Thursday, July 20, 2006

Age of the World

There are some opinions that believe evolution had something to do with Briyas Holam. Like one day in the eyes of Hashem is like 1000 and all those fossils they dig up and date back to millions and gazillions of years ago, can be older than the amount of year that passed in the Jewish calendar. Or, the idea that the continents fitted together works because before Dor Enosh there was an equal amount of land and water...ideas like these are becoming popular now.

There is a similar thought expressed by the Tiferes Yisroel. It's a controversial idea. Other Rabbonim have said this is actually Kefirah.

But two things: One, we're not talking about evolution itself. The idea is that each of the 6 days of creation could really have taken like millions of years, since nobody says that a "day" has to be 24 hours, and therefore the world could really be millions of years old.

The others hold that we have no right to concoct new definitions of a "Day", and that with such logic - that we can re-define terms - we can change a lot of the Torah c"v.

In any case, the whole idea is totally unnecessary. When Hashem created the world, He created it as a full-blown, fully developed world. Adam was created an adult; trees were already grown. The light of the stars, which take gazillions of years to reach earth, were already shining on the earth.

So if you would have looked at the world right after creation, you would have had "proof" that the world is much more than 6 days old, because for instance, Adam was obviously not just 6 days old, but a full grown man!

But the answer is that Hashem created a mature, adult, functioning world all at once, so even though the world was created 5761 years ago, it has the characteristics of a world much, much older.

So if you find let's say a tree with 8,000 rings in it, and you now a tree grows one ring each year, it doesn’t contradict the Torah 'cause the tree was created with 2,000 rings from the beginning.

Same thing with fossils and all other seemingly very old parts of the world. They were here from the beginning, already created "old" with all symptoms of being here maybe millions of years already.

So there's no need to say that the 6 days were anything but regular 24 hour days. The fossils and everything else can be adequately explained as is.

It is also true that the dating systems are highly inaccurate and subject to great controversy.

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The Torah says the world was created in 6 days. And Rashi says explicitly that when the Torah says Vayehi Erev Vayehi Voker Yom Echad it means 24 hours.

And if someone tells you a day isn’t really a day, please thank them for agreeing with you that evolution never happened. Because when they say they believe evolution did happen, tell them that according to your interpretation of their words, when they say "evolution" they don't really mean "evolution", and maybe even when they say "did" it doesn't really mean "did". And if they say you’re wrong, tell them that "wrong" doesn't really mean wrong.

The 6 days of creation were in fact 24 hours. How could they not be? Aren't days 24 hours now? So when did this change? Where does it indicate in the slightest that the first Sunday after creation (or the first Shabbos???) was suddenly shorter than previous days??

And if the days were 24 hours, would you understand why Hashem took that long? And not 2.4 seconds?? We don’t know why Hashem decided to take as long as he took, but whether it was 24 hours or 24 million hours, he could have done it in less.

When we say 1 day is like a million years, we don’t mean that Hashem is living within time. It means that the word "day" does not mean intrinsically 24 hours and could randomly mean anything.

The sun, which measures time, was created the 4th day, but time was created at the first second of creation.

It’s clear that on the fourth day Hashem said the sun should shine during the time-period that was called "day" and the stars/darkness should rule during the time-period called "night". Since then, that hasn’t changed, and obviously, as we can see today, the sun and the stars have decided that the time period called day plus the time period called night, are 24 hours.

The Gemora says this explicitly. It describes 10 things that were created on the first day of creation, one of which is the "length of the day and night" - as it says, "vayehi erev vayehi voke yom echad". So the time span of the day was created on the first day of creation. And, as Rashi states, it means "[the day and night together] - i.e. 24 hours between them".

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The world "yom" has 2 different meanings - (a) daytime, as in Yomam Valylah - in which case the Yom" is longer in the summer than the winter, using shaos zemanios; and (b) a day - an entire day, i.e. the sum total of the daytime and nightime, as in "vayehi erev vayehi voker yom sheni". That "yom" is always 24 hours, no matter what the season, shaos zemanios notwithstanding.

And so there is no reason to believe that the length of the days changed on the 4th day from what they were on the first 3.

Please note that among the Meforshim that I quoted, who address the issue of natural phenomena that need more than 6,000 years to happen - the Yaaros Devash, Divrei Chaim, Divrei Yoekl, and the unnamed Godol in "in the days of the Arizal and perhaps even earlier" - none of them saw fit to accept that the tens of thousands of years needed for that star to fulfill its orbit actually occurred. Although that answer was sitting there "on a silver platter" for them, it was not an option.

And, because of what they say, there is no reason to even want it to be an option. You gain nothing.

And the Gemora says the world is (nearly) 6,000 years old.

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Regarding answering scientists and those who have blind faith in them about the age of the world, first, just like the flaw in their "vestigial organ" logic, the entire concept of measuring the age of the world the way the scientists do is based on the assumption that the world was not created by a Creator. But if you say that the world was created the way the Torah tells us it was, that is, a full-blown world, complete with starts visible in the sky, full-grown trees and animals (and a human), a totally, fully developed and mature world, then their logic falls apart.

