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Genesis and the Big Bang

These musings about Genesis come from my perspective, with one foot in science teaching and one in Jewish spirituality. In my life I’ve found each deepens the other and assists in our understanding and awareness of this incredible universe. This understanding will always be beyond our grasp, but we are a part of it, and so we can always strive to grasp a bit of the mystery, which as Einstein said is the most beautiful thing we can experience….
This past week we began reading the Torah from the beginning, well, actually, from the end right into the beginning again, which implies timelessness, or no beginning….? So is the universe and time finite or infinite? And is God? Kaballah calls God ‘ain sof’ or infinite. According to physics today, there is no “before the universe” because the universe includes both space and time, and the big bang singularity (a horrible term, apparently) was the start of both.
Consider this: In all of this chaos, God is the creative power within this energy and chaos. And when parts of this universe combine to be much more than the sum of their parts, from quarks to atoms to molecules to cells, to organisms, that creative power, operating in opposition to entropy, the powerful tendency of the universe to Disorder (tohu va vohu in Hebrew) is where God is found. For me Genesis is a guidebook of where to find God in this universe, our spiritual origins, and value judgements of creation. We find God in the light (which took about 400,000 years to emerge after the big bang ). That light of opening our eyes and our hearts, after birth, and after darkness of spirit, is the light of God. So that’s day one. We find God in the beautiful oceans, that exist both on the shore, and within our physical bodies, which are mostly water. So that’s day two. We find God in beautiful forests (day 3) in Blue whales, and sparrows, and sea horses, coral, dragonflies and imaginary flying dragons! (day four) Our minds are blown open as we ponder the galaxies of the night sky (i cannot even stretch my mind far enough to match the numbers of galaxies out there!!!) and the powerful nuclear fusion of the sun which heats us as E=mc2 turns its material into the energy of our lives from 93,000,000 miles distant, into animals which evolved naturally and powerfully into our ancestors and into each other. We know the value God puts on each of these – they are GOODNESS! which itself is an anti-entropy judgement. And as for the animals and humans on that sixth day, very, or powerfully good. And that is why we are b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s shadow. That spark of creativity and potential for goodness is in the spirit of each of us. We are in the protective shadow of God as well, when we become as a community, more than the sum of each person alone can ever be. We are midrashically formed of this earth, a part of her, from earth of the four corners, of each color – from white sands, black volcanic ash, red mud and yellow clay. And in truth each human being is 99.9 percent genetically identical to every other, and a child of the universe. As much as the trees and the sky, we have a right to be here
and Love is the reflection of God, for it is parts in relationship which add up to more than the sum.  Perhaps Love is the answer (by Dan England).
And Adam and Eve left the perfection from which they were born to go to work and create new life, because we are all broken, and so must cling to one another to create shadows of the perfection from which we originated. And Cayin (whose name bizarrely means “Yes, I’ve created a man, with God’s help) slays “Hevel” whose name means “breath” becomes insubtantial, as death enters the world. Or did it enter when Hevel slew his sheep and offered it as a sacrifice, or when God accepted this sacrifice, showing favoritism to Hevel over his brother’s offering? I feel for Cayin, who pioneered sacrifice, only to be overwhelmingly rejected by God, tested to see if he could master his emotions, and failing this test. Failing the test of mastery is happening now to us. We are commanded to guard and serve this earth in mastery, and are messing it up royally. We’ll see in Noach next week, that the command to master is rescinded. But let us never forget the command to ovdah v’shomrah, serve and guard this precious planet – it’s where we find God. Again, perhaps Love is the answer

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