Written by Sangeeth Gowrishankar
Metaphysics sounds like a term that would generally exist in a 1200-page book about the sciences. But it is a branch of philosophy that deals with the existence of things, what to do and what is. The cliche about the discipline of philosophy is that many people assume that these ideas were born in a room full of thinkers with no belief in how the world works. That is actually true.
All of us have heard of flat earthers or people who believe that the Earth is not round and that it is rectangular in shape. Quite frankly, this cannot be theoretically proved because we have plenty of proof that the Earth is round. But philosophy being philosophy rather encourages all these views. However wrong it may be, it’s a theory that deals with existence. Hence, it’s a part of metaphysics.
The term metaphysics is derived from 2 words, “Meta” and “Physics.” Meta means changing in position and Physics is the study of how the physical world works. Hence, Metaphysics deals with various theories and studies about how our physical world works.
Slightly shifting our view, we now take a shift to Theology, the study of religion. Modern science doesn’t have a clear-cut answer to how our universe came to be and hence we shall take a different route. We shall see how different religions tackle the concept of existence and eventually prove it with logic that varies completely. However, we should avoid religions that promote a way of life like Buddhism and Jainism.
The first religion that we shall tackle is Hinduism. The theory of existence begins with time and the manifestation of one super power who controls everything(Karanarnavasayi Visnu is this case). Material ingredients, knowledge and activities are then established. Then natural wonders such as the elements (sky, gas, fire, liquid and solid) are introduced and Earth is formed. Mind and darkness follow them. Immovable entities such as trees were the first creatures on Earth. Animals are soon to follow them and then, humans are introduced on Earth. Finally, Gods, Demons and Demigods are put in place. The interaction of these races leads to the cycle of maintenance. (Creation, Preservation, Destruction)
Moving on, the next religion that we shall tackle is Christianity. The theory of existence states that, at first, God is present. There is no beginning or end to him. Over 7 days, he proceeds to form the world as we know it. On the first day, he created light. On the second day, the sky was created. The third day was when dry land, seas, plants and trees were created. On the fourth day, the sun, moon and stars were created. On the fifth day, creatures that live in the sea and creatures that fly were created. The sixth day led to the creation of animals that live on the land and finally, humans (Adam and Eve). Lastly, by day seven, God finished his work of creation and rested, making the seventh day a special holy day.
Our third and last religion is Islam. The theory of existence in Islam states that God or Allah led to the creation of the universe and expressed himself to the world by saying, “Be, and, it is.” Although Islam doesn’t give us an exact process of how God created the world, it says the purpose of existence was to worship.
In hindsight, we can see that all 3 religions have the same basic idea of existence and how the world came to be. When 3 religions that have originated in completely different locations and eras can agree on a similar theory of existence, why do we still initiate communalist conflict?
Although we can’t prove everything that this line of philosophy states, we can find solace in the fact that even when science isn’t able to pinpoint an answer to this trivial question, 3 opposite religions have given us one similar answer. Scientists and philosophers will always be as different as fire and water, but we can start to bridge those gaps by giving our theories about how we believe the world works.
Even Einstein’s theory of relativity and Newton’s laws of gravity were part of the plethora of theories that philosophy proposed. Some were proven, some weren’t.
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