analysis of the holy books that form the foundations of modern
religions is of great interest, because these books present
holistic ideologies (Weltanschauung). Such ideologies
cover all aspects of human existence, from the most fundamental
questions of the creation of the universe to the problems of daily
social life. In particular, an analysis of holy books could foster
the development of new ideas in decision-making processes. In turn,
achievements in decision-making theory could be helpful in resolving
some theological problems. And so, the reciprocal relationship
between decision-making theory and theology could be fruitful for
both fields. In view of a large number of holy books, each of
considerable size, I have chosen to examine only one such book – the
Old Testament and its core section the Torah (Pentateuch). I use the
term "Torah" in the narrow sense to mean the Five Books by Moses
that are the basics of Judaism. The broad definition of the Torah
includes, along with the Five Books by Moses, the Jewish sacred
literature and all relevant commentaries and interpretations. I want
to note right away that in speaking of God's actions I shall always
mean the way they are described by the authors and editors of the
Avishai Margalit wisely mentioned in his review of the book The
Prophets: Who They Were, What They Are by Norman Podgoretz (Free
Press, 2002) who was speaking of another book, History of the
Religion of Israel, by Yehezkel Kaufmann (New York: Ktav Pub.
I believe that Kaufmann misconceived what he was
doing, although he was doing something of great importance. He did
not, as he thought, describe what the historical Israelites actually
believed. Instead he gave an impressive account of the believes of
those who wrote or edited the Bible, wherever and whenever this
occurred. (Analogously, one could give an impressive account of
the beliefs expressed in War and Peace, yet also be
mistaken in maintaining that it is an account of the actual
beliefs of the Russian people during the Napoleonic Wars.)
I happen to think that the authors and editors
of the Torah did not only express their own view, but revealed an
underlying mind-set of worldly Jews throughout their history, to
whom the ideas of the Torah, albeit to varying degrees, have always
been relevant (Analogously, in my view, Leo Tolstoy in War and
Peace gave an impressive account of the typical beliefs of the
Russians during the Napoleonic Wars.)
I hope that if my ambitious endeavor to apply to
the Torah certain methodological principles that I have discovered
is at all successful, it may benefit an analysis of other holy
books, perhaps in their entirety.
DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO THE ANALYSIS OF
There are at least three of these kinds of
approaches. The first one that is most typical interprets a given
text within the framework of the well-established theology.
Certainly, there are in these interpretations a lot of great ideas
with practical applications to liturgy, customs, etc. The second
approach is to bring new general theological ideas to the analysis
of the texts of the Torah, whatever their ontology. People who are
rationally inclined tend not to accept these books, nor the stories
presented in them. They view these books as figments of imagination,
existing in contradiction to modern scientific theories. All the
same, there have even been attempts to bring holy books in
accordance with modern science.
These attempts have focused not only on certain
isolated events that these books record [see, for example, the books
by Nathan Aviezer (1990) and Andrew Goldfinger (1999)] but also on a
general methodology of their analysis. (For example, combining
Jewish holy books with Aristotelian logic done by Maimonides
(1135-1204), the application of Process Philosophy elaborated
by Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947) to the Bible, etc.) The third
approach is based on revising some texts of the Torah, for example,
rejecting those passages that strongly condemn homosexuality, etc.
The present book adheres for the most part to
the second and third kinds of approaches. I bring new philosophical
ideas like a degree of indeterminism and its core – the category of
a predisposition - to the interpretation of the old text and
sometimes reinterpret the text by assuming that God is asexual, and
that “Thou shall not murder” is a more accurate rendition of
the appropriate commandment than “Thou shall not kill,” etc.
