Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Parsha: Breishit, "Breishit and Religulous"

The pattern of Creation in Breishit starts from the most simple creation (grass), and ends with the most complex (woman :-). This seems parallel to Darwin's hypothesis.  I also find 'dinosaurs' in "taninim g'dolim." So, without working too hard on apologetics, the Humash narrative and broadly accepted scientific hypothesis seem comparable.
"But to argue against the evolutionary process completely on the basis of the literal meaning of the bible is to argue..."
-  Rabbi David Willig
Furthermore, Rabbi Willig suggests taking Torah seriously, but not literally.  Although you need some flexibility in order to ignore dogmatists on both sides of the debate, his approach may be quite informative.

We know from the Torah text that it makes no sense to assume that first four days of creation actually lasted twenty-four hours. The sun and moon were created on the fourth day, while plants were created on the third.  A fundamental reading of the text cannot really match what passes for a fundamental read anyway. Again, not apologetics, just a simple analysis of the text.

Were I teaching a "Martian," I would say that both Darwin wrote from a technical perspective, while the Torah approaches the same sequence from a more spiritual and poetic perspective- yet both were describing the same events (more or less). So it's primarily a gap in style, not a difference in substance.

Even my 9th grade science teacher - a secular Jew - taught us classic evolution and allowed for the possibility that God was pulling the strings. As far as I know, I think most of us students were quite comfortable with that perspective. None of us felt that it threatened our faith in Humash


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