Because when the world was created, it already had an age. In other words, when Adam for instance was created, he was an adult, even though he was one day old; there were fully grown trees; the sun's light already reached the earth; an entire world existed, full-blown and OLD. How old was the world at the moment it was created? I don’t know -- it doesn’t say. But we do know that it didn’t start from scratch. And so lets say a "scientist" would chop down a tree 1 week after it was created and find maybe 50 rings inside - would that prove that the tree was 50 years old? To the scientists it would, and the "tree ring" concept is used as one of their "proofs" that the world is over 6,000 years old. But the truth is it proves no such thing, because when the tree was created it was created as an adult, 50 year old tree.

So even if dating would be accurate, it still doesn’t prove that the world was not created 6,000 years ago - because when it was created, it already could have been thousands or millions of quadrillions of years old.

That is the first thing to understand when dealing with the "true believers" of science. But even if they will come up with something that cannot be explained by the above, there is a Torah principle that you must know that has been used long before any of today's scientists or their grandparents were born, that tells us that although the world was in fact created 6,000 years ago, we know that it possesses all and every characteristic of a world that is much, much older. The Torah actually expects scientific measurements of the age of the universe to return an age of much, much more than 6,000 years. And we have known this for centuries.

Says the Divrei Chaim (Chanuka p.45 col. 4), “The scientists found a star whose orbit takes 36,000 years, yet the world is only 6,000 years old, as is stated in Avodah Zorah (9a) – so did He create [this star] for nothing? So the scientists ask... However, I found in a sefer of a great man, who was of the holy ones in the days of the Arizal and perhaps even much earlier than that, who brings this question and answers: It is known that the universe was once in its most perfect state, but Adam corrupted it and caused a weakness in all of creation. And therefore, at the time of creation, if not for the sin of Adam our father, the movement (orbits) would have been fast; but now, because of the flaw caused by the Sin, the orbit has to wait 36,000 years. A similar idea is expressed by the Yaaros Dvash.”

The Divrei Chaim does not tell us the location of the Yaaros Dvash. But the Divrei Yoel (Simchas Torah p.613) identifies it as being in 2 places: Vol. I, Drush 1 and Drush 15. There, it quotes a Medrash (Rabbah 10:4) that before the Sin of Adam the Mazalos operated much more rapidly. After the Sin, the Mazalos operated much slower and longer. With this Medrash, he explains the fact that we pasken that both the opinion that the world was created in Nisan, and the opinion that the world was created in Tishri, are true. Says the Yaaros Dvash: because the Mazalos operated much more rapidly before the sin, between the time the Mazalos were created on the 4th day, and the time Adam was created, on the 6th day, the Mazalos had already run their course from Nisan to Tishri.

So there you have it - the world was created only 6,000 years ago as it says in the Gemora, but according to Chazal’s statement about the pre-chet rapidity of the Mazalos, we would a measure of history to have transpired during the 6 days of creation that would currently take much, much longer than 6,000 years.

So of course the scientists are going to think the world is much older than 6,000 years. We expected they would “discover” that, long before these scientists were ever born. All the scientists are doing, if indeed their dating methods are accurate, is picking up the billions of years worth of events that transpired before the sin of Adam. But we know that all took a few days.
The mistake in their system is that they are not measuring the amount of time itself that occurred. They are identifying various events that already happened and are saying:

1) We measured the amount of time it would take this event to occur
2) And this event has already occurred
3) Therefore, the amount of time it would take to make it occur has already elapsed.

The flaw on that logic is that they only measured how much time it would take if those events would happen NOW, in the post-chet world. But since those events took place before the Chet, they took much less time, and so the occurrence of those events does not indicate the elapse of nearly as much time as the scientists think.
If they would find a way to measure time itself, meaning the amount of moments that transpired during the course of history, they would come up with 6,000 years.

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The Rishonim state explicitly that the fact that there was no sun or moon does not present a problem regarding the hours of the day, since (a) as I mentioned above, you can have a length of a day without the luminaries, and (b) the sun and stars were actually created on the first day but merely put in place on the fourth.

In any case, the fact that there was no sun or starts during the first three days does not indicate in the slightest that the days were anything other than 24 hours days.

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Carbon-14 dating rests on two assumptions. (a) that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been constant, and (b) its rate of decay has always been constant.

Neither of those assumptions has been proven or close to proven. And since the world was created in six days, who knows how the cosmic radiation in the atmosphere was fluctuating then.

There is another issue that makes the carbon dating useless. When the world was created, it already had an age, as discussed previously. We don't know how old it was when it was created.

So even if dating would be accurate, it still doesn’t prove that the world was not created 6,000 years ago - because when it was created, it already could have been thousands of years old.

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There are no documented civilizations going back hundreds of thousands of years. Recorded history goes back to Egypt about 4,000 years ago, before which things get murky and unknown. On the contrary - this coincides perfectly with the 5760 plus years since the creation of the world, since it would take about that long to develop a civilization like Egypt. The fact that there are NO recorded histories older than this is in itself a marvelous confirmation of the Torah, not that it needs confirmation.

Other dating techniques such as Carbon 14 and other such methods are all based on assumptions and speculative at best. No - they have not yet proven a single civilization or even artifact as being older than 5760 odd years. They won't, of course, but they can keep trying.

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If the word was always here then the sun would have already exploded and destroyed the world. This argument – that if the world is infinitely old then no matter how much time it would need for any event to happen, it already would have happened, since there was an infinite amount of time in the past, is a good argument against kadmu haolam – that opinion that the world was always here. The Ralbag in milchemes hashem uses it, as do others.

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