Ask the Rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Basics of Jewish Faith

age of universe and dinosaurs


Rabbi Ari Shvat

how can you explain fossils and how can you reconcile the age of the universeaccording to science and the torah view that earth is 5781 years old?
5,781 is the number of years we have consecutively counted since the creation of Adam (you can compute for yourself from the book of Genesis, but I can save you time- it computes properly!). Our rabbis teach us in the Midrash and Zohar (oral tradition, which was written down about 1,800 years ago), that G-d created previous worlds and destroyed them, and created different types of man, before the world and man as we know them. That explains why there are fossils dated millions or even billions of years old, while the world as we know it, began counting only 5,781 years ago with Adam. Maimonides (about 800 years ago) details the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition (teacher-student-student-student...) in his introduction to the Mishne Torah, and the Vilna Gaon traces his learning tradition in detail back to Maimonides. Accordingly, I personally am the 131st generation (the Vilna Gaon- 1797/5557, had a student R. Chaim of Volozhin who taught R. Yitzchak of Volozhin, who taught the Beit Halevy Soloveichik, who taught the Netziv, who taught Rav Av. Y. Kook, who taught R. Zvi Yehuda Kook who taught my teachers) of rabbis since Sinai, which was the 26th generation of the world, so my cute grandchildren are the 159th generation of mankind. Thank God for the nation of Israel who has this unbroken chain for anyone who is curious to know about what was and what will be (the history and the prophecies of the Bible). With Love of Israel! Rabbi Ari Shvat
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