Saturday 2nd November 2019 4th Cheshvan 5780
PARASHAT BEREISHIT by Rabbi Kalman Packouz
Genesis 1:1 – 6:8; Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10; John 1:1 - 17
How old is the universe? 13.8 billion years or 6,000 years? Did Creation take place in 6 twenty-four hour days or were they longer? This week I bring to you a fascinating approach from a fascinating man. Daniel Friedmann holds a master’s degree in engineering physics and is the Chairman of Carbon Engineering, a company dedicated to removing co2 from the air to solve climate change and ex-CEO of the Canadian company that made the robotic arm for the Space Shuttle. He lays out his research in his book, The Biblical Clock.
Why did Mr. Friedmann start investigating the connection between the Torah's story of Creation and the scientific timeline? The Talmudic sages teach that ‘God looked into the Torah and created the world" (Midrash Rabbah on Gen. 1:2). Mr. Friedmann concluded that if the Torah is the blueprint of the universe, then the Torah account of creation and scientific account of the age of the Universe must coincide.
About 700 years ago Rabbi Isaac of Akko made the assertion that time – while God was creating and man had not yet appeared – was different than time as we keep today. Mr. Friedmann, based on this insight and on classical sources, aligns the dates of key events as described in Genesis 1 and 2 with those derived from scientific theory and observation. How? One Creation Day = 1,000 x 365.25 x 7,000 = 2.56 billion years.
The factor of 1,000 comes directly from Psalm 90:4: “For a thousand years in Your sight are as a day” – where we learn that one day for God equals 1,000 human years.
The 365.25 number is simply a conversion from days to years (being the number of days in a year). The factor of 7,000 relates to cosmic cycles. The Talmud, (Sanhedrin 97a), which was redacted approximately 1,500 years ago states, "The world will exist for six thousand years and in the seven-thousandth year, it will be destroyed." Various Kabbalistic works, dating back to the first century, write that there are 7 cosmic cycles of 7000 thousand years (analogous to the sabbatical cycles). The factor of 7000 relates to these cycles. (This would explain the finding of ancient fossils of the dinosaurs).
The Torah provides a detailed timeline of the creation events. Genesis describes the timeline for the formation of the universe and the appearance of life on Earth. Each event is provided in sequence with a time of occurrence. For example, we are told that the sun was completed at the end of Day 4, that life first appeared in the oceans at the beginning of Day 5, and that the animals were made in Day 6; careful examination of the Genesis text reveals about 20 separate creation events. Much of the information in Genesis is further detailed in the Oral Torah to reveal a more accurate timeline of events.
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 38b) provides the detailed account of Day 6, hour-by-hour: "The day consisted of twelve hours. In the first hour, his (Adam's) dust was gathered… in the fifth, he arose and stood on his feet; in the sixth, he gave (the animals) their names; in the seventh, Eve became his mate; in the eighth, they ascended to bed as two and descended as four (i.e., Cain and Abel are born); in the ninth he entered the Garden of Eden and he was commanded not to eat of the tree; in the tenth, he sinned; in the eleventh, he was tried; and in the twelfth, he was expelled (from Eden)…"
Mr. Friedmann then calculates that the Age of the universe from the start of Day 1 to today: exactly 13.74 billion years, coinciding with the latest scientific measurements.
Beginnings of life: from first thing on Day 5 ("let the waters teem" Gen. 1:20) to today corresponds to 3.52 billion years which is in agreement with the scientific time for "universal ancestor" – the single cell.
Plant life (on the land): from hours 6 to 9 on Day 6 until today ("God planted a garden … and there He placed the man... And God caused to sprout from the ground every tree" Gen. 2:8, 9) corresponds to 426-106 million years ago which he reports is in agreement with the fossil record.
The Author of the Torah is one and the same as the Creator of the Universe. Therefore, there cannot be a contradiction between Torah and science.
(I’ve included the above for interest’s sake. Personally, I do not ruminate or speculate on the ‘hidden things’ that belong to the Lord (Dev 29:29)).
The Five Books of Moses begins with the Six Days of Creation, the Shabbat, the story of the Garden of Eden -- the first transgression, consequences and expulsion; Cain & Abel, the ten generations to Noah, the Almighty sees the wickedness of man in that generation and decrees to "blot out man" (i.e.. the flood).
One of the most profound verses in the whole Torah is "And God created man in His own Image." Since God does not have a physical being, this means that we are endowed with free-will, morality, reason and the ability to emulate God Who bestows kindness. Also, if we really appreciate that we are created in the image of God, we realize that we have intrinsic worth. Therefore, there is no need to be depressed wondering if you have intrinsic worth!
The Torah states, "In the beginning of God's creating the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1, 1) ... God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He abstained from all His work which God created to make (Gen. 2, 3).
These two verses encompass all of Creation. The opening three words end in the Hebrew letters taf, aleph, mem which comprise "emet" (truth), and the closing three words end in aleph, mem, taf which spells "emet." Reb Simcha Bunim of P'shis'che cites the Talmudic statement, "The seal of God is emet" and comments, "It is customary for an author to place his name in the opening of his book. God placed His Name, emet, in the opening chapter of the Torah. Emet thus envelops all of creation, a testimony to God as the Creator."
Divrei Shaul notes that all traits can be a matter of degree. There can be greater beauty and lesser beauty, greater wisdom and lesser wisdom, greater strength and lesser strength. Only one trait cannot be more or less: truth. Something is either true or it is not true.
God is identified with truth. Just as truth can never be altered, because altered truth is no longer truth, there can be no change in God (Malachi 2:6).
The Talmud says that emet is broad-based, consisting of the first letter of the alphabet, aleph, the middle letter, mem, and the last letter, taf (Shabbos 55a). Truth, therefore, has stability and durability.
Falsehood, on the other hand is the Hebrew word sheker, consisting of three letters near the end of the alphabet. Sheker is top-heavy and cannot endure.
Then God said, "Let there be light!" and there was light. God saw that the light was good. So God distinguished the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness He called "night." So there was evening and there was morning—one day.
But, notice that the sun, moon, planets and stars were only created on Day 4. The question then arise, what was the light created on the first day?
The FFOZ commentary suggests that this light was divine. They quote Yalkut Shimoni 11.499 “This is the light of Messiah, as it is said: ‘God saw the light that it was good.’ This teaches that before the world was created, the Holy One, blessed be He, look forward to the generation of Messiah and its deeds. He hid the primordial light for Messiah, and His generation beneath the Throne of His glory’”.
So, in effect, what is being suggested here is that HaShem hid the divine light of Messiah after the 1st day of creation, concealing it until it will be fully revealed in the Messianic era.
Over 2000 years ago, Messiah Yeshua erupted in a blaze of glory into the world darkened with deception and idolatry. After approximately 33 years, with His divine mission complete, the radiant light of the Son was hidden, awaiting the final redemption in olam haba, when the glory of the LORD will once again, be fully revealed. Then, the
light of His glory will cover the earth (and the peoples) as surely as the waters cover the sea.
“(Yeshua is) a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”