Dr Zvi Aviner, 2019
© 2019 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Genesis Vs Evolution:
How did Moses know so much?
Class 2: The CREATOR
We have already began our comparison between Moses’ Genesis and our Scientific knowledge of the History of the Universe. The stakes are high- if we CAN match the two, then WOW! Who told Moses the story? If we can’t, then we’ve discredited the rest of his revelation! So far, we’ve seen that
- Moses Genesis, like the story told by Science, is factual, counting the events dryly. It lacks any clash, jealousy, killing, sexual perversion among the gods. One can’t parade with it in the streets with excitement telling everyone about the good news.
- Moses’s Genesis, like the story told by Science, recognizes an order in Nature . sSome elements and creatures were created first and others followed in a logical way. This can’t be said about any of the myth of Moses’ time
- Moses’ Genesis, like Science, describes a Beginning to the Universe. Something that other traditions and philosophies- as recently as in medieval time-have doubted
- Moses’ Genesis, like science, CAN be seen to agree about the age of the Universe – around 13 billion years (calculated by kabbalah). -something you can’t say about any myth of his time..
Let’s proceed with our comparison. In Genesis Chapter One, Moses introduces three topics– the CREATOR, CREATION and Man. In order to understand Moses’s conception of CREATION and Nature, we need first to comprehend his notion of GOD, specifically as the CREATOR of Nature. Only then we would be able to compare his words to Science.
First, let’s summarize the Scientific notion of a CREATOR – if it exists.
The CREATOR As Perceived by Science
Science, a study of Nature, can’t say much about a CREATOR –a Supernatural entity. Many scientists deny the existence of any CREATOR. The Evolution, they say, has been taking place by chance, natural selection and adaptation. Yet many prominent scientists, from Newton to Einstein to the founders of Quantum Physics and Modern Genetics, have arrived at a conclusion that our Universe has been made by some sort of intelligence. The Wisdom of this entity is reflected in the natural laws, in the way our body is built. What is the DNA in our cells if not a biological computer? As an eye surgeon I am confronted everyday by the wisdom inherent in the way our eyes are built- how it cleverly combines the laws of optics, electronics and engineering. Quantum Physics shows that our Universe is based on Consciousness. The electrons spin in a direction dictated by the observer!
A smart Universe calls for a smart CREATOR. Yet even those who recognize such a Smart CREATOR, would not necessarily accept the notion of intervention by this “Primary Mover” in our daily affairs. Why should it ? The Universe is so vast, consisting of so many billions galaxies, and our Milky Way galaxy is so large that it would take 100,000 years for a light ray to cross it from side to side! Our sun and her planets occupy just a tiny spot on the tail of our galaxy. Every day new stars and their planets are born while others die in spectacular explosions- Nova. How can anyone believe that the CREATOR of this vast Universe would have any interest in our tiny lives?
The CREATOR- As perceived by Moses
Moses concurs with Science about a “smart CREATOR ” but he adds that He/She does care about our behavior. This notion is expressed in the first verse of Genesis that says
“In the Beginning (Be-reishit, “the head of the events”)
GOD created the Heavens and earth” (Genesis 1;1).
The verse announces that (1) the Heavens and the Earth have a CREATOR (2) have a Beginning (3) that the CREATOR is Wise (Head of the events) (4) that He has a deep interest in His CREATION. This last point needs elaboration, because the Interest is given in his Very Name. How?
There are two major Names for the CREATOR throuhout the Bible
We are all familiar with two Holy Names for GOD that appear in the Bible – GOD and LORD. Since they are both introduced by Genesis Chapter One, they are defined by it For we follow the rule of thumb that says that “wherever you see a new name or a new concept in the text the first time, there you’d find its definition by the Torah.
Thus, for instance –
If you want to understand the term GOD, look at Genesis Chapter One Verse One where it appears the first time.
If you want to understand the term LORD, look at Genesis Chapter One where it appears the first time
If you want to understand the term Israel, look at the site where it appears the first time- when the angel changes Jacob’s name to Israel.
Now let’s see how Genesis Chapter One define for us the Names GOD and LORD .
GOD – the All mighty JUDGE
The title GOD is the English translation of the Hebrew term EeLoHiM (in short ELKM, omitting the vowels to avoid mentioning His Name in vain. ) It means in Hebrew a Powerful JUDGE. Even a human judge is called EeLoHiM (like in the verse “EeLoHiM among you, you should not curse” Deuteronomy)
In our context, the Name ELKM refers to “the All Mighty Master of all Forces and JUDGE” (Jewish Code of laws, shulchan aruch). It sends the message that GOD (ELKM) created the world to stand a Judgment. Hence, by definition, He has a deep interest in our human behavior and affairs. Otherwise, how could we stand in Justice?By this, Moses has added another feature to the notion of the CREATOR. Like Science, He believes in a Wise CREATOR but also adds that this Wise CREATOR writes down the details of our personal behavior for our trial.