My interest in finding new approaches to the
analysis of the Torah has a long history. Many years ago, I included
in my book Selected Topics in Indeterministic Systems (1989)
a large chapter called “One Possible Interpretation of the
Interpretations by the Authors of the Torah of the Plans and Actions
of the Creator.” (pp. 259-330) Hereafter, I will refer to it simply
as Chapter. The guiding principle of the Chapter is
the evolving God and related ideas. At the time of the
Chapter’s writing, as a novice in this field, I was not familiar
with the concept of Process Theology derived from Process
Philosophy. Most Jewish scholars with whom I have discussed my
Chapter had had traditional training and were primarily
preoccupied with Halacha rather than theology, and had
ignored Process Philosophy and Process Theology
entirely. True, some of them knew of Process Theology, but
they put it on the periphery of biblical studies, because they
assumed that it belonged wholly to Christian theology, and therefore
was heretical and undeserving of mention. In fact, Process
Philosophy “presents a general metaphysical scheme for
understanding reality as a whole.” (Sandra Lubarsky (1996), p.3)
Sandra Lubarsky and David Griffin (1996) have published a
marvelous collection of articles written by a group of Christian and
Jewish scholars who devoted themselves to applying process
philosophy to Jewish theology.
characterizes process theology in the following way:
Process theology is a school of thought
influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North
Whitehead (1861-1947). The concepts of process theology include:
God is not omnipotent. The universe is characterized by process and
change carried out by the agents of free will. Free will
characterizes everything in the universe, not just human beings. God
cannot force anything to happen, but rather only influence the
exercise of this universal free will by offering possibilities. God
contains the universe but is not identical with it (panentheism)
Because God contains a changing universe, God is changeable (that is
to say, God is affected by the actions that take place in the
universe) over the course of time. People do not experience a
subjective (or personal) immortality, but they do have an objective
immortality in that their experiences live on forever in God, who
contains all that was. The original ideas of process theology were
developed by Charles Hartshorne (1898-2000), and were later
expounded upon by John B. Cobb and David Ray Griffin. While process
theology first was adopted by some liberal Protestant Christians, it
soon influenced a number of Jewish theologians, including British
philosopher Samuel Alexander (1859-1938), and Rabbis Max Kaddushin,
Milton Steinberg and Levi A. Olan, Harry Slominsky and to a lesser
degree, Abraham Joshua Heschel. Today some rabbis who advocate
process theology or a related theology include Rabbis William E.
Kaufman, Harold Kushner, Anton Laytner, Nahum Ward, Donald B.
Rossoff and Gilbert S. Rosenthal.
After the publication of the Chapter, my
research priorities have shifted, and for a number of years my
interest in theology declined – but not completely. For example, in
the mid-nineties, I used my interpretations of the Torah in a paper
read at the seminar on the design of a twenty-first century
corporation, held at the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania under the supervision of Professor Jerry Wind.
For many years, professionals did not extend any
formal recognition to the Chapter, but privately, I received
sporadic feedback from several religious scholars. My dear friend,
Maurice Friedberg, Professor of Slavic studies at the University of
Illinois in Urbana‑Champaign, presented the
Chapter to two of his
colleagues from the University who are Old Testament specialists. I
am talking about Wayne T. Pitard, Professor of Religious Studies
and Director of the Program for the Study of Religion, and Gary G.
Porton, Professor of Religious Studies, History, and Comparative
Literature, and the Drobny Professor of Talmudic Studies and
As Professor Friedberg wrote in his letter to
me, the impressions of these two Professors were essentially
identical. They both said that the author was ignorant of much
biblical scholarship, and therefore occasionally reinvented the
wheel; but, in spite of this, he had produced a most interesting
study of a crucial Biblical text. Both of them found my arguments to
be closely reasoned, and they said that my application of the tools
of modern social science to biblical narrative resulted in an
impressive number of intriguing insights.
Because biblical scholarship traditionally
relies heavily on secondary sources – a method that my manuscript
ignored – they could not think of a publisher who would print it.
Nevertheless, the biblical scholars who have read my Chapter
found my ignorance of secondary sources most intriguing and
conducive to fresh insights, a phenomenon that Russian literary
scholars call ostranenie. Professor Friedberg added that,
personally, he is of the same opinion. I must note that I have
narrowed my ignorance of biblical scholarship somewhat in writing
the present book as many references to secondary sources will
Herbert Wentz, Professor of Theology at the
University of the South (Sewanee), also expressed an appreciation
of my venture into theology in a letter to me and during several
I fully returned to theology in the late
nineties when, with Rabbi Neil Gillman’s help, I became acquainted
with the concept of process theology. Actually, I discovered its
main features earlier on my own. While analyzing the Torah from
different angles suggested by process theology, I was able to
provide new insights into some well-known problems in the field.
