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Creation Corner

Science: handmaid of the Torah



The 360 day year raises an interesting riddle for the modern science of astronomy. But the March for Science would never be about that.

Astronomers and astrophysicists are revealing with increasing frequency the compatibility of the Torah with the most recent discoveries in science. A recent article in one of the foremost international journals of physics bears the title, “Creation of the Universe from Nothing”:

At the 1990 meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Professor John Mather of Columbia University, an astrophysicist … presented “the most dramatic support ever” for an open universe [i.e., one which supports a cosmological proof of God’s existence].… Mather’s keynote address was greeted with thunderous applause, which led the meeting’s chairman, Dr. Geoffrey Burbidge [an atheist astronomer], to comment: “It seems clear that the audience is in favor of the book of Genesis – at least the first verse or so, which seems to have been confirmed.”

The renowned mathematical physicist and agnostic Stephen Hawking concedes: “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”

Why don’t political leaders know this?

The Torah has remarkably many insights for science.

Open Torah scroll. Photo: Lawrie Cate on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

Unfortunately, scientific research has had no influence on the attitudes and policies of Israel’s ruling elites. Not even the religious parties comment on the relevance of contemporary science to the cynicism of Israeli politicians! This means that Truth is irrelevant in the domain of politics – a deadly phenomenon.

Israel is engaged in a life-and-death struggle with Islam, a religious creed whose propagandists disparage the “Old Testament” along with Jews. Of course, Israel’s Government ignores these ignorant and vicious Muslims. At the same time, however, no religious party in Israel ever challenges Jewish scorners of the Torah by means of established scientific research.

Hence let me say a few words in honor of the Torah by quoting the French intellectual giant Henri Baruk, a pharmacologist, biologist, psychologist, sociologist, and member of the Medical Academy of Paris. Baruk encapsulates the Torah as “the most complete science of man,” and writes:

Though this extensive science has been vulgarized by the religions which have sprung from it, it still remains little known and even misunderstood. The [gentile] religions … took mainly from [the Torah] its moral principles with … various modifications which left out Hebraic Law, Hebraic biology, Hebraic sociology, etc. — in a word, the concrete and material parts of the Torah. Complete and scrupulously exact study of the Torah is indispensable if one is to capture its spirit. Then again the Torah forms an indivisible whole, and one cannot study it in borrowed versions or excerpts without completely falsifying its meaning and spirit.” (Tsedek, 1972.)

Science knew this a century ago

Baruk’s discoveries in medicine are not exactly new. In The Secret Life of the Jew (1930), Rabbi David Miller writes: “In the Pharmacological Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University … it has been recently established, apparently as a new discovery, that menstruous women generate and carry menotoxin throughout their systems. At the onset of their period, they contaminate by contact and even retard the development of plants,” (Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, January 1924.)

Other quotes from Rabbi Miller’s book:

Dr. Peter Frank, known as “the founder of the modern science of public health,” writes: “Very often do I read the rules of the Mosaic medical policy and their valuable sanitary laws which by far surpass many of our contemporary public health institutions …”

Charles W. Elliot: “Modern sciences are only corroborating the ancient Hebrew precepts.” Sir James Cantlie agrees: “We have never upset one of Moses’ laws in regard to hygiene, sanitation, or medical teaching. All that the scientists of today, with their microscopes and text books, did was to prove that the ancient lawgiver was right…. We had been trying hitherto to cure disease instead of preventing it, as Moses did.”

Rabbi Miller extols the Jewish laws of family purity as “a great boon to woman according to medical standards.” It is a preventative of many diseases of the female organs, including cancer. “It conserves her natural faculties and prolongs her youth and attractiveness,” more so in view of the limits and obligations which the Torah imposes on a Jewish husband in regard to conjugal relations with his wife. These limits contribute to a woman’s dignity, privacy, and independence.

The Torah thus embraces cosmology and cleanliness – heaven and earth. With the world now steeped in violence as well as in mental and political disorder, the time may not be distant when a science more fundamental and more comprehensive than quantum mechanics and relativity theory will be revealed in Israel and thus be acknowledged as the handmaid of the Torah.☼

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