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?
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.