When I became acquainted with process theology, I immediately
submitted my Chapter to the Center for Process Studies in
Clermont, California, which focuses on process theology.
It was very kind of John Cobb and Judith
Casanova, leading members of the Center, to read the Chapter
and express their positive opinion of it. Judith Casanova, editor of
the journal Creative Transformation, has suggested that I
compress this Chapter into an article and submit it to her
journal. I did so, and the article appeared in the Summer 2000,
Volume 9, Number 4 edition of Creative Transformation. I also
contacted Rabbi William Kaufman, one of the leading scholars in the
field of process theology; he too spoke positively about my
writings, though with some reservations.
I also resumed my contacts with marvelous Rabbi
Neil Gillman and became familiar with writings of his that overlap
with my research of the Torah. I closely studied his book (2000), at
the end of which Rabbi Gillman writes:
I hope that this book will be read, taught, and
studied. However, it will fulfill its ultimate purpose if it impels
you, its reader, to reach into yourself, come in touch with your own
religious experiences, create your own images‑the less conventional
the better‑and put them on paper, and share them with your family
and friends. (p.186)
I must confess that at least with me Rabbi
Gillman has achieved the ultimate purpose of his book, by inspiring
my own research. All of this encouraged me to undertake a project to
further develop the ideas of the Chapter, to the
extent that it could be put in a book form.
I base this project on a set of questions. This
way of writing is not a new one. There are some books based entirely
upon the answers to a set of questions, to be precise, to a set of
“101 Questions and Answers” about holy books. Among them I could
mention the books by Raymond Brown (1990), John Haught (2001), and
Roland Murphy and O. Carm (1996). The first book concerns general
problems of the Bible with an emphasis on the New Testament and the
different attitudes toward it of Catholics and Protestants. The
other two books that I listed are closer to my project, and I will
refer to them later. It will be a brief reference for the following
reasons: The book by Haught raises questions about the role of
Darwin in relation to evolutionary theory. The book by Murphy is the
closest to my project; however, it deals mainly with the structure
of the Torah and with such questions as 'Who wrote the Torah and
what was the role of Abraham?' In any case, each of these three
books was written for a general public.
My book is based on a set of more specific
questions, and aims at a scholarly audience. Certainly, there are
other books written from this vantage point, but they explore fairly
general topics, for example, a possibility of discovering God or
establishing God’s image, God’s uniqueness, and God’s role as a
father, mother, or redeemer, etc. Of course, these books contain
questions that overlap with mine. Those by Alan Dershowitz (2000),
Neil Gilman (2000), and Leon Kass (2003) are particularly
noteworthy. The difference between my book and similar books, in
terms of form, is in the way in which other authors pose their
While I combine all my questions in one place,
other authors spread their questions throughout their books. I
deliberately present the questions this way to underscore their
conceptual unity, in contrast to a dispersal of questions that
signifies an eclectic approach. Later on, I will explain this point
in greater detail.
The first thing I had to do to start writing the
book was to enlarge the set of questions that I previously raised in
the Chapter. This set now contains 18 questions. From this
point on, I will refer to them as 18 questions. At first
glance, this list of questions looks disorganized, or messy.
The Webster’s Dictionary defines "mess" as “a disorderly or
confused collection or mass of things.” But in fact the 18
questions have an organizing principle: they have been chosen
because of my belief that I can offer fresh insights into each of
them, using chiefly my unifying concept of predispositioning,
which is briefly described in Chapter 2.
I will also briefly describe the original points
I make in the section Structure of the Book of the
The reader will find these 18 questions
an evolutionary and a creationist approach to the development of the
Universe be complimentary?
