RELIGION AND SCIENCE MYTHS - RELIGION AND SCIENCE MYTHS 2
- Category: THE SCIENCE IN TORAH
- Written by Dr. Gerald Schroeder
Dinosaurs are an invention of scientists, as they are never mentioned in the Bible.
Well, dinosaurs may have been discovered among the fossils by scientists, but certainly they were not an invention of scientists. First of all, not being mentioned in the Bible does not mean they never existed. Oranges are also not mentioned in the Bible and it would be a rare theologian that would push aside a glass of orange juice because of that omission! But beyond that, there does in fact happen to be a hint in the Bible if dinosaurs. How? Genesis 1:21, “and God created the big taneneem …” The term big taneneem has a range of translations into English. The entire problem originates with the 2200 year old translation of the Hebrew Bible in to Greek, The Septuagint. There big taneneem is translated as big whales. Elsewhere I have seen big crocodiles, even big dragons. There is an irony of these multiple misunderstandings to the word, taneneem, since it is essentially defined in the second book of the Bible, Exodus. Moses is at the Burning Bush and God tells him to throw his shepherd staff on the ground. It becomes a snake. In Hebrew the word for snake is nahash (Exodus 4:3). This meaning of nahash as snake is well known in the Bible. The meaning of taneneem is the question. Moses with his staff returns to Egypt. Joined by his brother Aaron, they confront Pharaoh: “Let my people go.” Pharaoh demands that they show him a miracle. Aaron at this point throws Moses’ staff on the ground and it becomes a taneen, the singular of taneneem (Exodus 7:10). Since neither Moses nor Aaron express any surprise at the appearance of a taneen, clearly taneen has within it the meaning of nahash, snake. If the staff had become a whale or a crocodile as previous translations in Genesis, obviously Moses and Aaron [and Pharaoh too] would had shown amazement. But the Bible makes it clear that they were not surprised. So now we know two facts. Nahash means snake. That is certain from its multiple uses elsewhere in the Bible. We also know that since taneneem is used in the opening chapter of the Bible it must be a general category, since other than Adam, only general categories are used in that chapter. Hence taneneem is the general category within which snake falls. The category into which snakes fall is reptile. The correct English translation of big taneneem is the big reptiles. The irony is that if we translate big reptiles, the big taneneem, into Greek, as was the task of the Septuagint, we read dino (big or terrible) saurus (reptiles), dinosaurus. Had the Greek translation 2200 years ago been faithful to the Hebrew we would have read in Genesis 1:21 something similar to: “and God created the dinosaurs!”
Adam was the first of the Homo-Sapiens.
Adam was the first human, the first Homo sapiens with the soul of a human, the neshama. That is the creation listed in Genesis 1:27. Adam was not the first Homo sapiens. Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed (part 1 chapter 7) described animals co-existing with Adam that were identical to humans in shape and intelligence, but because they lacked the neshama, they were animals. The Guide for the Perplexed was published in the year 1190, seven centuries before Darwin and long before any evidence was popular relative to fossils of cave men and women. So from where did these ancients get the knowledge of the pre-Adam hominids? They learned it, correctly we discover, from the subtle wording of the biblical text. Those animals in human shape and intelligence would be the “adam” listed in Genesis 1:26, when God says “Let us make Adam.” But in the next verse God creates “the Adam,” the Adam, a specific being [a nuance in the Hebrew text first pointed out to me by Peggy Ketz and totally missed in the English translations!]. The Mishna in the section, Keli’im, discusses “masters of the field” that were animals but so identical to humans that when they died one could not tell them apart from a dead human. Masters of the field implies farming – a skill that predates the Adam by at least 2000 years according to pollen studies in the border area between Israel and Syria. Nahmanides (year 1250; the major kabalistic commentator on the Torah), in his long discussion of Genesis 2:7, details the flow of life that led to the Adam, the first human. He closes his comments there with the statement that when this spirituality was infused into the living being, that being changed to “another kind of man.” Not changed to man but another kind of man, a homo sapiens / hominid became spiritually human. The error in the term “cavemen” is in the “men.” They were not men or women. Though they had human shape and intelligence, they lacked the neshama, the human spirit infused by God. Cave men or women were never a theological problem for the ancient commentators. And they did not need a museum exhibit to tell them so. It is science that has once again come to confirm the age-old wisdom of the Torah! (For a detailed discussion of the ancient sources cited here, see the two relevant chapters in my second book, The Science of God.)
Read more at: http://geraldschroeder.com/wordpress/?page_id=79#h5
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