Mashiach through the eyes of science

The goal of developing a unifying theory in physics has much greater significance than just getting quantum mechanics and relativity to get along with each other; it is a goal of the Messianic Era.

Professor Shimon Silman, | updated: 13:16

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צילום: פרופ' סילמן

The Three Weeks. A time to focus on Mashiach and the Geulah—especially the Beit HaMikdosh. The Midrash says that Hashem said to the prophet Yechezkiel that he should tell the Jews about the Beit HaMikdosh and it would be considered as if they were working on its construction. So in chapter 40 there begins along prophecy about the 3rd Beit HaMikdosh.

The tzadik Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev said that the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av is called Shabbat Chazon—“the Shabbat of Vision”—because on that Shabbat every Jew, on his own level, is given a vision of the 3rd Beit HaMikdosh.

There are various lenses through which we can look to get a deeper view of the world in our time and already see certain aspects of the Geulah appear. Did you ever think that modern science, the classic enemy of religion, might be one such lens?

Unification in Physics…Unity of the Creator

Since the mid-1800s new theories have begun to emerge in the physical sciences that revealed the underlying unity in nature. Since the mid-1900s when Einstein attempted to unify everything in his “Unified Field Theory” (UFT) there has been a drive to achieve exactly that goal—the unification of all of physics in one comprehensive theory.

On Sunday, 14 Iyar this year, the 27th annual conference on Mashiach and Science took place on the Har HaTzofim campus of Hebrew University. It featured speakers from Israel and the U.S.—Rabbis, professors and scientists—the unifying theme being “unifying theories in science.” Each of the speakers showed in his own way how the world is accelerating its steps toward the full revelation of the Mashiach and the complete Geulah. The role of our generation is to stand in the front row and prepare ourselves and the world for this revelation.

Each year, around the 13th of Iyar, the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib, the youngest brother of the Rebbe MHM, the Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib (RYAL) Research Institute on Mashiach and the sciences convenes a conference on matters of Mashiach and science to investigate and show how the Geulah can be seen from within the world itself—both the sciences of the world and also world events. You can view the videos of this year’s lectures, as well as last year’s on our website: www.RYAL.org

Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib himself was known and famous as a man who diligently studied hassidism and at the same time researched mathematics. The manuscript of his now well-known mathematical paper on “The Location of Eigenvalues and Eigenvectos of Complex Matricies” was prepared for publication at the request of the Rebbe MHM and was published in the Journal of Approximation Theory

Unifying Theories - Unity of the Creator

One of the hottest topics in physics currently is the conflict between the two major theories of modern physics—both associated with the Albert Einstein: the theory of relativity which he developed and quantum mechanics, in which he played a role in developing. Quantum mechanics is about the laws of physics on a very small scale such as the laws of motion and energy of atoms, electrons and photons. Special relativity deals with the effect of motion on time and distance. These effect show up at high speeds. General relativity deals with the effects of gravity on time and space and these effects show up over astronomical distances. (There is also relativistic quantum mechanics—high speeds at the subatomic level.)

Each of these two theories is successful in explaining physical phenomena in its own domain, but they are in conflict over the very nature of time and space. Quantum mechanics requires that everything—including time and space themselves—be quantized, meaning made up of discrete (separate) pieces, while relativity requires that time and space be continuous—not “chunky” as in quantum mechanics.

For us, the goal of developing a unifying theory in physics has much greater significance than just getting quantum mechanics and relativity to get along with each other; it is a goal of the Messianic Era.

The Zohar, written close to 2,000 years ago, predicts that in the 600th year of the 6th millennium—the Jewish year 5600 (1840)—there will be a flood just like there was a flood in the 600th year of the life of Noach. But this will not be a flood of water, rather it will be a flood of knowledge—the windows of heaven will open up and wisdom will come down from above; the fountains below will break open and wisdom will come up from below. And all this, the Zohar concludes, is a preparation for the Era of Mashiach.

The Rebbe MHM discusses this in a famous Sicha. The wisdom from above is Chabad hassidism which began to be published at that time. The wisdom from below were the new discoveries in the sciences that began at that time. How does modern science prepare the world for the Era of Mashiach? There are a few ways, but on the deepest level, the Rebbe MHM explains, it is the way that modern scientific theories reveal the underlying unity in the physical world. The awareness of this unity prepares the world for the absolute unity of Hashem which will be revealed in the Era of Mashiach.

This explains why unifying theories in physics are so important to us but why are the scientists so obsessed with discovering a unifying theory? Why can’t they be satisfied that there are a few theories, each successful in its own domain, that explain physical phenomena? The fact that there would be a beauty, a depth and a big WOW! in discovering one all-inclusive unifying theory doesn’t seem to justify the investment of time, energy, money and mind that humanity puts into this search. Some scientists devote their entire career—their life—to this project.

