© 2019 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Genesis Vs Evolution:
How did Moses know so much?
Class 2: The CREATOR
We are comparing Mose’s Genesis with the Scientific story of the history of the Universe. Moses starts by saying “In the Beginning, GOD created the Heavens and the Earth” – hence the world has a CREATOR . Does Science accept such a notion? .
1. The CREATOR According to Science
The ancient Greek (Aristotle) believed that the Word has always existed. Hence they were not bothered by the question who created the world. . Science for them was the study of the world as it is. The belief in the infinite existence of the Universe lasted till the 19th Century, when the Big Bang was discovered. Since then Science agrees with Moses that the World has a Beginning. Yet, that does not necessarily imply that it has a CREATOR, or that we need to pray to him, or that He/she has any interest in our lives.
Some scientists like Stephen Hawkins believe that time is like a surface of a sphere with no beginning
Ancient Judaism, in contrast to the Greek, promoted the study of Nature as a path to recognize and glorify the power of the CREATOR- GOD.
On Abraham (lived 1850 BC) it is said that he discovered the CREATOR by observing Nature. Being an artist and the son of a pagan artist, Abraham was fascinated with the beauty of Nature. “Such a wondrous Palace,” he is quoted saying, “must have been formed by a Builder who is also an Architect” (Midrash.) Moreover, Abraham concluded, this CREATOR- ARCHITECT also OWNS his Palace by the “right of an artist to own his artwork.” Hence, he said, the CREATOR -BUILDER owns me.” In other worlds, he was saying I am a Slave to My Owner. The Bible text shows that Abraham was the first ever to address GOD as “My Landlord” or “My LORD” or “My Owner,” in Hebrew: Aa-Do-Nai (Genesis 15:2). Let’s remember that term for our following discussion of Genesis. In fact, Abraham’s circumcision is perceived as the “emblem of our Master in our flesh.” At age 58 y, it is said, Abraham met Noah who taught him about the true Names of GOD that had come from Adam (there are ten generations between Adam and Noah, then ten generations between Noah and Abraham, showing continuity. )
In the 2nd Century AD, the great Rabbi Akiva 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)by
In the 11th century AD, Maimonides wrote that it is incumbent on every person to aspire to recognize and love GOD by studying Nature (Yad) .
The Church too walked that path. As late as the turn of the 19th century, the clergyman William Paley proposed the following argument for the existence of a “Designer”: If someone finds a watch in the desert, wouldn’t he conclude that a watchmaker exits? (“Natural Theology,” )
The belief in a Law Giver CREATOR promoted Isaac Newton and his peers to seek Laws in Nature as a reflection of GOD’S Wisdom. This is why the cultures in the Far East , lacking such a theology, did not develop Science as known in the West (Paul Davis in The Mind of GOD, NY Touchstone, 1992, quoted by Rabbi Nathan Slifkin in “The Challenge of Creation,” 2008, page 31.)
But at the turn of the 20th century Science seemed to have replaced GOD. Science, after all, has prolonged our lives, eradicated many diseases, created new wealth and introduced new technologies that has enriched our lives. The role of GOD, if any, was pushed to the back. If one is sick, one should seek a doctor rather than a miracle maker. Science seemed to explain everything. it could predict any event, once you have mastered all the natural factors involved. The world seemed to run like a clock set up by its creator, who has subsequently left it to run by itself. That view left no room for miracles or prayers, besides some psychological benefits to the person who prays. ..
Sciene at that point rejected the notion that the CREATOR is more than a Primary Mover. He/She can’t have any interest in our moral behavior. Indeed, why should He/she? The Universe is so vast, consisting of Billions and Billions of Galaxies, and our own Milky Way is so large that it would take more than 100,000 light-years for light to cross it from side to side . Our own Sun and her group of planets occupies just a tiny spot on the vast tail of that giant galaxy. Every minute a new star and her planets is born, while other stars and their planets die, or explode as Novae or are swallowed by the giant Black Hole at the center of our Galaxy. Why than should a CREATOR have any interest in our tiny, human lives?
