Belief in Resurrection is manifested in our Primordial Nature
By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Nasir Makarim Shirazi
We most often see that coming to know about God is within the primordiImam Ali (A.S.)ty and nature of a human being.
If we search into the awakened and non-awakened consciences of the human being, his faith and desire in a source which is metaphysical, we come upon a metaphysical source which is gained through knowledge, program and goal which created this world.
But this issue is not limited to monotheism and coming to know about God. All of the principles and practices which are basic to religion must be seen within this very primordial nature. Otherwise, the harmony which is necessary to exist between creation and the Divine Law will not be found. (Pay special attention here).
If we take a look at our heart and we discover the depths of the spirit and our soul, we hear these whisperings from the world that life does not end with death, but rather death is a window upon the world of survival.
In order to understand this truth, we must turn to the points below.
1. Love of Survival
If the human being has been created for annihilation and non-being, that person should desire non-being, and receive pleasure from death at the end of life whereas we see that this is not the case. Instead we see that death is in no time or era a pleasure and that many people flee from it with all of their being.
Looking for ways to lengthen one’s life, looking for the Fountain of Youth, the Elixir of Life, the Water of Life are all signs of this truth.
This love for survival shows that the human being was created to survive and if we had been born for being and annihilation, this love would have no meaning.
All of the basic loves which are within our being are completed by it and the love for survival is a love which completes or perfects our being.
Note that we discuss the issue of the Resurrection after we have accepted the existence of God, the Wise, the Knower.
We believe that whatever He created in our bodies is based on a known measure and because of this, the love and desire of a human being for survival must also have an accounting and that can be nothing other than the existence of a world after this one.
2. Resurrection Among the Tribes of the Past
The history of humanity, as it bears witness, in a general sense, in the tribes of the past, from the earliest of times shows clear proof of the clear belief of the human being to life after death.
The traces which have remained from the human beings of the past, even those who existed before written records, in particular, the method of making graves for the dead and how they buried the dead, all bear witness to this truth that they believed in life after death.
This rooted belief which has always existed in humanity, cannot be believed to be a simple idea or only a habit.
Whenever a belief is found in the form of something which has roots, and throughout history, we see it in human society, we should know that it is part of primordial nature because it is only primordial nature which can persevere with the passage of time and social and intellectual changes and remain in its place. Otherwise, customs will be forgotten.
The wearing of a special type of clothes is either a question of habit or a form of custom, which, over time, either changes or is destroyed.
But the love of a mother for her child is instinctive. It is a part of nature and a symbol. Thus, with the passing of time, the flame of love does not decrease in various environments. Whatever efforts are made in this way are reasons why this is part of the primordial nature of a human being.
When scholars say that careful study has shown that the earliest of people had a kind of religious belief because they buried their dead in a special way and they placed their tools of work beside them, and in their own way and with their particular belief, they showed that they believe in the existence of another world.
We can then well see that they had accepted life after death, even if they were in error. They thought that life there was just like life in this world and that they would need those very same tools.
3. The Existence of the Inner Trial
The existence of the inner trial or court called the Conscience is another reason for the resurrection being primordial.
Just as we have previously said, we all well sense that there is a trial or a court within us which judges what we do. It gives rewards for good deeds. We feel satisfied and our spirit overflows with joy and happiness in such a way that the feeling is incapable of being described. In relation to evil deeds, and, in particular, great sins, they are felt in such a way that life becomes bitter.
It has often been seen that individuals, after committing a great crime, like murder and trying to escape from the scales of justice, voluntarily give themselves up. They surrender to the hangman’s noose and the reason is the torture which the conscience gives.
A human being, on bearing witness to this trial or court, asks himself or herself, “How can I, who am but a small creature, have such a conscience but the great universe and the world of creation not have a trial or court which it is worthy of?”
In this way, we can prove that the belief in the resurrection and life after death is primordial in three ways:
1. Through love of survival.
2. Because of the existence of this belief throughout history.
3. Through a small example of that in our own selves.
Think and Answer
1. How can one distinguish that which is primordial from that which is not primordial?
2. What is the reason why a human being has a love for survival and what reason can this be for the primordiImam Ali (A.S.)ty of the resurrection?
