© 2019 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Genesis Vs Evolution:
How did Moses know so much?
Class 2: The CREATOR
Comparing Mose’s Genesis with the Scientific Narrative, we need to address two topics: The CREATOR and His CREATION.
Moses, by saying “In the Beginning, GOD created the Heavens and the Earth” – identifies the CREATOR as GOD. Let’s ask, does Moses’ conception of GOD concur with the Scientific perception of a CREATOR? So first le’s see what Science says about a possible CREATOR, and then compare it to Mose’s words.
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 life 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. .
Ancient Judaism, in contrast to the Greek, studied Nature as a path to recognize and glorify GOD the CREATOR. On Abraham (lived 1850 BC) it is said that he discovered a 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 said, must have been “formed” by an “Architect.” Moreover, he said, this CREATOR ARCHITECT must OWN his Palace and everything in it, by the “right of an artist to own his artwork.” Hence the BUILDER of this world also owns me; therefore He/She is “My Landlord” or “My LORD” (In Hebrew: Aa-Do-Nai). At the age of 58 y, it is said, Abraham met Noah who taught him about GOD as The CEATOR. (There are ten generations between Adam and Noah, followed by ten generations between Noah and Abraham, showing continuity- Adam (or his grandson Enosh) taught Noah who then taught Abraham.)
About 2100 years later, Rabbi Akiva (Palestine, 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)by
A thousand years later, Maimonides (11th century AD) also wrote in His Torah Code of Laws (“Yad”) that one should aspire to recognize and love GOD by studying Nature .
The Church too walked that way. 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 the watch has been made by a watchmaker? (“Natural Theology,” )
Yet throughout all those many centuries, observing Nature was done only to glorify GOD. Very little was in fact known about how Nature works. All phenomena were attributed to GOD’S Will with no other explanation. A person was sick because this is what GOD wants. On the other hand, during the 18-19th centuries, the drive to search Nature to glorify GOD led to the discovery of many Natural Laws- something that secular scientists end to ignore. Paul Davis, a professor of mathematical physics at the University of Adelaid,writes (“The Mind of GOD”, NY Touchstone, 1992): .
“Early cultures , and the cultures of the East, did not believe that the world is built this way (cause and effect) but perciieved nature as holistic tapestry of independent (supernatural ) forces…it is interesting to ponder whether science would have flourished in medieval and Renaissance Europe, were it not for western theology” .
Monotheism promoted Science . But during the 19th Century, the more Science grew, the less there was a need for GOD. The worst blow to Religion was done by the new Scientific Methods that sanctioned experiments and direct observation and measurement rather than holy books. The growing Science recognized no ancient authority but only tangible, tested facts. Any new scientific theory could replace an old one, if this was helpful. Science also won over Religion because it success. Science, after all, has prolonged our lives, eradicated many diseases, created much wealth and introduced new technologies that has enriched our lives. . By the end of the 19th Century, Scientists could describe the laws of Mechanics, Optics, and Elecrro magnetic Fields by beautiful mathematical equations, logically derived from one another. To the scientist of that time, the Universe looked like a perfect clock et up by a CREATOR who subsequently left it to operate on its own. According to the classical Science, all events an e predictable once we have mastered the knowledge of all the natural factors involved. The whether for instance could be predicted once we have a computer that could run all the information fast enough. In such a close system, there is no rrom for the action of GOD. At the turn of the 20th century, most “enlightened” people in the West believed that Science had already replaced GOD.
