Does anyone wear a pacemaker produced in Pakistan? Have you noticed any breakthroughs in electrical super conductivity emanating from Saudi Arabia? Would you buy a sedan designed and assembled in Sudan? Did the dental anesthetic, Novocain, get invented in Nigeria or Botox in Biafra?
I think that open inquiry is more important than avoiding multi-cultural insensitivity, so let’s ask why virtually all scientific and medical advances of the past thousand years occurred within western civilization.
There is no defect in the people of the countries I have mentioned. Western civilization’s remarkable monopoly of progress is due to the qualities that Judaism and Christianity imbued in the cultures, societies, and nations they spawned. Widely held beliefs truly do have consequences.
It isn’t that hard to see how a Bible-based view of reality shapes a culture and fuels scientific discovery. The opening words of God’s directive to humanity “In the beginning God created heaven and earth” strips away the illusion of a random world and sets men on the road to scientific discovery.
Science is mainly about seeking meaningful patterns. Knowing that patterns in the natural world exist, no matter how elusive they may be, reinforces the persistence of the investigator.
People acculturated by Judaism and Christianity discovered calculus, the periodic table, penicillin, relativity, and planetary motion. Those Bible-believers invented electricity, and most everything else that makes life today so much better than it was a millennium ago. What drove their quest was the knowledge that the universe was not random along with the desire to understand God’s universe as a way to understanding Him.
The opening sentence of the Bible told them it had been created by a benevolent Deity to fulfill His grand plans and as such, it was knowable.
That first sentence, in its original Hebrew possesses a striking distinction. Six of its seven words contain an aleph. The aleph is not only the first letter of the alphabet, it also means one thousand.
Ancient Jewish wisdom links that first verse’s six alephs or thousands, to the six thousand years of human history starting from when Adam first spoke. Furthermore, it links each of the six days of creation to its parallel millennium. So, the sixth millennium, corresponding to the Bible’s account of the sixth day of creation, ran from the Jewish year 5001 to 6000. The civil year 2012 corresponds to the Hebrew year 5772 which means that the sixth millennium began 772 years ago:
2012 – 772 = 1240
That sixth day of creation contains one instruction vital for scientific discovery. God directs man to conquer the earth. (Genesis 1:28) God urges us to discover ways of making the world safer, a place in which humans can live longer and better with less back-breaking, manual labor. No wonder Isaac Newton’s discoveries resulted from him being a Bible-believing Christian.
The Hebrew word telling us to conquer, kovesh, happens to be the 76th word out of a total of 149 words in that sixth day account.
76/149 = 0.51
In other words, there is a prophecy that exactly 51% of the way through the sixth millennium there will be a breakthrough which will dramatically increase the way that humans conquer the world. Well, 510 years into this millennium brings us to 1240 + 510 = 1750. The year that dates the beginning of the Industrial Revolution!
© 2012 Rabbi Daniel Lapin - All Rights Reserved