The term GOD (ELKM) appears 32 times during the Six Days, in the densest fashion within the Torah. No other Chapter mentions ELKM so much and so often. This implies that the ways of GOD (ELKM) are reflected in Nature. If you want to understand His Ways, study Nature. We’ll soon do that in details. Miraculously, the numerical value of the word “EeLoHiM – where a equal 1, b equal 2 , L equal 30 and so on- comes out as 86, which is also the same numerical value for the Hebrew Ha-Teva, “The Nature.”
The other tile LORD refers to the CREATOR as MERCIFUL, COMPASSIONATE and FORGIVING. The term LORD is the English translation of the Hebrew word for “My Master” – AaDoNai. Hence LORD is only a respectful substitute “My aster” for the real Holy Name that represents MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS – Y*H*V*H . This Four Letters Name is an Acronym (He was, He is, He will be) that cannot and should not be pronounced . Not only because it is a holy Name, but also because as an Acronym it can only be pronounced “letter by letter” without vowels, as you’d pronounce C*B*S, C*N*N, A*B*C etc.
Unlike the term GOD (ELKM) which appears 32 times in the Six Days, the term LORD (Y*H*V*H) appears only once in the entire story of Genesis – and only at the end of the Sixth Day as it enters the Sabbath. That site defines its meaning,as we’ll see.
While in Chapter One YHVH is shown the first time as an Acronym, it appears in the open in the text only in the next Chapter in the story of Eden, where is says
“And the LORD GOD (YHVH ELKM) formed the Adam from the dust on the ground” (Genesis 2: 4)
Here LORD appears in the text in the open the first time ever, yet not alone but rather Side by Side with DOD (ELKM). The Attributes appears so close to each other only in Eden, to form “their child” Adam from the dust of the ground. .They would never again appear so close to each other – as YHVH ELKM – throughout the rest of the Bible! .
Our concern at that moment, however, is to show how these Names affect the story of CREATION told by Moses.
These Names refer to the CREATOR’S Attributes
We should note that the holy Names GOD (ELKM) and LORD (YHVH) do no describe the CREATOR’S Essence but rather His Attributes. The Essence of the CREATOR is beyond our human grasp. We can or may relate to Him only by His Attributes and His Actions. The term GOD (ELKM) describes Him as a JUDGE who Sits on His “Throne of Judgment” to create the world and judge it, including us. The term LORD (YHVH) relates to the CREATOR as He/she exerts MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS in contrast to JUDGMENT . The CREATOR may reveal Himself to us in other capacities such as our SAVIOR who took us out of Egypt.
During the entire Six Days, the CREATOR appears in the text ONLY as the All Mighty GOD (ELKM) who Sits on the “Throne of Judgment” – without MERCY. In this fashion He created Nature Day by Day. Before Making Adam, Moses says, He ALSO revealed His Rule as the Merciful LORD (YHVH).
Why we need to know that?
According to Moses, we can’t understand the world in which we live without comprehending the All Mighty JUDGE GOD (ELKM). Knowing Him and His Ways would ease your stance in this world. Knowing Him would tell you not only Who created you, When and How, but also Why. It would strengthen your posture towards Nature and towards life and its trials and tribulations. .
Knowing Him, would also help us to understand ourselves, since Man is made in His Image and Form. As we’ll see, Moses concurs with Science how we are built. but he also add information that science would not tell. .
Let’s focus now on the notion of the All Mighty GOD (ELKM) the JUDGE. This will help us to compare Moses story of CREATION to our Scientific narrative. .
GOD’S (ELKM) Ways
The Thirteen Attributes of GOD (ELKM)
The Attribute ELKM can be understood by observing Nature. We can identify at least 13 features of Him as follows
1.GOD (ELKM) is the Ultimate Power. There is no power but Him.
2. GOD (ELKM) is Wise. As we’ve said, Moses concurs in this with Science that recognizes a Wise CREATOR of the Universe. Moses says
“in the Beginning (In the head of the events) GOD created the Heavens and the Earth”i
The Hebrew word selected here for Beginning, “Head of events,” suggests that ELKM used “His Head” – or the Wisdom in His Head – to create the Heavens and the Earth (Midrash). We’ll return to this important aspect of ELKM as we’ll learn about Adam.
3. GOD(ELKM) as a Builder. Genesis presents GOD (ELKM) as a BUILDER who builds a Six Floors Building in six Days. Each Day contributes a Floor. At the end of each Day (but the 2nd) the BUILDER, GOD (ELKM) comes and checks the passing Day whether it was good or not. “Good” here is a term seen by the BUILDER. A Floor was good only if it was solid, viable, ready and ca[able to carry another Floor on top. Being good also means that the CREATOR-BUILDER was pleased, that it fit His Master Plan. This infers that GOD (ELKM) had a goal to achieve by building this Six Floors Building- our Universe. .