If the universe just happened to come into existence by some chance event, why should we expect there to be any theories about how it behaves, or even any laws of physics at all! As Richard Feynman famously said in his lecture The Uncertainty of Science, “The fact that there are rules at all…is a kind of miracle; that it is possible to find a rule, like the inverse square law of gravitation, is some sort of miracle. It is not understood at all.” (Of course, once we realize that there is a Creator, we see that the natural world really is miraculous and we call this נפלאות הבורא—the wonders of the Creator.)

I believe that they are searching for G-d, the Creator, in their own way. So why don’t they just go ahead and believe in G-d and save all the trouble? There are a few reasons. Firstly, scientists have taken for themselves a position of eminence and authority. To just go and believe in G-d would mean to relinquish much of this authority to the clergy. Secondly, to believe that the world was created by G-d means that it was created for a purpose and this would mean that humanity has certain obligations to G-d for the fulfillment of that purpose. This may interfere with the free lifestyle that they want to live—as well as sending them back to the clergy.

The Fine Tuning Problem

One of the lecturers at the conference, Rabbi David Rosner, expanded on the point that the scientific community as a whole resists recognizing the existence of the Creator even in the face of clear evidence for His existence.

He spoke about what is called the “Fine Tuning Problem.” The scientists here refer to the enormous wonder of the amazing accuracy of the laws of nature; every law in its own right, and also their relationship to each other. He gave several examples: Nature is based on a number of forces that contrast and balance each other. The accuracy of the balance is at the order of a decimal point followed by 123 zeros, then followed by the number 2. If this balance between the forces of nature was off by even a little bit, the universe as we know it—a place fit for man etc.—would not be able to exist.

Well, according to these scientists, especially the physicists among them, this delicate, unthinkable balance is a problem even though this is what enables their very existence as human beings,so they call it the Fine Tuning Problem. Why? Because it brings them, contrary to their will, to admit the existence of the Creator. This concept—that there is a Conscious Being that created physical reality to fit human life precisely—is called the Anthropic Principle.

Unification From Below

Having said all that, we must point out that there are many scientists who do believe in G-d and may even be religious and in “our days—the Era of Mashiach—that we are now in” [words of the Rebbe MHM] it is much more common and much more acceptable for such religious scientists to be open about their belief in G-d. They believe in creation and write scientific papers on it—and the papers get published.

There are even those who believe in the Creator but may not associate this belief with any religion. For example, the famous physicist John Wheeler has been quoted as saying that it is clear the universe was created, and that it was created for a purpose and that all we need is someone to come and tell us what that purpose is.

But there is a third reason that scientist don’t just go ahead and believe in G-d. They have set certain boundaries for themselves. They insist that their conclusions come from within science itself. So their search for G-d takes the form of exotic scientific research, delving into the very nature of space, time and matter, while trying to comprehend the universe as a whole. This is why they are driven to find unifying theories and this brings us back to the “wisdom from below” because this is a valid search—to see the Creator from within the creation—and this is part of the preparation for the Era of Mashiach. This is the scientists’ contribution to the effort. (We do not mean to say that these scientist are necessarily consciously looking for the Creator. Rather as the Gemara says—מזלייהו חזי—the spiritual sources of their souls above are aware of the Creator and guide them in this direction.)

To be sure, they are still floundering, primarily because they have gone outside the boundaries of science. The Rebbe Rashab has said that while knowledge of the fact that the universe was created from nothing is attainable by human intellect, the nature of this creation is beyond any intellect, as the Alter Rebbe discusses at length in Tanya.

So while there are logical arguments within science leading one to conclude that the universe was created from nothing, when scientists have tried to extrapolate back to the beginning of time and attempted to get their mind around the moment of creation, they have come up with ideas that are unprovable, unverifiable and even absurd—theories that are outside the realm of science and more in the realm of science fiction—Fake Science.

 A hssidic Unification Theory

The first speaker at the conference was Dr. Jonathan Bentwich, a neuroscientist deeply involved in physics. He has developed a new unifying theory—a totally new model for physics based on the Alter Rebbe’s “Sha’ar HaYichud V’Emunah” which explains that the universe is recreated anew at every moment in time. As Dr. Bentwich describes the theory, known as the “Computational Unified Field Theory” (CUFT):

“Following international recognition in the paradigmatic shift represented by the new Computational Unified Field Theory, this new “a-causal computation” paradigm points at the centrality of a singular higher-ordered “Universal Consciousness Principle” which creates, "dissolves", re-creates and evolves every tiny "pixel" comprising the entire physical universe a billion-billion times a second. This creates a new science which revises our whole conception of the physical universe that recognizes Kedusha (and morality) at the center of this new vision of reality.”

