40:61 It is God, who has made the night for you, so that you might rest therein, and the day, to make [you] see. Behold, God is indeed limitless in His bounty unto man – but most men are ungrateful.
i.e., by providing in a wondrous manner the means of man’s subsistence, and by endowing him with the miracle of a creative intellect that enables him to make fruitful use of so many natural phenomena. (This passage connects with the statement implied in verse 78 that “miracles are in the power of God alone”: see note 58).
40:62 Such is God, your Sustainer, the Creator of all that exists, there is no deity save Him. How perverted, then, are your minds!
The “other benefits” are both concrete and abstract in their nature: concrete benefits like wool, skins, etc., and abstract ones like beauty (cf. 16:6-8, as well as Solomon’s reverence for the God-created beauty of horses expressed in 38:31-33) or the all-time companionship of man and dog symbolized in the legend of the Men of the Cave (18:18 and 22).
40:63 [For] thus it is, perverted are the minds of those who knowingly reject God’s messages.
Lit., “a need in your bosoms” [or “hearts”] i.e., a genuine need.
40:64 It is God who has made the earth a resting place for you and the sky a canopy, and has formed you – and formed you so well – and provided for you sustenance out of the good things of life. Such is God, your Sustainer: hallowed, then, is God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!
i.e., they were fully satisfied with their own empirically or speculatively acquired or inherited knowledge; and so, in their arrogant conviction that man is “self-sufficient” and, therefore, not in need of any guidance by a Power beyond the reach of human perception, they rejected whatever ethical and spiritual truths were offered them by the prophets.
40:65 He is the Ever-Living, there is no deity save Him, call, then, unto Him [alone], sincere in your faith in Him. All praise is due to God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!
i.e,, the idea of God’s existence and inescapable judgment: see 6:10 and the corresponding note 9.
40:66 Say “Since all evidence of the truth has come to me from my Sustainer, I am forbidden to worship [any of] those beings whom you invoke instead of God, and I am bidden to surrender myself to the Sustainer of all the worlds.”
i.e., the God-willed, catastrophic breakdown of their society and civilization in consequence of their persistent rejection of all spiritual values.
40:67 It is He who creates you out of dust, and then out of a drop of sperm, and then out of a germ cell, and then He brings you forth as children, and then [He ordains] that you reach maturity, and then, that you grow old – though some of you [He causes to] die earlier, and [all this He ordains] so that you might reach a term set [by Him], and that you might [learn to] use your reason.
This evidently includes their past belief in man’s supposedly “unlimited possibilities” and the illusory conviction that one day he would achieve “mastery over nature”.
40:68 It is He who grants life and deals death; and when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, “Be” – and it is.
i.e., firstly, because this belated faith could not unmake a reality that had already come into being, and, secondly, because it could not contribute to their spiritual growth inasmuch as it was not an outcome of free choice but had been, rather, forced on them hy the shock of an irreversible calamity.
40:69 Art Thou Not aware of how far they who call God’s messages in question have lost sight of the truth?
The “way of God” (Sunnat Allah) is the Qur’anic term for the totality of natural laws instituted by the Creator: in this case, the law that faith has no spiritual value unless it arises out of genuine, inner enlightenment.
40:70 They who give the lie to this divine writ and [thus] to all [the messages] with which We sent forth Our apostles [of old]? But in time they will come to know [how blind they have been, they will know it on Judgment Day].