© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-8/ELoHiM/ Does Moses Concur with Science About Adam?
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
We’ve found Moses’ account of CREATION credible, compatible with our scientific knowledge. Can we say the same about the creation of Adam? Does Moses concur with Science?
The question is important since obviously, Moses’ goal is to tell us about Adam, rather than about CREATION. He informs about WHO created us, HOW and for WHAT PURPOSE? And since we’ve found his words credible about CREATION, we should listen to what he says about Adam!
Before we move on let’s recall our path in studying IDOLATRY. It comes first in the list of Noah’s Seven Commandments – IDOLATRY, ADULTERY, BLOODSHED, ,THEFT, JUSTICE, BLASPHEMY, THE PROHIBITION TO EAT A LIMB TORN FROM A LIVING ANIMAL – and it comes first also in Moses’ Ten Commandments.
The first of Moses Ten Commandments says
1 I Am (the self)
2. YHVH your ELKM (the Attributes of MERCY and JUDGMENT)
3. Who took you out of Egypt Land (His Deeds or Kingship)
here the Speaker, G-d, expects us to KNOW Him and ADDRESS Him by these very Names and Titles. Without knowing these Names we would not understand the Bible.
The rabbis, complying with this Commandment, instituted that in the blessings and prayers we would follow the way He presents Himself. Thus in the blessing for bread we say
1.Bless is you
2.YHVH (HaSheM) our ELKM
3. For bringing is bread from the Earth
Moses Second of the Ten Commandment forbids IDOL WORSHIPING, saying
1.Thou shall have no other ELKM over my face
2. Thou shall not make…(etc)
The two Commandments complement each other. The First presents the true CREATOR whom we should KNOW and worship, the Second lists the idols whom we should worship not. .
Hence rejecting or ignoring the First Commandment is tantamount to IDOLATRY. Every person should know the Holy Names and comprehend them. This should not be left for scholars or theologians.
Though the Ten Commandments were given by Moses specifically to Israel, his words pertain to all Mankind. For the (Talmudic) rule says – “Every commandment given to Noah and repeated by Moses to Israel applies to both.”. Hence we may use the First two of the Ten Commandments of Moses as a platform for the Children of Noah, all Mankind.
As it turns out, Moses in Genesis Chapter One introduces the Attributes in order – first ELKM then YHVH. We’ve already studied about ELKM. He (it is customary to relate to Him in masculine gender) is the CREATOR, JUDGE (who judges each Day) BUILDER (of Six Floor Building) who runs His world with the upper hand using Absolute Justice with no Mercy (“eat and be eaten,” measure for measure). He is also the Ultimate PROVIDER who cares about His creatures and supplies their needs. His signature is TRUTH.
we’ve also learned from Genesis Chapter One about ELKM’s Deeds; how He had moved CREATION forwards Day by Day. Moses’ account of the history of the world is credible, can be matched with our Scientific knowledge. No wonder that ELKM’s Name appears on the story 32 times, as a stamp of truthfulness.
But Moses wishes to tell us on Adam, rather than on the Universe. Are his words about Adam credible too? And as we are learning about the creation of Adam, Moses will introduce us to the Holy Name of the Merciful Attribute, Y-H-V-H.
1: The Scientific Narrative about Man’s Evolution
You know what science says about Adam: Man apepeared on Earth gradually over 2 millions years. Man evolved through many pre historic ape-like creatures such as Homo Erectus and Homo Neanderthal, before the rise of Homo Sapience, “Wise Man,” us.
In the 13.7 Billion years of the Universe’ existence, Man occupies a tiny segment at the end.
By definition, what separates us from other creatures, Science says, is our brain: our logical and abstract thinking. Hence the term: Homo Sapience. Our brain gives us language, imaginations and fascinations. It gives us the ability to conceive ideas, produce art, search science and invent technology.
Science also sees a straight line between Cave Man and Modern Man. We are still Homo Sapience, though more experienced. We differ from our ancestors only by our accumulated knowledge and technology.
Science also says that Man’s appearance was promoted by the huge meteoric catastrophe that hit Planet Earth about 75 million years ago. It wiped out the giant creatures of Pangaea, leaving a room for the relatively small Mammals to proliferate. This change in the environment brought Man. .
After the great catastrophe, science says, a race began between ‘social creatures’ like ants and spiders, to evolve an intelligent society. It is as if the Universe ‘demands’ the existence of an intelligent mind in it, capable of revealing its mysteries.
By chance, the environment changed in our favor, allowing Man to proliferate and rule Earth. We are simply the first species to win the race. Given more time, other creatures would catch up. .
