(Related podcast at: Is Torah Divinely Inspired? (Podcast) )
The first verse of Genesis reads:
“In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth”.
This means that there are two worlds apart: The heaven and the earth.
Two cultures prevail over Planet Earth:
Culture 1: There is only “The earth” (namely, the observable physical world). There is no heaven.
Culture 2: There are two worlds, and our duty is to connect the two.
The first, Culture 1, prevails in current Western Civilization.
Culture 2 is cornerstone in Judaism, and probably also in other monotheistic faiths.
The question of whether Torah is divinely inspired is tightly linked to the choice between the two cultures (as succinctly outlined above):
According to Culture 2, Torah is divinely inspired. Therefore, it represents the Divine moral code, the spiritual dimension of our physical existence on Planet Earth, with the Ten Commandments at its center, and details scattered throughout the Five Books of Moses (Torah). If Torah is divinely inspired, we are here to connect the heaven and the earth.
According to Culture 1, Torah is a historic relic of human writings from ancient times. In view of the scientific progress, made over recent centuries, in understanding how the physical world is structured and how it is functioning, Torah is no more relevant to our lives. Torah can only serve in academia as a subject of scientific research of ancient cultures.
How do we decide between the two cultures?
How can we lend scientific validity to the truth of one culture over the other?
In other words: How do we scientifically prove, or disprove, that Torah is divinely inspired?
Numerous words and lectures, nowadays also videos, have been produced to address this extremely critical question. Endless number of words of persuasion, one way or another, have been put forward.
We believe that there is a single method to scientifically address this question:
To find out whether certain patterns, recently discovered by science to widely prevail in scientific models of the physical world, whether these same patterns also prevail in Torah and in its original language, namely, biblical Hebrew.
Can we scientifically demonstrate that, indeed, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth”?
Three such research efforts have been carried out in recent years (expounded in three meticulously-produced videos by Oren Evron):
- Rav Ginsburgh, on Fibonacci numbers in biblical Hebrew (Hebrew; English subtitles, please activate):
- Professor Haim Shore (me), on the reflection of numeric values of physical reality in corresponding biblical Hebrew words (English):
- Oren Evron, on the associations between numbers, relating to the first verse of Genesis (in its original biblical Hebrew) and constant Pi, cornerstone and frequent-visitor in numerous scientific models of physical reality (English):
2 replies on “Is Torah Divinely Inspired?”
Hi Dr Shore: I hope you are well. A doctor friend wrote me a note which addresses an issue that is beyond “my pay grade.” ie level of knowledge. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.
I noticed the very last Shabbat before the lockdown began, in the haftarah for that week from YEchezkel, reading the words “’arim neshamot,” and realizing that neshamot did not mean souls, but desolate. The entire difference between the two words? An extra dagesh in the mem, indicating the mem in the version meaning desolate is actually doubled in that shoresh, sh-m-m, desolate, as opposed to the one without the dagesh in the mem, where the shoresh is n-sh-m, breath. I’ve been haunted by that ever since – especially how fitting it is that a tiny dot (like the microscopic, spiky little dot we call a virus) can make such a difference between otherwise identical things.
Sent from my iPhone
Hi, thank you for the interesting question. Let me first explain that in many Hebrew words, a letter disappears in a word and instead there is extra Dagesh (point in the letter). For example, instead of saying “in the house” (that should read, in Hebrew, Be-Havait), you say Ba-Bait, and the V gets a Dagesh, instead of the missing Hei, to become B. Neshamot is not a noun but an adjective, namely, desolate, like in the wilderness. One of the Hebrew words for the latter is Shemamah (desert). One M is missing in Neshamot, therefore you have a Dagesh in the remaining M to “commemorate” the missing M. The missing letter sometimes change pronounciation (as the example with the missing Hei, changing V into B, both represented by same Hebrew letter, Bet). Sometimes, pronounciation does not change, as with Neshamot (Dagesh may require empasis in pronounciation, but in modern Hebrew this rule is hardly kept).
I hope I was detailed enough. Happy Shavuot, Haim