4. GOD (ELKM) is Precise. He “measures” and assesses thing. His Natural Laws are precis and ‘elegant’ as the scientists agree. Changing just one Law would give you another Universe.
5. GOD (ELKM) is Kind. As Powerful as He is, GOD (ELKM) is also KIND. He is the Ultimate Provider who takes care of His creatures. He has Provides each creature with the talents to thrive and survive in their habitat Thus,
1.He gave the vegetation born on the Third Day the talent to photo synthesize
2. He gave the fish born on the Fifth Day the gills and fins to swim and thrive on the vegetation
3. He gave the birds born later on the Fifth Day wings to soar then dive into the water to catch fish
4. He gave the crocodiles born later on the Fifth Day the talents to escape inland, fool the birds and prey on it
5. He gave the cattle born on the Sixth Day the talent to digest vegetation
6. He gave the beasts born later on the Sixth Day the talent to prey on the cattle
7. He gave the crawling creatures born later on the Sixth Day the talent to bite and prey on everything created before
8. He gave Adam born on the Sixth Day the tools and talent to thrive in our habitat
6. GOD (ELKM) uses ABSOLUTE JUSTICE. Unlike LORD, the term GOD (ELKM) refers to the CREATOR when He follows Absolute Justice alone, paying attention to no other moral argument, such as MERCY. He seeks only the Absolute TRUTH and nothing but truth. . His Nickname and signature is TRUTH (emeth.) Whenever His Name appears in the Torah’ s text, it is signature for its truthfulness.
Hence, at the Beginning and also during the Six Days, GOD (ELKM) created the Word with Absolute Justice with no MERCY. Indeed, would you find MERCY in Nature? Does the spider, the volcano, the lion or the snake know any mercy? Even if they would evolve into smarter societies that could make their own I phone, they would never, never perceive mercy, compassion and forgiveness. (We’ll talk about Mammals in due course.)
7: GOD (ELKM) pays “measure for measure.” Following the Absolute Justice, GOD (ELKM) executes His retributions precisely, ‘measure for measure’ (midah ke-neged midah) . Under Him, creatures eat and are eaten, inflict pains only to suffer pains. A lion preys on a lamb only to be killed by a fallen tree. .
The law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (Exodus 32: 15) reflects the Absolute Justice of “measure for measure.” The text specifically says that the Law was ‘written by the Finger of GOD (ELKM).” The the Merciful Attribute YHVH (Oral Torah) says otherwise – that the punishment would be monetary compensation only.
8 .GOD’s (ELKM) judgment is harsh. Judging a passing Day as not good anymore would incur a bad outcome for that Day. He would eliminate it with no mercy and start all over again. Accoridng to tradition (see rashi) He had created and eliminated numerous other Universes before.
9. He created the Six Days Awesomely Alone. During the Six Days He created as a Dictator, giving orders, consulting no one. Only before making Adam He changed His Ways and spoke in plural, consulting some entities to make Adam.
Thus he said let it be Light, and Light happened.
He said “Let there be grass” and grass was there.
He said “Let the Luminaries be seen regularly on Earth” and they were.
He said “Let there be Fish in the waters,” and they were.
And so on.
But before making Adam He changed His rule and said, in plural, “Let Us Make Adam in Our Form and Our mage.”
He Consulted other entities to make Adam. He was a Dictator no more. .
With whom could He consult to make Adam? Who is greater than Him?
On that we’ll learn when we read Chapter One about Adam. . .
10. GOD (ELKM) ‘fills’ Nature. Where is GOD (ELKM)? Above? Below? Since His Name appears in Genesis 32 times, written Lb (also heart in Hebrew) we can say that He “resides” at the “Heart of Nature.” or that He sustains Nature as a heart sustains the body. Or that GOD (ELKM) FILLS Nature like the blood that fills the body.
11 GOD (ELKM) judgment is like water. As the second verse in Genesis says, “the wind (spirit) of ELoHiM was hovering over the waters…” (Genesis 1:2) implying that –
1. ELHM’s Throne of Judgment hovers over the waters
2. ELHM would use Water as a whip, as in Noah’s Flood
3.ELHM’s Justice penetrates everything like water.
4. ELHM’s justice is even and equal to all, like water’s surface.
12. ELKM judges us by our deeds He does not pay attention to our character but ratther to our deeds, (The LORD would do the opposite)
13. ELKM weights our deeds on His scale: Our merits on one side, our sins on the other. The tilt of the scale would determine our fate . here are the terms-
we are righteous (zadik) if we win our trial .
We are wicked (rasha) If we loose our trial.
Note that the term evil is only seen by the LORD (YHVH)
Now that we’ve delineated the virtues of the term GOD (ELKM), we are ready to go on and compare Moses’ Genesis to our Science. Do they match?