Age of the universe
Posted 04 September 2011 - 10:59 AM
what about the rings in the trees which shows some trees to be much older?
Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:05 AM
I'm not sure I understand the question., We know the world is 6,000 years old because we have a history from the beginning of the world all the way up to today. It's like asking how do we know that America was discovered in 1492. As the Kuzari says (1:45) this is the universal and uncontroversial known-as-fact knowledge of all Jews "from Hodu to Kush."
And the calculation is explicit in the Medrash סדר עולם רבה.
some say that the count of 6000 according to the torah starts when man was created
What does this mean - that we have to add 6 more days to the age of the world? Why would anybody say this? In fact, the number of years after Adam was created is not explicit in the Torah, but the six days that transpired before he was created is explicit in the Torah. ויהי ערב ויהי בקר וגו. And as the Gemora says (Chagiga 12a) this means not merely that there was some kind of day and night, but that Hashem created the "length of the day and the length of the night" on the first day of creation. Obviously, this means the length of the day and night as we know it - as Rashi says there: Twenty four hours total.
And there are plenty more places where this is explicit, but it is unnecessary to bother collecting them all, because there is no basis to create a controversy where there is none. If there is a question, or a difficulty, we can then exert ourselves to answer it, but responding to a non-existent challenge, which this is, gives the impression that a challenge exists that needs a response, which is not the case. When someone presents a reason to question any of the above, it would be appropriate to answer. But until then - and so far it has not happened - there is no challenge to respond to.
As Rav Chaim Brisker said: You can only give a תירוץ if there is a קושיא.
As far as the tree rings, I will address that iy"h in a future article.
Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:55 PM
This is an issue that many Torah observant Jews believe themselves, but are not sure how to respond when it comes up in conversation with others. I'm sure many people would benefit knowing at least some food for thought to share with those they are discussing the topic with. For a secular person, unfortunately, the Gemara in Chagiga doesn't carry so much weight.
Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:27 PM
Are there any books that you can recommend (preferably in English) that go into detail al pi science that the world is 6000 years old?
You mean al pi science the world can be 6,000 years old. I don't know anyone that claims the scientists have proven the world has to be only 6,000 years old.
Awake My Glory and Sing You Righteous by Rav Avigdor Miller.
I have never read any books by Christian creationists, and I don't know whether they are kosher. I did see this article, though. It is fine.
It is good to know that the scientific dating mechanisms are based on assumptions, in particular, the assumption that the world has no Creator. and Rabbi Miller demonstrates that very nicely. I wrote this article explaining how you see that about their so-called "vestigial organ" proof, which only makes sense if you assume that Hashem did not create the world.
Yes, but the best approach here is not to bother pointing out the technical fallacies of Carbon-14 dating or missing links in the fossil record. The entire issue is really a non-issue according to the Torah, because even though the world was created 6,000 years ago, it was created aged. Had there been a scientist around at the time Adam was created who tried to determine how old the world was then, he would have seen fully grown trees, fully mature animals, and of course a fully grown Adam HaRishon, and therefore would have concluded that the world could not be only 6 days old because it takes much longer than that for the trees to grow and the animals to mature. And that anyone who says the world is only 6-days old is a religious fanatic or something. Please read this.
This is an issue that many Torah observant Jews believe themselves, but are not sure how to respond when it comes up in conversation with others. I'm sure many people would benefit knowing at least some food for thought to share with those they are discussing the topic with
How old was the world on that first day that Hashem created it? Well, Hashem wanted Avraham Avinu to be able to see a sky so full of stars that they would be uncountable. He needed the light of those stars to have already reached the earth by the time Avraham was born. Hashem wanted scientific discoveries to take place at various pre-determined times throughout history, and so He needed the earth and the oceans and the sky to be old enough to provide the scientists with the knowledge that they were destined to discover at those times.
If Hashem wanted the scientists to discover, let's say in the year 1925, some piece of scientific information that must be culled from the observation of a star many thousands of light years away, or from a decayed tree many thousands of years old, then Hashem made sure when He created the world that at the point in time designated for that discovery, that a light-years-old star and a thousands-of-years-old tree would be there.
