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Einstein and Jewish Thought about God


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Here proving more on target would be the intuitive observation of Blaise Pascal founder of probability theory and an astute student of history. Upon being asked by Louis IVX for an example of a Devine intervention responded “Why the Jews your majesty, the Jews” in clear reference to their survival. This is moreover, strikingly consistent with earlier Jewish sources when it is asserted in the Talmud, “The continued existence of the Jewish people is proof of God’s providence (Talmud Balvi, Yoma 69b).

The idea, moreover, that the “superior intelligence” hidden behind the universe is a benevolent one rooted in some form of awareness is well articulated in the writings of contemporary Talmudic scholar and first class physicist Gerald Schroeder just as it was in earlier centuries expressed by Maimonides as well as Nahmanides. The unlikelihood that the universe could through random combination be produced in the span of 13 ½ billion years is astronomical in terms of so many factors, including, as Schroeder points out the availability of carbon needed. Further, the notion that mind is less basic than matter in the scheme of creation is refuted by both design and the existence of energy as a non-physical reality. The “bridge” between this fit and some infinite form of mind concerned with humankind becomes most plausible. Einstein recognizes the hidden intelligence behind the universe and discloses a deep appreciation for it but unfortunately neglects to bridge the gap to an infinite mind concerned with humankind.

The Shema itself explicitly refers to this “bridge” when it speaks of Hashem’s “glorious kingdom” immediately following the immaterial reality asserted in “The L-rd is one.” Einstein in expressing his thoughts about God was moving a good distance in the right direction based upon his gifted utilization of intuition, philosophy and science, but fell short of reaching the goal of full awareness of a personal God. However the overall consistency of his creative use of these resources with Torah should not surprise us since enlightened human thought and science itself are included within the “glorious kingdom of God.”

Howard Zik

About the Author: Howard Zik is the author of Jewish Ideas. Creator of the Blog: Encountering Holiness and Philosophy


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