Magnificence in The Creation of Man
All the people around you have come to their present state after months spent in their mothers' wombs. For each of them the same perfect system was prepared in their mothers' body, and each of them passed through the same stages.
Birth is a great miracle. The baby who develops in its specially protected chamber prepared in the mother's womb, comes into the world after a certain period of time. The details of this miraculous event will lead every man who ponders it to very important conclusions. Let us reach this conclusion together by looking at a detail that is important for a baby's development:
The placenta is a flesh tissue formed by the woman's body in order to attach the fertilized egg to the uterus wall. It contains a soft structure of blood vessels destined to serve the developing baby. These vessels are like the branches of a tree. In the placenta, the mother's and baby's blood vessels intertwine and exchange materials. The two bloods never mix, but nutrients and oxygen cross from the mother's blood into the baby's blood while wastes move out of the baby's blood, ultimately to be excreted by the mother.43 This function of the placenta is very important because this tissue must both meet all the needs of the baby and also be selective in order to protect it. What makes this exchange possible for the placenta is a thin membrane called the "chorion." This membrane separates the baby's blood circulation from that of the mother. By virtue of this membrane, the blood of the mother cannot enter the baby's vessels. The baby receives only oxygen and nutrition through this membrane.
The nutrition a baby needs in its first months is different from what he needs in the eighth and ninth months, on the verge of birth. The placenta must also adjust for this in the consumption of nutrients. As a matter of fact, the placenta carries out all these functions in a flawless way. It is always sensitive to how much it should take from what in a selective and careful way. Here, there are some questions which should be asked and points to be remembered.
First of all, there is the question of how a placenta that is a tissue consisting of cells can make these computations. Also, the question of how the placenta is aware of the needs of the baby needs an answer too. A person with intelligence will immediately see that a piece of flesh called a placenta cannot do these things on its own and could not have acquired such features by chance. In this case, the fact we come across is again very obvious: Allah created the placenta with characteristics that meet the needs of the baby in the mother's womb. The miracle of birth is another example that displays the magnificence of Allah's artistry in creation. We are reminded of this fact in the Qur'an:
O man! What has deluded you in respect of your Noble Lord? He Who created you and formed you and proportioned you and assembled you in whatever way He willed. (Surat al-Infitar: 6-8)
An Advanced Air-Conditioner, a Perfect Perceiver: Skin
At the moment, you can easily turn the pages of this book because your hands do not create any problems in grasping the texture of the pages. In a similar way, you can also hold and carry objects with smooth surfaces like a glass, for example. You can feel softness when you touch a feather and hardness when you hold a stone. Perceiving all this and sending necessary signals to your brain, your skin has the characteristics that enable you to visualize the objects in your brain.
A great number of nerves exist in the fingertips. This provides you with facility in movement and does not cause any inconvenience. On the other hand, in "less important" regions, on a man's back for example, there are fewer nerve endings present. This is a very important advantage. Now, let's assume the opposite: Let's assume that our fingertips are quite insensitive while nerves are arranged in greater numbers at the back of our bodies. This, undoubtedly, would be very troublesome. In such a situation while we could not use our hands properly, we would feel the slightest object touching our back, the folding of our clothing, for example.
Human skin is a complex organ consisting of many layers, containing nerves for perception, circulation canals, airing systems and heat and moisture regulators which protect the body like a shield against the rays of the sun. Because of this, a man can be in great danger if a part of his skin is damaged. Under the skin is a layer consisting of fat. This layer of fat serves as insulation against heat. Over this layer is another one, most of which consists of proteins that give the skin elasticity.
If we were to lift the skin and look just one centimeter (0.4 inches) below it, the sight greeting us would be an unaesthetic, even frightful sight, where fats and proteins and various blood vessels exist. By means of the feature that enables it to cover these structures, the skin both provides a very important aesthetic contribution and also enables us to protect ourselves from outside factors. It will be sufficient to remark upon a couple of the functions of the skin that makes it vital for us and to ponder on them in order to understand the importance of its existence.
Human skin prevents the disturbance of the water balance of the body, is strong and elastic, can repair itself, protect the body from harmful rays, maintains contact with the outside world, and protect the temperature of the body in cold or hot weather.
