A Day in the Life of the Torah: How Can Time Prove the Authenticity of Genesis by Charlie Shrem

10 months ago

As many of you know, I went through a very religious upbringing and eventually I left Jewish Orthodoxy to find my own place. You could say I'm a 'Wandering Jew' in that I believe in a some higher being, but I'm not sure what entails. While writing this paper I was also a firm believer in 'creation' whereas now I've seen evidence to the contrary. I like debating and discussion. I am also an economist and I like math. I wrote this article in my attempt to combine the two in my university days. Hope you enjoy!


Throughout the Torah (Jewish Bible which consists of only the Old Testament), the concept of time is very complex. Opinions to how the Torah measures time often come from the religious, as well as the scientific spectrum. In fact, one of the first theories scholars try to uncover is the definition of a day in the Torah, specifically in creation where it says "God created the world in 6 days". Upon taking the idea of a day into question, how can one accurately measure time in the Torah without contradicting historical facts? More specifically in the event of creation, God writes, in Genesis 1:15 “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars…the fourth day.” To be put simply, what is a day in terms of creation? Understanding how a day is measured, and how we perceive it, can help prove the authenticity of Genesis.

Based on the Torah the day is a 24-hour period based on the day-night cycle. The Jews reckon the day from sunset to sunset, that is, they begin a new day at sunset. It writes, "from sunset to sunset”. This custom apparently originated from creation: " God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.” All Jewish holidays and the weekly Sabbath begin at Sunset the night before. For example, Friday evening sunset to Saturday evening Sunset. This differs from other religions that begin its day at midnight.

I’d like to look more deeply into this, because maybe its possible for time to have more than one face. Umberto Eco, in his The Story of Time starts a quote, “we can measure time, but this gives us no guarantee that we understand what time is”(p.11). True, we cannot understand what time is. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to be conclusive in measuring time and some might consider measuring time preposterous! The reason is because how can we measure time, with time? Essentially speeds, velocity, height, weight, all measurements, are based on time! Eco ends that quote by saying “or whether it is proper to measure it metrically” (p.11). He agrees! Is it proper to measure it metrically, and what other instruments of measurement do we have that aren’t based on time? It’s a cycle in which no origination can be found.

Scientists attempt to come close by defining time as the distance between what is now and then. However, Now does not exist. There is no single ‘fixed moment’, except subjectively, time is constantly moving. When you imagine time, you think of snapshots moving across a line, flowing. Imagining it does not make it happen, nothing can move along the line, therefore time cannot flow. "Now" does not exist. Physicist David Duetsch writes in this essay, The Fabric of Reality, “We do not experience time flowing, or passing. What we experience are differences between our present perceptions and our present memories of our past perceptions” (p.263). We’re experiencing memories.

Now that we understand that there is more than one definitions of time, lets look at Geneses 1:15 again, “He also made the stars…the fourth day.” The current Jewish year is 5769, a little less than 6,000 years since creation. On day 4 God created the stars, so it must mean by the conventional measurements of time, God created the stars 5769 years, 7 months, and 2 days ago. However, Light travels at the incredible velocity of 1,079 million km/hr. that means that we would not be able to see them for another 200 million years! This is no small problem, for we are able to observe galaxies of stars that are so far away that their light should have taken billions of years to reach Earth. Many atheists have tried to use this argument to disprove God and the Bible.

Robert Newton writes, in The Journal of Creation, “Perhaps the definition of time that God uses in Genesis 1 is observed time, not calculated time” (p.80). Meaning, if there were an observer standing on Earth on Day 4 of the Creation, he would have seen the stars being created on that day. This is the impression we get from reading the Torah firsthand. It is possible that this implies that the stars observed on Day 4 were ‘actually’ created billions of years before Day 1, according to calculated time. However, because God is time, and exits out of it, the idea he created them millions of years before, makes sense. The observer –us- sees the stars on the 4th day. Observed time doesn’t require knowledge of the distance to the source of an astronomical event.

So what is time and how do you measure it? Was the earth created in a single day or over a long period?

-Charlie

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For me its a lot simpler... a typical Hebrew parallel. Check the repeated concepts on day 1 and 4, 2 and 5, 3 and 6, having the 7th stand alone for emphasis... being the type of the Sabbath. The day, specifically, the evening and the morning are the opening and closing parenthesis of the literary parallel. A prefigure of six days shalt thy labor and do all thy work...etc.

We moderns may have read far more literalness into the account than was perhaps originally intended anciently.

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Interesting thought which could still be true in spite of the fact that God carved the 7 day cycle in stone with his own finger when He gave Moses the 4th commandment.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day and hallowed it. Exod 20: 8-11

"It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed." When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God. Exodus 31:18

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It is intriguing to me that the Sabbath and the creation are so often inextricably linked in the Pentateuch.

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Very good point!

So what is time and how do you measure it?

On the subject, saying that there's no such thing as "now" is like saying that a derivative is meaningless "because you're dividing zero by zero, aren't you?" There is a definite "now", but (strangely) it takes an unusually abstract line of thought to justify what we know intuitively. Just like we know that there's some point in a circle where the tangent line is flat...

