© 2020 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner
How Long was a Day of CREATION?
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
The stakes are high. If we find Genesis NOT compatible with Science, we may conclude that the Story of Genesis is NOT TRUE, just another myth. But if we find Genesis compatible with Science, we’ve credited Moses’s revelation. ELKM, whose Name appears 32 times in the Story of Genesis as a stamp of truthfulness, is BELIEVABLE.
Last class we saw that Moses’ Genesis can’t be counted among the myths told in his time. Now we ask- can his story be matched with our Science?
What do the Fundamentalists say?
Fundamentalists take Moses’ story literally, on its face. For them there is no need to verify the story by science. The Heavens and the Earth exist 5779 human years, and they were created in just one regular week. If fossils and radioactive measurements show otherwise- well, that is science’ problem. “Science changes all the time. It is unreliable” they.
When I was at high school, our teacher simply advised us either to ignore the apparent difference between Genesis and Science, or leave this to “great rabbis” who certainly know the answer. Other teachers said that the Story in Genesis should be taken allegorically and that the animals mentioned are “holy beasts.” When I grew up, I read several books attempting to defend tradition, saying that the “Torah is not a history book” hence we should rather focus only on its moral messages. The apparent clash with Science was pushed aside, leaving us perplexed.
This approach is unfortunate, since a recent survey among university students showed that 70 percent abandoned religion exactly because they see the clash and can’t resolve it. And if Chapter One in Genesis is untrue, what would you say about the ret of the Bible? It takes just one spoon to tell whether or not the soup is spoiled!
So, is Genesis compatible with Science?
The first question should be-
1: How old is Creation?
The Greek believed that the Universe has always existed.
Science says that the Universe is 13.7 Billion years old, starting with the Big Bang.
What does the Torah say?
On the surface, Moses says that the world is only 5779 years old. For biblical fundamentalists, this number reflects the truth.
Yet this number is calculated from Cain and Abel onwards – from Genesis Chapter 5 onwards till today. It does not count Chapter One, the length of the Six Days of CREATION.
Indeed, Kabbalah noticed that fact. A notorious scholar of Kabala, Rabbi Haim Abulafia (13th century AD, Italy) calculated the age of the Universe form Psalm 90 where Moses says
“For our thousand years are like one day in your eyes.”
From here he made the following calculation-
(1) A year in the ‘CREATOR’ eye equals 350,000 of Man’s years (350×1000)
(2) Another kabbalah source says that 6000 Years of the CREATOR equal ‘One Day of CREATION.
(3) Hence A Day of CREATION Equals 6000×350,000=2.1 Billion human years.
(4) Six Days OF CREATION equal 2.1 x 6 = 12.6 Billion human years
Surprisingly, Rabbi Abulafia calculation comes close to our scientific number.
The text itself
We don’t need Kabala. The Torah text itself suggests that a Day of CREATION is an era, a stage in the history of the World.
How? At the end of the First Day it says:
“And ELoKiM saw that it is good, and it was evening and it was morning, one Day’
We may observe-
(1) The first Day is called a Day, whereas the Sun and the Moon would appear regularly much later, on the Fourth Day!
(2) The First Day is called ‘One Day’ instead of ‘Day One.’ It defines the length of ‘One Day’ of CREATION.
How long was a Day of CREATION? The time it took for CREATION to advance from the ‘Beginning’ to have in it “Chaos, Matter, Abyss, Light and Water” mentioned in the verse.
That might have taken 2.1 Billion human years, as Kabbalah suggests.
Thus, a Day of CREATION was an era, a phase in World’s history. On the average, it lasted 2.1 billion human years. It was certainly NOT our one day.
So far, we have seen that Moses’ Story CAN be matched with the story told by Science, something you can’t say about any of the myths told in his time.
Can we match the rest of Genesis with Science?
Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwords.com
END OF IDOLATRY CLASS 7
2: Is Genesis another myth?
How can we compare Mose’s story to the ancient myths of his time?
To our luck, Ms. Karen Armstrong herself tells us about the ancient myths in her book.
our scientific knowledge of CREATION. No way. Their story is mythical, whereas our scientific narrative is factual.