doubts about atheism
criticism of a religious text is senseless. The two views proceed from entirely
different sets of axioms. Neither can analyze the other. They may be joined in a
sense with the well-known chain: Who created A? B. Who created B? C. And who
created C? and so on. Without a prime mover, the chain becomes infinite.
Infinity, although tolerated by science, is as much a non-evident abstraction as
the primal cause. Thus, God may be either the initial creator or the eternal
system which does not require him.
the primary cause, is not external. Its manifestation is the world, as we know
it. The world is as detached from God as sunbeams are detached from the sun—far
less, in fact, since the world does not drift from the primary cause as light
does from a star.
tradition says the world and the laws that govern it were created simultaneously.
The world develops according to the laws of nature without divine intervention.
Buddhism’s doctrine of the Way is similar, that is, the natural sciences
describe the world adequately. Theology describes the beginning of beginnings.
The existence of God. That a fantastic chain of fortuities resulting in DNA formed from a
primordial organic molecule is less realistic than the queerest theosophy of the
most distant tribe. What set of chances explains the creation of the still
incomprehensible three-dimensional organisms patterned after the DNA code?
could not originate from a single organic molecule. Myriads of them had to
appear and evolve strictly by chance into viruses and cellular organisms. The
fantastically complex DNA mechanism was conceived strictly by chance and by
chance became universal for everything living. If live organisms developed
simultaneously from many molecules in the primeval ocean, then why are all
living forms structured exactly alike, in the sense they are all based on
The mechanism of protein synthesis arose by accident. Accidentally the protein
molecules started to coil in a particular way. Accidentally living organisms
acquired the control mechanism, coiling the newly made protein molecules and
uncoiling the “wrong” ones for another try. Accidentally hemoglobin appeared,
its iron atom oxidizing in lungs and releasing oxygen to each cell of the body.
or other in the course of several hundred million years the few living cells
underwent an enormous number of mutations, quadrillions of useful mutations
alone, an inconceivable number, impossible even in billions of years. The
emergence of unimaginably complex life forms and body organs through even a long
chain of accidental mutations is not only implausible: its mathematical
probability is nil. Evolution may account for minor adaptations in species but
not for their origin.
now, when a gigantic quantity of species live in the inhabited zones, do new
species not continuously arise? If evolution created millions of species as
recently as fifty million years ago, how many more are being created in the
teeming Amazon forests? But new forms appear only in viruses, and they are not
host of planets hundreds of millions of years older than the Earth inhabits
space. Because human scientific progress is so fast, changing the world in a
mere ten thousand years, if there is intelligent life on any of the older
planets, its development must be unimaginably
higher than ours. Only a few thousand years separate us from the cave men. How
miraculous would any civilization look after millions more years of evolution!
Yet the absence of any trace of organized life in the cosmos leads to the
conclusion that humanity is unique.
science sometimes grudgingly confirms what theologians have known a long time.
Geneticists believe that humanity evolved from no more then seven females and
even fewer males. There is no plausible explanation for that other than the
story of Eden. Linguists finally agreed only a short while ago to what is
essentially the Tower of Babel
scenario, namely that almost all languages originate from a common source or a
few. Sumerian, the language of the tower’s builders, is perhaps the only
with no modern analog.
says, “Before Enoch’s generation, the faces of people were like apes’
According to Jewish tradition, Enoch was the first modern human being, all his
predecessors being of a different race. How did the ancient rabbis know that?
believe the universe was created reasonably, not by chance. Atheists claim that
the universe evolves according to certain laws and therefore possesses multiple
signs of the highest organization— the complex structure of space, the
movement of celestial bodies, and organic life. Yet they cannot explain the
origin of the laws of nature without a primary cause.
must suppose that the laws are a part of the universe. They postulate the
existence of eternal matter with the attributes of reason, the laws of nature,
precisely the qualities of the Spirit. Why is that approach better than
theosophy? Modern atheism is only the struggle to formulate theosophical
concepts using scientific terms instead of using the word God.
