The Discovery of Earth 2.0: A Vindication for God
The recent discovery of the planet dubbed Kepler-452b or Earth 2.0 by NASA within the habitable region of the Milky Way galaxy has created a lot of excitement and, of course, being touted as headache for religion. According to Dr. Jeff Schweitzer recent article, if God is All-Knowing then somewhere in the book of nature there should be unambiguous proof or hint about His knowledge relating to Earth 2.0 and many more future discoveries. He raises very important arguments or questions with regard to the in-depth knowledge of God in the creation of the universe as narrated in religious scriptures and contemporary scientific understanding of creation from evolution and space exploration.
After all, everything is validated by the result it produces or a tree is recognized by the fruit it bears. Hence, if a mere mortal on planet earth can logically and concisely explain the creation of the universe better than All-Knowing and All-Wise God in His book, then what sort of Supreme Being (God forbid) do we believe in if He has no idea about His own creation or He seems to contradict Himself about creation?
Obviously, the above charges cannot be laid on the doorstep of the most Perfect Being and it is certainly wrong to think that the All-Powerful God is not aware or did not foretell us about future scientific discoveries. About 1400 years ago in the desert of Arabia, an unlettered prophet, Muhammad was chosen as glad tidings for all mankind and the unequivocal truth about creation to be confirmed by science and many more subjects of interest were revealed to him. We read from the opening chapter of the Holy Quran, surah Al-Fatihah: “All praises belong to Allah, Lord of All the worlds”. Now at the time of this revelation, did mankind even know apart from the sun, the moon and night-stars about the existence of other planets within our own solar system? Also, when did we even realize, as an advanced society, that we live in a universe with billions of galaxies out there in space? If God Almighty had said in the opening chapter of the Quran that He is the Lord of the world, then the discovery of Earth 2.0 and other galaxies would have been a bad news for God, but instead the Glorious and the All-Knowing God said Lord of all the worlds (known and unknown bodies including Earth 2.0 yet to be discovered by science and technology).
Also, let us remember that the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2011 was awarded for groundbreaking work on the expansion of the universe. This amazing discovery that has helped us redefine the way we understand space and beyond was clearly recorded in the Holy Quran: “And the heavens We built with Our own powers and indeed we go on expanding it “(Quran 51:48). NASA, in conjunction with other space agencies, is leading the search for the discovery of life on other planets like Earth 2.0. The question is how would they know that there is life out there in space? Answer: water. Now, let us see what the Holy Quran says about creation of life: “Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them up? And We made of water every living thing. Will they not believe? (Quran 21:31).
Even if we assume that Earth 2.0 is a cousin planet to Earth as widely reported in the news, it does not put any blemish on the Supreme Being because He has already told us He created everything in pairs. God says “Holy is He Who created all things in pairs, of what the earth grows and of themselves and what they know not” (Quran 36:37). Can we say with certainty based on our current knowledge that we already know all the created things (organic and inorganic) in pairs in the universe?
Now let us hypothesize that Earth 2.0 contains living things or some region of the unknown universe has life. Will this novel or explosive discovery alter the theory or narration of religious account on creation as suggested by Dr. Schweitzer? Absolutely not because the Noble Quran says “And among His Signs is the creation of heavens and earth, and whatever of living creatures He has spread forth in both. And He has the power to gather them together whenever He pleases”(Quran 42:30). That is, the Glorious God will still be worthy of all praise and adoration if in the future, through advancement in science and technology, we discover that there are living creatures out there in the universe.
Are these cited verses not enough proof about the unlimited knowledge of the All-Powerful and Ever-Living God contained in the book of nature? As a matter of fact, there are several verses in the Holy Quran that provide clear description about the creation of man, the universe and major scientific achievements and discoveries for the future. The idea that any new scientific discovery will put God to shame does not hold water. It should be understood that God Almighty is not perceptible to any of our sensory organs but can only be recognized only through His creations and the laws of nature. Therefore discoveries like Earth 2.0 and many more scientific achievements should lead us to better understand our Creator instead of dragging us away from him.