For further information or to order a lecture, contact me by e-mail, aviezen@mail.biu.ac.il

Lectures on Torah and Science

Lecture 1

On Contradictions Between Torah and Science:
The Creation of the Universe

Is the Torah correct? Or is science correct? Professor Nathan Aviezer answers that BOTH are correct! The dramatic first verse of the Torah asserts that the universe began through an act of creation: "In the beginning, G-d created the heaven and the earth." What do scientists say about creation? Surprisingly enough, they are in complete agreement with Genesis! The central theme modern theory of cosmology, known as the “Big Bang” theory, is that the universe began through an act of creation. This theory is supported by a vast array of scientific evidence, is accepted by all cosmologists, is taught in all universities, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Aviezer demonstrates that the Big Bang theory of cosmology agrees with the Genesis account of the First Day of Creation. These discoveries of modern science show that the creation of the universe is no longer an article of faith or a theological hypothesis; the creation of the universe has become a scientifically established fact!


Lecture 2

G-d’s Blueprint for the Universe

The Midrash states that the first chapter of the Torah served as G-d’s blueprint for the creation and development of the universe. Did the events described in the “Six Days of Creation” really happen? Professor Nathan Aviezer’s response is that there is remarkable agreement between many recent scientific discoveries and the first chapter of the Torah. Aviezer presents the following examples. We read in Genesis: "G-d said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." Scientists have discovered that an enormous ball of light suddenly appeared at the beginning of time, before there was a sun, stars, or people. We read in Genesis: 'And He separated the waters below the heaven from the waters above the heaven." Scientists have discovered “the waters above the heaven” – enormous quantities of water have been found at the edge of the solar system. We read in Genesis: G-d said: “Let the waters swarm with living creatures”…and the waters swarmed. Recent fossil evidence shows that at the beginning of the animal kingdom, all the oceans and seas suddenly became filled with enormous numbers of marine creatures comprising many different species. Scientists call this phenomenon the “explosion of lifeforms.” These and many other recent discoveries illustrate the emerging harmony between modern science and the Book of Genesis.


Lecture 3

Have Scientists Discovered G-d?

Jewish tradition states that the universe was created for the benefit of mankind. Is there any scientific evidence to support this statement? Professor Nathan Aviezer presents an enormous array of recent scientific evidence which indicates that the universe does indeed appear to have been specially designed to permit the existence of human beings. Many scientists have commented on this remarkable phenomenon and have given it a name – the “Anthropic Principle.” Professor Stephen Gould of Harvard University writes: “Human beings are the result of a staggeringly improbable series of events, utterly unpredictable and quite unrepeatable.”

Many striking examples of the Anthropic Principle are presented from both the physical and the biological sciences, quoting the world’s leading authorities. Finally, Aviezer explains why the Anthropic Principle is an important concept for the believing person.


Lecture 4

Is It Rational to Believe in the Divinity of the Torah?

The Jewish people have always believed in the divinity of the Torah. Is there any rational basis for this belief? To establish a rational basis for our belief, Professor Nathan Aviezer shows how science really works, and clarifies the important relationship between theory and fact. He explains what is meant by “probability arguments” in science, and what scientists mean when they say: “All facts are theory laden.” These scientific principles show that there are important probability arguments that support belief in the divinity of the Torah. Remarkable examples are given which establish that the reasons for accepting the divinity of the Torah are quite similar to the reasons for accepting scientific theories. In this way, it can be clearly demonstrated that there is a strong rational basis for our belief in the Torah.


Lecture 5

Kabbalah, Science, and the Creation of the Universe

Kabbalah presents an account of the creation of the universe that is quite different from that given in Genesis. This does not imply a contradiction, but rather, Kabbalah stresses G-d’s interaction with His universe. A leading role in the Kabbalah view of Creation is played by Divine Light and the ten sefirot that characterize G-d. Kabbalah states that Creation began with the appearance of Divine Light which shattered seven of the ten sefirot, but left three sefirot intact. Professor Nathan Aviezer demonstrates how the Kabbalah account of Creation and modern science complement each other. This harmony is based on string theory and the Big Bang theory, which assert that we inhabit a ten-dimensional universe (“ten sefirot”), of which three dimensions are infinite (“intact”) but the remaining seven dimensions became microscopic (“shattered”) through the effect of the primeval light of the Big Bang (“Divine Light”). Aviezer shows that Kabbalah contains the essence of the basic principles of modern physics, including Einstein’s theory of relativity, quantum theory of gravity, and string theory.


Lecture 6

The Extreme Ages of the Early Generations of Genesis:
Is It Possible?

Is it possible to understand the extreme longevity ascribed to the early generations in Genesis, such as Methuselah living for 969 years? And why did this extreme longevity cease? Until quite recently, no one really knew why human beings age. In recent years, however, there has been great progress – “a revolution in aging research.” Professor Nathan Aviezer describes these important advances in the science of aging that have caused leading scientists to write: “We can live healthy lives for hundreds of years”, in an article entitled “Death of Old Age.” The recently discovered genetic basis for aging permits us to understand the extreme life spans of the early generations of Genesis and the subsequent cessation of such longevity.


Lecture 7

Evolution, Darwin, Dinosaurs, and the Torah

A quiet revolution has taken place in recent years in evolutionary biology. Professor Nathan Aviezer describes the wealth of recent fossil evidence that has caused most scientists to abandon the concept of gradual evolution and to introduce a new paradigm – “punctuated equilibrium.”

The fossil record now reveals that most species appeared suddenly, lived for many thousands of generations without evolving at all, and then suddenly disappeared. Leading evolutionary biologist Professor Steven Stanley writes: “For more than a century, the evolution of life was viewed as the gradual unfolding of new living creatures from the old, as Darwin described in The Origin of Species. Today, however, the fossil record forces us to abandon this conventional view of gradual evolution.” One of the most remarkable examples of the new paradigm of punctuated equilibrium relates to the history of the dinosaurs and explains their sudden disappearance from all the continents and oceans. Aviezer shows that these new scientific findings are in complete agreement the Genesis account of the formation of the animal kingdom.

For further information or to order a lecture, contact me by e-mail, aviezen@mail.biu.ac.il

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