Friday, September 14, 2012

Did the Almighty G-d create the world?

Or to be more precise,

Did He do it within the short time of six days?

Another question that can be asked is, does He perform miracles, extraordinary or unnatural acts that encroach on the limits of reality as we know it?

I assume that once we establish the answer for the first question it will be easier to answer the secondary questions.

I felt that this is an appropriate time for this essay because according to the prevailing authorities among our sages, Bereishis – and the anniversary of the creation is on the 25th of Elul which is right around the corner. The other reason is, that I recently saw a Jewish on line debate on this topic where the argument was about some old artifacts that were dated to be 10,000 years old.

Most of the people on both sides of the discussion seemed to be missing the point. While one side was calling it simply Kfira – heresy as they believe that the world was created 5773 years ago according to the dates provided to us by our sages. The other side was using the only weapon that they had – ridicule. Few of the participants of the dialogue were trying to somehow combine the Theory of Evolution or Old Earth Creationism with the version of creation as described in Bereishis.

Only one of the participants of this on line conversation noticed that the whole methodology of dating old artifacts is highly inaccurate and is more ‘scientific’ dogma than factual observation. This is not the place for a long discussion about the radioactive method and other methods of dating and how it is perhaps the biggest distortion in the history of science. But you can easily do some research online where this subject is explained at length.

For a major part of my life I was a believer in the creation of the earth by the Creator but at the same time I also took for granted the theories of scientists.  I grew up in a society where scientists had achieved a position of trust; scientists said this and scientists discovered that, and - scientists know for sure, they are scientists after all!

We believed that the scientists were devoted to discovering the truth and only the truth and than they were preserving the truth for future generations. It was almost like a religious belief. My naiveté slowly eroded as I began to discover that the ‘priests’ of science as well as real priests are also human beings like ourselves. They have ambitions, cravings, beliefs and ideologies like we all have, and these and other factors may influence not only directions of their research but also the research results. But most of all, some of their conclusions which are supposedly derived from objective research are in actuality mirroring their own world view. I discovered that modern science in particular is based more on ideology then science and it is this ideology that excludes almost all of the spiritual aspects of our existence. Sometimes this materialistic western ideology simply negates the fact that we are spiritual beings or at least that there is some transcendent aspect in our existence. When asked about this, the scientists hide behind their scientific agnosticism, declaring that even if today’s science doesn't have answers for this or that question or problem, soon, soon it will be discovered and that the answers will certainly fit in to their Greek based methodology of axioms and definitions.

In spite of my being influenced by my materialistic upbringing I was always trying to merge the theory of evolution with the gradual slow act of the creation and development of the world.

For years I attempted to explain most of the Nissim – miracles in a similar way, by finding natural and naturalistic explanations for all the unnatural or miraculous acts described in the Bible, A Bible which I considered to be an extraordinary book and communication channel between the Creator and humanity. But in truth, for some reason in my sub consciousness I saw G-d as shorthanded or almost unable to do those things. I saw nature as the dominant factor of our existence. I was almost unable to see Him in nature as the ultimate Doer and cause of everything. Certainly, I saw G-d in greater distance from His creation than I see it today.

Slowly I began to discover that not only the nature itself is unnatural, miraculous, and impossible but the only real existence which can be called Existence is His Existence and not ours. It is not us who believe or not in G-d but it is Creator who 'thought' us and this is when our ‘existence’ began. It is Creator who Is ‘telling, thinking, imagining’ His word of creation, and this word comes to realization of what we call existence and reality. What for Him is the word for us is the world.
Giver of our existence first created us as the spiritual identities and than He crafted the material world enclosed in three dimensions and time as the trial field where we have to exercise His gift of Bechira – free choice.

Once I ‘discovered’ this truth, I revisited the question about nature and who I really am. I will not go deeper to this topic in this essay but I would rather focus on the subject which follows the fundamental one. This subject is the issue of the creation of the world, its continuance and miracles – an extraordinary, unnatural or statistically impossible acts.

It appeared to me at certain moment that there is no difference between what we call natural and unnatural.

I asked myself - did the Creator need to stretch the creation for billions of years if He Himself is the Creator of time?
The answer is obvious - No. He doesn’t need any time to create the existence of and give a shape to this world.

For the purpose of the creation, which is sharing with human being Creator’s freedom of action, Creator doesn’t need for this world to be billions of years old. He could bring this so called reality to existence in no time and I mean no time. He chose the process of the creation to take six days only for didactic reasons and not because He somehow was limited by laws of nature which He created.

