© 2019 by Dr. Zvi Aviner
Genesis Vs Evolution
How did Moses know so much?
Class 1: Is Moses’ account another ancient myth?
1: Questioning the validity of Genesis
To most people, the story of Genesis poses an enigma. Should we follow Science saying that the world exists around 14 B years, or follow Moses saying that the world is about 5000 years old, created in just a week? Should we believe in the Evolution or in Genesis?
The answer is complex. On one hand are the Bible Fundamentalists who take Genesis literally. Yes, the world exists only 5000 years and created in one week. The scientific claims to the contrary are false, the fossils and the radioactive carbon measurements are unreliable. A group of fundamentalists have recently built a museum depicting Man walking side by side with Dinosaurs. . .
On the other side stand secular modern Scientist whose perception on the history of the world is based on Geology, Archeology, Biology, Astronomy and so on. They regard Moses’s Genesis as a Bronze Age myth. What could Moses know, 3500 years ago, about the true history of the world? 0.
But most people today are caught between these two extreme postures. On one hand they trust science, yet they would like to keep their faith in the Bible. If trying to reconcile the two stories about CREATION is difficult, they would simply ignore the issue or set it aside. The result is confusion.
In my high school we were told to take the story of Genesis allegorically, as a metaphor. The Torah (Bible) is only to teach us morality, rather then history, so they said. But if Genesis is untrue, why should we take its moral values on face? Other teachers assured us that “great rabbis know the answer.” Well, I have since then learned quite a lot, and I have not yet met a great rabbi who even addresses the issue.
The questions we raised in high school are still in the air. One may ask, for instance, that if Moses was a true prophet, why did he choose to place such a controversial story of CREATION at the start of his five Books? Couldn’t he foresee that a generation would come and challenge the validity of his words? And if they find Genesis untrue, they would doubt the validity of the rest of his message! If you want to see if a soup is spoiled, the first spoon would tell you the answer!
And the question is magnified when you realize that the Name of GOD that appears in Genesis 32 times is EeLoHiM, the truthful JUDGE, who stands for the absolute truth! How can a story that caries His Name be untrue? 0
But on the other hands, finding Genesis a true story that matches our Science, would leave us in awe- Who could tell Moses such a true story, 3500 years ago?
In the following, we will do two things-
First we will compare Moses’ Genesis to other Bronze Age myths of his time. Should we discount Mose’s story as another ancient myth? 0
Secondly we should compare Moses’ Genesis to our Scientific knowledge of the history of Earth. Can these two stories be matched? And if the answer is yes, what does Moses add that science would never say?
2: Is Genesis another Bronze Age myth?
We know what the ancients told about CREATION in Mises time. Karen Armstrong in her History of God best seller gives us an account of this in details.
The Egyptians in Moses time believed that the world was created when a male god named Rah (like in Rah-Amssess) impregnated a goddess named Nun (‘water’ or ‘darkness.’) Fearing that her embryo would one day rebel against him, Rah slashed Nuns’ belly, killed his son and threw his testicles into the Mediterranean Sea near the city of Aka. The lamenting mother goddess Nun then dived into the Sea, retrieved her sons’ testicles and resurrected him. From this the world was somehow created.
Now we can emphasize with the story, clap our hands with excitement to the good news about the embryo’s resurrection, but we can’t say that the story does match our Science. No way. The Egyptian story is a moving myth, whereas our Scientific narrative is dry, factual. This Egyptian story must have been known to Moses. having been grown in Pharaoh’s home.
The Greek too told in Moses’ time a similar story about CREATION. They believed that a ‘male god’ named Uranus impregnated the goddess of Earth, Gaia. Fearing that her embryos, the Titans. would rebel against him, Uranus pushed them back into Gaia’s womb causing her much pains. Whenever the ground is shaking under your feet, it is the goddess Gaia twisting in labor pains.
Only the youngest Titans Cronus was brazen enough to stand up against his father. Waiting for the right time, he cut off his father’s sexual organ as he penetrated Gaia and threw it to the sea. The rest of the Titans then escaped Gaia and the world began to flourish.
