any of my statements contradict each other? So just like I know what my cake is made from, so does the Qur'an know what man was made from.
As for the claim that the Qur'an is scientifically wrong, I also suggest you read what Jochen has referenced. In this link it explains the meanings of the word that has been translated as "clot" and admits that it can have a scientifically viable meaning eventhough it is trying to "prove" it as unscientific.
Was there a discrepancy in my making of a cake? If not, then where is the discrepancy in the Qur'an's testimony of what a man is made from?
I wonder how you would look if I said "I made a cake from nothing" since Sura 19:67 says
But does not man call to mind that We created him before out of nothing?
which fits together with the above mentioned "be and it is" (3:47). Although you might mention different ingredients at different verses, but none of those goes together with "nothing".
The above "harmonization" is another ad hoc explanation since there is no indication that these verses were giving "some of the ingredients only". They do not read that way. They never say: "We created man from water among other things".
And I bet, if today I do say only that "I made a cake from water" that you would still not believe me. And if I say next week "I made a cake from sugar" then you would also find that strange. Because you know that nobody can make a cake from sugar only or from water only. But you would not automatically assume that the water and sugar are supposed to go together. After all, I am telling you so at vastly different times. And these suras are also revealed sometimes with years in between them. Assuming that they belong together and each give only some ingredient, is a rather artificial explanation. What do you think was the truth content of the verses revealed at the beginning if the Muslims didn't know if there even would be any more revelations to give more ingredients? For them these were indeed absolute statement. Just as they appear to us today.
There is an assumption on your part, and I also assumed it for my initial response, that what man was created from was an ingredients list. While I do believe four of the six verses you quote do list "ingredients", there is another possibility we left out. What about "from" in the temporal or conceptual sense? Aren't any of these possible?
I made a cake.
I made a cake from a recipe.
I made a cake from batter.
I made a cake from a rising thing.
And what do you know...
Now, back to the top of the page, we see 96:1-2 as a stage. We see the ingredients of water, dust, sounding clay and mud in the other verses can be resolvbed with elementarty set theory.
And one more thing, does the fact that God can create at will by saying "`Be` and it is" mean he can not form man however he wishes. God is the owner of all. He can do whatever He wants.
Saying "I made a cake from water" does not imply that there are anymore or anyless ingredients. If my initial response (or any response) seems so general, does that render my explanation wrong?
Well, it does imply that there are NOT any less ingredients. If he says "from water" then we would expect that water is at least a part of it. Otherwise it is just a lie. And you haven't touched at all at the statement in 3:47.
Your adding another sentence of making cakes out of "batter" or "a rising thing" doesn't change the argument at all, it only adds a few more ingredients. The "recipe" is not comparable since that is an algorithm and not a (material) ingredient. All the verses cited so far are concerned with the matter out of which man is created.
Surah 3:47 states that God created man out of nothing. I did not address this because I thought it was easy to understand. There was no creation before creation, right?. Does it not make sense that man was created from nothing?
I would, once again, like to stress that the above verses are not necessarily an ingredients list. There is nothing saying that they can not denote stages. The verse quoted above shows that they may.
Okay, I think that is my last comment on it. You now produce a mixed argument that some are "ingredients" and some are "stages". The problem is that you can't see this from the text. They look pretty much all the same: "... created from ..." If you want to explain it that way, that is fine with me. But that is the view of somebody who already is a believer and therefore committed to find some harmonization. Maybe we can have a compromise in the following way: It is possible to give a somehow intelligible harmonization, but it is obvious that the statements seem to be able to be interpreted in many different ways. Therefore we cannot claim on the other hand that the Qur'anic verses give a precise scientific statement about the development of man as many Muslims claim. The verses are far too ambiguous and unclear. This flexible poetic language lends itself to read a lot of different interpretations into it. Some which are favorable to the Muslim understanding and others just as obvious which are less favorable. Therefore: "To you your interpretation and to me mine." In this case, the Qur'an can be neither disproven nor are these statements proof of divine authorship. For using them as proof they would have to be more precise so that they are actually falsifiable. They are just not clear enough to do a scientific evaluation on them.
Contradictions in the Qur'an
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