The Sun Is a Star

Discovering Science From a Background of Orthodox Belief

Lisa Anchin

By Judy Brown (Eishes Chayil)

Published September 06, 2012, issue of September 14, 2012.
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I explained it simply. “God does not need tens of millions of years to create Earth. He is God. He could create an exquisitely screwed up world in just six days. Then the seventh for the holy rest.”

We argued for days. My friend said that I was disagreeing out of fear, not knowledge, without even looking into the whys and hows of the world we live in. There is overwhelming evidence, she claimed, years of study. There were billions of dollars invested in advanced research that proves that God was really slow. It took forever and an infinity of exploded suns until He finally came up with Man. It was complicated. The process long and torturous, with stars exploding, planets colliding, suns coming and going, living and dying, until He figured how to turn Earth the right way, at the right distance, with the right elements that would hold the miraculous capacity for life, so that He could evolve innocent apes into guilty men. It was Eden back then, she agreed, mankind in nothing but fur, eating endless apples from endless trees. It wasn’t easy being God, turning small-brained men into higher beings with the sophisticated ability to kill.

I told my friend that God created the world with men, for men, led by men. There was no evolution. We immediately had the capacity to kill. Faith was knowledge. It said so in the Torah. And the proof was God’s own proclamation to the saints, when he announced, “Lo Bashamayim He”: Not in Heaven is the Torah’s meaning revealed, but on earth by men.

We argued all that afternoon, and the following one. I would have continued arguing, but I had to go give birth.

My friend, visiting me a week later, brought me a small pile of books to read, on stars, other suns and evolution. I put an end to it. I told her that if we were to remain friends, we would have to stop this discussion. This is a democracy, after all, and in this great country we are free not to think. Instead, we should respect each other’s delusions. I would let her keep her lie if she let me keep mine. We agreed.

In the end it was my own mind that failed me. It was that space, once safely closed off, where the cosmos insidiously entered. When I looked up at the sky, I no longer saw the sun — only stars.

It was disorienting. It was as if I had received another mind at age 28 and I had to learn everything all over again. I never lost my belief in God. Sense or no sense, I needed someone to be really angry at. I believed in God, his all-greatness, His all-beyond-ness, His all-encompassing incompetence. But it was like seeing the world from a different platform. It was like someone had yanked me from my seat in front into a chair backstage, and now I could see how the cranks turned, how the pulleys pulled, how the props rolled on and off the stage in random but stunningly efficient order. And the show is no longer the same. God’s world is truly a miracle, a miracle of science, and I wanted to know every detail of it, every cosmic discovery. I was joyfully lost in the maze of exploration. But when I looked up, I was stunned. I realized that I did not care that I had lost my seat in the audience.


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