Can Destiny be Explained by Science?
The nature of destiny has been debated throughout human history. The most straightforward definition of destiny is that God created the universe, life and all events, both past and future, in "a single instant." This means that every event from the moment of the universe’s creation to the Day of Judgment has already "taken place and ended" in the Presence of God. Therefore, anything that hasn't happened yet are only events that haven't happened for “us”, not for God: After all, God is unbound by time or space as He, Himself, has created time and space. Therefore, for God, the past, present and future are all one and everything has already begun and completed.
The truth about destiny can be found in many verses of the Qur’an. For example, “… everything in the heavens and earth, willingly or unwillingly, submits to Him and to Him you will be returned” (Surah Al ‘Imran, 83) tells us that everything in the universe “willingly or unwillingly” submits to the fate laid down by God.
None can go against God’s will; every event must merely progress along the destiny that He has laid out. Nothing can contravene God’s will, assent or command.
The verses “The keys of the Unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book.” (Surat al-An‘am, 59), or “But you will not will unless God wills... ” (Surat al-Insan, 30) and “We have created all things with predestination.” (Surat al-Qamar, 49) reveal the workings of His sovereignty over all things and the workings of destiny.
The truth is that we watch our lives like we watch a film on a CD player, living each event moment to moment. God, on the other hand, knows the whole reel of film from beginning to end because it is He Who created the film with all of its details.
So all of this points to the fact that all is not what it seems. Beyond the material world we see, there is the evident existence of a power Who controls us, that is God Who has created everything and has absolute power over everything. The science of neurology offers much evidence confirming this fact.
One such scientific proof comes from experiments conducted on the concept of "free will." John-Dylan Haynes, a neuroscientist at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin has examined if there is any difference between the instance of the moment of making a decision and the movement involved in the decision.
The procedure involved using MR imaging to scan the brains of subjects who were shown random letters on a screen. Participants were told to press a button with their right or left index fingers at a moment of their choosing, and to remember the letter that was showing on the screen when they made their decision. Meanwhile, the brain activity of the participants was monitored.
The results of the experiment were quite surprising. It could be seen that the subjects had decided to push the button 10 seconds before they had actually pushed it.
This important scientific finding shows that a person's choice is already fixed before that person makes that choice. The results of the experiment were published in a scientific journal as follows:
“There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively ‘free’ decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s [seconds] before it enters awareness.” (Chun Siong Soon, Marcel Brass, Hans-Jochen Heinze & John-Dylan Haynes, Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. April 13th, 2008)
Benjamin Libet, a neuropsychologist at the University of California, was the first to propose this fact, a fact which many people are not even aware of, about human processes of decision and choosing. Libet, through experiments performed with an EEG device, demonstrated that brain activity occurs 500 milliseconds before the conscious intention to move.
Haynes, who was able to scan the entire brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a more technologically advanced device than the EEG device used by Libet, also reached the same conclusions in his future studies.
There are hundreds of other studies within the scientific cannon that reach the same conclusion. This consensus of opinion is reported as a meta-analysis of 90 experiments from 33 laboratories in 14 countries.
The results of these scientific studies show that there exists a directing and will beyond the physical and biochemical world and that we live events that have been determined beforehand. The choices we make are not our own, merely the feeling that “we make our decisions" is given to us. It is therefore obvious that everything has been “predestined.” God thus demonstrates as an unquestionable truth that He is the only Creator.
Your Lord is God, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then settled Himself firmly on the Throne. He covers the day with the night, each pursuing the other urgently; and the Sun and Moon and stars are subservient to His command. Both creation and command belong to Him. Blessed be God, the Lord of all the worlds. (Surat al-A‘raf, 54)