Premises Puzzle

Who, What, When, Where and Why?

Premises Puzzle

Who, What, When, Where and Why?


There are five major premises covering modern cosmology.  All five premises are nothing more than assumptions with no unambiguous proofs to support them.  Of great interest to some is the origins of those premises.  While researching the various backgrounds of those five premises, one is struck by the coincidences apparent in two completely unrelated points of origin.  At least, they appear to be only coincidences.     It is important to remember while reading this essay that it is not promoting any aspect of any religion.  The purpose of this essay is merely to point out certain oddities of coincidence in the formulation of five particular cosmology premises.


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Premise One:  The universe is [15 to 16] billion years old


Rabbi Nechunya ben HaKana, a 1st century Kabbalist, was firmly convinced that by interpreting the 42-letter name for God correctly, one could determine the length of time between the creation of the universe and the appearance of man on the Earth.  Using the Torah as his source, Rabbi ben HaKana estimated [some 2,000 years ago] the age of the universe to be 15.3 billion years.  Centuries later, Rabbi Yitzchak of Akko (a student of Rabbi Moses Nachmanides, 13th century) concluded from the Zohar that the first creation occurred 15.8 billion years ago.


What is really interesting about the above, is that modern astrophysics accepts the approximate age for the universe that was first proposed by Rabbi ben Hakana in the   1st century.  One wonders why this should be.  From the foregoing, it is obvious that Kabbalah rabbis estimated the theoretical age of the universe well ahead of any science establishment, but they did so for religious purposes.  That most modern astrophysicists accept the same estimated age within a scientific framework is intriguing in itself. 


Modern astrophysicists recently revised their [15-billion-year] estimate of the age of the universe to 13.5 billion years, using data from NASA’s WMAP.  This estimate should not last for long; astrophysicists are constantly revising the age of the universe.  The following paragraph outlines the estimated age of the universe as provided by NASA’s WMAP:   

“The age of the universe from the time of the assumed ‘big bang’, according to           current information provided by NASA's WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe), is estimated to be about 13.7 billion (1.37 × 1010) years, with a margin of error of about 1% (± 200 million years).”  (Wikipedia article, “Age of the Universe.”)  [Considering that WMAP was programmed with heliocentric assumptions, the accumulated data should be viewed as valueless.  Assumptions do not, nor will they ever, produce reliable conclusions.]


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Premise Two:  Copernican heliocentricity is factual

Some believe that the 12th century Kabbalist, Rabbi Moses Maimonides outlined resurrecting the rotating, orbiting Earth of Aristarchus.  That belief is in error.  It was Rabbi Moses Nachmanides, a 13th century Kabbalist, who proposed that.  In his commentary, Parshat Beraishit, concerning the phrase, “And it was evening and it was morning, one day” [Gen. 1:5], Rabbi Nachmanides says ‘some scholars’ explain that “one day” is a reference to the rotation of the spherical Earth in 24 hours.


As can be seen from the preceding paragraph, Kabbalah rabbis had a firm under- standing of the rotating, orbiting Earth concept prior to Copernicus.  In fact, Rabbi Nachmanides mentions ‘some scholars’ who understood the concept.  Clearly, the heliocentric idea was not foreign to ‘some others’ long before Copernicus formulated his heliocentricity hypothesis (based on Aristarchus’ concept).


[The science establishment points to Copernicus’ heliocentricity hypothesis (which can be traced back to ancient pagan sun worship) as the keystone of cosmology.  They fail to realize that it is also the Achilles heel of cosmology.  No one has found and/or presented unambiguous proof that the Earth rotates and orbits the sun; still, countless millions of people believe it is so, only because Copernicus’ untenable hypothesis is taught as fact in public schools all around the world.]


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Premise Three:  Relativity is accurate and tenable

Virtually everyone has been led to believe that Albert Einstein was the person who originated the theory of relativity.  (But, was he?)  In the 13th century, Rabbi Moses Nachmanides inscribed the concept of Relativity in the Kabbalah.  How is it even possible, much less probable, that a Kabbalah rabbi conceived Relativity more than six hundred years before Einstein proposed his theory?  (Yet, it is true.)  


So, here we have the situation wherein a 13th century Kabbalist rabbi inscribed the concept of Relativity in the Kabbalah where it remained unnoticed until the 20th century.  The foundational theory of the physical sciences born in the mind of a 13th century Kabbalist rabbi?  Yet, the concept is definitely inscribed in the Kabbalah. Then, in the 20th century, Dr. Albert Einstein produced his General Theory of Relativity.  


[How is it that seemingly no one understands the virtual impossibility of a 13th century Kabbalist and a 20th century physicist both independently conceiving such a complex hypothesis as Relativity?]

Then, there is the “confirmation” of Einstein’s theory by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944).  British Astronomer Royal, Sir Frank Dyson, simply announced to a joint meeting of the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society that Eddington’s reports of his observation of the 1919 eclipse confirmed Einstein’s theory.  That’s it.  A summary  announcement, no proof offered.  Strangely, to this day Relativity remains untenable, with no unambiguous proofs to support it.