In other words, the entire world would have had to have been been created millions of years old so that one day that scientist would learn what he could only learn from a millions-of-years-old star.
For Hashem to create a world 15 billion years old is no more of a miracle, and takes no more of His energy, than it does to create a world that is 50 years old, or 50 seconds old. We know the world was aged beyond its days when Hashem created it - the animals were adults and the trees were fully grown. The only question is how much older than one day was the world on Day One? The answer is: However much older it needed to be in order for Hashem to most expeditiously fulfill all of His plans.
So Hashem took every single predetermined event that would take place throughout the future of the world - Avraham's seeing the stars, the scientists' discoveries, and most likely many, many other things that we are unaware of, plus many many things that will happen some day in the future - Hashem considered every single factor that would be relevant to the agedness of every part of the universe, put it all together and decided how old the world needs to be on Day One in order for all those events to occur at their designated times.
Hashem does not make miracles needlessly. And logically it is less of a miracle for Hashem to create one world with one age rather than one world with many different things of different ages. So rather than Hashem creating the stars a certain age so that Avraham would see them, and creating different stars a different age so that the scientists could learn from them, and creating Adam yet another age so that he could be an adult when he was "born," and creating the Eitz HaDaas a certain age so that it could bear fruit for Adam, etc, Hashem took all of the above into consideration and created all of the world with a single age, that would have the characteristics of whatever level of maturity it needed in order for all of Hashem's plans to be fulfilled.
If that number happens to be 15 billion years, then so be it.
What you need to remember is that we are used to a world in which new things are young and old things are aged. But the creation of the world was a miracle and (a) no matter how you cut it, the world was definitely created aged such that it had the appearance of being much older than it actually was, and (b.) It is not a greater miracle to miraculously create a world that is a trillion years old than it is to create a world that is 100 years old.
The only question is, how aged was the world when it was created? The answer to that is, however aged it needed to be for the most expedient fulfillment Hashem's plans.
So if the scientists say the world has the appearance of being 15 billion or trillion years old, maybe it does. That doesn't mean it wasn't created 6000 years ago.
That's number one. On top of that, there is the fact that the sin of Adam totally changed nature, and whatever scientific "readings" the savants obtain that tells them something about the natural world would not be able to tell them anything to about the world before the Sin. Nature was different then. You can't use proofs from post-Sin nature and apply them to pre-Sin nature. They are apples and oranges. Our sages have been telling us this for centuries already. See here again, the quote from the Divrei Chaim.
And on top of all that, of course, were the natural upheavals that took place during the Mabul which would further skew the scientific dating methods.
So you don't need any Christian young-world creationists to help you out. These age-of-the-world questions are questions only to someone who is not aware of what Judaism says about creation and the world. For someone familiar with the Torah's teachings. it is no surprise that the scientists say the world is billions of years old. We expected that it could look that way. On the contrary - if the world appeared scientifically to be only 5,773 years old, then it would be difficult to understand (since on Day One the world clearly appeared older than it actually was.)
Posted 24 November 2011 - 08:59 AM
A small note about one of his sources: He quotes the Rav Sadiah Gaon in Emunos VeDeos (3:8) that if someone claiming to be a Navi says that Hashem took a year to make the world, he is a Navi Sheker. I've long seen this piece translated two different ways in different Hebrew translations of the Emunos VeDeos. The version he quotes differs from the translation of ibn Tibon, which renders that sentence as: If the person claiming to be a Navi says "He makes it known to you that he created the heaven and earth in his sleep without consciousness," he is a Navi Sheker.
