© 2019 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Genesis Vs Evolution:
How could Moses know so much?
Class 2: The Notion of A CREATOR
We are comparing Mose’s Genesis with the Scientific knowledge of the world’s history. We’ve already seen that Moses’ Genesis CAN be seen as saying that the Age of the Universe is about 13 B years, quite close to what Science says.
Next we should compare Moses’ words about the Six Days to the Scientific story. But at first we need to comprehend Moses’ notion of GOD as a CREATOR. This knowledge would turn crucial for Moses perception of Nature.
Science too speaks of a CREATOR whose wisdom is reflected in the Universe (Isaac Newton.) But Science does not necessarily recognize any intervention of this ‘aloof’ CREATOR – if He exists- in our daily affairs. There are many books on the subject (such as ) but I would leave this to another class. We need to focus on Moses’ story and compare it to the history of the world.
To the benefit of our readers, the following is a short summary of the scientific notion of a CREATOR. You may skip it and go straight to Moses notion of a CREATOR.
1. The CREATOR According to Science
The people who introduced Science to the world, the ancient Greek (like Aristotle) believed that the Word has always existed. Hence they were not bothered by the question who created the world. . For them, Science is e study of the world as it is. The belief in the timeless Universe lasted till the 19th Century when and was shattered by the discovery of the Big Bang. Hence Science concurs with Moses that the World has a Beginning. Yet, Science does not say anything more about the CREATOR. Most scientists reject the idea we that this CREATOR has any interest in our daily lives.
Some scientists like Stephen Hawkins believe that time is like a surface of a sphere with no beginning
Moses of course begins his Five Books with the notion of GOD the CREATOR. He then dedicate Chapter One of Genesis to describe How GOD created the world in Six Days. The notion of GOD as the CREATOR was very important to him.
Judaism, in general, promoted the study of Nature as a path to “know and love” GOD (Maimonides.) On Abraham (lived 1850 BC) it is said that he discovered the CREATOR by observing Nature. Rabbi Akiva (2nd Century AD )is quoted saying: “Just as the house attests to its builder, a garment its weaver or a door its carpenter, so too does the world attest to its Holy One who created it” (Midrash Tanchuma 5)
The Church too walked that path. The clergyman William Paley (end of 19th century) said that a watch is the best testimony for its “Designer”: (“Natural Theology,”) Isaac Newton sought laws in Nature as a reflection of GOD’S Wisdom. Many historians believe that the Biblical theology of the West is what made it grow more than Far East (Paul Davis 1992 , quoted by Rabbi Nathan Slifkin in “The Challenge of Creation” 2008, page 31.)
But that coexistence between Theology and Science was interupted at the the turn of the 20th century, when Science seemed to have replaced GOD. The success of Science in prolonging our lives, eradicating diseases and creating new technology and wealth has made Science supreme. The role of GOD was pushed farther to the back. Science seemed to be able to explain everything and correct everything. If there is a CREATOR, He looks like a watchmaker who has left the world run by itself without His intervention.
A small step towards a recognition of a CREATOR by Science was taken by the new science of Relativity and Quantum Physics introduced at the turn of the 20th century. The role of “consciousness” as a physical factor in the determination of the location and the spin of the electrons has trigerred a new interest in the power of our minds to determine “the natural reality.” Morality has suddenly turned from a supernatural c phenomenon to a physical ingredient of the world’s existence. And yet, even those scientists who believe in “consciousness” do not necessarily accept Moses’ notion of a CREATOR
Because of that split, most scientists today do not recognize Moses’ Genesis as having any historical meaning. Now let’s see what Moses says about GOD the CREATOR.
2. The CREATOR as Perceived By Moses
You can’t comprehend well Genesis without a thorough understanding of Moses’ perception of GOD as the CREATOR.
The CREATOR’S Names in Genesis
Moses mentions GOD’S Name 32 times during the the Six Days. For instance-
And GOD said let it be light
And GOD said Let the dry land be seen
And GOD said let the luminaries be seen
And GOD said the water swarm with Fish to its kind
And so on
But when talking about Adam Moses says
And LORD GOD formed the Adam in Eden (Genesis 2:3)
Two Names for the CREATOR of our start
Hence there are two Names of the CREATOR in Genesis: GOD (32 times) and LORD (once). Since these two Names continue to appear extensively throughout the Bible, we need to become familiar with their meaning.