Human skin, which functions as a sensitive detector and an advanced air-conditioner meeting all kinds of needs, is a blessing that has been created by Allah, with the beauty it provides visually and the features it has to protect man. The skin, about which many pages of books have been written, once again displays Allah's magnificence in creation to us.
The Power of Bones' Lattice Systems
Our bones, which assume very important roles such as carrying and protecting the body, were created with the capacity and strength to carry out these functions. The human thighbone, for example, has the capacity to carry a weight of one ton. Indeed, with each step we take, a load that is 3 times heavier than our body weight is imposed on this bone. In fact, when a pole-vaulter lands on the ground, every centimeter of hipbone is exposed to a pressure of 1,400 kilos (3,086 pounds).
In order to have a full grasp of the perfection of the design of bones, let us make a comparison as follows: One of the strongest and most useful materials man uses is steel, because steel is both strong and flexible. However, our bones are both stronger and 10 times more flexible than solid steel. Also, bones are much more lightweight than steel. A carcass made of steel would be 3 times heavier than a human skeleton.
It is also instructive to compare the perfect design of bones with modern construction techniques. Until the second half of the twentieth century, the task of constructing tall buildings was costly and time consuming. However, with various technological advances, many new construction design techniques have been developed. One of the most important of these is known as "lattice systems." Under this system, the carrying components of construction consist not of a single piece but are made of numerous rods crossing each other in the form of a lattice. With the help of complex calculations made by computers, impressive bridges and industrial structures can be built much more strongly and cost-effectively using this technique.
The interior structures of bones are also built with the same lattice system that we now use in bridge and building constructions. When a bone is cut and examined, a very interesting system is seen in its interior design. Crossing each other, thousands of small rods form a complicated structure. This structure is essentially the lattice system built inside bones. By means of this, our bones are both very strong and light in such a way that we can use them easily.
If the opposite was the case, in other words if the insides of our bones were hard and completely filled, the weight of the bones would be much higher than the weight we can bear and they would crack and break at the slightest blow.
The structure of bones, which man tries to imitate by using today's technology, is only one example of the matchless creation art of Allah. Everyone needs to see the magnificence of Allah's perfect and unique creation in his own body and be thankful, reflecting upon it.
The World's Greatest Distribution Network: The Circulatory System
Let us imagine a city with 100 trillion households. Do you think there can be a distribution company capable of fulfilling the demands of all the households in this city? Most people would say, "Of course not." However, a similar system already exists in the human body. But the houses in the human body are cells, and the distribution company is the circulatory system with its numerous components.
The components of the circulatory system visit approximately 100 trillion cells in the human body one-by-one. The nucleus of this system is the heart. The heart, which has 4 different lobes pumping fresh and spent blood without mixing them to different regions of the body and with valves functioning as security flaps, has a design established with very delicate balances.
When we examine the heart, we see that it doesn't consist merely of a pump but also of valves that determine the direction of the pumped blood. They ensure that the blood pumped by the heart muscles moves in exactly the right direction. Furthermore, the heart is connected to both lungs and the rest of the body by major blood vessels. The vessel leading to the body separates into branches which, in turn, separate into small branches in a continuing process. This separation goes down to the capillary veins which then expand as larger veins until they return to the heart again. They go to the lungs to rid themselves of the carbon dioxide in the blood and fill up on oxygen instead.
When this circulatory system is examined, which includes the heart, the blood vessels and the lungs, a complex system is revealed. When you add to this the kidneys, which are in charge of cleansing the blood, the pancreas, which adjusts the sugar level in the blood by secretion of insulin or glucagon, the liver, which keeps the chemical content of the blood under control, and the members of the immune system in the blood, a magnificent structure appears. Every piece of this complex system is in harmony and they are connected to each other in a well-arranged way. All these harmonious elements serve a common purpose. If only one piece were absent, defects would occur in the system. This could cause a situation that might end with the death of the person owning this circulatory system.
A heart cannot keep a body alive more than a minute without the lungs that clean the blood which the heart pumps. The circulatory system came into being with all of its parts intact, at a single moment. This, then, shows a perfect design, that is creation, of the heart and the circulatory system and illustrates the matchless creation art of Allah, the Lord of all worlds.
