Orthodox Judaism/Genesis 1:24

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Essentially this question concerns evolution as the possible means in creation.  Gen. 1:24 "...Let the land produce..." indicates, or at least to me, that we have mediate not immediate creation. It would not be difficult to interpret/extrapolate God commanding a process. (I guess if one requires a belief title I would be a "Command/Fiat Creationist". Does Gen. 1:24 allow for the possibility of process? Thank You.

Answer
Hi William,

In verses 11 and 12 there is a discrepancy with regard to the trees.  G-d's command was to have "fruit" trees producing fruits but the earth brought forth trees (minus the word fruit) producing fruits.  Our Sages teach that the tree was supposed to taste like the fruit but nature disobeyed.  So if the question is, does G-d solely change things via subatomic particle control and nature cannot fight the physics, I would agree the answer is no.  There is a form of independence in nature.  The mere fact that anything exists other than G-d Himself speaks to this independence.  However that is not how evolution is commonly understood.  The belief in evolution allows for the possibility of physical laws being the sole cause of creation.  So much of DNA is identical across living beings, it is very likely that the physical source of those building blocks is the same when tracing back the origins.  So birds and fish came from water, animals from the earth, but earth and water may share a property that allows for similar DNA.  But the idea that with the right physics and chemistry nature will create life, whether in a lab or in the universe, is not supported by the verses in Genesis.

Best regards,
David.

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David Rosenblum

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I am an ex-student of yeshiva and I like to be presented with Torah study problems. If you have studied the Torah and have questions on the subject matter, I want to hear about it. I am not a Rabbi and not qualified to decide halachic issues. I am still interested in halachic questions for which I can sometimes offer general guidelines or present decisions in halachic works such as Mishna Berurah. I welcome questions from non-Jewish people but I cannot respond to religious references that are not part of Judaism. If you are working on a paper or doing research and want general information on a Jewish subject, I may or may not satisfy your need, depending on how comfortable I am with the question. If you have a personal problem, I am not qualified to help you but I will do what I can to offer you some assistance.

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