(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 21:12:59 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Judaism
< < QUESTION: I am doing an essay on judaism at university and need some help with:
1)creation of the universe 2)origins of humanity> >
ANSWER: I just presented a paper on this very topic at the 3rd International
Conference On Torah and Science at Miami International University. A 4 page
email text file summarizing my lecture (with references) is available. The
ideas I presented originated on Torah forum. Anyone who wants a copy of my
presentation can simply email me with their email address.
Let me briefly answer the question. REFERENCES: Several of the keynote
speakers at the conference have written books on the subject: eg Gerald
Schroeder, Genesis and the Big Bang, Bantam Books,1990, or Natan Aviezer,
In the Beginning, Ktav 1990. These books discuss questions of cosmology
and evolution with scientific references.
TORAH FORUM: I developed a thesis (presented below) in Torah Forum v3n56
(volume 3 number 56), v4n11 and discussed throughout v4n24:65. The Volume 4
issues are downloadable from the Project Genesis web site.
Roughly speaking I cited the Soncino Translation of the Zohar which
emphasizes the past-perfect in Gen 1:2--"And the world HAD ALREADY BEEN
formless and void..and G-d called the light day but the darkness HAD
ALREADY BEEN CALLED NIGHT." This implies that the world had already existed.
This leads to the theory that "G-d created and destroyed worlds till He
came up with this one which He liked (Gen Rabbah 3:7). So it needn't bother
us if the world and man are several million years old. Instead I suggest
that what happened 6000 years ago is not the creation of the world but the
creation of prophecy. In other words man may have existed for a long time
but 6000 years ago the first prophetic revelation happened to a
person,Adam. This is supported by the phrase SPIRIT OF G-D (Gen1:2) which
is exclusively used in the Bible for prophecy.
We could then regard the snake as a "slimy person" who was not a prophet
and did not believe in G-d. Genesis 3 describes a confrontation between
prophetic and non-prophetic man in which the aetheist attempts to make Adam
I hope this very brief introduction helps.
Russell Hendel;Phd ASA;Math,Towson Univ;