Creation Ex Nihilo is about science and faith, the secular view on the one hand, and the Jewish-religious view on the other. Professor Benjamin Fain, the renowned physicist and Soviet refusenik, here adds his contribution to the literature showing that there is no contradiction between science and Judaism. In a scholarly yet readable philosophical meditation, Fain addresses the mind and soul; science, its character and cognizance; the evolution of life and divine providence; and God s omnipotence and omniscience versus humans freedom of will. Fain demonstrates how the human self with its soul, desires, and emotions is linked to the infinite divine mind. In this world of interplay between divine providence and free will, there is a place for human creativity; new things, including science, are created ex nihilo. This book demonstrates conclusively that not only do science and Judaism not collide, they complement each other in helping us to comprehend the world we live in.
Creation Ex Nihilo
By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca on Sep 16, 2007
Dr. Benjamin Fain is extremely knowledgeable in science, as well as liberals arts areas; such as, philosophy, sociology, logic and theology. This work seeks to integrate the arts and sciences in a multi-disciplinary fashion. The author begins with some theological views. For instance, the Torah describes the plan and design of our world. Matter is our world; whereas, light derives from G-d. The Big Bang theory describes a phenomena ; wherein, something devolves from nothing. There is no scientific explanation per se so the only other area comes from the spiritual. Later on, the book describes how the source of scientific knowledge or laws of nature come from Divine Revelation. The book concludes that humans have free will. Without free will, the Torah would have little meaning. Maimonides believes that the divine intellect is conjoined with humankind. [ Guide of the Perplexed 1:1 ] The discussion on free will is critical. G-d provided humankind with free will because there could be no conduct of the process of life without it. Humankind would be like aimless beings bumping into each other because of the lack of direction. G-d provided humans with free will so that humans would not have to go back and forth to Him for permission to do every earthly thing. As such, G-d is the ultimate delegator. With free will, humankind has a whole series of laws to govern the reasonable exercise of it. There is scriptural law, the halakah, Talmud, host country legal codes and even the contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls. So it is free will and law that act jointly to keep humankind in some sort of societal equilibrium devoid of normlessness and lack of direction or purpose. The course of history is G-d contending with humans who have free choice. In Judaism, G-d is the G-d of history. His commandments have historical meaning although man has free choice. Law is the spigot which regulates the free choice within a band of acceptability. Einstein accepted religion when he stated: " The scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law." There is a sort of harmony in how nature operates. There is a contrast between life and death, heat and cold, dry or wet, the 4 seasons and many other facets of life. This harmony is designed into the universal structure. Even the hereditary material has all the instructions for developing an organism from semen. Therefore, the existence of humankind can be created anywhere in any time or any place. The book discusses various aspects of the scientific method throughout. It states that we cannot validate any theory logically because we would need infinite experiments including future ones. If you traveled many centuries into the future, the laws of chemistry and thermodynamics might operate differently. Elasticity points might be different in an Ice Age or dramatic shifting of weather at the Poles. Stresses and strains might have more non-linearity thereby causing phenomena unanticipated in the classic engineering applications. Kant finds that our categories of data organization are not experimentally derived. Instead, these are functions and rules of human intellect allowing us to organize the findings of our own experience.. What happens when the data emulates conditions outside of our normal experience? The contents of this book could be argued in dozens of dissertations. It is not belles lettres reading per se. The arguments are at a high level of understanding for scientists, engineers, mathematicians, logicians, philosophers, theologists and a considerable constituency educated at the collegiate level or beyond. by Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
An interesting exploration of creation and faith
By Seth J. Frantzman on Jul 10, 2007
This interesting and thoughtful discussion of the role of science and Torah in understanding creation is a needed contribution to the debate of `intelligent design.' The author is well placed to discuss this subject, as a world renowned professor of chemistry and an expert in the field of laser physics. The book consists of five chapters divided into short essays, stories and observations on the subject of Science, belief and evolution. Interspersed with deep explanations of the foundations of life are short stories regarding Jewish philosophers such as Solomon Maimon. In addition there are also stories from the authors own life that illustrate such things as freedom of choice. The book serves as both an introduction to modern philosophy as recounted through the views of David Hume, Karl Popper and Immanuel Kant, as well as an introduction to the development of science from Newton to the modern period. Great Jewish thinkers such as Maimonodies are quoted often and the finale is a brilliant synthesis of this information and a passionate defense of the necessity to see the hand of God in creation and the development of man.