SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) –
From the first days of life, using their God-given intellects, humans inevitably discover the existence of a series of unknowns. Because of our natural inquisitiveness, we strive to clarify these obscurities. We ask ourselves: does this manifest world have a creator? If there is a creator, what was the motive for creation? If the world has indeed been created, are we charged with responsibilities?
Clearly, if we give a positive answer to any of these questions, a series of subsidiary questions come up regarding the properties of the Creator and the manner and effects of its existence. As we have said, the God-given nature of humankind desires a logical and decisive answer to these questions.
Without a doubt, the matter at hand is one of the most elementary and prominent issues faced by human nature. The human self understands the need to rationally and conclusively solve this problem in the first stages of life.
Analysis of the question
Certainly that which compels us to inquire about the motive and aim of creation is that we perform social and rational tasks in order to achieve suitable and worthwhile aims. We eat to satisfy our hunger; drink to slake our thirst; clothe ourselves to protect our bodies against heat and cold; build houses in which to reside; speak in order to communicate what is in our minds; etc.
In the things that are done intentionally and thoughtfully, humans—and any intelligent being for that matter—have a motive and aim.
We do not do things that have no benefit whatsoever. By observing intents in our voluntary actions and generalizing our mentality to all intelligent agents we are faced with the following question: what is the motive of the Creator, who is an intelligent agent, for creating the world?
But then, can this amount of observation and generalization guarantee the correctness of this question? Can we extend a relationship or property found in several cases to all cases? The answer is no, and the only definitive solution is through analysis of the meaning of ‘motive’ because it is not possible to use inductive reasoning or empirical study.
As stated in the previous example, we attain the aim of satiation through eating. Satiation is related to eating because it is the result of this action. By entering the body, food activates the digestive system and frees us of the need for more food. Thus, the body’s food requirements are met and we become full which is an effect of eating.
Eating is a special process that starts with us and ends in satiation. Eating also is related to us as the agent in that we do not have the necessary materials within ourselves to go on living without nourishment. In order to preserve our lives, we are equipped with faculties with which the body may absorb necessary nutrition.
When our semi-intelligent internal faculties feel the need, through natural mechanisms they force us to procure necessary nutrition and deal with our existential weakness. Therefore, just as satiety is related to eating, in another way it is related to us.
It is a perfection that completes our existential weakness, resolves our needs, and with its manifestation upon our inner faculties, it forces us to act to get what we need to complete ourselves.
By examining each of our innumerable volitional actions such as drinking, sitting down, standing up, talking, listening, going, coming, etc., the same characteristics that we found by inspecting eating will be revealed–even among actions that are apparently completely aimless.
After careful consideration it becomes clear that we do not perform actions that give us no benefit. When we undertake actions with no motive other than philanthropy, such as giving charity, we are in truth fulfilling our emotional desires and relieving the inner sorrow caused by empathy with the poor and so on.
Therefore, we can conclude that, in general, the motive for a volitional act is an appropriate effect lying within the result of the action and is a perfection that rectifies a fault in the agent and completes it.
By: Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Tabatabaei