19. Human evolution
The analysis here is based on the book The Origin of Man by Dr. Maurice Bucaille. The material discussed is in effect a summary of pages 160 to 219 of his book with quotations taken from several pages of the text, but excluding the Qur’anic verses he quotes. Dr. Bucaille has quoted many verses from the Qur’an in support of his view that their meanings are explained by the data of contemporary knowledge. One must understand that any comparison of the facts stated in the Qur’an must be based on facts of scientific data that are well established. This excludes theories that are likely to change. Dr. Bucaille warns that discrepancy exists between the translations of the verses quoted by him and the translatations of texts currently in use. This is particularly true in statements on man and science because of the tradition of translating verses based on the interpretations suggested by the early commentators, whose view of reality could not possibly be in keeping with today’s discoveries.
We begin with the Qur’an’s description of the origins of life. In general, it devotes a great deal of space to the morphological transformations undergone by man, repeatedly emphasising the fact that God fashioned him as he willed. We likewise discover statements on human reproduction that are expressed in precise terms that lend themselves to comparison with secular knowledge we possess today on the subject.1 In fact, some of the verses go beyond embryonic growth to include the transformations of human morphology which took place over the ages, and this has formally been proven by palaeontology.
There is obviously a very wide gap, however, between a concept of Man’s decent from the apes ( a theory that is totally untenable) and the idea of transformations of the human form in the course of time (which has been fully proven). The confusion between the two reaches a height when they are merged together – with the very flimsy arguments – under the banner of Evolution. This unfortunate confusion has caused certain people to wrongly imagine that since the word is used in reference to man, it must mean that, ipso facto, man’s origin may be traced to the apes.2
One must clearly understand that in the verses quoted by Dr. Bucaille, there is not the slightest hint of a concept of the materialistic origin of man.
In actual fact, the Qur’anic statements dealing with the subject have a bearing on the question of the transformations that have taken place in human morphology over the ages. The latter are indeed governed by the genetic code formed by the union of chromosomes received from the paternal and maternal reproductive cells. The genetic inheritance thus brought together determines, first in the embryo, (i.e. before the second month of pregnancy) and then in the foetus (i.e. after the second month of pregnancy) the possible appearance of morphological changes as compared with the father and mother. These modifications become definitive after the child is born and during its growth in childhood. […] It is therefore the combined total changes that take place over successive generations which ultimately determine the morphological transformations that palaeontologists have noted in various human groups from past ages.3
There is absolutely no scientific proof to suggest that man was born of the evolved forms of present-day apes. On the contrary, everything suggests against this outmoded theory. What science has shown is that, at a certain point in time, human species appeared which gradually transformed itself into today’s man. From a scientific point of view, the crux of the problem is that we do not know what man evolved from: Was it from an autonomous lineage or from one that could be connected with another animal lineage? Whatever the answer, recent studies in genetics indicate that the process could not have taken place by any other method than the addition of new information governing the appearance of structures and functions specific to man. These phenomena fit perfectly into the pattern of an expanding genetic code, as suggested by the theory of creative evolution.4
- What is The Origin of Man? by Dr. Maurice Bucaille. Publisher Seghers, 6 Place Saint-Sulpice 75006 Paris. p. 162, 163.
- Ibid,. p. 170.
- Ibid,. p. 180.
- Ibid,. p. 212.