The Lungs' Impressive Design
Your lungs are organs that adjust themselves according to your movements. When you run, your lungs work faster and meet your increased oxygen needs while they work slower when you relax, yet never stop. Throughout your life, your lungs continuously work like an air pump. They pump air in and out. As they do so, they operate in harmony with other components of the respiratory system because, in order to breathe, the lungs alone are not sufficient. One needs an exterior power to make the lungs work. This power is provided by the muscles that lie between the ribs and the diaphragm, just under the rib cage.
Look at yourself as you breathe. You will see that your ribs move outwards. At that moment, the diaphragm under the lung expands downwards and the lungs get bigger. The lungs draw in the air from the trachea. When exhaled, the rib cage is drawn inwards and the diaphragm under the ribs moves upwards. As the lungs are compressed, the air present in small air sacs is pushed outside through the trachea.
Running, laughing, walking, lying down… You do these movements without thinking, yet during all these different movements, an automatic respiration control system is at work in your lungs which determines the oxygen needs of your body. During motion, the body cell activities increase and the cells consume more power and energy. For this reason, approximately 100 trillion cells in the body need more oxygen than usual. Besides this increase in the need for oxygen, the carbon dioxide produced by the cells must be expelled from the body immediately. If the increased demand for oxygen is not met, the whole body will suffer. Because of this, respiration increases. In other words, the lungs work faster.
This vital situation is again accomplished by means of a miraculous system. The region called the "brain stem" contains receptors which continuously control the carbon dioxide level in the blood. If the carbon dioxide concentration gets too high, the receptors in the brain stem signal the respiratory centers to increase the rate and depth of breathing. In addition to the brain stem, there are also various receptors in the lung that modify breathing. These receptors respond when the lung and chest wall swell from internal pressure in a way as to prevent inhalation. In this case, these receptors send signals to the respiratory center to decrease the depth of respiration. These processes are repeated every day, every second, and every moment without ever stopping.
It is surely impossible to claim that this system, consisting of many balances complementing each other came into existence by itself as the result of blind coincidences. The respiratory system of the human body is just one of the examples of the creation art of Allah.
Control Center: The Brain
The human brain has a system that can carry out many tasks at the same time. For example, because of the perfect structure of the brain, a person, while driving a car, can both adjust his cassette player and turn the steering wheel easily. Although he does several different things at the same time, he does not run into other cars or passengers. In addition, he can operate the accelerator pedal with his foot. He can understand what is said as he listens to the radio. He can continue to speak from the point where he left off. And, most importantly, he can direct all of these things in a perfect way, at the same time. In short, by means of the extraordinary capacity of the human brain, man can handle many things at the same time. What provides this harmony are the connections of the nerve cells in the brain.
Millions, even billions, of stimuli coming to the brain from the outside world are analyzed in the brain in harmony, then are evaluated and the necessary responses are given to each one. The operation of this complicated system continues to function all through one's life without any interruption. Thus, we see, hear, feel and continue our lives.
One of the most important elements constituting this perfect system in the brain is that of the nerve cells, which number approximately 10 billion.44 The nerve cells of the brain, unlike other cells, transmit and process information through creating and conducting small electrical currents.
The force that makes connections among cells and, therefore, harmony in the brain is found in the special structure of nerve cells. About 10 billion cells in the brain have about 120 trillion connections. And these 120 trillion connections are in just the right places. If any one of these connections was in the wrong place, the outcome would be very serious. In fact, it would be impossible for people to carry out their vital functions. Yet, such a thing does not happen and human beings, except for exceptional illnesses, lead a life which comes very naturally to them while, in reality, there are trillions of miraculous processes taking place behind the scenes.
This structure working interdependently in the brain is also, like all the other systems in the human body, one that has a perfect design at every stage. The reason for the brain's performing its millions of functions without any mistake or disorder is the fact that Allah, the Owner of endless wisdom, has created it along with all its features.
And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them: and He has power to gather them together when He wills. (Surah Ash-Shura, 29)
43-Geraldine Lux Flanagan, Beginning of Life, Dorling Kindersley, London, 1996, p.68