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(I refuse to use modern Biblical commentary because it already knows modern science, and is always influenced by that knowledge.The trend becomes to bend the Bible to match the science.) So the only data I use as far as Biblical commentary goes is ancient commentary.
So there's no possibility of Hubble or any other modern scientific data influencing these concepts.Two-thirds of the scientists gave the same answer: "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. 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.When we add up the generations of the Bible, we come to 5700-plus years. God could have put the fossils in the ground and juggled the light arriving from distant galaxies to make the world appear to be billions of years old. God being infinite could have made the world that way. In trying to resolve this apparent conflict, it's interesting to look historically at trends in knowledge, because absolute proofs are not forthcoming.Whereas, data from the Hubble telescope or from the land based telescopes in Hawaii, indicate the age at about 15 billion years. There is another possible approach that also agrees with the ancient commentators’ description of God and nature. But what is available is to look at how science has changed its picture of the world, relative to the unchanging picture of the Torah.At MIT, in the Hayden library, we had about 50,000 books that deal with the development of the universe: cosmology, chemistry, thermodynamics, paleontology, archaeology, the high-energy physics of creation.
At Harvard, at the Weidner library, they probably have 200,000 books on these same topics. Don't expect that by a simple reading of those sentences you'll know every detail that is held within the text.
The idea of looking for a deeper meaning in Torah is no different than looking for deeper meaning in science.
Just as we look for the deeper readings in science to learn the working of nature, so too we need to look for the deeper readings in Torah. “A word well spoken is like apples of Gold in a silver dish.” Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed interprets this proverb: The silver dish is the literal text of the Torah, as seen from a distance.
One of the most obvious perceived contradictions between Torah and science is the age of the universe.
Is it billions of years old, like scientific data, or is it thousands of years, like Biblical data?
The Jewish year is figured by adding up the generations since Adam. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, upon blowing the shofar, the following sentence is said: "Hayom Harat Olam ― today is the birthday of the world." This verse might imply that Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the universe. Rosh Hashanah commemorate the creation of the Neshama, the soul of human life.