Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Age of the Universe

NOTE:  I received a comment (see below) on this post seeking references to various statements I made.  I apologize for not including this information to begin with; but, since I could write extensively on each subject, I am limited in time and space (and the interest of most who are going to read my posts) as to what I can cover (most things I write about I have known for many years, requiring me to dig into my past).  I hope this satisfies your inquiries since I do wish to gain your confidence in the information I put out.



The kabbalist whose studies of the creation account  in Genesis are the most precise and authoritative was Nechunya ben HaKanah. Among other matters in which he was expert, Nechunya specifically asserted that the 42-lettered name allowed one to deduce from the creation account the correct age of the universe. because in his day this kind of information was considered religiously sensitive (as it is today), Nechunya's own explanation of the numbers involved was somewhat sketchy. But another kabbalist who followed closely in Nechunya's footsteps -- Rabbi Yitzhak deMin Acco -- laid out the calculations precisely. These make it doubly clear that the calculations of the synodical "starting date" for the first new moon and of the "primordial year" (which values both Nechunya and deMin Acco used) were to be understood literally only insofar as the numbers produce accurate results.  NOTE:  I have also seen reference to each day of the creation being a Shemitah cycle as we are in now but referring to the 6000 years of history and 1000 years of Shabbat.  Each day being 7000 years give us the same 42,000 years derived from the 42 lettered name (6X7000).
    Thus, Nechunya claimed that if you properly understand how to use the 42-lettered name, Genesis provides for a period of time between the origin of the universe and the creation of man, namely 42,000 "Divine Years." But a "Divine Year" isn't 365.25 of our days; it's 365,250 of our years (a day in shemayim is 1000 years on Earth, from the Psalms). So, between the origin of the universe and the creation of man there transpired 42,000 X 365,250 years. In other words, says Nechunya, Genesis tells us that the universe came into existence 15.34 billion years ago.
The information that the kabbalists use was derived from sources in the Zohar.  I was not able to come up with an exact reference.

Science is presently at 13.7 billion years which means they are getting close.  From several books that I have on the subject and this Wikipedia write-up:

The age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang. The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years[1][2] (4.339 x 1017 seconds) within the Lambda-CDM concordance model.[1] The uncertainty range of 0.11 billion years has been obtained by the agreement of a number of scientific research projects, such as microwave background radiation measurements by Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and other probes. Measurements of the cosmic background radiation give the cooling time of the universe since the Big Bang,[3] and measurements of the expansion rate of the universe can be used to calculate its approximate age by extrapolating backwards in time.

Einstein calculated using the effects of relativity and concluded that the six 24 hour days of the creation took 15.75 billion years which is .41 billion years different from the Zohar.  From Dr Gerald
Schroeder's book, Genesis and the Big Bang. Very detailed answer is needed but I will try to explain in a nutshell. 
The effects of General relativity is due to gravitational pull.  The effects of Special relativity is due to velocity.  If one could be at the big bang which was the entire universe in a pinpoint (you see the gravity of the situation) and expanded out at close to the speed of light, you would experience such a tremendous slowing of time that:
The calculations come out to be as follows:
• The first of the Biblical days lasted 24 hours, viewed from the "beginning of time perspective." But the duration from our perspective was 8 billion years.
• The second day, from the Bible's perspective lasted 24 hours. From our perspective it lasted half of the previous day, 4 billion years.
• The third 24 hour day also included half of the previous day, 2 billion years.
• The fourth 24 hour day ― one billion years.
• The fifth 24 hour day ― one-half billion years.
• The sixth 24 hour day ― one-quarter billion years.
When you add up the Six Days, you get the age of the universe at 15 and 3/4 billion years.
Yes the final answer is that the universe took exactly six 24 hour days to create and those six days took 15.34 billion years (I didn't say the answer would be easy to understand).

This is not a simple nor a cut and dry answer, but I guarantee the Torah has all the answers, not science. There are many books written on the subject which will wow you. They talk about many scientific discoveries of the past 10, 50, 100 years and tell you exactly where to find that information in scriptures. The Rabbi’s knew all this information thousands of years ago. 
Two books (there are many others) that I recommend that will explain where in scriptures one can find answers to scientific discoveries are:

  • The Coming Revolution  by Zamir Cohen (originally written in Hebrew but         translated into several languages including English)
  • Mysteries of the Creation by Rabbi Dovid Brown

The Rabbi’s didn’t forget.  All the information was past down though the millennia with the commentary of many Rabbi’s (Rashi, Rambam, Ramban, Arizal, Ramchal, etc, etc, etc).
Hopefully, this gives you the information you are looking for.  It is not easy, without writing a book, to explain such complicated information simply without losing most of my readers.  Any more questions, fire away.


I decided to change my topic for today since I would like to answer a very good question that was submitted on a previous post, 27 March 2012:
COMMENT:  I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I have a question: How old is the world according to the absolute truth?

ANSWER:  Although I am planning to do an extensive “scriptures versus science” post, I will give you a preview.  The laws of Physics, Chemistry and Biology were created by the same One Who wrote the Torah.  All of science and mathematics is in the Torah.  If science has the correct answer to a question, then there is agreement with scriptures – where there is disagreement, science hasn’t caught up with reality, yet.  In the 55 years that I have been studying science, many major changes have come about as new information is derived.  In the past 3324 years, Torah hasn’t changed one iota (actually even long before that). 

To answer your question, the Zohar (the mystical writings of the Torah) gives us a calculation of how long the 6 days of creation took.  The answer, according to the Torah, is that the universe is 15.34 billion years old.  Science is presently at 13.7 billion years which means they are getting close.  Einstein calculated using the effects of relativity and concluded that the six 24 hour days of the creation took 15.75 billion years which is .41 billion years different from the Zohar.  Yes the final answer is that the universe took exactly six 24 hour days to create and those six days took 15.34 billion years (I didn't say the answer would be easy to understand).  This is not a simple nor a cut and dry answer, but I guarantee the Torah has all the answers, not science.  There are many books written on the subject which will wow you.  They talk about many scientific discoveries of the past 10, 50, 100 years and tell you exactly where to find that information in scriptures.  The Rabbi’s knew all this information thousands of years ago.  By the way, concerning the age of the world, both Torah and science agree, it is 4.5 billion years.

Thank you for your question as I hope in the near future to give you some real eye-opening discussion. But, you should know that to give simple answers to extremely complicated questions is difficult.  When you get into the depth of Torah, the answers are beyond human comprehension – after all it comes from an Infinite Source of Intelligence.

One last statement:  with the material that I have covered on this blog, we are at a point where your questions are very welcome.  Since I am interested in your welfare in this life and for all eternity, the best way that I can assist is by hearing your concerns.  Don’t hesitate even if you think it is not a good question or you totally disagree with what the Torah is saying about something.  I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I definitely have the source for all the answers and your questions become a learning experience for me as well. I love to dig into "the absolute truth" (love those words).  When one teaches, two learn.

5 comments:

  1. I love the answer but as absolute truth implies absolute integrity. Comments between brackets:

    To answer your question, the Zohar (the mystical writings of the Torah) gives us a calculation of how long the 6 days of creation took. [The Reference is missing]

    The answer, according to the Torah, is that the universe is 15.34 billion years old.
    [To be honest, this depends on a year being 365 days and some other stuff; there are other shitot]

    Science is presently at 13.7 billion years which means they are getting close.
    [see foregoing, no basis for this putting down]

    Einstein calculated using the effects of relativity and concluded that the six 24 hour days of the creation took 15.75 billion years which is .41 billion years different from the Zohar.
    [Stunning claim, reference is missing]

    Yes the final answer is that the universe took exactly six 24 hour days to create and those six days took 15.34 billion years (I didn't say the answer would be easy to understand).
    [I don't have a problem understanding this]

    This is not a simple nor a cut and dry answer, but I guarantee the Torah has all the answers, not science. There are many books written on the subject which will wow you. They talk about many scientific discoveries of the past 10, 50, 100 years and tell you exactly where to find that information in scriptures. The Rabbi’s knew all this information thousands of years ago.
    [but the rabbis forgot]

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  2. R' Aryeh Kaplan came up with similar result in a lecture that was given at the Midwinter Conference of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists on February 18, 1979:
    http://www.simpletoremember.com/faqs/Kaplan-SimpleToRemember.com.pdf

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    Replies
    1. I am a big fan of Rav Aryeh Kaplan, z"tl. He wrote 47 books -- everyone as exciting as can be. He was very much into the Absolute Truth, and I have quoted him often, even in my book. Thank you for the article from him.

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    2. Another version and several other interesting articles:

      http://www.geraldschroeder.com/About.aspx

      The Age of the Universe
      an article by Gerald Schroeder

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    3. I am a big fan of Dr Schroeder. I have all his books including those that are inscribed by him. I met him for the first time in 1993 where we had dinner together. That was a very special evening for me since it was one of the reasons that I started writing my book. Our discussion of Torah vs science was a real eye opener for me and led to many hundreds of hours of research on the subject. I am greatly indebted to Dr Schroeder for his brilliant insight and how much discovery followed for me.

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