God have a final goal that guided God as the creator of the
didn't God create the universe instantly? Why did it take six days?
didn't God state in detail his plan or program for the creation of
the universe, if it is a prolonged process?
did God act in stages, each time announcing the purpose of each
God an entity that also has feelings, or does God make only rational
God an entity that has a gender or is God asexual?
was it necessary for God to evaluate the results of own work during
the first six days?
"good," as the "local" criterion for the evaluation of the
intermediary results of the process of Creation, equivalent to
is it said in Chapter 1 of Genesis that God created Man and Woman
simultaneously, but in Chapter 2, it says that God created Woman
from Man? And then, there is the related question: “Why did God
create Woman from Man”?
human beings the crown of the creative universe?
is God willing to engage in a struggle with a Man (Jacob) and accept
criticism from a Man (Moses)?
does God forbid Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge?
good and evil coexist in God?
a Creator with the power to foresee everything destroy own
prompted God to impose unconditional demands upon the conduct of the
Jews, including the Ten Commandments, while making these demands
conditional (situation‑specific) with respect to rewards and
does God, who sees the wickedness of the serpent and who
distinguishes between clean and unclean flesh, decide to tell Noah
to take all the animals and to save them from the flood so that they
can multiply afterwards?
the preservation of the Jewish nation be secured outside the
Promised Land that is mentioned in the Torah?
All of these questions are common and generally
well known. There is a huge literature devoted to answering them.
Yet, I have decided to encroach upon this well-tilted field.
Scientific “truthfulness” of the texts being examined is an issue
not relevant to this book. My goal, as I mentioned before, is to
bring new insights to these 18 questions and do it mainly
within the framework of my concept of indeterminism and its major
category – predisposition.
The role of a predisposition in
systems development could be illustrated by the positional style of
play in chess that I will briefly discuss in Chapter 2. I pay
special attention to this special case of indeterminism,
predisposition, because it is pivotal for my work. The answers to
the 18 questions will revolve around the concept of a
predisposition. I should make one more remark concerning my
indeterministic method of analysis of the Torah: I fully understand
The following observation by Daniel Fuller
(1992) is relevant here:
In approaching the study of the Bible, we are
naturally concerned to grasp what the writers themselves were trying
to communicate in the books they wrote or formed from materials
already at hand. But a big obstacle in accomplishing this goal is
the presuppositions each of us readers has, for everyone already has
something of a belief system in place. Yet, if we study the Bible
simply to have it reinforce convictions we already have, we gain
little from our efforts. Therefore we should do our utmost to set
aside previous ideas relevant to a text so that new understandings
have a chance to illumine our minds, To be sure, none of us can
distance ourselves completely from our presuppositions. But we must
make the strongest possible effort to hold them at bay. (p. 99)
General indeterminism in the Torah does not rule
out a deterministic perspective with respect to certain isolated
events. The legitimacy of such a view has been confirmed to me by
several scholars who approach the Torah from a deterministic
classical perspective. I have a strong suspicion that the basic
epistemology of the authors of the Torah, those people who
collected the legends and the stories about events and social
institutions and put them into this holy book, was rooted in
an intuitive indeterministic
vision of the development of the universe.
Plunging into a speculative domain, one could
advance the following reason on the part of the Torah’s authors for
this indeterministic vision of the development of the universe and
Man’s place in it. At the time the Torah was written, 3500-4000
years ago, the relative weight of the right and the left hemisphere
of the brain in human cognition was very different what it is now.
The authors of the Torah, in my view, accomplished most of their
thinking using images, which involved the right hemisphere of the
brain, rather than purely logical thinking, which involves the left
hemisphere. It is believed that in the last 3000 years, especially
after the advance of Aristotelian logic, the left hemisphere of the
brain has been significantly enriched. The right hemisphere has
progressed too, but to a lesser extent.