The reason for the confusion is because the Arabic word for "sleep" is similar to the word for "year" - like it is in Hebrew: שנה and שינה. Obviously, it seems to make more sense that Rav Saadiah means "in one year" because what is exactly the point of claiming that Hashem created the world in His sleep? It sounds like the ibn Tibon is a forced translation. I have an Emunos VeDeos in the original Arabic, but I can't read Arabic, so I sent a copy of the page in question and both Hebrew translations to Rabbi Yaakov Winselberg of Miami, who can. He in fact was the translator of the recently published ספר המספיק לעובדי ה by Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam, into both English and Hebrew, from the original Arabic. A while ago, I asked him what was going on. Here's what he said:
I found the phrase in the Arabic. It is פי סנה בלא תאויל. There are two phrases here: פי סנה and בלא תאויל. I will start with the second one, because it is a fairly common term. The word תאויל refers to an allegorical way of explaining a text, as opposed to the literal sense. Since it is בלא תאויל, that is the same thing as saying דברים כפשוטן. I don't read this as בלי מחשבה or "thoughtlessly," because that would refer to Hashem's thought. The word תאויל, though, is not used for thought in general, but about interpreting a text or a nevu'ah. So I think this can only be explained according to the first version you brought, which is "כפשוטן," or even better, the way he writes it in footnote 58.
The first phrase is not as simple. The word פי means "in." The word סנה is usually "a year," but it could also be "sleep." The Arabic is close to the Hebrew here, with both meanings שנה and שינה possible. I prefer "year," though, for two reasons: If it was "while He was sleeping," it should say something like"in His sleep," not "in sleep." In other words, it wouldn't say סנה alone, but סנתה, or something like that. Also, Rav Saadiah Gaon in Chumash for שינה doesn't use the word סנה but the word נום, related to the Hebrew תנומה. So here too, I prefer the first reading, במשך שנה, but I see why the one might write wrote "while asleep" and the like.
Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:02 PM
Obviously, it seems to make more sense that Rav Saadiah means "in one year" because what is the point exactly of claiming that Hashem created the world without consciousness?
Perhaps it could mean that the navi sheker is claiming Hashem is to a degree separated from creation, that it was c"v created not completely from His intervention. Those who cant deny a Creator but dont want to face the consequences of this fact claim the world was created and to some degree maintained by some sort of unconscious force or something. Or perhaps it's like those who say Hashem started the world, then let the rest evolve by itself
Posted 05 December 2011 - 12:20 PM
One thing I always found fascinating was the idea that even according to scientists, civilizations did not begin before 6000 years ago. However this Göbekli Tepe seems to cause some issue.
Would love to know your approach. Thanks
Posted 17 December 2011 - 07:34 PM
When the scientists believe civilization began is unimportant, because they believe that humans were around way before that.
It is "interesting" (not to me, but it should be to them) that in a fifteen-billion year old world (sic) the records of recorded history disappear just long enough ago to make the world around 6,000 years old. Of course nobody is going to have a history older than that because there was no history to write about.
So please explain to me how these people came up with these numbers?
Posted 01 April 2012 - 02:21 AM
People see "6 days" and they forget there's more to Bereishis than just the first perek.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 04:10 PM
But a navel has nothing to do with being underdeveloped. It's the leftover of an umbilical cord, which Adam never had. Kind of like a scar. So I don't really see the question.
But the truth is, the entire question is not really relevant anyway, because Adam's body was nothing like ours to begin with. The reason Adam did not need clothing was because his flesh was קשה כציפורן; he was also created דו פרצופים - attached to Chava. Before the sin, Adam's physical makeup was nothing like ours, so there's no basis for the question to begin with.
Posted 13 July 2012 - 11:28 AM
I don't understand the question. Even if your memory is false, in the Torah it says that there was an Adam and that there was 6,000 years of history, right? That's how we know the world wasn't created 5 minutes ago!
Also a related question, how can one know that the world was not created 5 minutes ago, with a built in history and everyone with different childhood memories?
Unsolicited advice, meant totally in a constructive manner: Stop reading non-Jewish meforshim. It is only causing you to go backwards in your understanding, besides which it is full of stuff that is Assur to read.
