by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – October 16, 2009
In chapter 1 of the book of Bereshit, we are informed about the course of events leading toward the formation of the universe. On the first day, light appeared and a division formed between day and night. On the second day, the firmament sets apart the heavens from terrestrial life. On the third day, the terrestrial waters gathered together, and, thus, dry land appeared, upon which plant life and vegetation began to grow. On the fourth day, the components that make up day and night, which first emerged on the first day, were, now, in their appropriate positions. On the fifth day, sea life and birds appeared on the face of the earth. On the sixth day, creation ceased by bringing upon the earth animal life, and, finally, the first man and woman. All this, the book of Bereshit (1:1) tells us, “G-d created.” “And G-d ended on the seventh day His work that He had made . . . .And G-d blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” (Bereshit 2:2-3).
By extending the act of creation over a period of six days, G-d presented the human species with a paradigm for proper behavior. As G-d did, so shall we do. “Six days shall you engage in labor and do all your work” (Shmot 20:9-10). One day of rest is necessary for the human species to recuperate from the week’s labor and replenish its physical and spiritual strengths. Also, choosing the seventh day as one’s period of rest reminds one of G-d’s momentous act of creation and reconfirms his acceptance of this belief.
Unfortunately, ever since the publication of Charles Darwin’s famous work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, it has become fashionable and accepted by many to adopt the theory of evolution and to dismiss the belief in creation as an antiquated myth. Those who have sought this avenue did so for one essential reason. They are not comfortable with the idea of an unseen G-d creating the universe nor with the concurrent burdensome religious implications.
Essentially, the theory of evolution posits that all life developed on its own. It generally assumes that the universe is the expanding remnant of a huge fireball that formed about 20 billion years ago after the explosion of a giant primordial atom – the “big bang” theory. The theory then claims that once the earth formed and became a solid sphere, the lightest atoms, such as hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon, reacted by chance to form molecules of methane and ammonia. These molecules, then, gave birth to amino acids and nucleic acids, which eventually formed the first one-celled organisms. Once these organisms spontaneously appeared, new and more complex species evolved from them. Finally, after a long series of genetic mutations, today’s complex forms of life – including man – arose. All this, evolutionists argue, occurred entirely by chance.
As evidence of their claims, evolutionists have offered various arguments. Some archaeologists have unearthed fossils they claim are millions of years old, supporting the contention that life has existed for an exceedingly long time. In addition, fossils found in rock strata usually show the simpler organisms located below more complex ones, which appear to show the evolution of complex organisms from simpler ones. Also, some fossils seem to be early forms of man, which suggest that man and the ape are branches of the same stem. Moreover, mutations appear in species and are inherited by succeeding generations. Man also has what are termed vestigial organs that have no apparent purpose, and, thus, seem to be holdovers from earlier species during the evolutionary process. Yet, upon closer examination, the previous arguments for evolution prove fallacious.
The dating of fossils, as well as rock samples, in the millions of years results from comparing the relative amounts of uranium-238 and lead-206 in the sample or from examining the amount of decay or radioactive carbon-14 in a sample. This presumes that the rate of decay of the uranium, lead or carbon remained constant and that no less of it existed thousands of years ago. Neither assumption, however, has been proven and both are completely antithetical to the idea of evolution that this dating is trying to prove, for evolution would argue against constancy and sameness.
The positioning of less complex fossils below more complex ones have also proven to be far from conclusive evidence. Often, rock strata have shown the more complex fossils located below the less complex ones. Fossil pollen grains in the pine family have been found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, despite the evolutionists’ view that only much less complicated plants lived when those rocks formed. Man-made instruments have been found embedded in coal despite the evolutionist claim that coal first formed before man’s appearance. Morevover, although evolutionists claim trilobites were extinct long before man was born, a sandal-like print with fossils of trilobites was found in Utah.
Even the discovery of bones of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man is highly questionable. Generally, archaeologists found very few remains, such as a tooth or jaw fragments. From these few remains, scientists undertook to reconstruct an entire man. Yet, nothing can conclusively prove that their imaginative reconstruction is accurate. In fact, when scientists found the first fossil remains of mammoths, they constructed fanciful images of these creatures – only to change their conceptions when they located entire mammoths preserved in ice. Besides, there is nothing to demonstrate that the fossil that was found is typical of that period, and not simply an aberration.
Regarding the role of mutations in the evolutionist theory, several major difficulties exist. While mutations can occur, they have not yet produced one new type of limb or organ in any species. Nor have there ever been any observations of mutations making one class of animal into a more complex organism. Above all, if present life is a result of a series of successful and unsuccessful mutations, why, after all the digging that has been done and all the fossils that have been discovered, has there not been found any trace at all of the alleged former organisms?
Concerning vestigial organs, scientists are finding that organs once called unnecessary are indeed important. Such parts of man as the thymus, the pituitary gland, the nictitating membrane, and the coccyx have, in the past, been called vestigial organs but were later discovered to help in preventing infection, supplying physical support and controlling growth.
Above all, the very core of the evolutionist theory is unsound. It has been calculated that the probability of forming a single protein molecule by chance is trillions to one. Yet, evolutionists are not only positing the chance production of a single molecule. They are assuming the chance production of trillions of molecules, billions of cells, and millions of animals, birds, insects, and human beings.
Thus, upon consideration of the pertinent evidence, the theory of evolution proves to be highly improbable and riddled with many difficulties. In fact, it is very improbable for the tremendously complex universe, constructed of myriads of components, to continue to sustain itself without breaking down simply by chance.
The only reasonable alternative that we have is that of creation. Because of G-d’s simple and unified essence, there does not exist a problem of myriads of components conflicting with each other. It is, therefore, reasonable for this divine being to have infinite existence; and, it is within the laws of logic and probability for this divine being to be responsible for the formation of the universe as we know it. In fact, after studying the alternatives described earlier, creation by the one G-d is the most reasonable possibility.
It is this doctrine of divine creation that the Torah first emphasizes. Only by accepting this doctrine and understanding its truth can one understand the truth of G-d’s existence. We should not be swayed by simplistic reasoning or tempted by the desire to relinquish burdensome practices. We must seek to recognize the truth even if it demands hours of intense analysis and heeding many precepts and practices. Only much hard work and self-sacrifice to perceive the truth can bring true self-fulfillment while failure to do so can only cause self-devastation.