As Nahum Sarna (1966) writes about the Torah’s
It should be obvious that by the nature of things,
none of these stories can possibly be the product of human memory,
nor in any modern sense of the word scientific accounts of the
origin and nature of the physical world. Biblical man, despite his
undoubted intellectual and spiritual endowments, did not base his
views of the universe and its laws on the critical use of empirical
data. He had not, as yet, discovered the principles and methods of
disciplined inquiry, critical observation or analytical
experimentation. Rather, his thinking was imaginative, and his
expressions of thought were concrete, pictorial, emotional, and
poetic. Hence, it is a naive and futile exercise to attempt to
reconcile the biblical accounts of creation with the findings of
modern science. Any correspondence which can be discovered or
ingeniously established between the two must surely be nothing more
than mere coincidence. Even more serious than the inherent
fundamental misconception of the psychology of biblical man is the
unwholesome effect upon the understanding of the Bible itself. For
the net result is self-defeating. The literalistic approach serves
to direct attention to those aspects of the narrative that reflect
the time and place of its composition, while it tends to obscure the
elements that are meaningful and enduring, thus distorting the
biblical message and destroying its relevancy. (pp. 2-3)
STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK
The present book has two major parts. The first
one contains comments on the first 11 questions that are mainly
related to the creation of the universe. This part could be said to
deal with the anatomy of the universe, with God as it
creator. The second part in the main comments on the questions 12
through 18 concerning the performance of the created universe; its
subject-matter is a physiology of the universe. Each part is
divided into chapters. The total number of Chapters is 7.
I will now provide a synopsis of the original
points of view that I bring to each chapter.
In Chapter 1,
The Creation of the
World, I consider the development of the
whole universe as a creative process that involves the inorganic
as well as the organic world. The
first novel thought in this chapter has to do with trying
to portray an evolutionist and a creationist approach to the
development of the universe as parallel, in the sense that
they are different modes of
representation of the same process. This situation
has obtained several times before in the history of science. For
example, the extremal principle in mechanics that assumes that the
motion of the planets follows an optimal course of the least action
was for a while taken by religious scholars as the confirmation of
the existence of God as the creator of the universe. On the other
hand, the representation of the motion of planets via a system of
differential equations, which is reminiscent of a cause-and-effect
approach, was recognized as being more scientific. It took the
genius of Leonard Euler (1707-1783) to prove that these two
approaches are really only different ways of representing a single
process and that they are mutually transformable.
Secondly, I elaborate upon some known
characteristics of God using my own ideas or ideas borrowed from
other people. Thus, I apply to the
text of the Torah the idea of an evolving God that was
borrowed from Process Theology where it was developed mainly
as a category of logic.
novelty is an interpretation of
God as a creator and not a
wizard - the distinction suggested by Vera Ulea (2003).
She devotes many pages in her fairytale to this distinction basing
it on the duration of the development of an object: The creator does
it in a prolonged way, while a wizard instantaneously performs
There are two more novelties in this chapter.
The first one is my view of God as a
complex entity that combines feelings and rationality.
Feelings as values allow for making decisions quickly, but they are
not well balanced or comprehensive. Rational decisions are more
comprehensive but they require more time and might be inappropriate
to fast running processes. That is why a complex entity synthesizes
feelings and rationality using each of them in different situations.
Sometimes this synthesis is even beyond the reach of God.
Secondly, I recognize
God as an asexual entity.
Sexes are relevant to complex reproducible living beings; the
relatively simple creatures multiply by fragmentation or via spores.
If God is an irreproducible entity that exists forever and does not
have a beginning and an end, it does not make sense to apply to God
the categories of sexes.
The Ways the World
Develops, contains several novelties. All of
them revolve around my concept of
Janus effect, which states that a creative process
can be started either from the beginning or the end, and that in
both cases one may not see straight connections between the points
of departure and arrival.
This brings me straight to the notion of
the spectrum of degree of
indeterminism (usually, the degree of
determinism is expressed as a dichotomy – determinism versus
indeterminism; as an aside, probability is irrelevant to the degree
of indeterminism and concerns only the degree of uncertainty.).