But this view on the Universe and the CREATOR was soon turned upside down by Science itself. At the early part of the 20th Century, Quantum Physics came along and said that nothing is predictable at the Quantum level which is the base of everything. Shrodinger’s law of uncertainty says that it is impossible even to measure the position, speed and momentum of a small particle at the same time. Likewise, a particle may behave either as a mater or or a wave, pending on the observers’ mind. The spinning direction of an electron is dictated by the observer’s consciousness, something that can’t be explain by Newton’s Classical Physics. By this Quantum Physics has introduced a meta physical entity such as Consciousness into real physics. Moreover, In the Quantum world, information may travel across the Universe instantaneously, regardless the speed of Light. A new Science of Chaos showed how a butterfly’s wing moving in Tokyo can incite a tornado in Arkansas. This way a small change in one part of the word – even our consciousness- may affect the universe far away. This new science opens up a way to comprehend how GOD can interfere in our affairs behind the scene. In a letter written to a freind, Albert Einstein writes .
“You may find it surprising that I think of the comprehensibility of the world to be a degree of a miracle…But surely, a priori, one should expect the world to be chaotic, and not to be grasped by thought in any way…”
For Einstein, the fact that Natural Laws exist and that Man can grasp them is a miracle. Nowadays, the scientists continue to seek a One Theory of Everything which would cover Einstein’s General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, indicating a deep belief in One, Smart CREATOR. The fact that all genetic information is transmitted by a language of three letters of nuclear acids- ATCG- also suggests one CREATOR.
:Yet even those scientists who believe in in a Smart CREATOR, wouldn’t necessarily accept the notion that He/She runs our lives. Stephen Hawking, for instance, sees the Big Bang not as a Beginning of Time (“A Brife Historoy of Time”) and rejects the existence of a CREATOR . Even if there is such a CREATOR, he says, why would he have any interest in our lives? The Universe is so vast, of Billions Galaxies, and our own Milky Way is so large that it would take a light ray more than 100,000 light years to cross. Our own Sun and her planets occupies just a tiny spot on one tail of this giant galaxy. Moreover, in very minute, a new star and her planets are born, while other stars and their planets either die, explode as Novae or 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, insignificant human lives?
Now that we have covered in short what Science thinks about a CREATOR. what does Moses says about Him/Her? Does Moses concur with Science? Does he add something about the CREATOR that Science never says and would never say? .
The CREATOR As Perceived By Moses
Our task is to compare Moses Genesis with Science. We have already seen that the Age of the Universe- 13.7 Billion years according to Science- is compatible with the number that kabala has calculated. A Day of CREATION, kabala says, is an era 2.1 Billion years long on the average. Six Days took close to 13 Billion years.
But even if one accepts the notion that Moses matches our Science, one may still ask where are the Dinosaurs mentioned in Genesis? Why were they extinct? In fact, Earth passed through many catastrophes that almost decimated all life on it, none mentiened by Moses! Moreover, if the Word was created by the “Good GOD,” why did He wipe out the pre-historic creatures? And why did the “Good GOD” create volcanoes and earthquakes, serpents and scorpions and black holes?
Our class today is dedicated for the answer of this very question. For that, we need to know how Moses perceived the CREATOR.
One can talk endlessly about GOD. In this class we’ll limit our discussion to ideas that are relevant to the history of Earth and the story of Genesis.
Moses starts Genesis by saying “In the Beginning,GOD created the Heavens and the Earth.” The erm GOD is one of TWO NAMES: GOD and LORD that are commonly used throughout the Bible for the CREATOR. What’s 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 a human judge. For instance, Moses in Deuteronomy says “ee-lo-him among you do not curse, nor should you curse a prince among your people”. Here “ee-lohim” and ‘prince’ are clearly a human judge and a prince.
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 expresses awe and reverence, yet lacks the specific message associated with the Hebrew ELKM the JUDGE- that the world was created to stand a judgment. .
The 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 referred to as The 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. As we’ve just said, Y,H,V,H refers to the Infinite CREATOR sitting on the Throne of Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness.
Thus wherever you see “LORD” in the English text, it means My LORD which is a respectful substitute for the real Name Y*H*V*H. “Substitute” means That while the text says YHVH, our lips utter Aa-Do-Nai, My Master. 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 wouldn’t like to use the substitute LORD, but rather read YHVH, how would you pronounce it? The answer is simple. Since YHVH is the Hebrew acronym for “He was, He is, He will be,” you’d 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 ELKM is ALWAYS translated in English as GOD, never as LORD.
