Jewish Thought

How can the Torah be true? There are some contradictions!

08.03.15

Question

The Torah is full of contradictions, for instance, the flood. There isn’t enough water in the world to make a deluge in half the world. How did the animals come to Noah? How did they have food to eat? How could the Ark hold such heavy cargo? How did they have room for the millions of animal species? And many other questions like these. And do not say it was a miracle; I'm not interested in all sorts of crooked answers. I just want to know the Torah’s simple meaning. If you can not answer, then the Torah is refuted. Thank you.

Answer

The Torah describes how the wellsprings from the depths burst open, which sounds like an ancient description of shifting tectonic plates, and later the Torah describes how the waters swirled to and fro, until they once again returned to the sea.

The movement of tectonic plates probably created deadly tsunami waves, as we saw in the last tsunami that we ourselves witnessed, which covered the continent for a long time.

It does not say that Noah put millions of animals in the Ark — and about the food — it says specifically that an entire floor was set aside just for food, which was prepared in advance.

The facts in a nutshell:

1) Marine fossils such as shells and skeletons of fish have been found all over the world, even in barren deserts and on top of the highest mountains like the Rocky Mountains and Mount Everest. This proves that all the continents were covered previously by water.

2) All over the world the remains of entire populations of animals that became extinct were found, and this is apart from the extinction of the dinosaurs. This proves a natural disaster on a global scale that wiped out the animals on Earth.

3) It turns out that all the world cultures have transmitted historical traditions and legends of an ancient flood that wiped out all living creatures, and many of them describe Noah and the rescue of one family in an Ark that survived the flood.

 

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Unfortunately, I've heard a number of young people just beginning to strengthen their religious commitment who were affected by atheists mocking the rabbis, and it seems they do not know that the truths of the Torah and Jewish tradition are not based on comparisons between religion and recently discovered science. Our sages’ scientific knowledge can reinforce the credibility of tradition, but they do not constitute proof of our tradition. We and our fathers do not believe that the Torah is true because of these claims.

 

It is therefore important to make clear right now:

 

We know that there is a Creator of the world — not because evolution is unfounded, and not because of scientific parallels found between the Big Bang and the Torah. It is essential to understand that we have countless scientific, logical and philosophical reasons that would obligate any rational person to reach the unequivocal conclusion that the world has a Creator — irrespective of and independent of the subject of evolution or the age of the world.

 

We know that the world had a beginning and every beginning must have a Beginner. We know that the universe is run by the laws of nature which prove the Creator’s control even at this moment. We see that the universe was designed and built according to complex mathematical equations, proving to us that the world was created by a Designer. One’s intelligence compels one to admit to an Original Cause that is not dependent on corporality and time, Who created everything, and answers only to the definition of G-d. We also learn it from the spiritual essence within us, because our free indicates the existence of a Divine soul. The proofs are countless:

 

(1) Scientific proof of the Big Bang: We know there is a G-d because we know the world had a beginning, and every beginning has someone who began it. Science has proven that the universe appeared at some time and did not exist eternally, which proves the existence of a Creator Who is outside of corporality and time, and Who created the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo).

 

(2) Scientific evidence from the laws of nature: Science has shown that even now all the laws in the entire universe follow a set pattern. There cannot be laws without a Legislator, otherwise the universe would be in chaos. This proves that there is an omnipresent cosmic Creator who controls the entire universe and keeps it in existence at His Will.

 

(3) A logical proof based on design: we see that nature’s design of atoms, molecules, the water cycle, ozone, oxygen, etc., are all systems of mathematical complexity. Scientific wisdom can not be denied, and this is a logical proof that there exists an intelligent Designer who planned all this, for there can be no wisdom without a wise Being.

 

(4) An unequivocal philosophical proof: the rational mind compels the conclusion that there is an Limiter Who puts limits on everything that is limited, Who is the Cause of all causes, and Who can not be confined Himself into any created being. Behind all existing things there must be an omniscient, infinite Being, unlimited by corporality and time, that answers solely to the definition of G-d.

 

(5) Spiritual proof: Because we understand that we have a spiritual essence that distinguishes us from animals, we deduce that there is a Creator who created our souls, and made us a combination of material and spiritual.

 

(6) Personal Proof: We also know that G-d exists through the personal experience of people who experienced Divine Providence in their lives, proving divine intervention.

 

One doesn’t have to be an "Einstein" or a clairvoyant to understand that the world has a Creator. Even a child who looks honestly at the world around us will reach the conclusion that the world has a Creator. Our Creator’s existence  is irrespective of the issue of whether G-d created the world over millions of years, or whether G-d created the animals through a process of evolution — because in either case it is clear to us that there is a Creator who created the universe and mankind with precise wisdom and intent — with or without evolution, and with or without processes that took millions of years. A Creator of the world must have existed however creation may have taken place. This is the conclusion mandated by reality, and it is important to understand that the existence of G-d is irrefutable in any situation.

 

We also know that the Torah is true — not because we found impressive correlations between the words of our sages and modern science, but because we have a reliable history that was passed down thousands of years, which documents and verifies the Creator’s omnipotence in His world: the ten plagues of Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea, the 40 years wandering in the wilderness, illogical prophecies that were described in the Book of Books and took place over the following two millennia, and above all the Creator’s revelation before the entire Jewish people at Mount Sinai.

 

Our fathers and our ancestors faithfully transmitted the Torah, holidays and the commandments, and were willing to sacrifice their lives in every generation over its truthfulness. We do not believe in the Exodus just "because it is written in the Torah", but because our ancestors transmitted the Torah from one generation to the next as our people’s national history over the past 3300 years. Therefore, the Torah constitutes undeniable national historical evidence, and all those "Bible deniers" are no different from the Holocaust deniers who have arisen in recent years.

 

The Jewish people is the only nation in the world that has received manufacturer’s instructions from G-d through a divine revelation and miracles performed before the entire nation which proved His mastery of nature. There are no teachings that affected the world more than the Jewish Bible. The existence of Israel also proves G-d’s miraculous control of history, since the Jews are the only nation in the world that has experienced so many genocides and hatred over thousands of years, is scattered all over the world, remains a small minority, and yet has survived without a national government or army while all the empires and ancient peoples assimilated and disappeared.

 

And after all this, the Jewish people returned to its land after two thousand years, a return that was described in advance in our ancient prophecies in the Torah which the people have been passing down for 3300 years. We know what is the secret of the Jews’ immortality!

 

We have countless historical reasons to believe in the Torah, and to clearly know that the Torah is truth. There does not exist anywhere in the world a  Torah or religion that ever attempted to compete with the Torah and the Jewish people’s miraculous and historical authenticity. All our articles of faith are clarified in the books of our rabbis, such as The Kuzari, The Duties of the Hearts, and more.

 

So even if you came across the words of an atheist seeking to accuse and distort the words of a rabbi, you should always try to distinguish whether his words touch on the fundamental Jewish articles of faith, or only on matters that strengthen faith (such as the length of time of the moon’s cycle or the earth’s roundness which appeared 1,800 years ago in the holy Zohar). People who became religious and are mature and rational, know to base their faith on real knowledge, so they do not have a hard time with such doubts.

 

 

 

 

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