(See more in my book 1997b)
The concept of
the degree of indeterminism lays the groundwork for the new
method of predispositioning that I widely use for the analysis
of many events in the Torah. This category is analyzed
using the multidimensional systems approach, i.e., from the
functional, structural, operational,
operatorial, and genesis
For example, the
functional approach allows
us to see a predisposition as a category that influences the future
while avoiding the necessity to forecast it.
approach allows us to see a predisposition as a set of
material and relational components treated as independent variables
and synthesized by unconditional values (see more concerning
unconditional values in comments to chapter 5.)
approach helps to distinguish between the notions of unexpected
outcomes and mistakes.
A mistake presumes
that there exists a rule governing a certain course of action.
A mistake is made when negative consequences result from the
actions of someone who does not know the rule or forgets the rule.
An unexpected outcome means
that the creator has no way of knowing the consequences, since there
was no rule for determining the best course of action.
should help one interpret God’s actions
as eliminating the negative unexpected outcomes that arise in
the course of the development of the universe, and not as God
correcting self-made mistakes. When God's
corrections are explained in this vein, God still remains
omnipotent, but in the sense of being able to recognize and correct
previously unforeseen results of his actions post factum.
approach allows for the
role of subjectivity in forming and evaluating
predispositions; I understand subjectivity as a situation in which
one is not able to separate the making of a judgment from the
character of the actor that has to implement this judgment.
To illustrate the process of creating a
predisposition, I offer a new interpretation of the idea of position
in chess, following the algorithms of Claude Shannon and the
measurement of aesthetic value elaborated by George Birkhoff.
The method of
predispositioning is not a traditional method of forecasting the
future. This concept is relevant to the process of
creation as it is expressed in the first chapter of the Torah, that
does not explicitly mention that God has a final goal, or a plan, or
makes any predictions as to the future of the world being created.
It is rather reminiscent of biological evolution in the sense that
it occurs in sequential steps without a plan (program) or a final
goal. Still, one definite conclusion we can arrive at from reading
the Torah is that God, together with creating predispositions, has a
general tendency toward increasing negentropy.
The last statement is not a novel one and has been made before. The
novelty here lies in a new definition of negentropy as a function of
two independent variables – order and complexity -
offered initially by Jamshid Gharajedaghi relative to living systems
and developed by myself as a general system phenomenon.
A Predisposition in the
Torah. The material components of a predisposition I
illustrate in a fairly novel way by telling the story of the
emergence of two sexes. I do not deal with the continuing
controversy about the order in which the sexes appeared, that is,
who was first, male or female. It seems to me (see my book
Evolutionary Change; Toward a Systemic Theory of Development and
Maldevelopment. Newark: Gordon & Breach Publishing Group, 1997)
that the reproduction of living beings has evolved from
fragmentation and spores (a specialized reproductive cell) to two
kinds of specialized reproductive cells that were originally
contained within the self-fertilizing body. (e.g., African Snails.)
Later on there emerged specialized bodies, male and female, and each
keeps a certain kind of a reproductive cell with supporting
Concerning the relational components of a
predisposition, I stress the
parity between God and a Man
as a leading feature of Judaism. One of the "enhancers,"
or vehicles that enormously helped to increase God’s power, is the
creation of Man in God’s own image, after God’s likeness.
(Genesis 1:26) Man was able to rule over some segment of the
God‑created set of objects: the living organisms known at that time.
At the same time, inorganic matter – the sea, the sun, the moon, the
stars and the sky was not subservient to Man.
In spite of Man's limited ability to dominate the environment, his
role is important enough for God to establish parity with
some Men, those whom God had chosen, and made a covenant with.
