As we discussed in class, hermeneutics allow people read the same text and come away with a different meaning. A prime example of this is the difference in opinions between Muslims and fundamental Christians. Muslims use science to confirm and further back up their beliefs, while fundamental Christians stick to what is in the bible to confirm their beliefs. Muslims believe that “Allah created the heavens and all that is between them in six days” (7:54). While Muslims believe that the universe and everything was created in six days, they do not believe that it was six literal days (Muslim commentary).
Muslims believe that the six days can separated into six periods that span 16-17 billion years, which lines up with the current calculation of the universe. The reasoning behind this is in Einstein’s theory of relativity, which explains how time can be altered by traveling near the speed of light and the force of gravity. Muslims explain that “In the first period of the universe, the passage of time took place much faster than that with which we are familiar today. ” (Muslim commentary). With the explosion of the big band the universe expanded from a single point in space to a shape will a diameter of millions of light years.
The energy at the moment of the Big Bang slowed down the flow of time 1012 times. ” (Muslim commentary). This slowing down of time allows Muslims to create a second period of time, during this period of time a 1012 minutes on earth would be equivalent to one minute in universal time. As discussed in F. M. Denny’s The Nature and function of the Qur’an, Muslims have a connection to the Qur’an that is unparalleled by either Christians or Jews (Denny 135). The Qur’an says that earth was created in six days, but does not define what a day is.
It could be a 24-hour time period but that does not line up with the age of the universe. It is more likely that a day refers to a period of time that is very general. This generalization allows Muslims to agree with scientist that the universe is a little older than 16 billion years old. As we discussed in class, Muslims frequently use science to back up their faith. In the Qur’an it says “And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming. ” (21:33), This shows that Muslims believe that the planets are all in and orbit around something.
It does not explicitly say what they are orbiting but this allowed for science to be applied later on and still support the claim. “We (Allah) will show you (mankind) Our signs/patterns in the horizons/universe and in yourselves until you are convinced that the revelation is the truth. ” (41:53). This excerpt from the Qur’an shows that Muslims are encouraged to learn about the world and universe that we live in and to share it with fellow Muslims. Through learning about the world Muslims are more adapt to answer questions about what the Qur’an says and to back it up with science.
The hermeneutic lens that Muslims look through allows them to use science to support their religion. This lens allows them to take a step back from the literal meaning of “six days” and logically explain that it was six periods of time and not six 24-hour days. Muslims view the Qur’an as the word of god and multiple time throughout the Qur’an Muslims are instructed to study the world and learn from it as well as share this knowledge with other. The Qur’an is vague when it comes specifics about science and how it relates to the Muslim faith. This allows Muslims to use science backup what the Qur’an says.
Muslims use science to back up claims that the universe is roughly 16 billion years old and that the creation of earth and the universe took place not over six literal days but six periods that varied in time, explained by Einstein’s theory of relativity. Christian fundamentalist read Genesis 1 through a more literal hermeneutic lens. The bible has a more detailed list of events that are explained in the bible, unlike the Qur’an. For example, “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. ”. This is the description of the first day when God created the universe. Genesis 1 clearly states the steps that God is taking to create the earth. Although it does not define a day as a 24-period, it is not too much of a leap to come to this conclusion since it says “So the evening and the morning were the first day”.
The Christian fundamentalist has a very different hermeneutic lens then the Muslim commentator. The Christian takes the bible literally, they say “If the days of creation are really geologic ages of millions of years, then the gospel message is undermined at its foundation…”. This person believes in letting the bible “speak” for its self. They later go on to say “Being really honest, you would have to admit that you could never get the idea of millions of years from reading this passage. ”
They later use Romans 3:4 as an example that the bible should be taken as fact and not interpreted, “Let God be true, and every man a liar. . This Christian has a very literal interpretation of the bible. The problem with letting the bible “speak” for its self is, the bible doesn’t talk. As we talked about in class the bible is not capable of talking and must be read and interpreted (Martin, 1). Martin goes on to say that it is acceptable that Christians read the bible in search of answers to questions and find meaning in their lives but, the bible must be interpreted. This Christian commentator uses a very literal lens to look at the bible.
The hermeneutics that they use is a very strict and literal interpretation of the bible. This commentator is adamant about not having outside influences affect how the bible is interpreted. In their eyes science should have no effect on how the earth was created, instead we should use “…context and normal definitions, without being influenced by outside ideas, then the word for “day” found in Genesis 1…” (Christian commentator). With this statement they are saying that the bible is to be read without the influences of outside information.
With the statement ““evening and morning” and for Day 1 the words “light and darkness”—obviously means an ordinary day (about 24 hours). ” (Christian commentator). Both Christian’s and Muslim’s religious books state that the universe was created in six days. This is the end of the similarities. Fundamental Christians believe that God created the universe in six 24-hour days. Muslims use science to back up their beliefs. The Qur’an mentions a period of six days, but these are not necessarily 24-hour days.
With Einstein’s theory of relativity, it is discussed how travelling at near the speed of light and how gravity can slow down time. Using this theory, Muslims break the six days into six periods of time. This allows Muslims to come to the same conclusion that the universe is roughly 16 billion years old. Muslims use science to reaffirm their belief that the universe was created in six periods that span over 16 billion years; while, fundamental Christians believe that God created the universe in six 24-hour days and ignore any outside information that would lead to a different conclusion.