There are many points of view concerning the method through which the planet on which we live came into existence. Many believe in the Creator, which, depending on their particular belief structure is defined by many names and character traits. Others believe the world came into being through a big bang. Others still believe in some form of intelligent design. There are so many arguments that keeping up with them boggles the mind. To break down the belief structures even more creates more room for disagreement. There are those who believe in a literal Biblical view of a young earth. Others believe something similar but with a longer time frame and the list goes on. I suppose there are many who would say, what does it really matter? Who cares?
To give into the argument that it really doesn’t matter seems to me to be the lazy way out and allows room for abdication of personal responsibility for maintaining the world in which we live. For Jews we are obliged to not only maintain the world but to make it better. Quite an order some days.
I have been around many people who seem to derive some perverse pleasure in arguing about how the world came into being. Too often the rhetoric employed in support of a particular position is laden with incendiary language and skewed presentation of “facts.” Such discourse changes nothing.
I choose to believe the Torah version of creation. I don’t base my belief on empirical data or some blind allegiance to G-d. I base my belief on something more. I base my belief on the evidence G-d has provided.
There is a story from the Talmud that sums up my belief about creation. I share it now.
The Master Builder
An atheist once came to a great sage. He started telling him that he didn’t believe in G-d. He wasn’t sure what to believe in, but he couldn’t believe some sort of “Creator” made this world.
A few days later, the sage came to the man’s home and brought him a beautiful painting. The atheist looked at the painting. He was in awe. It was the most exquisite painting the man had ever seen.
“This painting is so beautiful, who is the artist? he demanded of the sage.
The sage answered, “Artist? What artist? No artist painted this. I just took a few colors, splashed them on to it, and what you see before you is the result.”
The man began to laugh. “Surely you’re joking. That’s impossible! It’s such a beautiful work of art, such exact curves, lines, beautiful colors. The correct mix could not have occurred just by you throwing the colors on the canvas. There must have been thought behind this magnificent work of art. There must have been premeditation. There must be an artist who planned this whole painting out, who created this work of art.”
The great sage smiled and he said to the atheist, “You can’t believe this one work of art was created haphazardly and without thought, without a Creator. However, you want me to believe this whole beautiful world with its oceans, forests, and trees, with its perfect seasons, you want me to believe that everything on this Earth came about without a Creator, without thought, without premeditation.”
I cannot watch a sunset or sunrise without feeling the presence of G-d. When I have been on the floor of the ocean, looking around, I know there is a G-d and He’s a brilliant craftsman. I hear the laughter of a child and in it I hear the voice of G-d. I look at the majestic trees, the beautiful flowers, a garden at full bloom and I see G-d painting in hues beyond my finiteness. I see the clouds, the sun, the moon, the thunder, lightning, and rain all of which give credence to the manifold yet ever faithful nature of my Creator. The brilliant flashes of His power, the Light for my path, the cooling, cleansing rain, and the warmth of His love all come to me in the beauty of nature. For me, as the sacred text teaches, the heavens do declare the glory of G-d and they remind me He has entrusted me and you to maintain and improve the world in which we live. Seems like a more than fair deal to me. G-d in His mercy restores my soul unto me each day and I choose to use each new day as an opportunity for transformation.
May we be blessed to know and embrace the energy of the Creator that is lovingly shared with us in this world and to fully comprehend His desire to share with us peace, joy, kindness, beauty, and love.