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The Quantum Rabbi
In Defense of the Faith
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Wendy Wippel

The COBE satellite project, which demonstrated in 1993 that the universe had a beginning, rocked our world.  Frederick Burnham said it made a God -created universe a “respectable hypothesis”. Stephen Hawking called it the “discovery of the century,”. Both, however,  apparently missed the memo: a medieval rabbi beat the COBE data by almost a thousand years. 

This particular medieval rabbi, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman. is revered even today, but more  commonly and affectionately known by the acronym Ramban. Rabbi Ramban lived  in the Catalonia area of medieval Spain, serving as the area’s rabbi. Considered an authoritative voice on the interpretation of the Torah, Ramban published extensive commentaries on the Torah over his lifetime. 

His commentary on Genesis could have been pulled straight out of a modern physics journal. 

Because Ramban, from his intensive study of the Hebrew account of creation in Genesis,  made observations on the methodology God’s creation of the universe.

Starting at Genesis 1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Ramban surmised from reading that statement, in Hebrew, that all the elements needed to create the entirety of the modern universe was created simultaneously in that instant that constituted “the beginning”.

And according to the current scientific “cosmological model of the origins of the universe: the big bang model suggests that at some moment in the past all the matter in the universe was contained in a single point, which is considered the beginning of the universe.”

Almost 800 years between COBE and Ramban and the theories are nearly word for word. 

According to science, after that tiny point (with the potential to produce all the elements that would eventually make up the final universe) came into being, it began to expand. As it expanded, it also cooled. And that cooling created different kinds of elements along the way.

Ramban knew from the existing Scriptures (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Job and Psalms), 17 times, in fact, that God claims to have stretched the heavens since the beginning of time.

Since  God had already explained that He had stretched the heavens, from Psalm 33:6,

“by the word of the Lord the heavens were made and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth”.

Ramban also surmised that every time the inspired word of God in the first chapter of Genesis recorded the phrase  “And God said” (Elohiym amar”, in Hebrew).  This phrase signified the beginning of a new phase of the universe. 

As it happens, the first chapter of Genesis records that “God said” exactly ten times in this summary of the methodology of creation. (Genesis 1:3-28)

  1. Then God said, “Let there be light. (Science also says that light ( in the form of packets of light energy called photons was the first thing that came into existence.) 
  2. Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” (God began to form the heavens into divisions.)
  3. Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. (Notice that initially God had, on earth, one land mass in the midst of the water; Scientists, only in my lifetime, have determined that there was one single land mass initially named by said scientists Pangaea, which subsequently broke into the continents we are familiar with now.) 
  4. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind,
  5. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
  6. Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”
  7. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind:
  8. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness
  9. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply
  10. And God said, “, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

The passage, as well all know, goes on to say that, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” And on the next day, God rested.

God, having spoken creation into existence by ten distinct utterances, was finished.

Which makes it kind of interesting that the universe as we know it, is made of different aspects called dimensions. In fact, according the universetoday.com, “Physicists theorize that dimensions are simply different facets of the perception of the universe.”

For example the first four dimensions involve length, width, depth, and time. However according to quantum physics there are even more dimensions that describe the nature of the universe and probably all universes. Currently scientists believe that there are ten dimensions.

Ten dimensions. Again, Ramban and science separated by 800 years, saying exactly the same thing.

It gets even more interesting when you get into the “quantum physics” explanation of how the universe is really constructed. Ever heard of “string theory”? According to modern physicists, the fundamental particles of our universe seem to be caused by vibrations on the quantum “strings” which make up the basic fabric of our universe.  Making the statement in Genesis 1 that the Holy Spirit “hovered” over early stages of creation (the Hebrew word also translated as “vibrate”) pretty intriguing..

And I’m pretty sure that the fact Psalm 33:2 says; “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth”, an explanation of how the universe was brought into being,  follows directly a charge to praise God on a “ten-string lyre” is not a coincidence.

But maybe that’s just me.

About now you might be saying ten dimensions?  What happened to our traditional three-dimensional reality?

Actually, Einstein made it four dimensions when he figured out that time itself is actually a dimension. So we have four known dimensions.

And according to string theory, six other dimensions are there, but, curled into a space too small to be currently detectable. 

Which is also extremely interesting, as Ramban also, from Genesis, split the ten different aspects of the universe proposed  into two distinct groups: four, that he labeled knowable, and six, that he labeled unknowable.

Again, 800 years between Ramban and modern science, each with identical conclusions.

A cleric that lived not too long after Ramban observed that, “True science, to an ever increasing degree, discovers God as if He were waiting behind each closed door that science opens.”

The famous astronomer Johann Kepler sort of echoed that sentiment, describing his career in science as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”.  And so it was.

But He’s willing to share His thoughts with all who will open their Bibles.

Science finds God behind every door they open, but they open those doors long after men and women of faith have been there and gone.

Wippel" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/content/?Bio_Wendy_page">About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Wippel" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=7903">Virgins and Fishes and Scales, Oh My.

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