The Six Days of Creation
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
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
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
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
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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