Biologists also recognize the fingerprints of the entire evolution repeated in every human embryo. We all evolve from a single cell into a multiple organ human, passing through stages that resemble Fish, Bird, and so on (“Onto-genesis repeats Philo-genesis.”)
Now what does Moses says about Adam’s creation?
MOSES’ ACCOUNT ON THE CREATION OF ADAM
Moses says that Adam was born on a particular Day, at a particular time in the Day, to stand a particular trial.
1: The text of creating Adam
THE SIXTH DAY DAWNED
”And ELKIM said Let the Earth bring forth living creatures to their kinds
Cattle, Creeping things and Beasts of the Earth to their kinds, and it was so
And ELKM saw that it was good.
A PLAN to CREATE ADAM
“And ELKM said: Let Us Make an Adam in our Form and Our Image.
“And they will have dominion over the Fish…over the Birds…over the Cattle… over the entire Earth…
“And ELKM created The Adam in His Image, in the Image of ELKM He created him
male and female He created them.
And ELKM blessed them and said to them
Be fruitful and multiply, filled the Earth and conquer it,
and rule over the Fish…Birds…and all the Beasts…
THE SIXTH DAY’S FINAL JUDGMENT
And ELoKiM saw everything that He had done
And behold, it was Very Good
And there was evening, and there was morning, the SIXTH DAY” (was over.)
…………………THE SABBATH BEGINS………………………..
“And the Heavens and the Earth were FINISHED
And ELoKiM FINISHED all the Work that He has done,
And He ABSTAINED on the SEVENTH DAY from all the work that He had done
And ELoKiM blessed the Seventh Day and He sanctified it….
For in it He ABSTAINED from all His work that ELKM had created, to do.” (Genesis 1-31; 2 1-3)
Let’s discuss Moses’ account of the creation of Adam.
2: Man is created as the last on a ladder
Unlike all the ancient myths of his time, Moses does not present Man’s creation as an outcome of an ugly sexual perversion and rivalry between the gods and their families. Instead, Moses gives a factual account that can be validated by our Science. Adam, Moses says, is the last creature to arrive on Earth, the end product of a long process ( We’ll discuss Chapter two with its story of Eden, in due course.)
By this alone, Moses sets himself apart from all ancient myths. To Pharaoh, in whose “great house” Moses grew up, Man is a product of some mythical story. For Pharaoh, the animals roam the Earth with no order and with no connection to Man. They are here to provide Man a livelihood, or a hunting game, or for other pleasures.
For Moses, Adam is created at the end of a long line: extending from the Beginning to creating Vegetation, Fish, Birds, Crocodiles, Cattle, Beasts, Crawling creatures and then Man IN THAT ORDER. it fits the order of the Evolution.
3: Midday Judgment of the Sixth Day
Moses also concurs with science saying that Man arrived only after a drastic change.
When the Sixth Day dawned, Moses says, ELKM continued to create as before: first Cattle-like then Beast-like then Crawling creatures that once ruled our Planet. We have seen that Moses CAN be seen as concurring with Science.
But then, according to Moses, while the Sixth Day was in progress, ELKM passed a ‘premature’ Judgment on everything He had created earlier ON THAT DAY. it was unusual, since in the past ELKM had judges a Day only at its end (besides the 3rd Day). Since a Day lasted Billions of years, this Midday Trial of the Sixth Day CAN correspond to the catastrophe that hit earth 75 M years ago and wiped out the Dinosaurs and all the pre historic creatures. .
Let’s also recall that whenever ELKM’s Name appears in the text, a trial is conducted using Absolute Justice. A trial has two optional verdicts: good or bad. .
A bad or ‘not good’ verdict implies that the Day, or its creatures were not allowed to continue. They were deemed not good anymore since they could not support life in the rest of the Day. Hence they were terminated with no MERCY. They ‘finished’ their role in CREATION. ELKM builds and destroys, gives life and takes life away in Absolute Justice.
A’ good’ verdict implies that the remaining creatures would live and support the next phase of the Day. A good verdict also implies that ELKM permitted to introduce new and higher creatures. Thus,
The Dry Land of the middle of the 3rd Day were deemed good for they would support the next phase of life on Earth: Vegetation.
The Vegetation of the 3rd Day were good since they would support the Fish in the ocean in the 5th Day.
The Fish were good since they would; support the Bird. And the Bird was good since it supported the Crocodiles.
Likewise, the creatures that remained after the Midday trial of the Sixth Day were good in ELKM’s eyes since they would support the creature introduced next: Adam. .
Thus each’ good’ Verdict introduced a higher, more sophisticated creature into the next phase.