But at the early part of the 20th century, this view on Nature and its CREATOR was turned upside down by Science itself. As Quantum Physics came on board, the role of “consciousness” became apparent as a part of our physical world. Shrodinger’s Law or Uncertainty says that it is impossible to measure the position, speed and momentum of a particle at the same time. A particle may behave either as mater or as wave, pending on the observers’ intervention and mind. The spin of the electron at any moment, likewise, is decided as we search for it. In the new physics, supernatural concepts like Consciousness have filtered down into physics. Suddenly the existence of “alternative Universes” became a real possibility ty. In the Quantum World iInformation can travel across the Universe instantaneously, with no regard to the speed of Light- something that negates Einstein’s classical Relativity. The Science of Chaos has also shown how a butterfly’s wing moving in Tokyo can incite a tornado in Arkansas. This new look on nature and how it operates has actually opened the door for a new insight into the ways that GOD intervenes in Nature. Consciousness and morality may indeed determine the fate of our Universe, more than anything else!
No wonder that today’s scientists engage in the search for One Theory Of Everything that would explain the Wisdom of One, Smart CREATOR. The fact that the genetic code is based on four letters only- ATCG- also speaks for One Smart CREATOR.
But having said all that, most scientists would not accept the notion that we need to pray to this CREATOR or that He/She has an interest in our tiny human affairs.
In summery- Although western Science was born on the laps of Monotheism and its belief in a CREATOR who has set up the Natural Laws, it looked at first that Science would render religion obsolete. Yet modern Science has reverted the trend and has restored our believe in a CREATOR- as a Prime Mover, whose Consciousness keeps our world going. Yet most modern scientists would not subscribe to the notion that we need to pray to this CREATOR or that He has any direct interest in us.
What then does Moses says about the CREATOR? What does he add that Science would never say? . .
2. The CREATOR as Perceived By Moses
Our task is to compare Moses Genesis with the Scientific narrative of the History of the World. We have already seen that the Age of the Universe according to Science – 13.7 Billion years- is compatible with the age that kabbalah has calculated. A Day of CREATION, kabbalah says, is an era 2.1 Billion years long on the average, so that Six Days lasted 13 Billion years. A Day of CREATION, we have said, can’t be our days since the Sun and the Moon were seen regularly on earth only on the Fourth Day. By saying at the end of the First Day that is was “One Day,” Moses defines for us the length of a Day of CREATION- the time it took for CREATION to advance from the Beginning to see in it Order, Matter, Space (Deep) Water and other primordial elements.
Remember, our job is to see whether or not one CAN match Moses with Science, something we can’t do with any of the myths about CREATION told in his time.
As we turn to Moses’ story, we encounter his worlds about a CREATOR– GOD. We have just discussed Science’s notion of a CREATOR. Does Moses concur? Does He add some information that science would not say?
The CREATOR’S Names in Genesis
The text of Genesis Chapter One that we’ve read above, at the introduction to our classes, mentions the Name GOD 32 times during the he Six Days, like
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
Then in the forming of Adam it says
And LORD GOD formed the Adam in Eden (Genesis 2:3)
Two Names for the CREATOR of our start
Thus Chapter One introduces two Names for the CREATOR: GOD and LORD. These Names would be used extensively throughout the entire Bible. What is the difference between them?
GOD – the All Mighty JUDGE
The title GOD is the English translation of the Hebrew term EeLoHiM (written in short as ELKM, without the vowels and changing H to K, to avoid mentioning His Name in vain.)
Ee-Lo-KiM refers in Hebrew to a “Powerful JUDGE,” even to a human judge. For instance, Moses says “ee-lo-him among you do not curse, nor should you curse a prince among your people” (Exodus 22: 27). Here “ee-lohim” and ‘prince’ are clearly referring to a human judge and a prince.There are many such examples in the Bible.
A famous one: prior to Noah’s Flood it is said that “even afterwards the children of ee-lo-him came to the daughters of Adam and they gave birth” (Genesis 6:4) meaning that even the sons of mighty judges, who should have shown good moral example to all, committed adultery as they wished.
Hence the title ELKM is a descriptive Attribute. When the Infinite CREATOR ascends on the Throne of Judgment He is called ELKM the JUDGE, translated as GOD. Moses message is, therefore, that “In the Beginning, the CREATOR created the Heavens and the Earth while sitting on the Throne of Judgment. In other words, He created the World to withstand a Trial.
Note that the English term GOD does express awe and reverence, yet it lacks the specific message associated with the precise Hebrew term “EeLoKiM” the JUDGE, that the Heavens and the Earth were created to stand judgment. .