The term YHVH is ALWAYS translated in English as LORD, never as GOD
Note that the acronym YHVH does not contain any vowels 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 He has a deep interest in the worlds affairs, especially in the human affairs. Someone is watching us, recording what we think and what we do, for a Judgment.
An historical proof for this interpretation is the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) – considered also the annual anniversary of CREATION. It is a day of Universal judgment, when GOD (ELKM) “ascends again on His Throne of Justice to judge CREATION, as it was in the Beginning.
GOD (ELKM) and LORD (YHVH) are Attributes
Remember that both Names, GOD (ELKM) and LORD (YHVH,) are Attributes. They describe the action of the CREATOR at a certain time, or that hat he wears at a certain time. When sitting in Judgment He is called GOD (ELKM) Whereas when He showers on the world Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness He is called The LORD (YHVH). On other occasions He would wear other hats or assume other Attributes, such as “Sha-Dai.” Here in the story of Genesis He appears either as GOD or LORD. .
Since any Name is descriptive and therefore limited, we have no Name for the Essence of the CREATOR. It is above our human conception. Even the title CREATOR is a limited, restrictive Attribute.
The two Attributes follow different paths
While GOD (ELKM) seeks the Absolute Truth and Judges the world by Absolute Justice only
The Attribute LORD (YHVH) showers on us Absolute Love, Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness overriding Justice
GOD (ELKM) and LORD (YHVH) appear differently
During the Six Days of CREATION, in Genesis Chapter One, the Name GOD (ELKM) appears 32 times; indicating that these Days were created by the Absolute Justice only.
GOD (ELKM) said let it be light
GOD (ELKM( said behold, it was good, One Day (was over)
GOD (ELKM) said let the water accumulate on the ground
GOD (ELKM) said let the earth grow grass…
GOD said let the luminaries be seen on Earth…
and so on
In contrast, the Attribute of Mercy, LORD (YHVH) appears in Chapter One only once, along with the creation of Adam, as the Sixth Day turns into the Sabbath. .
First GOD (ELKM) said Let us make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image
Then it says “And rhe LORD GOD (YHVH ELKM) formed the Adam from the dust of the gound
Hence the CREATOR created the Six Days while sitting on the Throne of Absolute Justice, and only then He showed Mercy on the world and created us, Adam.
Hence our world is a Court’s Theater; first created and judged by GOD (ELKM) and then offered Mercy and Compassion and Forgiveness. .
A lesson to a human judge : he too should first seek the truth and nothing but the truth, and only then exercise mercy and compassion – as the case is deserving.
Now, what are the features of the Attribute of Justice, GOD (ELKM) that would help us to comprehend Genesis and compare it to our science?
GOD (ELKM) WAYS
The Thirteen Attributes of GOD (ELKM)
The rule is that the CREATOR of Nature, GOD (ELKM) can be understood by observing Nature. We can identify (at least) 13 features of His Ways, as follows
1.GOD (ELKM) is the ultimate, sole power in this world.
2.GOD (ELKM) created the world with Wisdom
The verse “In the Beginning ( “In the head of the events, Be-reishit) GOD ELKM created the Heaves and the earth” can be read as GOD created the world with His Head, or the Wisdom in His Head. The rabbis took that as a hint that Nature is built with Laws and Wisdom
3. GOD (ELKM) is at the “heart” of Nature.
Where is He? Above? Below? The rabbis noted that His Name appears 32 times within the Six Days. as it happens, 32 is written n Hebrew as Lb (a= 1, b=2, k=20, L=30 and so on) The word Lb in Hebrew refers to “a heart.” Hence, they said, GOD (ELKM) is neither above or bellow but rather “at the heart of Nature.” He still ‘sustains’ Nature as the heart sustains the body.
