Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is the Torah Divine? It’s All in How You Ask

One would imagine a book written by God to knock the reader out of his seat before reading the first word. Yet an adult opening up the Torah for the first time could easily mistake God’s eternal message to humanity for simplistic children’s stories.

In fact that has happened, and in recent history certain scientists and thinkers have spent lots of time and energy trying to disprove the divinity of this text.

Some great minds have attempted to refute these claims through Bible codes or philosophical proofs. Personally, I find none of them convincing. But the question still stands: if the Torah is truly divine, then why isn’t it blatantly obvious?

For me, the conclusion that the Torah is a divine document came through asking the right questions.

The Torah is not a scientific treatise on the creation of the world, nor is it a history book meant to depict every detail from the beginning of creation. It may give us some insights into these topics, but that is not its purpose. Its primary objective is to answer existential questions about ethics, our ultimate purpose, and life’s deeper meaning.

In other words, the Torah is an answer to the question why, as opposed to the question how. Science can teach us plenty about how our world works; however, science is silent when asked why the world works the way it does.

Therefore, approaching the Torah requires that we must first and foremost recover the deeper questions about life. Once we have started to formulate them, we can begin to read the Torah through the proper lens. Only then can we start to sense the Torah’s divinity. And only through continued interaction and grappling with the text can we fully grasp its greatness.

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