by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
According to the news reports, scientists working in a laboratory have created artificial life. They call it “synthetic” because, “the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer starting with information in a computer.”
The report goes on to predict that this discovery will pose philosophical and scientific questions about the creation of life.
If, indeed, the report is accurate, does this contradict the Torah’s description of Creation?
There are two types of creations. There is the initial Creation, as reported in the Torah, and there is the ongoing creation that we participate in. What is the difference? The original Creation was created as “something from nothing” (yesh meayin), and the subsequent creations have been created as “something from something” (yesh meyesh).
Before G-d brought about the Creation, there was absolutely no preexisting matter from which He created it. That creation was an entirely new Creation made into matter that did not previously exist. The Torah says that G-d made the Creation from His words.[i]
Subsequent creations have always been made from the matter that G-d originally created. So, for instance, a baby is created from its mother’s egg and father’s sperm. A tree is created from a seed and the nourishment that it receives from the surrounding world. All things that are created now are made out of matter that already exists.
But, what about this new scientific discovery? Are they creating life “something from nothing,” as only G-d can create? No, not at all. Those chemicals that they put together to make the “synthetic” life form also had life within them. G-d is everywhere. “Even in completely inanimate matter…there is a soul and spiritual life-force….” (Yesh ‘chaiut le’koldevar) [ii]
This is not to take away from the cleverness and seriousness of the scientists’ work. But the world had best be very careful with this one and guard the ability to make new organisms. Creating living robots has been a long-time dream of many of the world’s would-be rulers.
But to say that this discovery contradicts the Torah’s teachings is simply not true.
[i] Genesis 1:3
[ii] Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah Chap.1 From the Ari