Another numerical miracle is that the value of “ELHM” – 86- is the same as Ha-Teva, “The Nature.” Hence GOD (ELKM) is the creator of Nature.
4. GOD (ELKM) acts in Genesis like BUILDER of a Six Floors Building – the Six Days.
Each “Day of CREATION” constitutes a Floor. The Six Floors pile up on top of each other. No ancient myths in Moses time had a similar view of Nature.
5. GOD (ELKM) acts in Genesis as a Builder-JUDGE
At the end of each Day and each Floor (besides the 2nd Day) Moses says- the BUILDER GOD (ELKM) checked the passing Day whether or not it was good . The verdict “good” on a floor means (1) that the floor r the Day is viable, strong, capable of carrying another floor on top (2) that the floor pleases the Builder (3) that the floor fits the Master Plan for the entire Building
But a good verdict implies by definition, the possibility of a “not good” verdict. GOD (ELKM) judgment follows the absolute truth with no mercy. It is therefore harsh. A Day whose verdict is “not good” anymore would be terminated by the BUILDER who would start it all over again.
. This Judgment, the rabbis said, would be particularly harsh at the end of the Sixth Day of CREATION, the End of Time. At that point, the verse says, GOD (ELKM) will judge not only the passing Day but rather the entire BUILDING, the whole project. If it would be deemed Very Good He would allow it to survive and enter the next Day, the Seventh. If His verdicts would be Very Bad, He would terminate the entire world and return it to nothing (Rashi) .
6. GOD (ELKM) is Kind. As Powerful as GOD (ELKM) All Mighty is, He is also KIND. He is the Ultimate Provider who cares about His creatures and supplies their needs. He has Provided each creature with the necessary talents to thrive 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
GOD (ELKM) also provides each creature the tools to enter and live in the the next Day. This way He provided Man – who was created on the Sixth Day- the tools and talents to enter and live in the next, Seventh Day of CREATION, namely the Sabbath.
7. GOD (ELKM) uses ABSOLUTE JUSTICE– seeking the absolute truth. His Nickname is TRUTH. His signature is TRUTH, emeth. This was He ruled the world “awesomely alone,” consulting no one and considering no other moral argument but the TRUTH.
8: GOD (ELKM) pays “measure for measure.”
His retributions follow precisely the Absolute Justice, paying back ‘measure for measure’ (midah ke-ne-ged midah) . Under His rule, creatures are allowed to eat other creatures because they too would be eaten in due course. Creatures are allowed to inflict pains on other creatures because they too would suffer pains in due course. A wolf preys on a sheep, only to be later killed by a fallen tree. .
The verse says that “The Finger of ELKM” wrote”An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (Exodus 32: 15.) I tis a law of ELKM expressing the Absolute Justice of “measure for measure” without Mercy. he Oral Torah however expressing the LORD (YHVH) dictates monetary compensation only. (Talmud).
9. GOD (ELKM) created the Six Days as a Dictator, awesomely alone, giving orders, 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.
But prior to creating Adam, He changed His ruling and tone saying in plural, “Let Us Make Adam in Our Form and Our mage.” By this He Consulted “other entities” mentioned in the Chapter and made Adam, something He had never done before. He was a Dictator no more. The rabbis called Him a Benevolent King Who Consults- “melech”- a king in Hebrew. (Who is a meleck, king? One who consults his subjects in modesty and then decrees. ) .
10: GOD (ELKM)’s judgment is even to all like water.
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
11. GOD (ELKM) judges by our deeds, rather than by character.
He weights our deeds on His scale, merits on one side and sins on the other. The tilt of the scale would determine our fate-
we are righteous (tza-dik) if we’ve won .
We are wicked (ra-sha) If we’ve lost .
GOD (ELKM) does not account our character in His Judgment. The LORD (YHVH) does, since She aspires to Dwell in our heart.
Now that we know how Moses conceives GOD (ELKM) as the CREATOR of Nature, Can we match his words about the History of the World with our Scientific narrative?