In fact, the very statement “In the Beginning” implies that later in the story of Genesis the Infinite CREATOR ascended on another and higher Throne- the Throne of Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness. At that point He is LORD.
The title LORD is the English translation of the Hebrew word for “My Landlord,” or “My Master,” or “My Owner,” Aa-Do-Nai. Hence “LORD” is not a genuine Holy Name but rather a respectful substitute for the real Name Y*H*V*H – the Attribute of Love, Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness.
Thus wherever you see “LORD” in the English text, it means My LORD which is a respectful substitute for Y*H*V*H. By “substitute” I mean that while the text says Y*H*V*H our lips utter Aa-Do-Nai, which means My Master. My LORD- in submission.
Pious people would avoid mentioning even the substitute LORD for YHVH and would say instead “The Name” or HaSheM.
In case you want to read YHVH, how would you pronounce it? The answer is simple. Since Y*H*V*H is the Hebrew acronym for “He was, He is, He will be,” you should utter it as any other acronym – letter by letter, as Y,H,V,H. As you’d utter C,B,S or A,B,C or C,N,N – letter by letter.
The term EeLoKiM is ALWAYS translated in English as GOD, never as LORD.
The term Y*H*V*H is ALWAYS translated in English as LORD, never as GOD
Note that the acronym Y*H*V*H does not contain any vowels in between the consonants. Same as there are no vowels in CBS or CNN. Hence there is no JeHoVaH, YaHoWaH or the like. There is only one way to read Y,H,V,H – letter by letter.
So Moses agrees with Science about a CREATOR as the First Mover. Yet according to Moses, the CREATOR is also a JUDGE, who created the world for judgment. Hence by definition, the CREATOR-JUDGE has a deep interest in the world’s affairs, especially in our affairs. We are never alone. He is watching us, recording our thoughts and deeds for our Judgment
GOD (ELKM) and LORD (YHVH) are Attributes
The two Names of the CREATOR that appear in Genesis Chapter One – GOD (ELKM) and LORD (YHVH) – are only the CREATOR’S Attributes. They describe the CREATOR as He acts at a certain point oftime, or the “hat” he wears at a certain time. When sitting in Judgment, He is called GOD (ELKM.) When showering Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness, He is called LORD (Y*H*V*H). On other occasions He may wear other hats or assume other Attributes and Names such as ShaDai (“Provider.”) . For us, during the story of Genesis, Moses describes Him by these tow Names- either GOD or LORD.
Since any Name is rescriptive and limited, we have no Name for the Essence of the CREATOR who is above our human conception. Even the title CREATOR is a limited, restrictive Attribute.
The two Attributes follow different paths
While the Attribute of Justice GOD (ELKM) seeks the truth by Absolute Justice,
the Attribute LORD (YHVH) showers Absolute Love, Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness, overriding Justice
We’ve noticed that Moses uses only the term GOD (ELKM) to describe the Six Days – mentioning the Name 32 times!
In n contrast, Moses mentions the Attribute of Mercy, LORD (YHVH) only once, at the end of the Sixth Day – along with the creation of Adam.
As a Court’s Theater
A human court should behave the same way. The (human) judge should first find out the truth about the case and nothing else but the truth. Did the accused one kill the victim or not? After finding the truth, the judge would decide in his mind what punishment he should impose – according to the just law of the land. Only then the judge may lean back and assess whether or not to implement mercy and compassion, pending on the case. First the true, just verdict and them mercy.
So is Chapter One built. The CREATOR appears first as a JUDGE who seeks the Absolute Justice, and only then at the end of the Chapter the JUDGE turns to MERCY to issue the final verdict.
As it turns out, Moses associates the wearing of Mercy by the CREATOR only along with the creation of Adam. .
Since the Name GOD (ELKM) is the one associated with the Six Days of the Universe, it is important to delineate the ways by which He operates.
The following material is based on the Talmud, prayers books, and Jewish customs some coming down from the Holy Temples. It represents main core of Judaism, present or past.