I know where you got this question and why you think (wrongly) that it is "related" to the first question you asked about Adam and the navel. The question is silly in a Judaic context. It only works if you assume the Torah wasn't written by Hashem. And once you assume that, then maybe indeed it's true that the world was "created" 5 minutes ago - who cares? Who says it's not?
if you accept the Torah, the question is easily answered. If you don't, then the question is an error because it asks for proof of something that was never claimed (i.e. the world was not created 5 minutes ago).
And your two questions are not at all related. The question is valid regardless of whether someone says Adam had a navel or not or the world was created aged or not. The question is simply: "How do we know the world was not made 5 minutes ago?" That question can be asked regardless of how old you think the world was when it was created.
One more thing. Technically, the world is indeed only a moment old. Hashem is מחדש בטובו בכל יום תמיד מעשה בראשית, which means that Hashem recreates - not "renews" - the world every moment (there are Seforim that say once a day). There is no difference between Hashem's act of creating the world 6,000 years ago and Hashem's creating the world every moment, except that 6,000 years ago, Hashem kept adding new items to His creation. After the 6th day, the world was created with no additional matter beyond what it had the previous moment.
Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:40 PM
I just joined and am eager to ask something that's been bothering me.
I recently heard a well respected Rabbi say that the reason we (read: archaeologists) find bones dating from tens of thousands of years ago is because Adam and Chava weren't really the first people on Earth, rather they were the first people to be created B'tzelem Elokim. He also used this idea to explain who it was that Cain feared would kill him after being driven away. He said it was unlikely that Cain was afraid of his own descendents, especially since at that time, they were so few in number.
I was just wondering if this is a koshere perspective (it didn't really sound right when I heard it). If not, what should we believe:
a. Hashem buried old bones in the ground to test our faith (the same way He made trees with rings and Adam with teeth)
b. The scientists are just wrong, and their dating methods are faulty.
c. Something else I'm not thinking of
Thanks a ton,
PS I've been reading this site for a long time (including its previous incarnation) and finally decided to jump in. Can't wait to be part of the discussion.
Posted 26 August 2012 - 02:31 PM
Besides, there were only 5 days of existence before Adam was created, so his theory is not going to help him explain "10,000 year-old" bones anyway.
And I don't understand what you mean when you say "Hashem buried old bones in the ground to test our faith (the same way He made trees with rings and Adam with teeth)". Nobody ever said such a crazy thing. You need to stop reading whatever websites you got that from. Hashem made Adam with teeth because He created him as a adult and adults have teeth. Same with tree rings. What exactly would the alternative be? That Hashem would create trees without rings? But rings aren't the only effect of maturity - trees aren't born bearing fruit, and they're not born as tall strong trees altogether, right? So what exactly would Hashem have done - create seedlings and no trees? Baby cows and no adults? But seedlings and babies also are a sign of prior biological processes, so that, too, would be G-d "fooling" people.
The entire idea that Hashem for some reason should have created a "young" world (whatever that means) rather than an aged one makes no sense. What exactly do you think the world could have looked like un-aged? And why in the world would that be more reasonable than to make Adam an adult and the Eitz HaDaas fully grown and fruit bearing? Please see my post above of 11/22/11 10:27 PM.
Posted 26 August 2012 - 06:21 PM
A - The sun and moon were only created on the fourth day of creation. The sun and the moon are what determine "time" as we know it. We don't know how much "human time" took place before "day" 4, as what determined the length of a "day" as our minds understand it before the sun and moon came into existence? Therefore, things like trees could have been around for a lot longer than "one day" as we think of it.
B - The world was created fully mature, so if, again, something like a tree, was created originally looking like it was thousands of years old, then by extrapolation from appearances alone...
C - The mabul changed the face of the world. The earth (as in dirt) was churned, and things such as bones of animals, etc, got buried much deeper than possible in the natural progression of years. Additionally, things (again, such as bones/fossils) appeared much older than they were in reality after going through the waters of the mabul.
I don't have sources for any of this, but this is what I've always heard in response to the question of why the world appears to the scientists to be older than it is. I'm sure Rabbi Shapiro will correct me if I'm wrong...