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How do we know G-d created the world?

by Mrs. Sarah Levi

  

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The belief in a Supernatural Creator is both fundamental to Judaism and a matter of pure logic. There is nothing in all existence that does not have a source. To believe that this complex and beautiful world came to be as a matter of happenstance is completely illogical. There is a famous story that beautifully illustrates this point.

A non-believer came to a rabbi and asked him to prove the existence of G-d. The rabbi instructed him to come back the next day for the answer to his question. The non-believer felt thrilled to have seemingly "stumped" the rabbi. When he came back the next day he excitedly demanded the answer from the learned man. The rabbi replied that he would give his answer momentarily, but before he did he wanted his questioner to read a beautiful poem he had on his desk.

The rabbi explained that... he had accidentally knocked over the ink well on his desk onto a blank piece of paper and this poem was what the spill had produced...
The non-believer read the work and was inspired by the lovely images described within the poem and asked the rabbi who the author was. The rabbi explained that there was no author. What had happened was that while deep in thought pondering the profound question he had been asked the rabbi had accidentally knocked over the ink well on his desk onto a blank piece of paper and this poem was what the spill had produced. The non-believer scoffed at the ridiculous notion that something as wonderful as that poem could be the result of an accident.

At that point the rabbi explained that if something as simple as a poem could not be created by accident or without an author then certainly something as wonderfully complex as our world could not come into being without an Author. 

The skeptic was skeptical no more.


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COMMENTS

statistically, given enough ink spills, it's likely that the poem will result

Posted by: Gary, Z├╝rich, Switzerland on Apr 07, 2005

Statistically, spilling ink will eventually result in that poem.

It may take a billion attempts, but it'll happen eventually.

Who says that didn't happen with the world?

Fuzzy math

Posted by: Hillel, Kfar Chabad, Israel on Apr 09, 2005

One in a billion? I would hardly agree. The odds of such perfection coming about by accident have to be much lower.

[btw, it's hard to argue with statistics, but perhaps can someone explain why throughout recorded history no Pulitzer winning poem has thus been created?]

And this is an "enlightened" opinion -- someone who would believe that the world is a one in a trillion freak accident, rather than allowing the rational idea of a creator to enter his mind!

Yes "statistically" it is a possibility that the beautiful skyscraper you are walking by is an accident. No architects, builders, electricians, plumbers, or interior designers, just a garbage dump where people dumped bricks, cement and steel throughout the years. But which fool would believe that?

Here's some science for ya...

Posted by: Anonymous, Birmingham, UK on May 11, 2005

Okay, what would you say the chances of that ink pot forming such a poem by itself would be? One in a billion?

Well if the chances of life forming by itself were one in a billion... think about it... there's easily a billion planets in the universe, and we only know for certain that this one planet has life on it really, don't we? We only believe design exists because are ourselves examples of design, so we can marvel at ourselves. It doesn't have to be one in a billion, it can be whatever you want it to be, but there are so many planets in the universe... and the truth is we don't know the actual probability so we can't argue in this way at all!

Editor's Comment

Perhaps the statistical possibility of the spilled ink creating the beautiful artwork is one in a billion (although I find it hard to believe that the odds would be that low), but it is certainly a statistical impossibility for the perfect world we live in to have happened by chance.

That's one paper, this is trillions of trillions of atoms happening to come together in perfect harmony.

As the previous poster mentioned, what's the statistical probability of finding an Empire State Building -- with all its electrical and plumbing systems in operational use -- in an island which was never inhabited; it just evolved!


....

Posted by: Adam Goldstein, Plainfield, NJ on May 26, 2006

When people use the theological argument of design to prove g-d's existence, they often forget to mention the many imperfections of our world. If that ink would've spilled and created nothing at all or just a blotch on the paper it wouldn't have been as impressive. We sometimes forget all the genetic mutations and deadly diseases. We can't use the argument of design unless we can account for all the mistakes and imperfections of the world as well. Furthermore, a site like this should be promoting the idea that belief in a g-d is just that a belief and one can never KNOW that g-d exists no matter how pious you are. If it were possible to prove g-d, everyone would know the proof. I am an orthodox Jew but I am also a philosopher and therefore I have accepted that I will never come to KNOW that g-d exists but that simply put, faith in g-d of Abraham makes me a Jew.

Editor's Comment

1. Could a poem with typos be the result of a spilled bottle of ink? Surely you don't think the world, even with its tragedies, is a "blotch". 2. You're assuming that G-d wanted a perfect world. He didn't. He wants a world which will be perfected in all ways by its human inhabitants. That is part of the design of the poem 3. Judaism demands us to know as much as we can about G-d. Maimonidies begins his book of Jewish law by stating "the foundation of foundations and pillar of wisdom is to KNOW there is a Creator".

Statistically impossible

Posted by: Jonathan Wagner, Windsor, ON, Canada on Jun 17, 2006

The idea that "anything is possible" over a long enough time frame is absolutely absurd, and NOT statistically accurate.

For instance, is there ever a 1 in a billion chance that it can rain and not rain in the exact same time at the exact same place?

There is the reality of -impossibility-. The rules and logic of the universe are never violated. If ink is spilled onto a paper, it is an impossibility that it would ever create a poem in say an english font. Not 1 in billion, not 1 in infinite, impossible.

To validate this point, on the longest time frame possible, infinity, flipping a coin will be what work out to what? 50/50. That's statistics.

There is no such thing as "random", random is simply ignorance of the variables involved - in any, and all cases.


Probability

Posted by: Pinchos on Jan 16, 2007

"Statistically, spilling ink will eventually result in that poem."

Or - famous: "If you put a monkey in front of the key board, sooner or later it will write Shakespeare".

Take only 10 letters keyboard.

The probability:

To strike specific letter 0.1%.

Two letters 0.01%.

...

10-letters-word is 0.1^10% (10 zerous before 1).

...

20-letters-word is 0.1^20%.

Take a monkey that can type 10 strokes / second (To be fare - I can't type as fast...)

In one year it will hit:

365*24*60*60*10 ~= 3*10^8.

For our fast typing monkey -

To randomly come up with 10-letters-word would take ~30 years.

20-letters-word? - 3*10^11 years... Longer than 13.7B.

1 in a billion would be probable. But we are speaking about much, much, much lower probabilities...


creation

Posted by: Marilyn Gold, Beverly Hills, Ca on Jan 26, 2007

If scientists can give physical proof that life existed millions of years ago how does G-d fit into this equation? According to the torah life started less than 6,000 years ago.

Editor's Comment

There are many answers to this question. Let me offer one: The world was created with age. I.e. even 5767 years ago, scientists could have found evidence that the world had existed for millions of years on day one after the creation of the world, since a "new" universe was created to look "old".

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Philosophy » Creation

G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.