Religion and Science: What makes life possible on earth?

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Stratocumulus clouds above the northwestern Pacific Ocean, about 460 miles east of northern Honshu, Japan. [Photo: NASA.]

In this piece, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, United States, argues that scientific facts are in complete agreement with the verses of the holy Quran.

What makes life and living possible on earth? The answer to this question can be theoretical, political, and scientific. 

As some theorists and philosophers argue that life on earth has come into being autonomously without the intervention of God. 

This autonomous Godless creation theory has shaped political and economic order especially of the 20th century. 

All must agree and accept as truth what scientific facts reveal. With technological advances in microscopy, and imaging techniques as well as satellite imagery, scientific facts cannot be easily disproven with vague theories.  

In the vast universe, life exists only on earth. It’s possible that we might have had the earth without any life as is the case with the rest of the planets. 

Because life exists on the earth, one may ask what makes life and living possible on earth? Let’s examine the answer to this question with scientific data. 

Life is defined by the cell. The cell is ~70% water and serves as solvent for all molecular activities taking place inside the cell. Therefore, if life is defined by the cell, a cell is defined by the water enclosed in membrane. 

The knowledge about the functioning of cells teaches us beyond doubt that for a life to sustain on earth requires water and sunlight. 

Water in a cell is a source of oxygen release and energy generation process that powers biosynthesis of food (sugars) in single celled photosynthetic bacteria, algae and plants. 

Importantly, the energy generation for biosynthesis of sugars and oxygen release requires sunlight. The released oxygen and sugars synthesised by plants, algae and photosynthetic bacteria are utilised by all living forms for biosynthesis and metabolism. 

The main purpose of metabolism is energy production that powers all activities performed by living beings. The energy generated in cells during metabolism also requires water.

Water provides protons to create electrochemical gradient that powers energy production. Therefore, it can be confirmed beyond doubt that if there was no sunlight and water, no life form would exist on earth including underwater life, and even bacteria that do not depend on oxygen. 

Life on earth is possible as long as cells contain or are made of water. 

If living forms are not made of water or do not require water to live, the sun will have no role in sustaining life on earth. In fact, we would see life forms exist all over the universe autonomously.

It took us hundreds of years of research—thanks to incredible efforts by biologists and recent technological advances in microscopy, molecular imaging, crystallography, and satellite imagery—to understand the absolute role of the sun and water for sustaining life on earth, that in a respect distinguishes earth from rest of the universe. 

So, what does the Creator have to say about the creation of life on earth. 

As the Word of God, Muslims believe that the Quran is a book that explains all things: Do not the Unbelievers seest that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? [Chapter 5, Verse 21-30]

These verses have existed in the Quran since it was revealed some 1400 years ago. At that time no such knowledge of cells and water existed. So, any biologist who is interested can see and read these verses. 

What’s remarkable about these verses is the creation of the universe, the earth and life from water is put together in one sentence establishing the “unique” distinction of earth with life made of water. 

The scientific facts presented above are in complete agreement with the verses of the Quran quoted above demonstrating convincingly that behind the creation of life is Creator!


The author has been a research fellow of Cell and Gene Therapy, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and has dedicated his time to cellular immunotherapies at Johns Hopkins University.

Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Free Press Kashmir. Feedback and counter-views are welcome at

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