As for time itself...the first dictionary definition is:

the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.

(Source.)

I'm not that well trained philosophically, so I can't see what's slippery in the above.

Was the earth created in a single day or over a long period?

I'm afraid I'm going to take the Clarence Darrow cop-out :)

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There is a definite "now", but (strangely) it takes an unusually abstract line of thought to justify what we know intuitively. Just like we know that there's some point in a circle where the tangent line is flat...

This is what I have most trouble wrapping my head around. Can you explain the last part?

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Okay: the tangent line is a line whose slope is equal to the slope of a function at a certain point. Think of an eight foot long 2 X 4 placed on or under a specific part of a small Ferris wheel or huge Hula hoop. Something like this:

(Source.)

AC would be the "2 x 4". It's the tangent.

Intuitively, we know that there are two places where the "2 x 4" would be horizontal: i.e., have a slope of zero. Flat. :)

But it is hard to justify because the circle has no edges.

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3Beanzz Tríona Carroll tweeted @ 09 Dec 2016 - 19:46 UTC

A Day in the Life of the Torah: How Can Time Prove the Authenticity of Genesis by Charlie Shrem — Steemit steemit.com/story/@charlie…

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.

If God can make a star, he can make a stream of photons between it and the earth at the same time.

Does it take 14 billion years to initialize a Star Wars video game? Nope, the Star Wars universe only looks that old, but it was created when you launched the program.

The only reason that science doesn't agree with the Bible is because it refuses to think outside God's Matrix.

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By that logic, how do you know the operator of this simulation is omnipotent or omnibenevolent? An ordinary, living organism running this simulator would of course be omnipotent within it, but that no more makes them a god than I am when I play Grand Theft Auto.

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You don't know anything about that Operator that He doesn't choose to reveal.
My example doesn't claim to prove anything other than that there is at least one explanation that reconciles science and the Bible.

On the other hand, people who point to scientific observations as proof that their is no God have a problem because I just provided a counter example. I'm sure the SciFi writers of the world can provide many more. Even scientists invent multiverses and other works of the imagination as hypotheses to explain what they are able to observe.

The Truth is, no doubt, more interesting than that.

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If we don't know the operator or creator of this particular simulation is omnipotent, then why bother labeling them "god"?

Could just be a dude spinning up a test VM.

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Well, if this simulation is being run by a geek in his mother's basement he would be all knowing and all powerful as far as we are concerned. You could call him a "god" in the ordinary human made up sense of the term.

He would not be THE God whom we have come to know and love because of what He has revealed about Himself.

But again, I'm only seeking to point out that scientific "proof" that things appear to be older that 6000 years merely eliminates the most obvious possibilities about how everything works. (It assumes that the creation process is constrained the internal rules of the universe.)

It does not prove that the Biblical account of creation is false, just that Science has made different assumptions - including that the visible universe is not a simulation or a divine thought experiment. (Google "the simulation hypothesis" to see that some scientists do view simulation as a plausible way to explain observed quantum entanglement and particle-wave duality.)

What is the purpose to

help prove the authenticity of Genesis

???

Personally I do not measure it, I just live it.

I want to take the time to read this post later. Through a genetic test I found out I was of Ashkenazi descent a few years ago and am eager to learn more about Judaism!

It's questions like these that have altered my perception from simply laughing off flat-Earthers to feeling I need to be more open to the fact that I don't understand G-d and the universe He created. Growing up as a Christian I was taught a particular way of thinking about the world around me. As I've grown up and tried to grab my understanding by the horns I find I come across more and more questions, all leading to deeper and deeper levels of the rabbit hole that is understanding who/what G-d is. Thanks for churning up the juices this morning, Charlie!

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Thank you for this reply....if one may add to the dialogue...your story is very similiar to that of many who have queries but no answers....as Pastors no longer learn the original languages in order to teach the Bible accurately.
Principle...Without accurate translation there cannot be accurate interpretation.

rbthieme.org is a site that will provide answers to queries from the translation of the original languages of the scriptures. If you seek truth...God provides the answers through His word as taught by pastors who teach isagogically, categorically and exegetically having studied the original languages.

Thank you for the opportunity to express thought.
All the best. Cheers.

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Thank you. I love trying to study what the original languages say, as opposed to just reading the English translations or paraphrases. We've lost a lot of meaning by just repeating the same theology instead of constantly looking at G-d's word for a deeper understanding. I'll definitely be checking out the link.

"Time", as we understand it, was created when God spoke the universe into being.
The concept of a "day" [yom] was initiated on the first day, with light representing day, darkness night and evening and morning a complete day. Grammatically, any day [yom] modified by a number or similar structure (evening and morning) represents a literal day. Since God had established light and darkness as day and night and morning and evening on the first day, it seems somewhat simple that the measurement has been consistent since that first day. IMO, the sun and moon simply give us references to the cause as of the third day, but we have nothing else to really grasp as a source of light on the first. Was it just "light"? Was it God's glory? One day maybe we'll find out.
Having said that, the cataclysm that caused the flood very well could have been of such magnitude to have altered the rotation of the earth, so I would not be dogmatic about a 24 hr day. Depending on which hypothesis one considers most likely, it might have been slightly longer or shorter... but not millions of years longer or shorter. :)

Very interesting subject matter to ponder! After having practiced meditation for so long I'm beginning to realize that the way we perceive time to pass is highly subjective. It's very elastic and if we get our mind into certain states it passes more slowing and by the same token other states of consciousness will make it pass at lightening speed. I really enjoyed the post.

