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Just Beyond Forever
by Dr. Arnie Gotfryd

The end will be when Moshiach comes for the end is rooted in the beginning. - The Rebbe, HaYom Yom, 16 Tishrei.

Readers Write
Dear Dr. Gotfryd,
I've heard it said many times that there has to be a First Cause, but why? What is wrong with saying that the world is all made up of basic building blocks such as atoms, protons, etc. which have always existed? Why do you have to say that there was a cause which is above time? It seems unnecessary.
Isaac K.
London, UK
Dear Isaac,
There seem to be two issues here. First, you raise the possibility of time with no beginning, i.e., a past that goes back forever. Second, you suggest that this provides a reasonable alternative to believing that the world was created by some supernatural being.
Let's forget for a moment that the Torah is a reliable source of information on many things including on matters such as these. Let's also forget for a moment that the primary cosmological theory today, the Big Bang, requires a beginning to time and atoms as well. Let's even forget, for a moment, all the experiments proving non-locality in the laboratory from which scientists infer that the ultimate ground of reality is an indivisible wholeness beyond space and time which is conscious and that physical reality is continuously being recreated by its fluctuations.
Instead we shall assume for a moment that you are correct and that atoms were the first beings. But if atoms were the first beings, and they created everything else, wouldn't that make them G-d? After all, that's what a first being is supposed to do, is it not? Obviously this was not your intent, to believe that atoms are G-d but your description of atoms does seem to fit the standard definition of G-d nonetheless. If you don't like worshipping atoms, you may want to reconsider.
Another problem with "atoms first" is that it short circuits cause-and-effect reasoning. Why does everything else in the world deserve to have a cause and yet the lowly atom sticks out like a sore thumb? It's even made out of the same stuff as everything else. Something does not add up here.
Besides, if we accept that objects are made of molecules and molecules of atoms, why stop there? What about the quarks that make up the atoms and the gluons that comprise the quarks and the vacuum fluctuations that generate the gluons and the unified field that the physicists accept which transcends and permeates it all.
Regarding your second point, about eternal matter pre-empting the necessity of G-d, we could ask a question. After all, we are Jewish. How does time being infinite impact on whether it is a created entity or not? There many infinite things that have been infinities.
First there is the infinity of whole numbers. Didn't humans create that? Then, between every two numbers there is an infinity of fractions. Humans made those too. Between every two fractions there is an infinity of irrational numbers. There are even certain numbers that are infinite all by themselves. Pi, for example, is a transcendental number, an infinite non-repeating decimal. Then there are mathematical oddities like fractals, Kantor dust, mobius strips and Klein bottles, all clearly infinite and all purely mathematical constructions by humans. Infinity does not guarantee un-createdness.
On the contrary, one of the best indications of an Infinite One beyond nature is the very fact that the world has infinities within it. For every infinity has an infinity greater than it and the ultimate of all those is the true Ayn Sof.
How kind it is of the One Above to hide himself so well that we can deem him unnecessary. Only by choice do we assert the logic that leads us to Him. And in the merit of choosing Him at any moment of our lives, we bring the game of hide and seek to a close, its ultimate close with the coming of Moshiach NOW!

Dr. Aryeh (Arnie) Gotfryd, PhD is a chassid, environmental scientist, author and educator living near Toronto, Canada. To contact, read more or to book him for a talk, visit or call 416-858-9868



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