Centuries of preaching corporeal deity make this urge to abandon theology
understandable. But the God of Judaism is as abstract as an energy field; a
caring abstraction, perhaps.
say that God has always existed beyond time. Atheists say that before the Big
Bang, when the universe was compressed into a point, time did not exist.
say that before the creation of the world there was nothing but God. He was all
spirit-energy-matter and all space. There was nothing beyond him. Atheists say
the world was coiled into an indefinitely small point which contained all matter
and all space. There was nothing beyond it.
say the world was created as a manifestation of God but God did not dissolve
into the world, but continues to exist. Atheists say that after the Big Bang the
world developed from a point. But that point did not cease to exist, it is still
the center of the universe.
methods are identical. Believers recognize God by watching his creation and his
manifestations in the world. Atheists recognize the laws of nature by analyzing
the actions they cause.
God’s existence and his absence are empirically improvable. Atheism needs
faith in God’s absence as much as religion needs faith in his existence.
scientific claims have no empirical proof. What was there prior to the Big Bang
from which the universe sprang, and what is beyond the universe or a cluster of
universes? What did this universe do to be born, and where did the energy and
principles of its evolution come from? Is not the answer to these questions he
who is called God? Neither theists nor atheists can answer those questions with
empirical proof. That inherent ambiguity gave rise to agnosticism, the
philosophy of the impossibility of ultimate knowledge, but such knowledge is not
necessary for any practical purpose. Whatever terms we use, whether God or field
or dense matter, we imply the phenomenon which gave rise to creation, the laws
of nature, and a sequence of empirically acknowledgeable events, which may be
perceived as immensely wise or as a complex of incomprehensible natural laws.
observe the laws of nature, such as gravitation. Believers observe the
commandments which are laws of social interaction: natural, not arbitrary.
The unity of God. If we accept that God is not isomorphic, we must suppose the existence
of some connection, intercourse, and interaction between those parts or gods.
Such a connection could change, adapt, and improve. Extrapolating back, we must
suppose that at some moment no effective bond was available. At that moment,
there existed some set of isomorphic, disconnected parts of God. Then something
had to cause interconnection, a process similar to a separate driving force
creating a world, God proper. Alternatively, had the bonds between the gods
always been unchangeable, the continuum would appear uniform, changeless, an
eternal object, something which we habitually call one God.
The Jewish understanding of God.
Mythical accounts aside, the description in the Torah seems to be the most
reasonable: an abstract God without a face, not in direct contact with human
beings and staying above their affairs.
two perfectly identical people with exactly the same information in their brains.
Each is quite aware that the other is not he, though physically they are
identical, information included. That unique I
which is not identified with physical substance, not copied but somehow
distinguished, I call the soul.
dualism with monotheism requires intellectual acrobatics. Even though every
phenomenon in the world occupies a place between two extremes (for
example, human behavior runs between absolute good and absolute evil), that
reasoning is inapplicable to God, who is beyond extremes, of good and evil, in
physics deals with elements which can be manifested differently and possess
features of both wave and particle. Sometimes, they change those characteristics
in response to external conditions, while God cannot be influenced since nothing
is external to him.
Spontaneous transformation, however, is similar to free will that God certainly
possess.Nuclear physics changed theology considerably, rendering many proofs
obsolete, especially those concerning the principal impossibility of dual and
triune nature of basic elements (ancients called them atoms) which could
not be compound. That refutation of Gnostic views, ironically simple and obvious,
now appears to be incorrect, creating the need for a new argument or a
considerable revision of the old one. A new refutation of trinity may be that
even the wave-particle is always manifested in one form only and does not exist
simultaneously in two forms. By analogy, we can imagine that a single God is
perceived sometimes as good and sometimes as evil (dualism) but not that he
exists simultaneously in two or three distinct forms.
physics introduces many other concepts usually reserved for divine such as
absence of time (immediate collapse of wave), absolutely free will (probabilistic
uncertainty), and abstraction (shapeless and possibly weightless objects).
Other candidates, like recent undeciphered discoveries in the Hindu valley
and Aymara in Latin America, are not studied enough to draw conclusions.
This view if often labeled pantheist, but it is not: God pervades the world,
but surely every stone is not divine because it does not include God
completely—only infinitely small part of him. The orthodox opinion that
everything is external to God suggests that he is finite and has boundaries,
or at least is limited to another dimension than our three or four.
Bereshit rabbah 23:9