Welcome back to the beginning of the word of God. With Shemini Atzeret past us, we are now starting the annual cycle of readings from the Torah, all over again, and that puts us here, at the beginning where the Torah tells us all about the beginning.
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I don’t really need to go through what happens in this parashah, do I? Even the atheists know that God created the earth, separated the sea and the land, created the stars and the sun and the moon, the fish, the plants, the animals, and finally people. Later, when the earth was populated with sinful people, God decided that he needed to start this over again, and that the only one worth saving was Noah.
Hmm…looks like I went over it even though I said I didn’t need to go over it.
This parashah will undoubtedly bring up the age-old argument of Creationism vs. Evolution. But wait a minute! That argument isn’t really age-old, is it? Judaism has been around for nearly 6 Millennia, and this discussion has been around for barely 160 years, so it isn’t really age-old! In truth, it is very recent. So, why is it so new? Maybe, because before science became so important to people, they were very satisfied accepting that God was in charge and that what happens in the world is all his doing.
I love science and believe it is necessary for our existence, and to understand how things work is a good thing. But, science has the unfortunate side-effect with many people of displacing God.
Recently, though, many scientists are coming to the conclusion that because of the complexity and balance within the Universe that it couldn’t have been accidental- there is definitely an intelligence behind it.
Personally, I do not argue Creationism vs. Evolution, but make the argument for Intelligent Design. That seems, to me, to be the best compromise because it accepts that God created everything, but did so in a step-by-step process, allowing inferior species to become extinct while creating a more adaptable species to replace it.
The creation of the universe has been scientifically proven to be the result of a gigantic explosion. This was proven by the sensing of radio waves coming to earth from outer space, radio waves that would be the remains of a tremendous release of radiation from a super-explosion that occurred billions of years ago. The Bible tells us God created the universe with a thought or sometimes we read with a word. The thing that matters is that God made it happen, and so why not with a gigantic explosion? Why couldn’t God have reversed a Black Hole, releasing all the matter that had been condensed within its unmeasurable gravity?
As for the earth, the logical sequence in which things appeared couldn’t have been by accident. After all, evolution says the fish came on the land, but if the creation of life was accidental, why didn’t land creatures evolve before the fish? Or why couldn’t they have evolved together? Or why couldn’t have we have been formed from the start as we are now?
The invertebrate to fish to reptile to marsupial to mammal sequence clearly shows a continual improvement in adaptability. But if this was accidental, how come some species within the same genus died and others didn’t? And if this is how evolution works, then there will be a next level; will that result in homo sapiens who might still be around being enslaved by a superior form of humans? Will they still be human anymore, at least what we know a human is?
And if that is to happen, then it is still feasible to consider that God is behind it. In fact, from a strictly logical viewpoint, it makes more sense that there is some intelligence, far superior to ours, designing and improving the workmanship of life than to suppose these things are happening by accident, or more accurately, by some beneficial genetic mutation.
There have been many different mutations over the centuries, and how many of these have ever been recorded as beneficial to the species? Have any birth defects, which are a mutation of the genes, ever made those with them more adaptable to the environment?
Not from what I have ever seen or heard.
No. Even if I was an atheist, I would find it hard to justify accidental mutation as the reason there are so many viable living entities in the world. The odds of a bunch of rocks forming a planet just the exact right distance from the sun, with just the right atmosphere, just the right temperature, etc., to form life and sustain itself so well are astronomical. Our environment is so fragile in one respect and so adaptable in another that it has, for billions of years, not just survived but thrived.
The only threat to the world is mankind, and if mankind does become extinct, it won’t be by God’s doing- it will be our own fault.
Genesis says the universe and all life on earth was created in 6 days. Science says that happened over billions of years; because I believe in Intelligent Design, and also that God is beyond our understanding (which includes science) that when God told Moses to write 6 days, as far as God is concerned, those billions of years could easily have seemed like 6 days to him.
Frankly, none of this matters to me at all because my salvation is not based on creation or evolution but faith that God is God and Yeshua is the Messiah. If someone wants to believe all this happened by accident, I don’t argue with them.
However, I do feel a sense of pity for them because if everything happens by accident, what hope can they have? None.
I believe God created everything in the universe and that the evolution of the earth’s species over the millennia has been by his design. I also believe that he is going to stop at our current state of development.
Why now? Because he has told us that when he sends the Messiah for the last time (which is the next time since Yeshua has already been here once), that he will create a new earth for those who are to be saved and we will live in God’s presence for all eternity.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty final to me.
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!