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July 06, 2005


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All leading haredi and hasidic rabbis disagree with you. They all hold the earth and the entire universe are less than 6,000 years old and disbelief in that is heresy.

The issue isn't whether you as an individual can find a way to explain the Torah to fit with science as you see it that makes you feel good.

The issue is haredi and hasidic Judaism reject this.

Past all that, there are many absolutely false claims beyond the age of the universe made by the Torah that cannot be rectified with the truth and with science, your delusion aside.


You wrote:

Could The World Have Been Created 'Old'?
1. No Jewish source exists to support this contention.

The creation story states that (for example) trees were created. De facto they were created with the appearance of age. The same applies for anything created. In fact, creation is not possible without the existence of the appearance of age. Adam was created to appear (as far as I recall the midrash) as age 20.

2. To make the world appear to be billions of years old when it is really 6000 years old is problematic:
a. It makes G-d appear to be deceptive.

This is not logical. Why anything was created the way it was, is a non-answerable question. Why are roses red? is but one of millions of examples. For a tree to appear 3000 years old is acceptable? 6000? 12000? Our narrow partial view of this (calling it deceptive at a point of our choosing) is not logical.

b. If one accepts the idea that G-d created an 'old' world, why not say the world was created 5 minutes ago and we with it, with all of our memories, etc. ready-made?

Daily we recite the Psalm that says, Hamechdesh betuvo bechol yom TAMID maasai beraishis. Explained clearly by many meforshim to mean that all day, everyday (i.e. "tamid" each moment) the world is re-created anew. The questions "why not say . . . ?" although not an imperative to prove anything, happens to, sort-of, point to the way the facts are.

As has been pointed out in another comment, sub-atomic particles behave like waves and particles. Decades ago, it was scientifically demonstrated that wave particles become matter particles ONLY when viewed by HUMANS. Sounds strange, but this is the scientific understanding presently of the universe. Thus, they explain, when a human views anything, and it "becomes" a matter particle, it does so--including all its "history" which heretofore was only in wave form (meaning, it did not really exist). Thus, the science of quantum theory has allowed for the universe to be only as old as the first man, Adam (who's creation was on Rosh Hashana; the first day of creation on Elul 25 is completely absent from the days the Jewish people take note of) and at the same time, have built in its "apparent" past the age as might be claimed by science. In other words, Quantum Theory is clear in rendering non-relevant any claims of science contradicting Torah with regards to the age of the universe.


Where is it written that R' Yitzchak of Acco actually "authenticated" the Zohar? All I've read is either that entire investigative episode is a legend, and ends with Moses of Leon's wife admitting that he wrote it himself.

A bigger question no one seems to ask, is how is it that a talmid (R' Yitzchak) of the greatest kabbalist of his time (Ramban) hadn't heard of the Zohar? This means that the Ramban also didn't know about it. Kind of makes the Zohar seem superfluous at best, and fishy at worst doesn't it?

Baruch Atta

As long as one recognizes the authority of the Rabbinic authorities for Rabbinic decisions....
But Science is a totally different realm.
Science deals in "models".
For example, the model of the atom (150 years ago) was electrons that orbited a nucleus. There were "bands" of electrons, and they formed bonds from atom to atom, forming molecules. This model worked very well in predicting the laws of Chemistry. Since the model works so amazingly well, it is kept. However, now we know it is totally false. Electrons are both wave and particle energy and do not "orbit", as predicted in the earlier model.
My larger point is that Science holds many conflicting models of reality simultaneously, and scientists go about their business nicely.
So, it should be no problem to believe the "model" of reality that the world is 5772 years old for matters of religion, where this model works for us, in religious matters, and to also hold from the 14 billion year old model of reality, for astronomical matters, which also works. The 5772 year old model has value in Bible references, moral teachings, and customs. I keep both models of the universe in mind, and can accept them both. These models are NOT contradictory. Each has its use and place in our conversation.

Kate Gladstone

Is "hashgafah" the same as "hashkafah" or different from "hashkafah"?


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Throughout recorded history, several cosmologies and cosmogonies have been proposed to account for observations of the Universe. The earliest quantitative geocentric models were developed by the ancient Greeks, who proposed that the Universe possesses infinite space and has existed eternally, but contains a single set of concentric spheres of finite size – corresponding to the fixed stars, the Sun and various planets – rotating about a spherical but unmoving Earth. Over the centuries, more precise observations and improved theories of gravity led to Copernicus's heliocentric model and the Newtonian model of the Solar System, respectively. Further improvements in astronomy led to the realization that the Solar System is embedded in a galaxy composed of millions of stars, the Milky Way, and that other galaxies exist outside it, as far as astronomical instruments can reach.


Let us take things at the face value. G‑d created the world in six days. Adam and Eve are standing around in the Garden of Eden. Now what does that garden look like? Remember, the world is only six days old and grass was created on the third day…

Was it a garden? A field with seeds? Small little buds looking like a nursery? Doesn't seem to exotic or paradise looking!

On that train of thought, when they ate from the tree - how was there fruit if it was only a three-day old tree? How many rings were in that tree? And wait – how did Adam and Eve reach to get it or for that sake even walk, if they were two hours old? And that snake…he was two days old…boy, did they grow up quick.


If so – and that is difficult because of manuscript finds *after Scholem's death – all kabbala is "post zohar".

Rowan Berkeley

Shmarya, according to the historian Scholem, in his last major work, the 1962 "Origins of the Kabbalah" as revised to incorporate his cumulative annotations in 1987, the Sefer Temunah was probably composed about 1300 c.e. He specifically retracts his earlier view that it was pre-Zoharic, in a footnote.


nice post!


Glad to know that an expert in Pop-Culture agrees with something Shmarya wrote. It must make sense in that case.


Perhaps this link will actually work, with my apologies:


Perhaps this link will actually work, with my apologies:


Thanks for posting this summary. It is extremely useful information to have available.

One of my 'nother favorite blogs mentioned this (http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0505/articles/singer.html) link. One of Modern Orthodoxy's brightest minds has published a book of essays that appeal to someone like myself, admittedly more steeped in the secular world than Daf Yomi. The review is very exciting; I look forward to obtaining the book.

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