The Challenge of Creation: Judaism's Encounter with

The Challenge of Creation: Judaism's Encounter with Science, Cosmology, and Evolution Carefully, methodically, and eschewing sensationalistic or dogmatic claims in favor of reasoned analysis, it shows how some of the greatest Jewish thinkers explained Judaism and Genesis in a way that complements modern science rather than conflicts with it The Challenge of Creation is an invaluable resource for anyone grappling with conflicts between science and religion It is a profound work that is sure to become a classic his book is written for a fairly limited audience, and for a fairly limited purpose it seeks to persuade Orthodox Jews that traditional Judaism and evolutionary biology that the two are compatible I do not have enough expertise in either to fully evaluate Rabbi Slifkin s arguments nevertheless, this book did seem to me to be interesting and at least somewhat plausible.Throughout this book, Slifkin repeats his core argument that whatever science proves, it does not disprove Divine creation, b his book is written for a fairly limited audience, and for a fairly limited purpose it seeks to persuade Orthodox Jews that traditional Judaism and evolutionary biology that the two are compatible I do not have enough expertise in either to fully evaluate Rabbi Slifkin s arguments nevertheless, this book did seem to me to be interesting and at least somewhat plausible.Throughout this book, Slifkin repeats his core argument that whatever science proves, it does not disprove Divine creation, but merely creates another question Where did the scientific laws come from He then goes on to focus on the creation story of Genesis He begins with the easy part citing numerous eminent rabbis such as Samson Raphael Hirsch who were not enthuasiastic about young earth creationism But after rebutting numerous counterarguments, Slifkin goes on to addressdifficult issues.One such issue, for example, is the order of creation in Genesis While modern scientific doctrine suggests that inanimate objects such as the sun and moon preceded plants and animals, a literal interpretation of Genesis might suggest that plants preceded the sun Slifkin points out, however, that traditional Jewish interpreters have written that the Torah does not always address events in chronological order.But why would this be so in Genesis 1 2 Slifkin suggests based on statements by Gersonides and other classical authorities that because sun worship was so common in the pagan world, the Torah seeks to downplay the importance of the sun Slifkin then goes intodetail, suggesting that the Torah begins with a complicated conceptual sequence To simplify his argument a bit, he writes that the Torah starts with immobile objects light, then sea and sky, then vegetation , then goes to a higher level of complexity by discussingmobile objects ranging from the most restricted such as the moon to the least restricted mammals and man.He ends by defending evolution, based on the broad Jewish principle that God normally operates through natural law For example, astronomy operates through laws of science that mankind understands, and yet Jews praise God for the sun Why should biology be different Going a little further, Slifkin criticizes the intelligent design ID movement from a religious point of view ID as Slifkin understands it focuses on biological evidence that species were intelligently designed Slifkin worries that this theory may have the unintended consequence of implying that God is irrelevant where such evidence is lacking.On the other hand, Slifkin also criticizes atheistic evolutionists who argue that the cruelty and apparent pointlessness of natural selection argues against an intelligent God, raising a wide variety of explanations for this reality This should be required reading for anyone interested in the confluence of science and Judaism I was enthralled by Slifkin s direct use of secular and religious sources with a thorough analysis of each argument and how it may or may not be in conflict with various strains of thought Also, the book is far from dry and answers questions about the Torah and evolution that I did not even realize I had I cannot recommend this book enough to an audience that is searching for resolution to conflicts This should be required reading for anyone interested in the confluence of science and Judaism I was enthralled by Slifkin s direct use of secular and religious sources with a thorough analysis of each argument and how it may or may not be in conflict with various strains of thought Also, the book is far from dry and answers questions about the Torah and evolution that I did not even realize I had I cannot recommend this book enough to an audience that is searching for resolution to conflicts of religion and science I ve read many books on Science vs Torah debate This is one of the best Rabbi Nathan Slifkin never guesses he uses watertight logic, along with commentaries of very well known Jewish sages to cover the first few chapters of Bereishit He s both a scholar and a scientist, and both of these qualities will hopefully satisfy both skeptic and believer.His approach makes so much sense, I closed this book hungry forof his writing.

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