Small enough to know you. Large enough to serve you.

Intentional Creation (Mishpatim 02/22/20)

Rabbi Neil Schuman

Intentional Creation
For the past few weeks at 10 AM on Wednesdays, a number of us have been gathering together to discuss reincarnation and other spiritual concepts from Jewish and New Age perspectives.
What we’ve been learning is that life is an opportunity for personal development. According to the Kabbalah, a person may reincarnate to heal a bad relationship in the past (“Karma”), accomplish something one had not previously experienced or achieved, or to help individuals or a generation succeed.
Both New Age Spirituality and the Kabbalah agree that reincarnation is one of the keys to understanding why the innocent suffer in this life. One’s suffering could be the healing of a “Karmic” issue for the sufferer or even the caretaker.
The readings have been eye-opening and I encourage you to join us on our weekly ventures. Acceptance of these teachings ultimately boils down to belief: belief in the soul and belief that some people have the ability to relate information from realms beyond ours (It’s not outlandish or anti-Jewish, Moses was supposedly one such person!).
When we studied science in high school or college, we also took our stances based on our beliefs. How DNA replicates, how the cell membrane decides what to let in and what not, and how the ATP-ADP cycle functions are immensely complicated. At that point, we chose to believe there was a Creator involved or that random reactions occurring over a few billion years produced these complex reactions.
Our ability to deny a Creator is enabled because evolution did indeed take place over billions of years; maybe the universe got lucky! But I recently learned something that may cause us to rethink.
I’m listening to a Great Course series titled “How the Earth Works” by Professor Michael E. Wysession. One of the lectures is about the Big Bang. Astrophysicists have figured out quite a bit. In fact, they can tell you with some surety how the universe formed from 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang until now, about 13.7 billion years later.
Yet what happened at 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang is what I’d like to discuss. It’s when the One Simplified Force started to divide into the four forces of the universe: gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the weak and strong nuclear forces.
Now, I know you didn’t sign up for a full science lesson, but I’d like to share with you another reason to believe the world is not random but carefully planned.
These four forces all have their own set of magnitudes and relative strengths to one another. Because of the precise nature of these ratios, atoms stay together, molecules bond and the gravity keeps us circling the sun.
But let’s say the ratios were slightly off.
If the ratio of the strong nuclear force (keeps an atom’s nucleus together) to the electromagnetic force was slightly smaller, it would not be able to overcome the electromagnetic repulsion between protons. Then there wouldn’t be any atomic nuclei. There would be no big atoms, nothing other than a universe of hydrogen.
On the other side, if the ratio were slightly larger, the strong nuclear force would overcome the electromagnetic repulsion between electrons and protons, it would pull all matter together. Fusion would occur everywhere immediately and no larger elements would have been created.
If gravity were slightly stronger than it is, then galaxies would collapse immediately into massive black holes and we’d never have stars that are spread apart from each other.
If gravity was slightly weaker than it is, than stars and galaxies could never form, you’d just have diffuse clouds of hydrogen and helium, the products of the big bang just drifting out into space separately.
This seems to say that from 10-43 seconds after the Bing Bang, the ability for life to form was predestined. This inevitability was not lost upon scientists. In fact, because of it, some accept the “Anthropic Principle.” Proponents of the anthropic principle reason this is why this universe has the age and the fundamental physical constants necessary to accommodate conscious life. As a result, outside the narrow range thought to be compatible with life, it would seem impossible that life (in particular, intelligent life) could develop.
Even if it took the universe 13.7 billion years to get us here, it seemed life was predestined from the very beginning of the Big Bang. If we’re meant to be here, then perhaps all of our lives have some special meaning (and that brings us back to our Wednesday class!)
Just like the Big Bang, life starts a mystery and it takes us years to figure out the why, but we shouldn’t stop seeking.
Best of luck,
R’ Neil

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