Re: Torah and Science

Isaac A Zlochower (
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 20:09:34 -0800

Now that the original poster of the torah and science discussion thread
has amplified his views, it becomes clear that he was not discussing
these topics from a traditional or expert point of view. His approval
of the idea that G-D and His Creation must be coexistent and eternal is
definitely not traditional. The idea of an eternal universe was an
ancient Greek idea that has always been opposed by our Sages. It is
also inconsistent with our current understanding of the physical
universe, and has serious logical problems as well. Consider the
following. If we could reverse the direction of time and travel into
the past as fast as we wished, we would never, ever reach to the
"beginning" of time, if time were infinite and the universe, eternal.
Then, how did we get to today from an infinitely distant past?

Clearly, there was a beginning to time. That the fabric of space-time
had a beginning is implicit in Einstein's general theory of relativity.
Time, space, energy, and matter are intimately related in this theory.
Thus a meaningful and modern interpretation of the first verse in
Genesis would be, "In the beginning of time, did the Source of the
energy and laws of the universe (Elokim) create space (Shamayim) and
matter (Aretz)".

The development of the universe from its origin in space-time is
described in the "Big Bang" theory which has successfully predicted the
observed temperature of relic radiation from that primeval and
enormously expanded "fireball". It also accounts for the observed
ratios of the lightest atoms in the universe. I am not aware of a
serious problem with this theory. There is an unresolved question of
the age of the universe, as a whole, relative to that of some
individual stars and galaxies. But this should be resolved shortly
with additional data.

Thus, Rabbi Menken may, indeed, claim that modern science has come down
on the side of Torah in opposition to ancient Greek philosophy.

Yitzchok Zlochower