from Aish.com by Dr. Gerald Schroeder
How did I get to this site? My thought process was something like
- How old is the world?
- How old is the world according to Scripture?
- How can we best understand what Scripture means (answer: find out what the people who wrote it and originally read it thought it meant.)
- Who would know better what the ancient Jews thought...than ancient Jews?
- What is the closest we can get to that?
A lot of this made my head hurt.
Dr. Gerald Schroeder earned his BSc, MSc and double-Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...
So...he's a smart guy 😉
Now...add to that, the Bible commentary he uses is all pre-1300 (so, no modern science has affected the reading of Scripture.)
In 1959, a survey was taken of leading American scientists. (...)Two-thirds of the scientists gave the same answer: "Beginning? There was no beginning. Aristotle and Plato taught us 2400 years ago that the universe is eternal. Oh, we know the Bible says 'In the beginning.' That's a nice story, but we sophisticates know better. There was no beginning."
That was 1959. In 1965, Penzias and Wilson discovered the echo of the Big Bang in the black of the sky at night, and the world paradigm changed from a universe that was eternal to a universe that had a beginning. After 3000 years of arguing, science has come to agree with the Torah.
Okay - when do the Jews say the universe began? They start with Rosh Hoshana - the Jewish New Year.
"Hayom Harat Olam ― today is the birthday of the world."
Does it mean that (about)5,700 years ago, the universe came into existence? According to this article, the "birthday of the world" celebrates, not the cosmos, but rather the creation of the human soul.
So (to use the article's wording) the Bible has two clocks. The first "clock" is the time leading up to Adam, the second clock begins with the soul of Adam.
One of the reasons for seeing this concept is the language. Is there anywhere else in the Bible where a "day" is described as "morning and evening?" This bizarre word usage is used until Adam; after Adam "normal" human time is always used.
Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations;(Deut 32:7 ESV)
Nachmanides (died 1270 AD) saw this verse as "split time" - "days of old" = pre-Adam; "many generations" = post Adam.