Evolution

The Torah teaches us how to live. It does not strive to be historically accurate. To the contrary, the potentially confusing historical facts were expressly concealed, and the teachings of Kabbalah regarding Creation were never taught in public.

Moshe Lerman

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
The Kabbalah teaches that in ancient times several worlds of living creatures were created and destroyed on Earth. Humans were first created 974 generations before Adam. With Adam, the world was renewed to suit the light of Torah, and mankind became refined enough to receive the Torah (Derush Ohr HaChaim; it can be found in most editions of the Mishnah that include the commentary Tiferet Israel).

This dramatic history of the world is ignored in the Torah's account of Creation. The Torah teaches us how to live. It does not strive to be historically accurate. To the contrary, the potentially confusing historical facts were expressly concealed, and the teachings of Kabbalah regarding Creation were never taught in public.

In truth, the Torah does hint at the facts. For example, the story of the flood that destroyed the generation of Noah teaches us the principle that progress may require destruction and rebirth. Moreover, the verse Bereshit 1:2, "and the Earth was tohu vavohu," can be taken as a hint that the Torah starts its account after the destruction of the world of prehistoric man.

The above teaching of Kabbalah is no longer secret since the facts have become known through scientific discovery. Confusing or not, the truth is that our world is very old and was refined through an impressive series of destructions and rebirths. For many millions of years, gigantic reptiles, the dinosaurs, ruled over our planet. After their destruction, birds and mammals developed. Close to 974 historical generations of 120 years before Adam, prehistoric man emerged. It seems their world was destroyed repeatedly through climatic instability.

And science teaches us more. The dramatic history of life on the Earth is only the last phase of a very dramatic cosmic evolution. The age of the Universe is estimated to be about 15 billion years - close to a Kabbalistic teaching that Adam was born after 42,000 "divine years", every "divine day" equaling a thousand human years.

In the beginning of time, a small Universe was filled with giant stars. Many of these stars were blown apart in ultra-huge nuclear explosions. As the Universe expanded, remnants of exploded stars regrouped through the force of gravity to form new stars, as well as planets. In this way, about five billion years ago, in a relatively empty and therefore safe region of the Universe, our solar system and planet Earth were formed.

It is a principle of Torah that in the final analysis every calamity is Chesed and makes goodness flow to the world. The principle applies most meaningfully to human individual and collective hardships. However, the facts of evolution provide a superior illustration.

For instance, early on in the history of the Universe, the lightest of atoms (Hydrogen) constituted almost all matter. The heavier atoms that are the building blocks of our world were created through nuclear reactions in the early giant stars. Had they not died their explosive death, no planet or form of life would ever have been.

The dramatic history of the Universe reflects the awesomeness of the Almighty. The continuous refinement attests to His kindness. HaShem Hu Ha-Elokim: The G-d of mercy is the G-d of Nature.




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