Friday, November 18, 2011
[not really bones?]
Recently I took my family on a trip to the American Museum of Natural History. The dinosaur exhibits are amazing, however they do raise a question: from the point of view of Judaism, when did they live or did they indeed live at all?
The most recent Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote that we can readily accept the possibility that God created 6,000 years ago fossils, bones or skeletons (for reasons best known to Him), and this explains the existence of fossils.
In other words, the trilobite, dinosaur and mammoth fossils were never parts of actual animals but are rather natural formations created by God.
Some very conservative Christians have believed that the dinosaur bones were planted by God to test our faith.
I personally have difficulty accepting this. Isaiah 43:7 wrote "Every one that is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, I have formed him, yea, I have made him." I think that this implies that there is some positive purpose in everything God has created; it is all for His glory. It seems impossible to imagine a positive purpose in creating rocks which look like bones. Furthermore, the fossil strata, many of which include only extinct plants and animals and which therefore give an impression that other different ecological systems existed before the present one, have misled many people to believe that the Torah is false. It seems inconceivable that God would create anything solely for the negative purpose of testing and deceiving people.
It therefore seems to me more reasonable to suggest that the fossils are exactly what they appear to be - remnants of earlier worlds. These earlier worlds may well have existed to prepare the earth for our present existence.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 1:51 PM