3. Did the early people believe in the resurrection? Why?
4. How does the condemnation by our conscience encourage or punish us? Give examples of that.
5. What relation is there between the trial by one’s conscience and the great Day of Judgment?
The Resurrection and the Scales of Justice
A cursory look at the system of creation will reveal to us that everything is systematic and governed by rules.
In the body of man, this system is so delicate that any imbalance would lead to either sickness or death.
For instance, in the structure of the eyes, heart, and brain this order is readily noticeable. The same order, systematization, and justice prevail over all of creation.
Through justice, the skies and the earth have been erected.
An atom is so tiny that millions of them could be located in the point of a needle. Such an atom must be extremely precise and ordered in its structure to allow it to exist for millions of years.
This happens because of the justice and exact calculations that are employed in the construction of an atom.
Is man such an exceptional being as to be free to do what he pleases? Is he free? Or is there something hidden here?
Free will and Freedom in Decision-Making
One distinctive feature that distinguishes man from all other creatures is that he possesses freedom of action. Why has He created him free and given him the freedom of will to carry out what he wants?
The reason rests in the fact that if he were not free he would never develop. This freedom has ensured man’s spiritual and ethical development.
Suppose one is forced at gunpoint to help and assist the needy and carry out those acts which are beneficial to the community. Even though his acts would be naturally useful to everyone no ethical or human perfection or maturity would have taken place.
Whereas, if he had carried out these actions voluntarily and he only did one hundredth of what he could have done, he still would have taken a big stride towards his perfection and development.
Thus, the first condition for spiritual and ethical perfection is to have a free will; man should do good things on his own and not through force. This great asset has been given to man just for this purpose.
Of course, this great asset is like a beautiful flower which is accompanied with thorns which represent the misuse of this free will.
Naturally, it would be quite easy for God to punish a man for his unjust deeds, to inflict him with all sorts of miseries, to make him blind, or dumb, or paralyzed altogether.
Under such circumstances, nobody would dare to do wrong things. But this abstention and piety then would be by force and could never be counted as a point of honor for man, for this piety would have been due to his fear of a great punishment.
Thus, man should be free. He should be exposed to God’s different trials and not be threatened by immediate punishment so that he could show his true worth.
But there remains one issue to be solved. If each person could be free to do whatever he desires, this could negate God’s Justice which governs the world.
That is why we become convinced that there should be a court for mankind in which everyone should be present and be tried to receive punishments if they had wronged others or given rewards if they have been just in their deeds.
Is it possible for Nimrods, Pharaohs, Genghis khans and korahs to commit atrocities carry out all sorts of unjust acts and then go away with no punishment whatsoever?
Could criminals and pious people be equal on God’s scale of justice?
Regarding this, the Holy Qur’an says: What! Shall We then make those who submit as the guilty? What has happened to you? How do you judge? ( 68:35-36)
and also: Shall We make those who guard against evil like the wicked? (38:28)
It is a fact that some of the wrongdoers would be at least partially punished in this world for their devilish acts. It is also a fact that the court of conscience exists. It is also a fact that the consequences of one’s unjust and devilish acts would inflict him later.
But if we consider the matter carefully, we will find out that no tyrant or sinner receives a punishment in this world proportional to the degree of his devilish acts. There are some who even escape the consequences of their wrongdoing.
So there should be a universal court in the other world to judge them justly and impartially or else the principle of justice would vanish forever.
Therefore, the acceptance of God and His system of Justice entails the acceptance of the Resurrection and the other world. These two are faces of the same coin.
Think and Answer
1. How is the heaven and the earth based upon justice?
2. Why has the human being been given free choice and will?
3. What would happen if a human being were to receive punishment immediately and directly for an evil deed in this world?
4. Why does the existence of the trial by conscience for our deeds not exempt us from the trial on the Day of Judgment?
5. What is the connection between the justice of the Creator and the Resurrection?