He shapes you in the womb of the mother as He wills.
In many places the Qur'an explains the way God created and still creates the creation. It never diametrically opposes the laws of biology, physics and chemistry but, using some symbolic examples, the Qur’an shows how God works through those laws. This vers of Al ‘Imran is a perfect example thereof. In the prophet’s time people obviously knew that children didn’t all of the sudden appear in the womb of the mother. They knew that men and women needed to have sexual intercourse and they knew that certain biological processes were at work. Yet what the Qur’an proposes here and elsewhere is that God is present within those processes.
God’s great power is therefore not shown in acts of destruction but rather in the fact that He is constantly present in new processes that bring us life.
What Christians can learn
In the Christian society in which I grew up, a literal reading of the bible has been – for the most part – abandoned. All for the best, I would say. The fight between ‘science’ and ‘religion’ has been fought and as such the ‘factual’ has been left to science while the ‘metaphysical’ and the moral has mostly been left to religion, spirituality and philosophy. There is much to say for this state of things and I myself would certainly not plead to ignore or disbelieve any scientific findings because of supposed inconsistencies when they are compared to religious texts.
On the other hand, the question that we do need to ask, I believe, is whether we aren’t making the split too absolute? Isn’t it so that we are losing the capacity to see the mystery in the fact?
Questions for Muslims
Some spiritual leaders of certain Muslim groups are ever more outspoken on the issue of creationism. Like certain protestant Christians, they deny the theory of evolution. I find it somehow a strange trend in a religion that has traditionally succeeded in finding the spiritual aspect within the scientific facts and figures.
Is the Qur’an to be taken literally in certain specific verses that might lead to thinking that creation is a matter of God putting everything in its place by hand? Should we think that God’s hand truly attaches the limbs to the body of the baby and that the formation of the complexity of an organic form of cells is a lie?
It seems to me that the complexity – and at the same time simplicity – of evolution could make us marvel at the beauty of the process of life-creation and diversification. Is it therefore not a lot more congruent with other parts of the Qur’an to see God at work through the processes of evolution, just like God ‘shapes the baby in the womb’?