One of the reasons for the six days of creation is to put in to the fabric of the creation code - a pattern in the form of the number seven. In spite of our confusion as designed by the Creator, we – humans should be able to discover this Code-pattern and than consequently discover the fabric of the creation and then consequently discover the One who puts the code in to the fabric of the creation – Creator Himself.

All of this uncertainty and confusion are designed to make sure that our moral choices are real. The clarity of knowledge of the Creator would take from us our free choice. Free choice can exist only in a realm of uncertainty and confusion in our material world where the Creator is hiding behind ‘nature’ and at the same time He is revealing Himself in the codes and patterns of nature.  I hope that the above sentences are not too convoluted and are simple to understand.

The whole physical world is filled with such codes and patterns which for most people are unnoticed but for the searching and sensitive mind they are obvious marks of the Creation and the Creator.

The act of creation becomes for some individuals so obvious that it is beyond and doubt for them. We may ask - what happened with the free choice of these people? Their choices are possible only because of the fact that Hashem is hiding from them throughout their lives, He gives them the impression of being completely withdrawn from their affairs and they feel like they are on their own. This is the precise area where they can make mistakes but also choose the right decisions, and for them this is the essence of Bechira –freedom of choice.   

Time is reality, which even if with astronomical numbers of zeros after digits, can be limited in our mind. With today’s knowledge of space, space seams to be infinite, there are no numbers designing its end or beginning like it is case of time which began with Big Bang. The light of the farthest stars and galaxies travel to our center of the universe for an infinite number of light years.
The ‘space’ without the space ‘before’ Big Bang is impossible to grasp.
In the same way like in the case of ‘natural and unnatural’, time-space ‘infinity’ is the medium which the Creator is ‘hiding behind’ but at the same time He is giving us the glimpse of what infinity is about. In other words: ‘the Higher then Physical’ is revealed in our physical world by nature and infinite time-space.

In summary, the Almighty Creator did not need the millions and billions of years to form or remodel this world. If it took time for Him it was necessary not for Him but for us.
Recently I came across following line from one of the MO publications:
“It is not hard to imagine creation taking longer than ‘snap of the Hashem’s anthropomorphic fingers’.”  
But the question is why? What would we gain from it? Would it be part of the confusion necessary for exercising the gift of free will? I would be almost ready to accept this idea but HBH could snap the fingers and create the world with the all the signs of evolution as indeed many believe that it really happened this way.

I don’t. I don’t believe in millions of years of the slow development of the natural world and I don’t believe in creation with imprints of evolution in the form of fossils and certain laws of physics. Philosophically the idea of creation taking longer than six days is not acceptable for me. The only framework from which I look at the geology or history of our planet is through the framework of Bereshis as understood by our sages, and through the Mabul – the great flood of Noah.

I detailed my observations about Noah’s flood in my essay on this topic partially published on my website where I combine the modern Young Earth Creationism’s view on the topic of Flood together with some my own observations and various interesting statements of the Scriptures and Jewish sages.

The deeper understanding of Bereishis is strange to me as I’m not educated enough to understand it and anyhow, the story of the Creation is written in the language of Kabbala which I’m not familiar with. The story of the floods, one at the time of Chanoch the other in the time of Noach, and past great flood ice age, are sufficient for me to understand the geology of our planet in the terms of  the calendar provided to us by our sages.

Local floods here in the United States like Lake Missoula flood and the drainage of Bonneville Lake, Great Lakes of Southern Utah and Arizona and Great Lake which covered today’s Great Lakes but on much higher level, help to explain  some of the geological and other changes in recent history. When in the Middle East the history was already written the rest of the planet whether inhabited, was populated sparsely by groups which had not yet developed the means to observe and record history and  natural changes even if those changes were of global proportions.

I would not call a person who fulfils the will of the Creator as written in the Shulchan Aruch but also believes in some form of evolution or Old Earth creationism a Kofer.

Believing in this or that way about the forming of our reality is not something which defines us as Jews, fulfilling the will of the Creator as revealed in the Torah does.

If person is trying to combine evolution with the Creation it is usually the result of confusion and belief that every statement said by a scientist with a straight face with the religious i.e. dogmatic authority of science, is a fact. It is not necessary so. But temples of evolution are being built all over and the capability of propagandizing by the believers of this ideology is superior. But most of the time the final argument that they can present is ridiculing creationism. All this is for one purpose only, to distance the Creator from their and our lives. For a Creator who is not distant comes with various requirements and who wants to think about that …
Matys Weiser

P.S. To see more on topic, see this fascinating material: