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Age of the universe

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#21 matan



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Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:49 PM

"No, it's not a kosher perspective. First of all, there were no "people" before Adam. (I assume this person also claims that this species of "people," who presumably were somehow distinguishable from the Adam-type human species, became extinct some time within the last 6,000 years, with all evidence and historical record of their existence disappearing? Or does he perhaps claim that they are still among us on earth, and that any non-Jewish human being today can be descended from them, a Tzelem-Elokimless animal doppelganger of real humans?) All this person is saying in essence is that these bones were animal bones - animals that had bones that could be mistaken for human bones."

I thought that scientists claim that humans and apes share a common ancestor. That species then broke of into to groups, one being human beings and the other being apes. I don't think anyone is claiming that they became extinct.

"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."

But why did Hashem add the fossils to the equation. If he wanted the earth to look old, he could make it look old(tree rings,stars). Fossils don't make the earth look older. They just raise questions.

#22 matan



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Posted 26 August 2012 - 10:04 PM

"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!

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)."

With all due respect to Rabbi Shapiro, i have a hard time accepting this answer. What you are basically saying is that the Torah says the world was created 6000 years ago, and since the Torah is true, the world was created 6000 years ago and all questions wall to the wayside. That sounds like circular reasoning. To someone who has doubts about the torah, that answer is meaningless.
I understand that we must learn and have emunah. But what happened to being rational. A good question is a good question, regardless of judaism.
(please post this. I meant every word i wrote)

#23 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:07 AM

Matan, you are making an error in logic. And I know you "mean every word" because in pseudo-Maskilish communities this piece of illogical, robotic thinking is mother's milk, and from your other posts, most of which do not appear on the site because they are not meant seriously, it is clear that you have accepted blindly the “teachings” of such communities.

And please, nobody elected you spokesman for anybody else. ("To someone who has doubts about the torah, that answer is meaningless.") To you, who did not understand even the question, never mind the answer, perhaps that is true, but you have no right to speak for other people. You can say that you don't get it, but others who are more objective will. Please don't hide behind imaginary throngs of "rational" people, who exist only in your mind. You speak for yourself and only yourself.

Parenthetically, please note I am telling you off like this because, although I asked you nicely many times to stop, you continue to try to waste my time and the time of the readers by trolling and your disrespectful patronizing. I asked you previously to please go play your games elsewhere with some other rabbi. Your attitude that "I understand that we must learn and have emunah. But what happened to being rational. A good question is a good question, regardless of judaism." is symptomatic of the frumophobic indoctrination that is so blatant in so many of your unaccepted posts. Whoever told you that anybody believes what you just implied we do, misled you. Attributing such an attitude to the frum community is a defense mechanism of secularists, convincing themselves that they are the "intellectuals" who are "intellectually honest" and "ask hard questions," as opposed to the religious, who live "on faith."

Your personal beliefs are your own business, but your belief that we have horns (figuratively speaking) is not welcome on this site, regardless of how much you think it is true. So just go somewhere else to spew your ignorance. I'd be happy to answer your questions, if only they would arrive unaccompanied by the anti-frum attitude, and the sometimes subtle and at other times not so subtle attempts at mockery.

But to an extent, you are a Tinok Shenishba, trained to have others do their thinking for you and to have blind faith in whatever beliefs coincide with the vox populi, rational or absurd. That is no excuse for harassing us, but it is an excuse for your not being able to see straight. Because of that and also because I want to point out to the users of this site an example of secular blind faith, I will address your post:

As I said, you are making a careless error in logic. Please read the thread again. The question we are discussing is: Is the fact that the world appears to be more than 6,000 years old a contradiction to the Torah? Is the apparent age of the world is a refutation of the claim of the Torah that the world was created 6,000 years ago?

The answer is no it is not. Both the Torah’s claim and the scientific evidence can be correct, because the Torah claims the world was created aged. And therefore, according to the Torah, the scientific evidence would certainly indicate a world aged beyond 6,000 years. In fact, I said, it would be quite surprising if it did not.

This answer is not designed to disprove the position that the world is millions of years old (for that we have other arguments). It is designed to negate the proof that the world is millions of years old. It is designed to show that the Torah’s claim that the world is 6,000 years old – but aged – is sustainable even if you accept the scientific evidence of an aged world. That does not mean we have proven anything about the Torah; it means we have defeated an alleged proof against it.

Then, somebody posed a counter-argument. And since the only claim I ever made was that the Torah's claim of a 6,000 year old world is compatible with scientific evidence, this counter argument tries to prove that the Torah’s claim of a 6,000 year old world is in fact not compatible with scientific evidence. It does so by attempting to dismantle the claim that the world was created aged. The argument says if you accept that the world was created aged, then maybe the world was created 5 minutes ago with false memories planted in our minds?

But that argument is a mistake. Because the question we are discussing is, does what the Torah claims contradict the scientific evidence? The answer is no, because the Torah claims the world was created aged.

Now what part of that is hard to accept? It is only "hard to accept" to you because it has been hammered into your head that this silly question ("Maybe the world was created 5 minutes ago?") is a valid response to the "aged world" argument (presented incorrectly in your circles). I am publicly claiming neither you nor any of the users of this site can make even a bit of sense out of what you were taught and now accept as, in your own words, "rational."

The argument about the world possibly being created 5 minutes ago does not impact in the slightest on the argument it attempts to refute. It does not provide any demonstration that the Torah’s claim of an aged world created 6,000 years ago world is not compatible with scientific evidence, and that is all that is being claimed.

Asking “maybe the world was created 5 minutes ago” is the same as asking: Maybe the world was created 7,000 years ago or 8,000 years ago, or 5,300 years ago? Obviously, none of those questions are relevant to our discussion, because they have nothing to do with whether the evidence for an aged world contradicts the Torah.

The fact is, I have proven that the Torah's claim of a 6,000 year old world is compatible with scientific evidence. Your question "But maybe the world was created 5 minutes ago" does not diminish in the slightest the force of the proof. We are reconciling the Torah's claim with science. Asking maybe the world was created 5 minutes ago, which is NOT the Torah's claim, is not an argument against the compatibility of the Torah's claim with the scientists' evidence. It just sounds cute to ask such a question. It is astounding that rational people can even think like this (actually it's not so astounding - see the Bais Halevy below - but it is definitely revealing).

So now, "Mr. Rational," I would like to ask you why you or anyone else takes this flaky argument seriously? Why is this not a clear demonstration of what the Bais HaLevy writes, that Apikorsim are the biggest believers in blind faith? That they do not think for themselves and the only reason they accept the ludicrous reasoning of the Apikrosim is that it is vogue to do so?

Forgive me, therefore, if I publicly cannot hold myself back from snickering at your claims of being “rational” and that a “good question is a good question regardless of Judaism.” Even after you heard why the question is not a good question, you come back not merely with a question or a challenge, but with claims that we should be "rational" (like you, of course) and we should address good questions, and then, as an example of a "good question" that we should address regardless of Judaism, you throw me a mindless mantra that you picked up from some website or heard somewhere that makes no sense whatsoever.

Please, explain to me what goes on in the mind of the secularist. Please explain to me – because from where I am sitting, the only good question here that is not being addressed is this: Why do secularists refuse to think for themselves? Is it that they are afraid to be different? Is it that they afraid to be called “fundamentalists”? Is it peer pressure? Or maybe the desire not to be bound to Hashem’s laws? What is it exactly? (I have my own answer, here.)

Again, please do not suspect me of randomly being ill-mannered toward you. I am rubbing it in because of your established credentials as a scoffer. אם ללצים הוא יליץ. And, I believe it is very productive for the readership of this site to see a real live example of secularist blind belief, and to know that just because pseudo-Maskilim say they have "good questions" against the Torah, it does not mean at all that it is so.

Here is the Bais Halevy inside. A very, very important principle:

בית הלוי על בראשית פרק מה פסוק ד

רואים אנחנו בחוש אשר כל אפקורסי הזמן, הכפירה והכחשת האמונה לא בא להם מחמת רוע מזגם שקשה להם להאמין דבר שאינם משיגים בשכלם רק אדרבה כל המינות שלהם בא להם ע"י אמונה, שראה באיזו ספר דברי מינות הגם שהכותב היה בור ריק גם משכל האנושי, והוא מאמין לכל דבריו וסומך עליו כסומא בארובה לכפור בתוה"ק ונמצא הכפירה באה להם ע"י אמונתם וכפתי מאמין לכל דבריו הכוזבים, עד כי בטח נוכל לומר על משכילי זמננו כי הם אבערגלויבער, וזהו שהתאונן הנביא וחוקיו לא שמרו, דלא רצו להאמין בחוקים. ויתעום כזביהם דלהכזב ששמע משקרן אחד האמין בהם לתעות מהתוה"ק.

#24 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:36 AM

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.

This is not correct. First, the sun and the stars do not determine time; they just measure it. Like clocks. If you would stop all the clocks in the world it does not mean that time stopped. This is explained all over - in Chazal, Rishonim and Achronim. (The idea that before the sun and stars there was no time comes from non-Jewish sources.)

The Gemora in Chagiga (13a) says that when Hashem created the day and the night He created the "length" of the day and length of the night. Says Rashi: Twenty four hours total.

The Ralbag and the Alshich ask how time was measured before the sun and stars were created. They answer that first of all, the sun and stars merely measure time as I mentioned, and two, the sun and stars were actually created on the first day (as was everything else), as Chazal say, and were merely put into their proper place on the 4th day.

Rav Elchonon Wasserman (Pesachim 2a) asks whether the sun and stars determine time or merely measure it. He says from the fact that we have day and night before the sun and stars were created, we see that they only measure, not make, time.

There are more places that indicate this as well.

For more on this, see here, here, and here.

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...

This is correct.

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.

This is correct as well. But it's not just that the Mabul buried things. The entire world changed in many ways. See here.

#25 living2learn



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Posted 27 August 2012 - 03:16 PM

Thank you! I never knew that about creating versus measuring time!

#26 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 01:31 PM

I thought that scientists claim that humans and apes share a common ancestor. That species then broke of into to groups, one being human beings and the other being apes. I don't think anyone is claiming that they became extinct.
Please read the post again. You're confusing scientists with rabbis. It's some rabbis who claim that Adam had animal parents, since only animals existed before Adam was created. Of course, such a claim is absurd. Adam was created from the earth and had no parents. It's just a fiction for those who want to believe in evolution and still believe in the Torah - an impossible task.

But why did Hashem add the fossils to the equation. If he wanted the earth to look old, he could make it look old(tree rings,stars). Fossils don't make the earth look older. They just raise questions.

You didn't understand the idea . I'll politely ask you once again to please read what you are responding to.

The idea is not that Hashem made the world look old. That's silly and nobody says that. The idea is that Hashem created a world that would fulfill His objectives, some of which was that Avrohom should see a sky full of stars; Adam should be an adult on the day he was "born;" the trees should already have fruit - etc.. There is also a rule that Hashem minimizes miracles as much as possible. Therefore, instead of Hashem creating a world where the stars are X years old, Adam is Y years old, the trees are Z years old, the animals are ABC years old, He created a world that was uniformly aged. That means if for example the world needed to be X-billions of years old when it was created for the star light to reach Avrohom, then the entire world was created that age in order to minimize the miracles. (Incidentally, creating a world bazillions of years old is not more of a miracles than creating a world one day old).

#27 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 02:06 PM

You mentioned tree rings in this post......What about the tree rings though? They come about pretty consistently and there are trees that are older than 6000 years from tree-dating....or at least older than the mabul was? How did they survive?

Well, I'm not a tree-ring scientist, but according to this, the oldest individual trees in the world with verified ages are not more than 4000-something years old. And except for two, they are all under 4,000 years old. Even the trees with "estimated" ages aren't any older. I find it quite interesting that in a world allegedly billions of years old, they don't have any trees older than this.

As far as the Mabul, before you ask about the few of trees in the world that appear to be more than 4117 years old (again- look at that list - there are almost none verified), why don't you ask about the olive leaf that the dove plucked off an olive tree and brought back to Noach? Do you think that an olive tree could have grown so quickly after the entire world was decimated by the mabul? See here - the mabul didn't just bury the world under water. There is no way that טבע left to its own devices could have allowed an olive tree to grow there so soon. Clearly, the growth of trees while the Mabul was receding - as well as just about everything else we know about the Mabul - was unnatural.

The entire Mabul was a miracle - from beginning to end. Hashem wanted the world to be inhabitable immediately after the Mabul and He arranged it to be so. The needs of Noach's family and animals were met right after they left the Teivah and the world was immediately inhabitable again. Now from what I am seeing - and again, I am no tree ring scientist,but from what I am seeing in many places - trees sometimes grow more than one ring a year depending on climate conditions (for example). Do we have any idea what the effects of the reconstitution of the earth was? Not really. Could the effects mimic unusual conditions that naturally would cause more than one ring in a year? Who knows, but certainly, being that we know the recovery of the earth was a miraculous event, one cannot prove the effects of unnatural tree growth from nature.

Note, the Mabul happened around the year 1656, which was 4117 years ago, and therefore, there are only a few live trees in the world that, according to the dating methods, are only few hundred years off - not more (trees that are not alive did not have to "survive" the Mabul and would have been created with rings from day one).

The thing we need to remember is, using Chumash only does not give you an accurate picture of historical events such as the Mabul, or Brias HaOlam. Our Bible is Torah SheBal Peh. If Chazal say the waters were hot enough to obliterate flesh, sticky and heated in Gehinnom, then we understand that the picture many people have of plain H2O covering the earth and a big boat floating on top of it all is simply fiction. The Christians look at it that way, and of course that's because they threw away Torah SheBal Peh in order to allow for their then-new religion. All sorts of questions and confusing information is raised if you look at things through their eyes. Such as the incorrect idea that a day of creation may have been longer than a day because the sun and stars were not in existence until day 4; and, such as the Mabul doing nothing except dumping water all over the earth and then disappearing.

The only reason they believe these things is because they only have a small part of the Torah. If they would have the whole thing, they would not have so many Emunah problems.

#28 tryme139



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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:26 AM

Hi Rabbi Shapiro

A few points / questions.

Firstly, with regards tree rings; I think that the main issue is the not just the fact that living trees "appear" to pre-date the mabul. The method used (I too am not a tree ring scientist, so apologies if I have any errors here) compares the ring width patterns between both living and dead trees. When you see a statistically significantly similar pattern in two samples you assume that they were created over the same time period. This way you can create an "anchored" chronology giving the information on seasonal variations across a longer timeframe than the life of any single tree. These chronologies go back way further than the mabul (up to 11,000 years according to Wikipedia).
This seems somewhat problematic according to your suggested answer above that the oldest trees aged their first few hundred years during the mabul, since the chronologies that go through this period would include samples that bridged the period entirely.

Another point / question on this subject: the way that tree rings form is due to the changes in weather conditions over the year creating denser layers during the colder months and less dense during the warmer months. The rings are (as far as I am aware) not needed by the tree to survive etc, they should be more analogous to Adam Harishon's navel than to, eg the stars etc as they are kind of like "scars" that develop in the tree due to the way it forms. If Adam Harishon was created without a navel then why would the original trees not have been created without tree rings?

Another question on the subject of the age of the world: I understand from the thread that Hashem wanted to create the world "aged", for the reasons you state, but was this fully consistently aged, or are there some elements that give the game away that it is really not old at all? For example if you took all correct readings of things like tree rings, ice core samples, etc etc and analysed them without any bias would you come to the conclusion that the world actually has to be only 5773 years old, or would they all be perfectly consistent with an older world?

While we are on the theme, the various stars in the universe need to look 15 billion years old (or whatever) for their light to reach us etc, but why does the planet earth need to look 5 billion years old (through continental drift, strata layers etc)? Scientists will say that it needs to be this old to give time for complex life to evolve to the present stage, but if we remove that factor then why can't we live on a world that looks only say 1 billion years old (i.e. it looks old enough to have cooled down, mountains and continents to form etc)?
Linked into this question is why do the "aging events" that happened during the mabul fit in so neatly with the apparent age of the world? For example, let's say that pre-mabul the earth looked 5 billion years old but with no fossils. A scientist looking at the evidence then would be somewhat confused as the earth looks like it is 5 billion years old, but there is no evidence of any life existing more than 1,000 years ago. Then during the mabul all of the bones / fossils were churned into their current positions, new tree rings formed etc, all pretty neatly fitting in to the 5 billion year old earth "look". Why is this?

I guess the bigger and overriding question is; granted that Hashem wanted to create an old looking world, but why do all of these various factors look so consistent to that theme, especially as some of the factors actually came into place a thousand years after creation?


#29 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

Re the "bigger and overriding question":


See my post above of 22 November 2011 - 09:27 PM. I short: Hashem created the world a certain age, but the entire world was created with the same age. The reason is, because it is less of a Ness to create a world where everything is one age than to create a world where everything are of different ages. This is because having a world with different ages is itself not דרך הטבע, and Hashem sticks to the טבע as much as possible. 


That being the case, you will find, if you explore many different ways of measuring the world, that the stars, stick, and stones will all return data that indicates the same age.


Re your question "if you took all correct readings of things like tree rings, ice core samples, etc etc and analysed them without any bias would you come to the conclusion that the world actually has to be only 5773 years old, or would they all be perfectly consistent with an older world?" The answer is it depends on how your dating methods work. All current scientific dating methods do not measure time, but rather maturity. That is, there is no dating method that measures the amount of seconds or minutes that a given object was in existence. Instead, they all identify a physical characteristic of something, such as a level of radiocarbon in a given item. Step 2, they attribute different levels of radiocarbon as the result of a certain amount of time that has elapsed since the item in question came into existence. 


It's like looking at an adult and saying this person must be more than 15 years old. Or like looking at a yellow, crumbling book and saying the book cannot be new.


We're not measuring an amount of time, but an amount of maturity. The time measurement comes because we attribute the observed maturity to the amount of time that we know is needed to create that level of maturity.


That's all valid of course, unless there is some other factor that can cause maturity other than time. If that is the case, then measuring maturity would not be a valid way to determine how long something was in existence  But if you would have some way to measure time itself (which currently we do not have) then you'd get a correct answer.


And that is the disconnect between the people who believe in the scientific methods of dating versus us. We know that the formula that they use to agree maturity to time is skewed, since from day one of creation the world contained a certain level of maturity not caused by any amount of time.


Therefore, the answer to your question is, if your dating method uses maturity to determine time, it will always be off, but if you would find a way to measure time itself, then it would say the world is 5773 years old. 


As far as the tree rings, we really have no idea what nature was like during and post-Mabul. I wrote elsewhere on the site that the earth's recovery after the Mabul was itself clearly a miraculous, unnatural event, as an olive tree would never have been able to grow so quickly after such devastation (it wasn't merely a flood - see here). The fact that Noach and his entourage were able leave the Taivah and find an inhabitable world was a miracle commensurate with the flood itself. 


So I don't know if the seasons then were accelerated like they were before the Sin. I don't know what the world needed to "heal" then and become whole again. But what I do know is that nature then - during and after the flood - was not working the same way as it does now. And therefore, aging methods that rely on nature working then as it does now don't prove anything.


Then thing I find most remarkable about the tree ring dating is that in a world supposedly 15 Billion years old, the oldest individual trees in the world with verified ages are not more than 4000-something years old. And except for two, they are all under 4,000 years old. Even the trees with "estimated" ages aren't any older. Yes, I know that based on assumptions and data they calculate other trees to be much older, but those formulae are not of impeccable accuracy given the changing of nature in ancient times. But "calculated" ages notwithstanding, I find it quite interesting that in a world allegedly billions of years old, they don't have any individual trees with verified ages older than 4000 or so years. Coincidence?

#30 tryme139



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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:13 PM

Git voch Rabbi Shapiro


Thanks for replying to my earlier post.  I understand some of what you have said (I think), but some less so.  I also am not sure if you intended to respond to all of my initial questions or only some of them, as some seem to remain unanswered.


1. Anchored chronology - the point was that you don't need a live specimen to see how old a tree is.  If you can find another live tree that shares a significant period with a deceased tree then you can point to the year of death - and therefore year of birth - of a dead tree.  While I take your point that we cant be sure what the conditions were during the mabul, you would still remain with trees that look like they were not only born before the mabul, but died before the mabul as well.


2. Tree rings as a sign of maturity or a "scar".  You did not address this point as far as I can see.


3. Consistency of aging.  Understood that it was all consistent at maaseh bereishis, but see next point.


4/5. "the bigger and overriding question".  I understand that you are saying it would be less of a neiss to look one age, but that really only helps for maseh bereishis itself.  The question was really why do things that only came later (fossils etc) have to so nicely fit in with that timeline?  If the fossils came in during the mabul, why do they fit in consistently with the 5 billion year "look"?


On a related note, you mention several times that time existed before the sun / stars and that the days then were the same length as now.  By what measure was this so? In halacha (to my understanding) a day is the time from sunset to sunset (whichever definition of sunset you are using).  If, for example, this was to take 48 "hours" one day then that day would simply be 48 "hours" long.  By "hours", I of course mean what a scientist would call an hour, i.e. 3600 scientific seconds.  In fact every halachic day is a slightly different length of scientific time to the preceding day (hence chatzos moving throughout they year and other, more nuanced, issues).  I know that every day is pretty much the same length of time, but not exactly. So before the sun was created, how long was a day and by what measure?  


Finally, I am not sure what you are trying to point out by the fact that only two trees currently alive are older than 4,000 years.  Coincidence with what?  One tree too old is surely as good as 100.  Also, recently deceased trees are just as good as currently living, as long as we know how recently they died.  In particular, given that the list you quote from only lists 7 currently living trees older than 2,000 years (14 including dead ones) - of which 2 are the exceptions you note (3 including dead ones) - it does not really show anything more than the fact that the vast majority of trees don't live more than a couple of thousand years.  There is certainly no gaping cut off in trees, alive or dead, around the 4,000 year mark.

#31 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

My intent was to respond to all of your points. 


Not only was the Mabul a Ness, but we know from the Torah that the recovery of the world afterwards was, as well. The world could not have recovered so swiftly after the Mabul devastation על פי דרך הטבע. When a tree grows miraculously fast and strong, there is no way to know what that tree would look like. The scar-factor notwithstanding, It would depend on how Hashem designed the details of the miracle,which we have no way of knowing. 


So for example, if Hashem wanted to make trees grow faster than nature would normally permit, He could have just made them grow faster in the allotted time, or He could have designed the miracle in the same way as He did the stopping of the sun for Yehoshua. In relation to the whole world, the sun was moving and time was progressing, but for Yehoshua the sun was still and time was paused. It is quite possible that Hashem similarly did not endow the trees with any miraculous ability to grow faster but instead had the seasons pass quicker for the trees but not the rest of the world. Or Hashem could have decided to resurrect the old trees that were destroyed in the mabul rather than bring forth new ones. Both the above scenarios would result in the trees having more rings than if they would have naturally started to grow after the mabul.


Or the נס could have been done in some other way that would explain extra rings. There are countless ways Hashem could have arranged this miracle to happen, and there is no way for us to know precisely how it was done. But one thing is certain: We have no right to expect Hashem to have designed the miracle one way over another. Hashem uses the least unnatural means to accomplish His miracles, and for all we know the above scenarios could be scientifically less unnatural than just popping seeds into the ground where none could probably survive and then fast-forwarding their growth. 


What I meant by "coincidence" was that, in a world supposedly 15 billion of so years old (give or take a billion here or there), it is a strange coincidence that the Torah says the world is not older than 6000 years, and at the same time the oldest trees with verified ages  go back almost that far but no farther. There is no scientific reason why we do not have age-verified trees 7,000 or 8,000 or 25,000 years old. We just simply don't have them anymore. But the odds, in a world with supposedly 15 billion years of history, of the verified age of trees stopping at the very same point that the Torah says they should stop, is ... interesting. At the same time, recorded history also stops very close to what the Torah says is the time of creation. Of course, this doesn't prove that there was some unrecorded history taking place a million years ago, or that many ancient trees existed that we don't have today. But the fact that of all the random ages that the oldest trees could have been, we happen to not have any trees older than 5,000-or so years, and at the same time that's what the Torah says is the age of the world, is an interesting "coincidence."


And one tree is definitely not as good as 100. Again, I am no tree ring scientist but from what I am finding, there can be rare exceptions to the one-ring-a-year rule, and the weight of evidence of a single exceptional ancient tree would probably amount to less than the weight of evidence from the above.


As far as the the fossils and etc. all fitting in with the 5 billion year old look, they can also just as easily with a much younger or older look. The evolutionists can fit them in to the 5 billion years, but, they could also be interpreted as being older or younger. It is in the interest of consistency, not necessity, that the savants interpret the age of everything the same way. 

#32 Light_pollution



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Posted 19 March 2014 - 12:44 AM

I understand the universe (which includes time) is only 6000 years old but what about Hashem existing forever? How do we understand that exactly? Or is it one of those things that go beyond what we are capable of understanding?

#33 taon



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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:48 PM

Hashem created time, but is outside it. It's not something time bound creatures can really grasp, but He is beyond time, and as such eternal

#34 living2learn



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Posted 29 March 2014 - 10:18 PM

My fifth grade teacher once told us that the Torah, the beginning of which is Bereishis, the beginning of the world that we know, starts with a beis, which is closed on the side going backwards, but open on the side going forwards.  Before creation, before our world, we don't ask questions.  We are only human, and not capable of understanding such things - we are not G-d.  We ask questions about our world, what we're capable of understanding.