Books

Qur’an 35: The Originator

The thirty-fifth chapter of the Qur’an, “The Originator,” is about universality (the diversity of God’s creation) and order (the right relationship between things. All things, all colors, all types of water, everything, were created by God. This does not mean that God is indifferent to the order of things. Freshwater is better for men than saltwater, life is better than death, and the Truth is better than falsehoods. Indeed, the Qur’anic author views the Truth as the image of the unseen Book, the logos, which is the ordering principle of all things.

Readings

Entrance Antiphon:

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:3-4

A reading from the Book of Ezekiel:

Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings…

Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
Ezekiel 1:1-6,28

A Psalm, from the Psalms:

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.

The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea,

In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.

There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.
Psalms 104:24-26

A reading, from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians:

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory!

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
Revelation 4:2-3

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory!

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew:

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Amen.
Matthew 28:16-20

Communion Antiphon:

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.”
John 4:23-23

A Qur’anic Homily

This chapter opens with a bang, connecting to the Creation of the world with Ezekiel’s vision of what the angels that surround God are actually like:

All praise belongs to God, originator of the heavens and the earth, maker of the angels, messenger,s possessing wings, two, three, or four. He adds to creation whatever he wishes. Indeed, God has power over all things.
Qur’an 35:1

This contrast, between the grace of God and the terror of Him, introduces the theme of “The Originator.” God’s mercy is limitless:

Whatever mercy God unfolds for the people, no one can withhold it; and whatever He withholds, no one can release except Him, and He is the All-mighty, the All-wise.
Qur’an 35:2

So are the consequences of His wrath:

There is a severe punishment for the faithless; but for those who have faith and do righteous deeds, there will be forgiveness and a great reward.
Qur’an 35:7

This is not a sign of inconsistency, but rather of universality: all things are created by God. The different colors of animals, fruits, and even people are created by God.

Have you not regarded that God sends down water from the sky, with which We produced fruits of diverse hues, and in the mountains are stripes, white and red, of diverse hues, and pitch black. And of humans and beasts and cattle there are likewise diverse hues.

Only those of God’s servants having knowledge fear Him. God is indeed all-mighty, all-forgiving.
Qur’an 35:27

Yet only God is eternal. The color of a man’s hair changes as he ages. The color of the sky changes as the sun and moon move in the sky. The idols man may choose to worship control none of this, but all is orchestrated by the Originator:

He makes the night pass into the day and makes the day pass into the night, and He has disposed the sun and the moon, each moving for a specified term. That is God, your Lord; to Him belongs all sovereignty. As for those whom you invoke besides Him, they do not control so much as the husk of a date stone.
Qur’an 35:13

Yet God is not indifferent. There is an order to things.

The blind one and the seer are not equal, nor darkness and light, nor shade and torrid heat, nor are the living equal to the dead.
Qur’an 35:19

God created the heavens and the earth, but it is right for a man to live on the earth. He created the light and the dark, but some deeds are best in the light, and some in the dark. God created death and life, but he urges us to choose life. He created fresh water and saltwater, but only one is good for man to drink, though fish may drink the other:

Not alike are the two seas: this one sweet and agreeable, pleasant to drink, and that one briny and bitter, and from each you eat fresh meat and obtain ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through them, that you may seek of His bounty, and so that you may give thanks.
Qur’an 35:12

The Qur’anic author’s views Christ as the image of the unseen Book, the Word that is the Reason for all things:

That which we have revealed to you of the Book is the Truth, confirming what was before it. Indeed, God is aware and watchful of His servants.
Qur’an 35:31

All who participate in the Office of Prophet with Christ work with him across his creation, among every hue of person and in every nation:

We have indeed sent you with the Truth as a bearer of goodness and a warner, and there is not a nation but a warner has passed into it.
Qur’an 35:24

Conclusion

Those who worship God must worship in Spirit and Truth. To the Qur’anic author, Truth is how the Book, the divine logos, appears to us. All things are created in accordance with the Book, and will be judged by the Book. God created all things and God-ordained the proper order of all things.

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