By Shaykh Mansour Leghaei
Unity of God is the common word of all prophets. It is the essential part of all the divine religions. But why there is only One God? Why can’t be a company of gods creating and governing the universe?!
This chapter aims at introducing the most fundamental aspect of all divine religions, a foundation on which all other religious issues stands; a touchstone by which everything else must be attested.
As a matter of fact, believing in God, requires His unity. In other words, if there is a Creator and Sustainer for the universe, He must be One and only One. Thus, even those who supposedly believe in more than one god, they attempt to unify them to one godhead, and hence plurality of god has no logic.
Proofs of unity of God
1) Infinite Being
This proof is suggested by Mulla Sadra. The similar concept of it is also suggested by Aquinas, St Thomas (1225-1274), the Angelic Doctor and the Prince of Scholastics Italian philosopher and theologian.
Premise 1: God is necessary infinite.
Premise 2: There is no plurality in an infinite being.
Thus: There is no possible plurality in godhead.
God is necessarily infinite. If several were to exit, none of them would be really infinite, for, it is impossible to have more than one infinite being. The reason being, each should have some perfection not possessed by the others. In other words, there must be an end for the existence of one of them, so that there would be a room for the other to exist, which results in finite of them.
For instance, if A & B were to owe a farm, then each one must owe only a limited piece of land. But if A or B owns a farm which covers the entire Earth, then there is no room for the other to owe anything.
God is necessarily infinite Being, which means His existence is limitless and hence no room for any other to exist.
Therefore, the essence of Godhead necessitates His Unity. The Holy Quran referring to this proof states: “ Allah bears witness that there is no god but Him ” 1or: “ He is the First and the Last, the Appearance, and the Hidden ”
Why God is necessarily infinite?
At least for the following three reasons, we understand that god is infinite.
1) Finite means limitation and limitation mean god is limited in existence, knowledge, power, etc. A limited god like other limited and finite creatures is just like other creatures and need to depend in his existence, knowledge and power to an unlimited being.
2) Existence is the opposite of non-existence. A being which is necessarily Existent, has no possibility of non-existence.
3) The chains of causes and effects in this world must reach the first Cause whose existence is necessarily and independent from others.
2) Universal Unity
Premise 1: The universe is harmonic.
Premise 2: Any harmonic universe needs one conductor.
The unified universe has One Creator.
The universe as it initially appeared to us, is the combination of billions of different objects; from a tiny cell to the super-giant galaxies. Nonetheless, in spite of this plurality, a closer look suggests that there is a universal unification linking and joining all seemingly separate parts of the universe together and the more the secretes of nature discovered the more this unity is realized.
The most acknowledged theory for the beginning of the universe is the big Bang theory proposing that the universe was created in a gigantic explosion and that the various elements observed today were produced within the first few minutes after the big bang hydrogen and helium would have been the primary products of the big bang. At 1 microsecond after the Big Bang, protons and neutrons dissolve into individual quarks, so the universe was a ‘gas’ consisting of quarks.
Astronomers assert today that the entire universe we can see is made from matter of the kind we find near us, and in about the same abundances of the elements everywhere.
As mentioned in the chapter ‘Finger prints of God’ all galaxies gravitationally interacting and orbiting about ‘a common centre’.
For this reason, a natural law governing an atom is also governing the entire universe. The same gravitational law governing the fall of an object here on earth governs all the celestial bodies in the sky.
Thus, Newton by observation of the fall of an apple in his orchard discovered the gravitation and conceived that the same force governed the motion of the Moon and the apple and hence gravitation is universal. Similarly, Newton’s laws of motion or optics apply to the earthly objects as much as the celestial ones.
There are millions of animal species on earth, yet despite this plurality their structure is quite unified.
The law of cause and effect is also another universal law in the nature, whether man has discovered all the causes of an effect or not, philosophically there is a cause/causes for every effect.
Therefore, the operation of the nature is like a harmonic symphony, which demonstrates the great harmony of creation. Every creature is like a musical pulse, which is made up of the sum of many pure sine-wave tones, playing harmonically in the orchestra of the universe. This universal orchestra proves that there is only one conductor directing the orchestra in performance.
If there were more than one God, disharmony would prevail.
Q. Why can’t be the company of gods who are wisely governing the universe?
If there is more than one god for the universe, either they are all the same in everything or totally different, or there are some similarity and some differences amongst them.
Plurality of gods mean that they are not totally same, for, if they were the same in all aspects then there would be one not more than one. On the other hand, plurality means there are differences, and if there are differences there must be disharmony and chaos in the universe.
For instance, God is Omni-wise, and there cannot be two or more omni-wise, because plurality requires that they are not the same in their wisdom, which means one is wiser than the other and the one who is less wise lacks some wisdom and lack of wisdom is insufficiency whereas there cannot be any insufficiency in God.
3) Mathematical distinction
If there were to be two necessary beings, there must be at least one distinction factor between them so that one possesses something that the other lacks. That distinction however must be also a necessary being, or else the two necessary beings cannot be necessary in their essence. Thus two imagine two necessary being we need another necessary differentiating being, which results in three necessary beings.
Similarly as they are all necessary beings, there must be a different between then or else they are the same. In order to differentiate between the three necessary beings we need at least two other necessary differentiating beings, which result in five necessary beings.
Again to differentiate between five necessary beings, we need at least three necessary differentiating beings to differentiate between the five necessarily beings, which results in eight necessarily beings and the calculating goes on infinitely which results in infinite necessary beings!
4) Unique invitation
God is the source of perfection and blessings. It is not possible for such Perfect Being to deprive others of that perfection and blessing. Thus, if there were more than one God, he would have introduced himself through his messengers or other ways, whereas, all the prophets and messengers have invited to One Unique God, therefore there is no any other god than Him.
Sources: ultimate questions in philosophy of religion