There are two basic preconditions for the
covenant between God and Man to have any meaning. First, God must
admit own limitations, and second, God must admit the greatness of
Man. In this covenant, the parity between God and Man is reinforced
by their partial comparability in both physical and
The authors of the Torah provide examples of
this parity. The story of the clash between Jacob and
God (Genesis 32:24‑32) testifies to the notion of the physical
power of Man as being comparable to that of God. In this
struggle, God is unable to overcome Jacob. The authors of the Torah
also tell of a number of concrete cases that testify to the
intellectual comparability of God and Man. When God is angered
by the disobedience of the Jewish people during their wanderings in
the desert and decides to destroy them and replace them with a new
nation originating from Moses' offspring, Moses protests and
persuades God to preserve the people; God accepts this protest by
Moses (Numbers, 14:11‑20). It would be consistent with my
interpretation of the covenant if changes were introduced into the
liturgy that radically underscored the greatness of a Man and
brought a deeper understanding of the role of limitations on
authority (see, for example, Deuteronomy 17:14-20), etc.
The analysis of types of covenants leads me to
propose a deductive scheme that views relationships between the
participants in a transaction from the point of view of their rights
and obligations. And I bring a new
interpretation of the term "good" in the Torah’s
evaluation of the stages in the creation of the world. If each stage
is a predisposition, beauty is
a proper equivalent of good. (See more in my book A
Conceptual Understanding of Beauty. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin
Mellen Press, 2003.) Moreover, I make clear that evaluation of
results has two aspects to it. One is the need to compare the
envisioned image with the actual one. The other arises from the need
to measure the impact of the current result upon the future. I
assume, I believe plausibly, that at each moment God's creative
abilities are limited, and God is therefore unable to ensure
complete harmony between the envisioned outcome and the actual one.
In other words, according to the authors of the Torah, although God
completes whatever God has set out to do for that day (or part of
that day), God is not certain that what has been created will
completely conform to what was in God’s mind in the beginning.
Therefore, God must evaluate its work at the end of the day (or part
of the day).
Good and Evil in the
Torah. Here I introduce
several novelties. The first
one is the explanation of why God organically
does good and evil. The reason for it is
God’s limited ability to foresee the
future and sometimes God’s surrendering to emotions at
the expense of rationality.
The next novelty rests on the analogy between
the separation of God and Devil and the zone melting process.
The last one is an industrial method of separation by melting in
which a series of molten zones traverses a long ingot of impure
metal; the molten region melts impure solid at its forward edge and
leaves a wake of purer material solidified behind it as it moves
through the ingot. The impurities concentrate in the melt, and are
moved to one end of the ingot. This analogy helps one understand
the danger of separating God and Devil
because this separation provides a powerful temptation to bring
about a utopian world by eliminating evil that could be represented
by a small group of people (capitalists, Jews, Armenians,
Another novelty in this chapter concerns the
interpretation of the danger of eating from the Tree of Knowledge.
This danger is a result of a
conflict between unexpected negative outcomes of human actions and
the lack of power on the part of Man to correct these outcomes.
And finally I introduce in this chapter the
following novelty: a deep understanding by the authors of the
Torah of the danger of
innovations on the part of ordinary people. I
developed a 2x2 matrix that combines the source of novel ideas
(God or Man) and the entity that implements these ideas (God or
Man). The analysis shows that a positive attitude towards novelties
in the Torah is confined to those coming from God, even if they are
implemented by Man. The Torah expresses a predominantly negative
attitude towards novelties that come from Man and are implemented by
Values, Ethics, and Law.
The major novelty of this
chapter concerns my concept of the
degree of conditionality of values. Between two
extremes -- fully unconditional values and fully conditional values
-- there is a spectrum of values such as unconditional,
semi-conditional, etc. Moral and instrumental values tend,
correspondingly, to the unconditional and the conditional extremes
of this spectrum. The Torah is very rich in both moral as
instrumental values (laws) compared to the Egyptian Book of
the Dead that contains only moral values (chapter 42) and the
Babylonian codex that contains only Hammuraby’s laws.
The next novelty concerns
the need for both moral and
instrumental values. Moral values are not only guidelines
for laws (instrumental values), they are also
on local decisions that do not allow for unintended negative
consequences inhering in an uncertain future. I also propose in this
chapter a new interpretation of conscience as a global
internal value implanted in human beings that makes them a microcosm
- a proper self-acting being.