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Premise Four:  The Big Bang” actually occurred

Quotation:  Isaac Luria…or ‘Divine Rabbi Isaac’, 16th century, was and remains to this day, unarguably the greatest Kabbalist in world history.  His doctrines.… anticipated virtually word for word—or at the very least, concept for concept—the theory of the “big bang” origins of the universe in astrophysics….” (Short essay on Lurianic Kabbalah by Yakov Leib HaKohain) 

[Isn’t it interesting that (in the 16th century) Rabbi Isaac Luria should “anticipate” the indispensible modern theory of the ‘big bang’?]

Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572) [originated the concept of the “big-bang” when he] formulated the doctrine of Sheviret HaKelim, which states [as does also 20th century “big-bang” theory] that the Unity of God (i.e., the Universe) was shattered at the moment of mundane creation.  From this cataclysm, ‘Holy Sparks’ flew off in all directions, some returning to their source, others falling into the world of ‘things’ and ‘beings’. (Short essay on  Lurianic Kabbalah by Yakov Leib HaKohain)

Thus did Rabbi Luria proclaim the creation of the universe through the agency of a cataclysmic explosion (“big-bang”).  [As would be expected, there is a 20th century “scientific” version of that concept.]

Monsignor Georges LeMaitre (1894-1966) often gets the credit for formulating the modern “big bang” hypothesis of the origin of the universe (in 1927).  After he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1927 and returned to Belgium, Monsignor LeMaitre theorized that the universe began in a cataclysmic explosion of a small, primeval “super atom”. LeMaitre’s “super atom” or “space particle” was said to be the first in existence.

 Nearly forty years later, in 1964, at the Bell Laboratories, Arno Penzias and his colleague Robert Wilson began monitoring radio waves in the Milky Way Galaxy with a radio telescope and in 1965 they reportedly discovered cosmic background radiation. This so-called discovery (which was never verified) has been used since 1965 as evidence in support of the “big bang” hypothesis of LeMaitre [or Luria] that the universe was created by a gigantic cataclysm billions of years ago.

It will be noted from the foregoing that it was a 16th century Kabbalah rabbi, Isaac Luria, who first theorized the “big-bang” origin of the universe. The science establishment gives Monsignor LeMaitre credit for the idea of a primordial atom that began it all.  The fact is, a Kabbalah rabbi, Rabbi Moses Nachmanides, wrote in the 13th century of ‘a tiny speck’ being the original creation.

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Premise Five:  The universe is expanding

Moses Nachmanides, a 13th century Kabbalist rabbi, wrote: There was only one          physical creation, and that creation was a tiny speck….As this speck expanded out, this substanceso thin it has no essenceturned into matter as we know it Here it is obvious that Rabbi Nachmanides conceived the ‘tiny speck’ origin of the universe with an accompanying expansion (no “big-bang”) in the 13th century.

Rabbi Moses Nachmanides (in the 13th century) put forth the original proposition that the universe is expanding.  One should wonder how a Kabbalah rabbi arrived at such an idea.  Then, in the 20th century, Monsignor LeMaitre issued his factless hypothesis of universe expansion and took credit for it as an original idea.  Of even greater interest, the person credited with confirming the expansion of the universe, Edwin Hubbel, would not endorse that concept; yet, the science establishment still credits Hubbel with confirming the “recession (expansion) factor”.

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How is it possible that ancient and medieval Kabbalah rabbis inscribed the five  premises in question in their holy book (before Copernicus) and those are the exact same conclusions arrived at by modern astrophysicists?  Coincidence?  Would that not put a humongous kink in a probability curve?  Still, those premises are inscribed in the Kabbalah and modern cosmologists agree with those inscriptions.


There are a number of well-respected Jewish commentators who are aware of the ancient and medieval Kabbalah rabbis’ descriptions of today’s big-bang” paradigm. They are attributing supernatural prophet-like status to those rabbis as “sages” who described such a comprehensive paradigm centuries before modern scientists eventually discovered it.  


The basic question is:  Why should we trust factless premises that originated in the minds of ancient and medieval Kabbalah rabbis, even when they are presented to us as being factual by the modern theoretical science establishment?  The Kabbalah is an extensive religious work, after all, not a repository of scientific knowledge.


But, the real question remains:  How was it possible for ancient and medieval Kabbalah rabbis to inscribe the five premises in question in their holy book (long before Copernicus formulated his heliocentricity hypothesis) and for those premises to be the exact same conclusions agreed to by modern cosmologists? The astounding coincidence of the same five cosmology premises being formulated by medieval Kabbalah rabbis and then later by modern physicists is indeed puzzling.  Perhaps one day someone may solve that puzzle.


Special thanks to Marshall Hall for the greater portion of the background information used in the preparation of this essay.


Thomas E. Cobb, Se.M.     


“There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe them.                        -–George Orwell, British author and scholastic lecturer 


[Disclaimer:  The author of this essay is a fundamental, creationist Bible-believing Christian and does not support, endorse, nor agree with any information or views derived from the Kabbalah or any other non-Christian religious source.]