Dr. Tagata Tejasen, a Buddhist convert to Islam, is our next "expert".
What was the question?
Those who reject our signs, We shall soon cast into the fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Truly Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (Qur'an 4:56).
Yusuf Ali: Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.
Pickthall: Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.
Shakir: (As for) those who disbelieve in Our communications, We shall make them enter fire; so oft as their skins are thoroughly burned, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Where is the "reference to the importance of the nerve endings"? I do not see this in the text of the Qur'an. Humans, as well as animals, have always know that the skin feels pain when it is burned! Did you need a "divine revelation" to know this?
Huh? If we knew that skin felt pain "long before", then where is the scientific "miracle"? The thought that God will regenerate the skin of those that He has burned, only to burn them again, sounds pretty cruel and vindictive. If a human experiences a deep burn it will destroy their pain sensors, making the skin which regrows without sensation. That's a pretty demonstrable medical fact - any subsequent skin may not feel as much pain. This experience is the same today as it would have been 1400 years ago. Certainly some people of the past had the experience of deep burns and made the discovery that their regrown skin (scar tissue) was less sensitive. So all the author of the Qur'an is doing when he writes this sura is to demonstrate that he knows that since ordinarily a human won't feel pain in the regenerated skin after a severe burn, but God makes sure that he does by giving a special kind of skin that allows God's torment to be perpetuated.
What is this supposed to mean? The skin is the outermost portion of the human body so it stands to reason that it would be the first organ (yes, skin is an organ) to sense the pain of being burned. But surely the "center of sensitivities to burns" should be the thalamus (within the brain), since that is where the person actually perceives burning pains.
So Muhammad was the first human to discover that burns are painful? Do our Muslim friends - whether otherwise distinguished scientists or just ordinary believers - really want to claim that "sensitivity of the skin to burns" is something discovered only by modern science? Did humans 1400 years ago not feel the same pain when their skin was burned? The Qur'an again mentions the obvious. It does not mention anything unobservable at the time. It does not mention HOW this new skin may enable you to experience pain again. It does not speak about specific "nerve cells" in the skin functioning as "pain receptors" which are indeed insights of modern science. But experiencing pain when your skin is burned (and scar tissue not being as sensitive as true skin) is hardly an experience restricted to modern times.
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