His theory has been published in dozens of articles in journals, has been presented at many scientific conferences and has had experimental confirmation.

Unification of Opposites

A complete unifying theory—one that will truly prepare us for the Era of Mashiach—must include the ability to unify opposites since many of the phenomena of the Messianic age involve the unification of opposites, for there will be nature, miracles, and nature and miracles operating together—a coexistence of the finite and the infinite, the limited and the limitless, starting with Mashiach himself who lives eternal life in a limited physical body and the Beit HaMikdosh, a natural physical structure that will last forever.

While we understand that G-d is omnipotent so he can do anything, how can we grasp such an idea? How can we get our minds around the concept of an object or an event that is simultaneously finite and infinite? Can modern math and science help us with this? With these questions I opened my lecture titled “A Structure of Logic for Messianic Phenomena,” in which I proposed an extension of classical logic in order to solve this problem.

In classical logic a statement is either True or False which may be indicated numerically with the values of 1 and 0. Asserting two opposite statements simultaneously would be a contradiction (or a paradox) and would certainly be False, but classical logic can be extended by adding a third value, ½, to the system. This is called "Three-Valued Logic (3VL)." It is a logical structure can that deal with contradictions and paradoxes—within logic!

Three-valued logic was developed in the 1920s around the same time that quantum mechanics became finalized. (In fact, Hans Reichenbach, the famous philosopher of science suggested using 3VL to deal with the paradoxes in quantum mechanics.)

It is certainly Hashgocha Pratis that the system of logic which is found to be useful for discussing Messianic phenomena appeared at that time. Recall that the developments in modern math and science are the wisdom from below that appears in parallel with the wisdom from above—new revelations in Torah. What was going on in the world of Kedusha in the 1920s? Certainly it was the miraculous Geulah of the Previous Rebbe on 12 Tamuz, 5687 (1927).

The Geulah of 12 Tamuz was a miracle above nature operating within nature—just the kind of coexistence of opposites that we’re talking about—a precursor of Messianic phenomena. In fact, regarding this miracle the Rebbe MHM said that, “The Geulah of 12 Tamuz (starting from 3 Tamuz) was a revealed miracle higher than nature but it did not break the natural order. Nature reained as it is…This removed the barrier between the higher worlds and the lower world…It is a precursor for the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy: ‘The glory of Hashem will be revealed and all flesh will see it’…”

It is important to note that 3VL does not supersede classical logic, it doesn’t replace it with an entirely new system of logic. It merely extends it by adding a new “truth value” to the existing ones. This follows the concept that the Geulah does not overturn Golus, the state of exile. Rather by adding the letter א (representing the revelation of Hashem) to the letters of גולה, it transforms גולה to גאולה – exile to redemption 

Prophecies come true

The thread that ran through the entire conference was the realization of the fulfillment, right before our eyes, of many of the prophecies of the Rebbe MHM who said that, "In these days—the days of Mashiach—which we are now in, we only need to open our eyes and we see that the true and complete redemption is here, literally."

This brings us to the lecture of Rabbi Avishay Ifargon on the Swords into Plowshares prophecy of Isaiah which the Rebbe MHM said has begun to be fulfilled. Rabbi Ifargon began by speaking about the exciting event that took place two days before the conference—the friendly meeting between the presidents of North and South Korea where each one crossed the border into the other’s country, announcing the end of the conflict between the two nations. The North Korean president, Kim Jong-un, declared “a new era of peace” and agreed to nuclear disarmament—a genuine Swords into Plowshares event! This was an excellent background for the Rabbi Ifargon’s lecture which was a review of the unfolding of this Messianic prophecy over the past 26 years.

His lecture was backed up by a booklet that was distributed on Swords into Plowshares—a Hebrew translation (by A. Dashiff) of the section in my book Scientific Thought in Messianic Times dealing with the Swords into Plowshares transformations in Russia and China.

Avi Taub and his son Yosef Yitzchok, owners of the Shefa Yamim company, also spoke about the surprising progress of the search for gemstones around the city of Haifa, which is of great international interest to today's geologists, because it was completely unexpected by them. It was the fulfillment of another prophecy of the Rebbe MHM.

 “The Jew becomes a “partner with G-d”…in bringing the true and complete Geulah. In order for G-d to carry it out completely He needs (so to speak) the participation of every Jew alive as a soul in a body, for it is through our actions and our service that the Geulah comes. G-d needs the Jew to agree to this and even more—that he should want it and announce that not only has the time for the Geulah come, but that the Geulah is already here, literally.” (The Rebbe MHM, 28 Sivan, 5751)






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