GOD – the All Mighty JUDGE
The title GOD is ALWAYS the English translation of the Hebrew “EeLoHiM” ( written in short ELKM, without the vowels and changing H to K, to avoid mentioning His Name in vain.)
Ee-Lo-KiM means a “Powerful JUDGE,” even a human judge. For instance, the verse in Exodus (22;27) ays “Ee-lo-him among you do not curse, nor should you curse a prince among your people” . Here clearly the term “ee-lohim” is similar to a ‘prince’ and both refer to to a human judge and a prince.There are many more examples in the Bible.
For instance before the Flood it says “and the children of ee-lo-him came to the daughters of Adam and they gave birth…” (Genesis 6:4) The sons of mighty human judges committing adultery- a reason for the coming Flood
Thus ELKM is a descriptive Attribute- a “hat” a “cloak” that the CREATOR wears AT A CERTAIN TIME. The Infinite CREATOR who is beyond our human conception has no Name. The Bible attaches a Name only to describe His Action or capacity. At CREATION, the CREATOR “ascended” on the “Throne of Judgment” and “set on it” as a JUDGE. Hence the Heavens and the Earth were created for Judgment. .
Note that although the English term GOD does infer reverence, yet it lacks the specific message associated with “ELKM. ” . .
The title LORD is ALWAYS the English translation of the Hebrew “My Land Lord,” “My Master” Aa-Do-Nai. “LORD” is a respectful substitute for the real Name Y*H*V*H – an acronym that designates another Attribute of the CREATOR- the Attribute of LOVE, MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS
The Acronym YHVH stands for “He Was, He Is, He will Be.”
Hence whenever you see the term “LORD” in the English text, it is a respectful substitute for the acronym Y*H*V*H. The text says Y*H*V*H, yet our lips say in respect- Aa-Do-Nai, LORD in English.
Pious people would even substitute LORD with “The Name,” Ha-SheM.
The acronym YHVH is pronounced only as a acronym, letter by letter. As you’d utter CBS, NBC, CNN. Never insert any vowel in the acronym YHVH. (the same way you would not insert vowels in CNN.) There is no Yahwah, or Jehovah or any other way to pronounce Y*H*V*H.
.In summary so far- chapter One introduced the CREATOR in two Attributes-
GOD (ELKM) the Attribute of Judgment
LORD (YHVH) the Attribute of MERCY.
Since ELKM apears 32 times in the Six Days, let’s first focus on the Ways GOD (ELKM) conducts His Judgment. It would help us tremendously to comprehend to way the Six Days were created.
GOD’S (ELKM) WAYS
Thirteen Features of GOD (ELKM)
Tradition explains the ways that GOD (ELKM) conducts His Judgment and the way He has created the world. There are at least eleven features of GOD’S Judgment.
1.GOD (ELKM) is the ultimate, sole real power in this world. There is no other power but Him
2.GOD (ELKM) created the world with Wisdom
This notion has led Isaac Newton to seek GOD’S Laws in Nature. Ancient tradition sees that message in the first verse that says “In the Beginning GOD (ELKM) created the Heavens and the Earth.” The Hebrew word selected here for the Beginning, Be-reishit, can be read as “with the head of the events, Be-reishit ” implying that GOD (ELKM) used His “Head” or the “Wisdom in His Head” to create the Six Days.
3. GOD (ELKM) is at the “heart” of Nature.
Where is He? Above? Below? Since GOD (ELKM) Name appears 32 times in the Six Days, and since 32 is written Lb (where a=1, b=2, L=30 and so on) – and since Lb means “heart,” it comes out that GOD (ELKM) is “at the heart of Nature.” He ‘sustains’ Nature as the heart sustains the body.
Another numerical miracle lies in the value of “EeLHiM” – 86- is the same as Ha-Teva, “the nature.” See that as a hint that GOD (ELKM) is the CREATOR of Nature.