So what is time and how do you measure it?

If you postulate the existence of something (or somebody) static, outside of you, "wrapped in plastic" and immutable, then time could be conceived somehow around this concept. This static, "wrapped in plastic" phenomenon - being it the creation of the world, if you want - can be equaled with the "beginning". And from there you can measure it.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing. Nothing exists "outside", wrapped in plastic, by itself. Everything is connected to everything and everything is continuously changing.

Our cognition is based on three things: us, (the perceiver), the other (the perceived) and the action with which we're taking into cognition the other. Everything that exists is created like this. It's the same thing that quantum physics postulates: "an event is dependent on its observer".

So time is a subjective dimension, defined as the totality of the memories we generate as we "advance" in a mental continuum. Hence, it cannot be measured objectively.

The quotation marks around "advance" are signaling the fact that we're not really "advancing", but we're rather "propelled" by our own actions and desires. Once we stop having desires and actions, the "advancing" stops, samsara - the world of illusion in which we're living right now - collapses and we're enlightened.

Still working on that :)

The star nearest our Solar System, Proxima Centauri, is about four lightyears away so it takes about four years before we see its light.
The star Polaris, which we refer to as the North Star or North Pole Star, is 680 lightyears away.
Most of the stars we see with the naked eye at night are within a few hundred lightyears, although a handful are as far away as 2,000 lightyears.
We don't see stars 5,000 lightyears away with the naked eye.

More info: http://www.spacetoday.org/Questions/StarlightAge.html

The current Jewish year is 5777.

I wrote an entire philosophical series about this:

The way I see it, I don't see any objectivity at all. I view the entire world as a network of subjective experiences interacting with eachother. Now you may call that God in the big picture, but I think it all boils down to the invividual, at the individual level.

I didn't read this. Thank god you left Jew shit behind though. Elite Jews are literally evil.

algo bem interessante,a ser bem avaliado.

Charlie, great discussion. Reminds me of a video I saw a while back from someone with a lot of your similar interests:

I noticed recently that v.5 says 'There was EVENING, and there was morning, the first day', meaning that, on earth, there was no nighttime. The darkness, distinct from light, is called Night, but a day on the Earth isn't described as experiencing nighttime. I wonder if this is because the water that fell during the flood was in a sufficient quantity to refract enough light around the Earth to avoid darkness.

This is written in harsh (mussar?) language by people many many years ago, but it seems applicable here, and especially these days...

“Woe unto one who says that the Torah comes to tell literal tales… all the words of the Torah have the uppermost meaning… when it came down to this world, the world could not tolerate it if it had not clothed in these mundane clothes, which are the tales and words of the uneducated… Such is the Torah. It has a body, which is the Mitzvot of the Torah, which are called “the bodies of the Torah.” This body clothes in dresses... which is the story of the Torah. They do not know more and do not consider what exists underneath that clothing.” Zohar, BeHaalotcha [When You Mount] Paragraphs 58-62.

The uppermost context of the subsequent questions is of course; HaShem Echad, All is One... (Is Creation part of the Creator? Is the separation real at all? (Tzimtzum.) I thought "Ein Sof" meant "Endless Light," doesn't night and day mean it isn't endless? Does keeping the mitzvot help me transcend this physical reading of the Torah? Etc.

Time may prove the authenticity of Genesis but the problem is that it really is not Genesis. The Hebrews plagiarized this story from the Sumerian Creation myth then went on to plagiarize the Epic of Gilgamish for the Noah Ark story as well as the birth of Sargon of Akkad for Moses. The truth is that Genesis is a retelling of an old story that was stolen from a previous culture. Now the white Jews, who are really from Khazar, a region in southern Russia, claim authority over these texts. Maybe the story of Genesis is true but it remains a plagiarized retelling of an old myth.

I love the Scriptures of Truth. It is my favorite Book.
"But I will show you that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holds with me in these things, but Michael your prince." (Daniel 10:21)

Though we may not know what time is or how to measure it, we know that Genesis had to be given by inspiration from God, otherwise we would not have a detailed account of the events of creation, because man was not yet created, and though there may be questions about the Biblical account of creation no one has been able to prove anything in The Scriptures of Truth as false.
"There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD." (Proverbs 21:30)

If you are interested here is a quick 3 minute video about God's existence.
Where did God come from?

One thing we do know about time, Whoever started it sure keeps it operating like clockwork. The Sun never sleeps in. :)

I enjoyed your musings. Thank you for your writing.

I have thought about this much the same way. Time is relevant to space. If you don't occupy space, how do you measure time. It has a physical connection. So a day to God is an elusive concept at best. Thoughtful perspective.