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Interfaith Dialogue
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Message Icon Topic: Every living thing made from water. Post Reply Post New Topic
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islamispeace
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 19 December 2010 at 6:57pm
In ancient times, water was considered one of the four elements (along with air, fire and earth).  Anything liquid was considered a form of water: blood, urine, sweat, lymph.  So yeah, anyone who ever jabbed a spear into an enemy soldier would know quite well that water is a major constituent.


True, but as you said, they believed that water was one of the elements, meaning that air, fire and earth were also constituents of all living things.  This is quite different from the Quran saying that man was created from water.  Notice also that the belief in the four elements says nothing about how man was created.  This was a theory proposed by early physicians about how the human body worked and was later refuted by modern medicine, so I fail to see your point.  Notice also that the Quran does not duplicate this belief.   

So the reference to water is to be taken literally, but the dust and the clay are not?  How do you know that?  Is there some clue in the text that tells you when Allah is being literal and when He is merely being poetic or metaphorical?  Or do you simply choose the interpretation that best suits your purpose?


No Ron, I am "simply [choosing] the interpretation that best suits [my] purpose".  Duh! 

Actually, this is how Islamic scholars have interpreted it.  For instance, Surah 18, verse 37 states:

"His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: "Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man?"

Ibn Abbas, one of the companions of the prophet, wrote in his commentary regarding the phrase "out of dust" :

"He created you from Adam and Adam is from dust..." 

So no, I am not choosing my own interpretation.  Creation from dust refers solely to the creation of Adam, not all men.  But since mankind originated from Adam, it can be said that mankind was created from dust.  When referring to water, notice the wording in Surah 25:54 which states:

"It is He Who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power (over all things)."

Here, by mentioning "lineage and marriage", it is clear that the reference is to all mankind.  That is how Ibn Abbas interpreted it, although he interpreted "water" to mean the "water of the male and female", referring to the male and female components needed to create life.  It shows that the early Muslims clearly distinguished man's creation from dust to refer to Adam only while man's creation from water and sperm referred to all of mankind.  Do you now agree?

It was (and apparently still is) commonly misunderstood.  The proper analogy in the plant kingdom for sperm would be "pollen", not "seed".  The seed corresponds more closely to the female ovum -- but the ancients didn't even know such a thing existed, which is why they got it wrong.


People had different connotations for certain words than we do now.  Just because they don't agree with your connotations does not mean they were wrong.  By referring to sperm as "seed", they at least understood that sperm was essential for procreation.

The common word for "ovum" is "egg", and I'm quite sure there was such an Arabic word at the time.


Yes, I know ovum and egg are interchangeable.  But, if you want to get technical, as you did above regarding the word "seed", than actually it is clear that "egg" is not understood in the same way as for instance a chicken "egg", something most of us eat for breakfast.  Do you agree?

Therefore, "egg/ovum" is a modern term which did not exist in ancient times.  Furthermore, since the ovum is not easily visible like semen is, it would not surprise me that many cultures did not have a word for it.     
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 20 December 2010 at 8:37am

Originally posted by islamispeace

Here, by mentioning "lineage and marriage", it is clear that the reference is to all mankind.  That is how Ibn Abbas interpreted it, although he interpreted "water" to mean the "water of the male and female", referring to the male and female components needed to create life.  It shows that the early Muslims clearly distinguished man's creation from dust to refer to Adam only while man's creation from water and sperm referred to all of mankind.  Do you now agree?

If you say so, but it doesn't answer my question.  Why is the creation from dust and clay regarded as metaphorical, while the creation from water is literal?

People had different connotations for certain words than we do now.  Just because they don't agree with your connotations does not mean they were wrong.  By referring to sperm as "seed", they at least understood that sperm was essential for procreation.

This is not a matter of different connotations of a word.  The ovum is hundreds of times bigger than the sperm cell, and provides something like 99% of the physical mass of the zygote, including all of the initial cell structure, all the mitochondrial DNA and other organelles.  The sperm contributes half the nuclear DNA.  That's all.  Any description of reproduction that claims we are formed from sperm, without even mentioning the ovum, is just plain wrong.

Yes, I know ovum and egg are interchangeable.  But, if you want to get technical, as you did above regarding the word "seed", than actually it is clear that "egg" is not understood in the same way as for instance a chicken "egg", something most of us eat for breakfast.  Do you agree?

Therefore, "egg/ovum" is a modern term which did not exist in ancient times.  Furthermore, since the ovum is not easily visible like semen is, it would not surprise me that many cultures did not have a word for it.

They certainly had the word.  I don't know what the Arabic word is, but "ovum" is an ancient Latin word which applied to many different kinds of eggs.  What they didn't have was the knowledge that humans have eggs as well, functionally the same as chicken eggs but too small to be easily seen.  Consequently they made the mistake of assuming that humans are formed from semen (apparently a liquid and therefore "water").

It is a perfectly understandable error.  What is odd is that Allah would make the same error.  Why didn't He correctly say that we are formed from fertilized eggs and let the early Muslims puzzle it out?

Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.
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Quote rememberallah Replybullet Posted: 20 December 2010 at 11:28am
creation from water is not literal but same as that of dust.....man is indeed created from water, from dust, as well as sperm, if you dont want to see it , ....i dont know why my answers are not being published, i have been answering regularly, is there a moderator listening..
ron webb you are just trying to push in arguments. good the word egg was never used as then people like you n schmikbob would had not seen that what God meant, but argued that what it meant at that time. if you do nott have eyes to see, it can not be shown.
donno why my replies are not being published. 
The whole world is like Hazrat Umar but no one is like his sister and brother in law.
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Quote Gibbs Replybullet Posted: 20 December 2010 at 3:02pm
Wait, aren't all life forms created out of water called the primordial soup?
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islamispeace
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 20 December 2010 at 4:24pm
Originally posted by Ron

If you say so, but it doesn't answer my question.  Why is the creation from dust and clay regarded as metaphorical, while the creation from water is literal?


I did not say creation from dust was metaphorical.  It refers to Adam's creation, and since mankind is descended from Adam, it is logical to say that mankind was created from dust as well.  The reasoning behind saying that creation from dust refers to Adam is explained in the verses I showed.  As another example, take a look at Surah 30, verse 20:

"Among His Signs in this, that He created you from dust; and then,- behold, ye are men scattered (far and wide)!" 

Notice how after referring to the creation from dust, Allah mentions how as a result, mankind "scattered".  This is clearly suggesting a common link going back to one source, which is Adam, almost like a family tree.  As Ibn Kathir put it, it suggests that "...man's origins lie in dust". 

Originally posted by Ron

This is not a matter of different connotations of a word.  The ovum is hundreds of times bigger than the sperm cell, and provides something like 99% of the physical mass of the zygote, including all of the initial cell structure, all the mitochondrial DNA and other organelles.  The sperm contributes half the nuclear DNA.  That's all.  Any description of reproduction that claims we are formed from sperm, without even mentioning the ovum, is just plain wrong.


Sure it is.  All societies knew back then that both a male and female were required to procreate.  Therefore, it is inconceivable that they did not believe that the woman also contributed to the process of procreation.  But since the ovum is not easily identified, it is understandable that ancient cultures did not mention it.  The mammalian ovum was not discovered until 1826 by Karl Ernst von Baer, so how can you expect people from ancient times to have a term for it, especially desert-dwelling Arabs?!  The Latin word "ovum" referred to eggs or something oval-shaped, so it had different connotations.  Furthermore, the Latin word seems to have been derived from the Indo-European word "awei" which is also the origin of the Latin word "avis" which means "bird" (*).     

Originally posted by Ron

They certainly had the word.  I don't know what the Arabic word is, but "ovum" is an ancient Latin word which applied to many different kinds of eggs.  What they didn't have was the knowledge that humans have eggs as well, functionally the same as chicken eggs but too small to be easily seen.  Consequently they made the mistake of assuming that humans are formed from semen (apparently a liquid and therefore "water").


Yes, "ovum" is a Latin word which literally means "egg", but as I mentioned, the mammalian ovum is not like a chicken "egg".  In terms of human embryology, the "ovum" is not an "egg" like the type that birds and reptiles lay.  They are anatomically different and also follow different pathways for development.  How then can you argue that the two should have been recognized as one and the same by ancient cultures?  "Egg" is perhaps not the best way to describe the ovum, but since no better word existed, the early embryologists simply went with "ovum".     

And actually, the theory of the humours claimed that water was associated with "phlegm" which was different from blood, a different humour.  According to the website "Greek Medicine", the phlegmatic humour included phlegm along with "...all the other clear fluids of the body:  mucus, saliva, plasma, lymph, and serous and interstitial fluids." This did not include semen.  Unless you can provide a source which disagrees, you claim that semen was considered to be water by the ancients is simply not true.

Originally posted by Ron

It is a perfectly understandable error.  What is odd is that Allah would make the same error.  Why didn't He correctly say that we are formed from fertilized eggs and let the early Muslims puzzle it out?


Again, there was no reason for Allah to mention the ovum since the ovum was not even discovered until 1200 years later!  LOL  You seem to think that it was a matter of the utmost importance when it really wasn't.  The Quran is not a science book.  It is a book which spells out how Allah wants mankind to live, but it may mention certain facts about the universe which could only be fully  understood by later generations.  Until you can prove that the Arabs had a word for "ovum" as it is understood in embryology, your arguments are pointless. 
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote schmikbob Replybullet Posted: 20 December 2010 at 5:30pm
What is truly astounding is that so much has been made of the Quran saying that man is created from water and dust and clay and whatever else.  Turning these verses into some pseudoscientific claims about the divine origins of the Quran is ridiculous.  You can define it and redefine it and explore it as much as you want but it's never going to say more than that.  This means that the actual proof that these statements mean more than exactly what was known in the 7th century does not and will not exist.  Finally, since extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and none exists, these claims will remain on the fringes of pseudoscience, where they belong.   
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Quote Matt Browne Replybullet Posted: 21 December 2010 at 9:27am
If we view our universe (multiverse) as a program, we can say that theists believe in divine authorship of this program, while atheists believe in a program being capable of writing itself.



Edited by Matt Browne - 21 December 2010 at 9:28am
A religion that's intolerant of other religions can't be the world's best religion --Abdel Samad
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people--Eleanor Roosevelt
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Quote Gibbs Replybullet Posted: 21 December 2010 at 1:43pm
Originally posted by Matt Browne

If we view our universe (multiverse) as a program, we can say that theists believe in divine authorship of this program, while atheists believe in a program being capable of writing itself.

 
The bold above is entirely possible
 
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