It reminds us Quantum Physics that says that Consciousness sustains our Universe
4. GOD (ELKM) has acted like BUILDER of a Six Floors Building- Nature.
Genesis Chapter One presents GOD (ELKM) as a BUILDER of a Six Floors BUILDING, namely Nature. Each “Day of CREATION” constitutes a Floor, piling up on top of each other. No myth in Moses time viewed Nature that fashion!
5. GOD (ELKM) acts as a BUILDER-JUDGE
At the end of each Day (besides the 2nd Day) the BUILDER – GOD (ELKM) – judges the passing Day or passing Floor; assessing whether or not it was good . This is an example how He created as a BUILDER and a JUDGE. If His verdict was “good” He continued building. This notion implied that if His verdict was ‘not good’ He eliminated things. : .
6. What does “good” means in the BUILDER’S eyes?
As a BUILDER, the verdict good meant in GOD’s (ELKM) eyes that –
(1) The Floor seemed viable, strong, capable of carrying another Floor on top
(2) The Floor ‘pleases’ Him – a notion relevant to Man’s trial too
(3) The Floor seemed to fit well the Plan for the entire Six Floors BUILDING
These valued would also play a role in Adam’s trial.
7. GOD (ELKM) seeks the truth and nothing but the truth. His signature is Truth, emeth.
8. GOD (ELKM) judgment follows the Absolute Justice. He pays back” measure for measure”. A creature may eat other creatures, because it too would be soon eaten. A creature is allowed to inflict pains because it too would suffer pains. His Law says “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 32:15) His Verdicts are therefore harsh yet just.
As a BUILDER, when GOD (ELKM) issued a “not good” verdict on a Day, He terminated it or part of it with no hesitation. .
9. GOD (ELKM) is Kind. He is the Ultimate Provider. He cares for the creatures He has created and would provided them with the necessary talents and tools to survive and thrive in their habitat Thus,
1.He gave the vegetation of the Third Day the talent of photo synthesis
2. He gave the fish of the Fifth Day gills and fins to swim and thrive on vegetation
3. He gave the birds of the Fifth Day wings to soar and catch fish
4. He gave the crocodiles of the Fifth Day the talents to escape inland and catch birds
5. He gave the cattle of the Sixth Day the talent to digest vegetation
6. He gave the beasts of the Sixth Day the talent to prey on the cattle
7. He gave the crawling creatures of the Sixth Day the talent to bite and prey on everything created before
8. He gave Adam born on the Sixth Day the mind and other talent to thrive in our habitat
GOD (ELKM) also provides each creature the talent to enter and thrive and support the the next Day.
10. GOD (ELKM) created the Six Days “Awesomely Alone,” as a Dictator. He issued commands, and they were readily fulfilled. 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.
Only before creating Adam, He changed His Rule and spoke in plural saying “Let Us Make Adam in Our Form and Our mage.”
11: GOD (ELKM)’s judgment is even to all like water.
The verse says (Chapter 1:2) “The wind (spirit) of ELoHiM was hovering over the waters…” 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. GOD (ELKM) judges by our deeds, rather than by character.
GOD (ELKM) weights our deeds on His “scale,” our merits on one side and our sins on the other. The tilt of the scale would determine our verdic
13. Righteousness. There are special terms describing His verdicts-
we are righteous (tza-dik) once we’ve won Hid trial .
We are wicked (ra-sha) once we’ve lost our trial
The terms “righteous and wicked” therefore relate to a court (Maimonides.) .
The features of the LORD YHVH
\Whereas GOD (ELKM) dominated the Six Days and would therefore be at the focus of our study, the Attribute LORD (YHVH) appears only once and in connection to the creation of Adam. We would therefore dwell on the features of the LORD later as we study about Adam. Let’s only recall now that unlike the Attribute of Judgement GOD (ELKM), who follows the Absolute Justice and Truth, the Attribute LORD (YHVH) follows MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS.
- Nature is like a six floors building, one on top of the other
- It was build by a builder along a plan
- The builder built it efficiently in absolute justice. A floor which was found good was allowed to stay on, while a floor that was found “not good anymore” was eliminated with no mercy, yet giving a room for new creatures and a new floor to show up
Now we can try to match Genesis with the History of the World according to Science