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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







The Six Days of Creation

By Lucien Gubbay

The series entitled The Six Days Of Creation, sponsored by the Sephardi Centre and St. John’s Wood Synagogue proved very popular, with many more than a hundred people attending each of its first two sessions. Devised, presented and chaired by Lucien Gubbay, the course was planned to explore the argument that the text of the first two verses of Genesis may be read in a way that is consistent with modern science.

The first evening started with a description of the wonders of creation and continued with an insight into Kabbalah by Rabbi Pinchas Winston. The second evening was devoted to the Big Bang and what followed, in which Professor Aron Vecht and Dayan Ivan Binstock each gave their own views and contributed to the lively discussion. Later sessions have considered whether the universe was programmed for life from its start, the compatibility of Darwin and the Torah, and Adam as the pinnacle of creation. Other guest speakers included Rabbis Pinni Dunner and Saul Djanogly, as well as Professors David Latchman and Abram Sterne.

A marked feature of the discussion was the readiness of both scientists and laymen to accept that religion and science are both aspects of the same reality- and that there is no contradiction between them. It seems that, at least for those attending, the age- old antagonism between science and religion is no longer relevant.

The jury is still out on whether or not the first verses of Bereshit may be read as a succinct, poetical summery of what science tells us actually occurred at the beginning. Some of the contributors, while accepting some similarities of interpretation, did not seem too concerned either way.

What may be unique on synagogue premises is the avidity with which the audiences not only responded to scientific descriptions of the wonders of the physical universe but also accepted them so readily as an added dimension of religious experience.

From Bulletin Reporter

For the past two centuries, most scientists have regarded the Biblical account of the Creation as a threat to their single- minded search of truth and order.

The purpose of this series is to explore the claim that the description of the beginning of the universe set out in the first verses of

Bereshit can reasonably be read in a way that is broadly consistent with the current scientific model.

"God is not seen, but is worshiped through reason"
by Naim Dangoor
Faith goes deeper and further than reason, but faith must not contradict our God given reason, which expresses continuing scientific discoveries. This view in endorsed by Maimonides (Harambam) who wrote in his guide for the perplexed, science is not only the surest path to knowing God- it is the only path.

For instance the seven days of Creation can be interpreted to mean longer periods of time, as in the verse of "Psalm 90" that a thousand years in God’s eyes is like a day that passes and a watch in the night.

"And God said let there be light" corresponds to the Big Bang which produced an immense amount of light. I often wondered why the creation of light is singled out and given the first place in Genesis. In Einstein’s equation E=MC2, C is the speed of light which again occupies a unique place in the process of creation.

The creation of man does not come on the first day as one might expect but on the sixth and last day which conforms to the process of evolution by which man appears as the culmination of that process.

The whole idea of Genesis is to proclaim that the Universe was created out of nothing and that it was created by a living God.

This idea was not accepted by the other nations of the world. When Alexander the Great visited Israel in 330 BCE, he wrote to his teacher Aristotle- "what do you think of the Jewish claim that the Universe was created by God?" Aristotle replied, " there was no creation. The Universe has always been there!".

This attitude has been maintained by scientists until recent times who argued against the idea of creation out of nothing by saying that according to Newton’s law, nothing can come out of nothing. They have calculated the size of the Universe one billionth of a second after the Big Bang but found that they cannot go earlier than that. In fact, God is not subject to the laws of Newton, and

He created the Universe out of absolutely nothing, except by tremendous amount of energy which can be estimated by Einstein’s famous equation, Energy = Mass times C2 , where C is the speed of light per second.

To imagine what amount of energy is necessary to create the whole Universe out of nothing is mind- boggling.

Immersed in the mind minutiae trying to match fact with inspired fiction, the series dared not ask the question, let alone answer it- "who created God?"

According to a literal interpretation of the first three words of Genesis- "BERESHIT BARA ELOHIM"- it was Bereshit who had created Elohim!


Naim Dangoor Writes:

I was pleased to note that Lucien took on board my theory regarding the identity and origin of Adam, which I think is obvious but which has not yet been universally acknowledged:

Adam was born at the end of the last Ice Age 9000 years ago in East Africa, and crossed over to Southern Arabia when the Red Sea was still a lake. In the Garden of Eden, which was at the present- day Aden, (where else? - certainly not at Gurna near Basra).

Adam discovered the wild wheat which he found was nourishing and began to plant it, and thereby starting agriculture and living in settled communities awaiting the crops. That was the start of our present civilisation.

Before agriculture, men could feed themselves only by hunting animals when they could find them and gathering wild plants.

In a way, Genesis can be regarded as the story of our civilisation, in which Adam, whose name derived from "Adama" which means land is honoured by naming him as the first man (Adam Harishon). Adam was also a great prophet and his biography includes that man is free and is thus responsible for his actions; the brotherhood of mankind etc…

The rest is history.






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