GOD’S (ELKM) WAYS
The Eleven Features of GOD (ELKM)
To comprehend Moses’ message in Genesis, we need to formulate the features of GOD (ELKM) as related to CREATION. They are as follows
1.GOD (ELKM) is the ultimate, sole power in this world. There is no other real 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 easily 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 is that the value of “EeLHiM” – 86- is the same as Ha-Teva, “The Nature.” 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) acts like BUILDER of a Six Floors Building.
Genesis Chapter One presents GOD (ELKM) as a BUILDER of a Six Floors BUILDING of Nature. Each “Day of CREATION” constitutes a Floor, which pile up on top of each other. No mythical story in Moses time viewed Nature that fashion!
5. GOD (ELKM) acts in Genesis as a Builder-JUDGE
Each Day, at the end of the Day (besides the 2nd Day) the BUILDER, GOD (ELKM,) judged the passing Day or passing Floor whether or not it was good . He is therefore a JUDGE. And as Moses says, He said that it was good, and continued to build. But this implies that His Verdict could be also ‘not good.’ The outcome were different: .
The verdict “good” in the BUILDER’S eyes implied
(1) that the floor was viable, strong, capable of carrying another floor on top
(2) that the floor pleases the Builder, gave Him a good feeling – something important for our trial too
(3) that the floor fit the Master Plan for the entire Six Floors BUILDING
But a good verdict implies the possible of a “not good” verdict. Let’s recall that GOD (ELKM’s) judgment follows the absolute truth with no mercy,and t is therefore harsh. A Day whose verdict was “not good anymore” was terminated, and the BUILDER would start it all over again.
This harsh Judgment was held on every Day. At the end of the Sixth Day , the so called End of Times, however, GOD (ELKM) will judge the entire BUILDING, the whole project. If He would deem it “Very Good” He would allow it to survive and enter the next Day, the Seventh. If He would deem it Very Bad, He would terminate the entire BUILDING and return it to nothingness – as He had one before to numerous other Universes before ours (Rashi) .
6. GOD (ELKM) is Kind.
He is the Ultimate Provider, who creates and cares for His creatures. He has Provided each of |His creature with the necessary talents and tools to 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 provided each creature the talent to enter and thrive and support the the next Day.
Thus He provided Man – created on the Sixth Day – the mind and other talents to enter the next, Seventh Day of CREATION, the Sabbath.
7. GOD (ELKM) created the Six Days using the ABSOLUTE JUSTICE only– seeking the absolute truth. His Nickname and signature is TRUTH, “emeth.”
8: GOD (ELKM) pays “measure for measure.”
His retributions follow the Absolute Justice, paying back ‘measure for measure’ (midah ke-ne-ged midah) . Under His rule, creatures are allowed to eat other creatures, only because they too would be eaten in due course. Creatures are allowed to inflict pains on others, only because they too would suffer pains in due course. A wolf preys on a sheep, only to be later killed by a fallen tree.
GOD’s (ELKM) way of measure for measure is reflected in the law “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (Exodus 32: 15.) This law was written by the “Finger of ELKM” (see there.) It reflects Absolute Justice without Mercy. The Oral Torah, however, told to Moses by the Merciful Attribute LORD (YHVH) dictates otherwise, that the compensation for an eye should be monetary only (Talmud).
9. GOD (ELKM) created the Six Days as a ‘Dictator’, awesomely alone, consulting no one. 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, as we’ll see, He changed His Way of ruling alone and spoke in plural saying “Let Us Make Adam in Our Form and Our mage.” We’ll focus on the verse when we will speak about Adam
10: 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
11. 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 verdict-
we are righteous (tza-dik) if we’ve won our trial .
We are wicked (ra-sha) If we’ve lost our trial
The terms “righteous and wicked” therefore relate to a court (Maimonides.) .
In contrast, the Merciful Attribute LORD (Y*H*V*H) relates to us by our heart and charecter.
We are Evil in Y*H*V*H eyes if we lack mercy, compassion or we are unforgiving.
We are Her Favorite if we follow Her ways, like Noah who “found face in YHVH’s eyes” (Genesis 6:8) because of his compassion for animals ans humans
- 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 that was found good in the Builder’s eye was allowed to stay on, while a floor that was found “not good anymore” was eliminated, giving a room for new creatures and a new floor
- The entire building would be assessed and judged at the end of the Sixth Day, to see whether or not it would survive and enter the next, seventh Day.
Now can we match Genesis with the History of the World according to Science?