Let’s also recall that whenever a Midday Trial is conducted by ELKM, the Earth stood on a crucial crossroad.Thus on the 3rd Day’s Midday trial the Earth stood on a crossroad: Would it see life on it, or not? ELKM said that it was good, and He seeded life (the Stromolites) on Earth The ‘good’ verdict gave the Universe permission to go on and introduce new creatures. . .
Now again, in the Middle of the Sixth Day, ELKM passed a crucial trial: would Earth see on it ADAM on it, or not?
So far Moses concurs with Science. Adam appeared at the end of a long line and after a big, decisive change in the environment.
4: Man’s Many Species
Moreover, since a Day of CREATION is long, several Billion years, it is conceivable that by saying “Let Us Make an Adam” ELKM started a long PROCESS in which He introduced Man. This process could well have taken hundreds of thousand years, passing through several phases. Again, Moses CAN be seen to concur with science. .
5: Adam as the Summary of the Six Days
Moreover, after the Midday Trial of the Sixth Day was over, ELKM said: :
“And ELKM said Let us make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.” (Genesis 1: 26)
“Let Us…” He announced a Plan. He also changed His tone.
“Let Us…” It sounds a request. From whom? Who is greater than ELKM?
“Let us…” It sounds a consultation. With whom? Who is wiser than ELKM?
“Let us..” it sounds begging. Who is more powerful than ELKM?
The rabbis in the Midrash said that indeed all these options are true. Before making Adam, ELKM requested, consulted and even begged someone(s) to join Him. who could these entities be?
The verse does not elaborate with whom ELKM consulted.Moses left it open, on purpose. In fact the rabbis said that ELKM consulted with whoever was listening, whoever is mentioned in the chapter. Some mentioned before making Adam, and some after Adam. In short: ELKM consulted entities of the past and others of the future. Adam was made to connect the past with the future. These are not empty words, as you will soon see in full.
Who are those entities of the past? The Six Days.
6. ELKM Consulted the Six Days
Thus ELKM turned to the Six Days and consulted each Day saying .
“Let Us make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”
He turned to the FIRST Day, to the Light, Matter, Chaos, Space, Gases and Water mentioned there and consulted them the way a BUILDER consults his MASTER PLN, and made a layer in ADAM accordingly. Adam is made of stuff that stars are made of.
He turned to the SECOND Day, consulted the “water above” and “water below,” like a BUILDER consulting his MASTER PLAN and made a layer in in Adam accordingly. No wonder our body consists of 80% water.
Turning to the THIRD Day, He consulted the Vegetation, like a BUILDER consulting his MASTER PLAN, and made another layer in ADAM. No wonder our blood vessels brunch like a tree. No wonder our eyes use photosynthesis for our vision.
Turning to the FOURTH Day ELKM consulted the Luminaries, the Seasons Earth, like a BUILDER consulting his MASTER PLAN, and made another layer in ADAM. No wonder we harbor a biological clock in our system.
Turning to the FIFTH Day ELKM consulted the Fish, Birds and Crocodiles, like a BUILDER consulting his MASTER PLAN, and made another layer in ADAM. You can see that in the evolving human embryo.
Turning to the SIXTH Day ELKM consulted the Cattle, Beasts and Crawling creatures like a BUILDER consulting his MASTER PLAN, and made ADAM accordingly.
Hence Adam is a summary of everything created before him. By this, Moses concurs again with Science about Adam. Adam is the last creature, the end product of a long process. The entire Six Days are embedded in hum, as you can see in the developing embryo in his mother’s uterus.
7: ELKM Consulted His Wisdom and Science and Made Adam
Having consulted the Six Days, ELKM turned to the very Beginning and consulted the Wisdom and Science by which He had created the Universe (Midrash) saying:
“Let us make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”
Then, ELKM consulted His Wisdom and Science and made Adam’s MIND accordingly. That us why Adam’s mind is capable of unraveling all the mysteries of the Universe. Nothing in Nature can evade Adam’s searching mind.
A clue: The Hebrew term for “The Beginning,” Be-reshit can be read ad ‘at the head of the events ELKM created the Heavens and the Earth.’
Hence ELKM, turned from the Sixth Day to “the Beginning” or to “the head of the events” or to “His Head” or to “the Wisdom in His Head, consulted it like a Builder consulting his plan, and made Adam’s mind accordingly.
By this Moses concurs again with Science. Adam is a Wise Man, Homo Sapience.
But whereas Science is satisfied by this description of Man, Moses says that this is definitely not enough. Adam is here for a trial, and he is more that a mere wise creature. For that we need to go to the text.
END OF IDOLATRY CLASS 8