A Manifold and a
Singular Variety in the Torah. At each stage in the
creation of the world, God deals with a manifold, i.e. a set
containing things with indistinguishable values. Only whole sets of
things created at each stage were evaluated. After the creation of
the world, the situation changes drastically. At that time, God
discovers that, while a class of things (e.g., species) that
was created is good and can be of use in the future, some of the
singles in each class are bad and should be exterminated. At
this time, God starts to deal with the set of created things in a
way that may be described as creation of a singular variety where
all singles in a class are distinguished by their value. In other
words, God qualitatively preserved
as a strategic constrain every class of beings that have been
created, i.e. the manifold of creations. The only
changes God made were in the proportions between singles in each
class; e.g., the Flood changed the ratio of clean and unclean
animals as well as people. (Only Noah's lineage was saved) The
changes were tactical and were related to the creation of a
A Manifold and a
Singular Variety (Continued) is completely
devoted to a novel view of a Jewish
state. The Torah emphasizes that all Jew should be
gathered in the Promised Land. The creation of Israel is an
essential step in fulfilling this claim. Israel however is located
in a dangerous environment surrounded by hostile Muslim countries
and militarily dependent on a super power that has its own interest.
May be it is reasonable under these
conditions, without ceasing a major effort to preserve Israel, to
spend some resources on the development of new ideas of a Jewish
state. One such idea might be placing it on an artificial island
in an open sea.
There are different projects to create
artificial islands, and some of them have been implemented or are in
the process of implementation (see, for example, the island
that is in the process of
construction by a group of believers in the utopia
outlined by Ayn Rand. They built this island in Florida and shipped
it to the Caribbean Sea, some 120 miles from the Caymans. An article
concerning this project was published by Alex Heardin in
The New York Times Magazine, August 9, 1998, pp.29-30) As a
matter of fact, there is a design bureau in Israel (engineer Yuri
Bak is the head of it) that is working on a project of large
the end of this Introduction draws near, I would like to say that I
fully understand that a book on the Torah written by an amateur
looks bizarre in light of voluminous literature written on the
subject over the centuries by Jewish and Christian authors.
Nevertheless, I decided to write such a book anyway. It is not the
first time that I have invaded a discipline that had already been
thoroughly investigated. I refer the reader to my intrusions into
the concepts of determinism-indeterminism (my books: 1992 and
1997a), biological evolution, including the nature of cancer (my
other book: 1997b), and beauty (see my book: 2003). I took these
adventurous steps because I thought that my indeterministic method
of thinking could shed some new light on these old concepts. The
answer to the question, "Are the thoughts expressed in these books
valid, or are they just hot air blown off by a charlatan”? lies with
professional readers. One excuse for my intervention is that I have
not found my thoughts about these matters repeated either in
specialized literature or in discussions with several professionals.
In any event, I share Robert Fulford's (1992)
opinion concerning the intervention of non-professionals into
well-established disciplines. In speaking about the book "The
Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs (along
with other examples of this kind), Fulford says:
Not only did she attack the most sacred beliefs of
city planning, but Ms. Jacobs also helped to subvert an even more
powerful orthodoxy: academic credentialism, a religion whose
central doctrine states that no analysis of a subject of
consequence can be taken seriously unless the writer has
professional credentials, preferably at the doctoral or postdoctoral
level. This idea was then relatively new. The writing of serious
books by nonspecialists, on subjects ranging from geology to
linguistics, had been central to Western culture in the last century
and the first decades of this one. In more recent times, however,
specialists have pushed amateurs to the margins; the uncredentialed
writer may now easily be dismissed as a popularizer or a publicist,
some one who absorbs the ideas of specialists and then simplifies
them, or oversimplifies them, for the public. In retrospect it
becomes clear that some of the most powerful books of any given
period have been written in defiance of credentialist assumptions.
From this distance we can see that the period that gave us "The
Death and Life of Great American Cities" was especially rich in this
kind of writing. The first half of the 1960's produced a cluster of
significant books written by authors who were not officially learned
or were stepping boldly outside their specializations. They are not
of uniform quality and not all of them are as readable today as Ms.
Jacobs's book is, but they show similarities of background and