Difficulty of Ascending to the Sky

…And whomever He wills to send astray, He makes his mind narrow and strained as if he was ascending into the sky.
[Quran 2:125]

A person subject to spells of dejection and strain is likened to a person who is ascending to the sky. We know today that during ascension, atmospheric pressure gradually decreases, raises blood pressure and causes strain on the functioning of heart and veins. This is also aggravated with the lack of oxygen, which in turn influences the lungs, making one feel constricted. If one persists climbing even higher death occurs.

thermometer
Figure 1

There were no airships or aircraft at the time of the Prophet (It was some 800 odd years later in 1643, that Torricelli invented the mercury thermometer and demonstrated that the atmosphere exerted a pressure [Figure 1]). To know of a decrease of pressure therefore during the time of the Prophet, was out of the question. Nor was there reliable information about the circulation of the blood or lung functions. The information in the above Quranic verse therefore is evidence of a Being with knowledge beyond man’s limited scope. One can guess that men climbed heights and had difficulty breathing as they went higher and higher. In the verse, however, ascension is toward the sky and a person experiencing respiratory difficulty on top of a mountain he has climbed may not attribute this difficulty to the lack of sufficient oxygen. The verse speaks of a process that takes place as one rises upward and towards the skies and the question is not of the experience one has on the top of the mountain. Ascension to the skies has a much wider connotation.

Optimum Pressure & Oxygen For Perpetuation of Life

The oxygen and pressure ratio being ideal, man’s bodily functions experience no difficulty from sea level up to a height of 3000 meters. At altitudes ranging from 3000 to 5000 meters, elevated blood pressure and difficulty breathing are experienced. At an altitude of 7500 meters, the tissues are badly in need of oxygen. Above this height, a person loses conscious; the blood circulation, the respiratory and nervous system begin to falter.

water bottles
Figure 2

Changes in atmospheric pressure affect the circulation, increasing the pressure of the blood running through the veins and arteries. The balance of gases in the vacuums of the body and the distribution of gases in the blood and tissues (in particular of the nitrogen) is upset. The mechanical effect of a sudden rise and fall in blood pressure results in the rupture of blood vessels. Effects of the changes in gas volumes may include eardrum ruptures, inflammation of the middle ear, sinusitis, toothaches , difficulty passing gas and colic to name a few.

Due to the ideal proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere, we can comfortably breathe and our circulations function properly. Prof. Michael Denton says that if the density of the air had been a little higher, the air resistance would reach great proportions and it would be impossible to design a respiratory system to supply enough oxygen for a breathing organism. Between the possible atmospheric pressures and the possible oxygen proportions, looking for an optimum digital value for life, the bracket we come across is a highly limited one. The fulfillment of so many requirements for survival within this narrow bracket certainly points to perfect design.

The perfection of God’s creation becomes once more manifest in the course of our study of the atmospheric pressure, in harmony with the oxygen content of the air, suiting our biological makeup.

See Figure 2 for a pictorial explanation of this Ayah (verse).

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