© 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 and was created in one week? Should we believe in the Evolution or in Genesis?
The answer presents an entire spectrum. On one hand stand the Bible Fundamentalists who take Genesis literally. Yes, the world exists 5000 years. And if there are some apparent scientific claims to the contrary, they should be ignored or discarded. The fossils and the radioactive carbon measurements are unreliable – so claim the Fundamentalists. Some even built a museum showing models of Dinosaurs side by side with Adam and Eve. .
On the other side stand most of the Scientist whose perception on the history of the world is based on finding on the ground, on archeology, biology, astronomy and so on. In their mind Moses’s Genesis is only a myth. What could Moses know, living 3500 years ago? Karen Armstrong, the author of the History of God best seller, writes that Mose’s Genesis is just another Bronze-Age myth.
Most people today are caught between these two extreme postures. They trust science, but they would like to keep their faith in the Bible. Trying to reconcile the two stories about CREATION is difficult. Many approaches have been proposed with no vale.
For instance when I was in high school, our teachers told us that Genesis should be taken allegorically. The animals there are heavenly creatures and so on. Well, of course we doubted this explanation. Other teachers told us that “great rabbis know the answer.” Well, I have not yet met such a great rabbi who even addresses the issue. Other teachers told us to ignore Genesis since “the Torah (Bible) is not a history book but rather a moral message.” Well, we as young students could not understand how would anyone send a moral message based on a false story such as Genesis. The results of this evading the issue has been rampant skepticism about the validity of the Torah. And that is really sad and not right.
Indeed, the question of the validity of Genesis has awesome implications. For even if you assume that Moses was a true prophet, who could see the future, how is it that he places such a controversial story at the beginning of his Books? Couldn’t he foresee that a day will come and scientists would find out the true story of the history of the world that would challenge his entire work? .
For the first chapter is the most important one. If you want to taste a soup, the first spoon would tell you if the entire pot is rotten or not. If the first chapter of Genesis is discredited, what could you say about the rest of his words!
Moreover-the question seems stronger when you realize that the Name of GOD appears in the story of Genesis 32 times! More condensed than in any other chapter of the Bible. As a rule of thumb, whenever the Name of GOD appears in the text, it is a stamp of truthfulness for its message. Discrediting the story of Genesis is tantamount to discrediting the very Name of GOD!
On the other hands, if we’ve found Genesis a true story, that can be matched with our Scientific knowledge- then wow! We should stand in awe and ask- who told Moses the story, 3500 years ago?
So, our task is two folds
First we need to find out if Moses’ Genesis is indeed one of the Bronze Age myths, as the scholars claim. For that, we should compare Genesis to these ancient myths told in Moses’ time.
Secondly we should compare Genesis to the Scientific version of the history of the Universe. Can Moses’ stroy be matched with what we know from Science?
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, 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 Nun then dived into the Sea, retrieved her sons’ testicles and resurrected him. From this the world was created and bloomed.
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 is compatible with our Science. No way. The Egyptian story is a myth, whereas our Scientific narrative is based on facts. Moses. having grown in Pharaoh’s home, must have known the story by heart.
The Greek in Moses’ time told similar stories about CREATION. They believed that a ‘male god’ named Uranus impregnated the goddess of Earth, Gaia. Fearing that her numerous embryos, the Titans. would exit and rebel against him, Uranus pushed them into Gaia’s womb, causing her much pains. Whenever you feel the Earth shaking under your feet, it is the goddess Gaia twisting in labor pains.
But the youngest Titans Cronus stood up against his father and cut his sexual organ as he penetrated Gaia. The Titans escaped with joy and started the Universe. Or- the Universe began to flourish.
Again, we may sympathize with the brazen Titans and even play football game in their names, yet we can’t say that the story can be matched with our Science. No way!
Other ancient myths
In fact, all the ancient civilizations in Moses time told similar stories about CREATION. The Japanese, Chinese, Indians and African nations told stories full of sexual perversions, jealousy, rivalry and killing among the gods. . Moses must have been familiar with all these stories, being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter.
Yet the story that Moses tells about the history of the world is different from all these myths of his time. How?
3: Genesis Compared to Ancient Myths
Moses story is clean
First of all, just looking at Moses Genesis from above, we notice how CLEAN it is. Unlike all the myths about CREATION told in his time, Moses’ Genesis lacks any rivalry, Jealousy, killing, power struggle or and any sexual perversion. It is a factual account of events – Day by Day. It wasn’t designed to arise any emotion in the reader nor would you parade in the streets chanting its glory. By this alone Moses differs 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, while others followed. Thus the Dry Land was first separated from the Sea,and then Vegetation appeared. Only then Fish appeared in the sea, followed by Birds then Crocodiles (Amphibians) than Cattle then Beasts that fed on the Cattle, and so on. Man appeared the last.
We should realize how extraordinary this view on CREATION was in Moses time! No other nation told anything close. No one saw an order in Nature. For Pharaoh, the animals roamed around for his game and pleasure. None of his wise men wrote anything about which creature came first and which one came later. The Egyptian gods had either a face of birds or crocodiles or any legendary shape with no relation to an order in Nature. The same is true for the Greeks, Babylonians, Persians, and all other ancient civilizations in Moses time – even afterwards. .
How then can any serious scholar regard Moses’ Genesis as another Bronze Age myth?
And if so, who told Moses such a story, so different from what he learned in Pharaoh’s house?
4: Genesis Compared to our Science
None of the myths told in Moses’ time CAN be matched with our Scientific knowledge of the history of the Universe. CAN Moses’ Genesis be matched with Science?
We’ve already started the comparison by observing that UNLIKE ALL ANCIENT MYTHS
(a) Moses Genesis is a clean account of facts Day by Day
(b) Moses story recognizes an order in Nature – some creatures came first while others followed.
What else can we say comparing Moses to Science?
How long was a Day of CREATION?
Moses, like Science, places a Beginning Point for the world. Most ancient myths regarded the Universe eternal, as if it had always existed.
How old is the the Universe, then? Science says – 13.7 Billion years. Moses in fact does not say how old is the Universe. People have derived a number- 5000 years- by extrapolating back from the story of Cain and Abel and their generations.
But Kabbala has placed a number on the age of the Universe based on Chapter One itself.
A Day of CREATION, kabbala says, cannot be our human day. First, the Sun and the Moon were seen regularly on earth only on the Fourth Day, excluding any previous Days.
Moreover, the length of a Day is defined by the Torah itself. 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 (published 11th century) calculated it from Psalms. Most Psalms, as you know, were composed by King David. One Psalm was composed by Moses himself who says –
“For a thousand of our years are like a one Day of yours”
Hence, since there are 350 days in a year, One CREATOR’S Year equals 350.000 human years. Since another tradition says that 6000 Heavenly Years equal One Day of CREATION, it comes out that One Day of CREATION equals 6000×350.000=2.1 Billion human years. Hence –
The Age of the Universe according to Kabbala
If a Day of CREATION equals 2.1 B years, then 6 Days equal 12.6 B years- quite close to the Scientific number of 13.7 B years.
Thus, so far, Moses Genesis CAN be matched with Science. It is a simple,factual story, recognizes an order in CREATION, recognizes a Beginning which took place about 13 B years ago. So far Genesis CAN be compared with Science- something you can’t do with any myth about CREATION told in Moses time.
So can anyone regard Genesis as another Bronze Age myth?
And if so, who told Moses that fascinating story?
Next we need to discuss the CREATOR according to Science and Genesis. CAN they be matched? . .
END OF CLASS 15