Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Chicken or the Egg? by Rabbi Moss

Question of the Week:
How do you reconcile the age of the universe according to science with the Torah account? According to the Torah we are in the year 5769 from creation. Yet science claims the world is around 16 billion years old. A bit of a discrepancy, wouldn't you say?

Answer:

I don't see any discrepancy here. Why can't we say that the 16 billion year old world was created 5769 years ago? Sounds weird? Let's travel back in time to see if it can make sense.

Let's imagine that you visited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on the very day they were created. The world is six days old, and the first human beings are not even one day old yet. And yet, they are fully grown and intelligent beings. Obviously Adam and Eve did not start life as babies, for who would look after them? And so while their passport would indicate that they were born today, their bodies would indicate that they were fully matured adults.

And just say that before Adam and Eve had a chance to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, you decided to chop down the tree to count the rings and see how old it was. You would find that the tree gives the impression of being years old, even though it was just created a couple of days ago. And the same would happen if you would carbon date the rocks in the Garden of Eden. Though freshly minted by the hand of G-d only days ago, they would seem millions or billions of years old.

This is because the world was created complete. Out of nothing, G-d made a world ready to inhabit, and then created mature human beings to live in it. G-d created trees, not seeds; adults, not babies; mountains, not molehills.

The old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, is answered by the Torah. G-d made chickens, not eggs.

When science dates the world, it doesn't take into account the starting point - the world was old already at the beginning. So indeed the world that is 16 billion years old was created 5771 years ago. There's no contradiction.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome to the first class on Towards a Meaningful Life

Dear Student,

Once upon a time, our worlds were very small, and roles were clearly defined. You lived in a village with one blacksmith, and if the blacksmith moved away, there was no one to shoe the horses. If you were the town baker, you knew that everyone depended upon you for bread.

Today, we live in a universe of seven billion people suspended in the vastness of space. And the underlying concern of our age is, “Do we really matter?” Do our choices make a difference? Are our lives significant in the ultimate scheme of things?

This is the question that is at the root of our search for meaning, and it is the question that underlies this course.

In this first lesson, you will learn why everything you do does matter, now and forever. You will learn about the importance of having a personal mission statement, outlining your indispensable role. And you will gain some practical tools for implementing your mission.
I’m looking forward to having you join us for the first JLI class of Toward a Meaningful Life as we embark on an amazing journey together in search of a more meaningful life.

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