Again, we may emmpathize with the brazen Titans and even play football game in their names, yet we can’t say that their story has anything to do with our Science. No way!
Other ancient myths
According to Karen Amstrong, all civilizations in Moses time told similar stories about CREATION. So did the Japanese, Chinese, Indians and African nations. Their stories involve sexual perversions, rivalry, jealousy, murder and resurrection. . Moses, growing in Pharaohs’ palace – the center of civilization- must have been familiar with most of these mythes.What does he tell us that is so different?
3: Moses’ Genesis in Comparison to the Myths of his time
Moses story is clean
First of all, Moses story is clean of any Jealousy, killing, power struggle and sexual perversion. It is a factual story, a dry account of events Day by Day. It does not arise any emotion in the reader besides an awe to the CREATOR. By this alone Moses story differs drastically from all the myths of his time.
Moses sees an order in CREATION
Secondly, unlike all the myths of his time, Moses Genesis recognizes an ORDER in Nature. Some elements or creatures came first, others followed. Thus, the Dry Land was first separated from the Sea, and only then the Vegetation appeared. Then , during the next Day, Fish appeared in the sea, followed by Birds in the sky and Crocodiles (Amphibians) on Land. Only then the Cattle appeared followed by Beasts that feed on Cattle, and so on. Man appeared as the last creature on the dry list. .
We should realize how extraordinary dry is this story in comparison to other stories told in his time. No one saw such an order in Nature. For Pharaoh, animals roamed in the forest for his game and pleasure. None of his famous wise men of Egypt wrote anything close to Genesis. In fact the Egyptians depicted their gods with faces of birds, crocodiles, beasts and snakes. They did not recognize which creature was born first and which one came later. Nor did the Geeks, Babylonians, Persians recognize an order in CREATION. And none told such a dry, factual story of CREATION. .
How then can any serious scholar regard Moses’ Genesis as another Bronze Age myth? And if so, who told Moses the story, 3500 years ago?
4: Genesis Compared to our Science
Let’s turn around and ask, COULD Moses’ Genesis be matched with our Scientific knowledge?
How long was a Day of CREATION?
Science says that the Universe exists 13.7 Billion years. Moses actually does not say that the world exists 5000 years. People have only derived that number by extrapolation from Cain and Abel and their generations. The story in Genesis Chapter One does not mention any such number.
On the other hand, Kabbala calculate the age of the Universe in the following way: .
A Day of CREATION, kabbala says, cannot be our human day. Why? First, the Sun and the Moon were seen regularly on earth only later, on the Fourth Day.
Moreover, the length of a Day of CREATION is defined by the Torah itself. How? At the end of the First Day the verse says
“And it was evening, and it was morning, One Day.”
It does not say “The First Day” (like the Second Day and the Third Day etc) but rather “One Day,” defining for us the length of a Day of CREATION. How long it was? The time it took for CREATION to advance from the Beginning to have in it Light and Darkness, Chaos and Order, Matter and Water, as described in the text. It took more than one human day
The length of a Day of CREATION according to Kabbala
So how long was a Day of CREATION according to Genesis? Kabbala (Rabbi Abulafya in the 11th century) calculated it from Psalms. He only wrote down a tradition he received from previous generations. His calculation is based on Psalm song written by Moses himself, saying
“For a thousand of our years are like a one Day of yours”
Since there are 350 days in a year, One year of the CREATOR equals 350.000 human years. Since another tradition says that 6000 “Heavenly Years” equal a Day of CREATION, it comes out that One Day of CREATION equals 6000×350.000=2.1 Billion human years. Thus –
The Age of the Universe according to Kabbala
Since a Day of CREATION equals 2.1 B years,6 Days would make 12.6 B years- quite close to the Scientific number of 13.7 B years.
As wee see so far, Moses Genesis CAN be matched with Science, something you can’t ever say about any of the myths told in his time. Next we’ll follow Moses and discuss the CREATOR. Does Science recognize recognize a CREATOR? How exactly does it differ from Moses’ conception? . .
END OF CLASS 15