Tuesday, February 15, 2005

More on Evolution III

Rabbi Barry Freundel is a prominent rabbinic leader in the MOBSUF* world. He is a well-known name in the rabbinic world and is on the front lines of dealing with contemporary issues.

Rabbi Barry Freundel, Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's Response to Modernity (Ktav: 2004), pp. 242-245:

While it is true that some important Jewish thinkers take a creationist approach -- "it all began in six days of twenty-four hours" -- many do not. In fact, many possible resolutions of the apparent conflict between the Bible and Charles Darwin's theory can be found...

One can find a possible reconciliation between Torah and evolution in the word used by the Bible to describe the six periods of creation. While the word yom which is used to describe the six epochs can mean "day," it also appears in the Bible with the meanings "year" and "period of time." If the last definition is accepted as the meaning in the account of creation, many of the problems disappear or at least diminish significantly.

One can also point out that the Torah is not interested in presenting contemporary scientific truth. Information of this kind would have been unintelligible to the people who first received the Torah and would be far too technical for most of us today...

In summation, then, for those who accept evolutionary theory, a home can be found in Torah ideology. As long as one understands that evolution, if it occurred, occurred with God's guidance and according to His plan, Judaism can feel comfortable with it. In fact, some would say, finding that the universe has developed according to natural law that reveals God's wisdom is more to the glory of God than finding Him needing to be involved in every individual act of creation. This position was widely held by medieval theologians...

Evolution is not a theory without problems... For traditional Jews, happily, on this issue the chips can fall where they may. If creationism is true, we will embrace those who have taken such a position. If evolution is true, many ways exist to bring it into the fold. If a third theory emerges, I am sure we can deal with that as well.

*MOBSUF(tm)=Modern Orthodox But Still Unquestionably Frum

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