Monotheism as the Basis for Science
Where there are many gods, there is no unity in creation; nature appears like an arena of different forces.
Next month we will be placing special focus on the topic “Israel – Between Technology and Tradition.” We’ll be taking a fascinating look at the fact that the Jewish people is one of the oldest peoples in the world today, but at the same time, the Jewish state is one of the most innovative countries. Are the two facts related?
The local perspective is that monotheism forms the basis for science, since the assumption of an independent lawgiver for the natural world made it possible for man to reason logically about the world.
This monotheism began with Abraham, who at God’s behest left his father’s polytheistic house to settle in the land of Canaan.
Abraham, the forefather of the Jewish people, was known for his hospitality. He entertained strangers in his tent and told them about his God, who stood in stark contrast to the general view of the time. Such a conversation might have gone like this:
“Abraham, you are verily a prince of God. Thank you for taking us hungry travelers into your tent and for giving us plenty of food.”
“Do not thank me, thank the Lord, the Creator of the world, who gave me everything that was mine and brought you here.”
“Your God is very kind. As you can see, the sun is now getting low and we are tired after the long journey. We will withdraw and sacrifice to the sun so that it will wake up again tomorrow and show us the way to our destination.”
“My honored guests, allow me to briefly tell you something about my God. Not only is He the Creator of everything you see, He also made laws for nature. You do not have to make any sacrifices to the sun, it rises every day and will do so tomorrow because God has commanded it. The sun, the moon and everything that surrounds us are servants of God and not gods of their own, there is only one God, the Creator and Lawgiver.”
“Please forgive me Abraham, but that is a very strange idea. We can see with our own eyes that different forces are at work in the world. We know, for example, that water always tries to penetrate as deeply as possible into the earth, that is its will, but when we heat water it wants to rise to the top because clouds belong in the sky and return there. There are opposing forces at work here and not a single one.”
“I am very impressed by your observations, you have made good use of your long journeys through the desert. But hear this: God has commanded all things that are important to strive towards the earth. If you’re sitting under a palm tree and a date falls on your head, it’s not because the tree is mad at you, but because the date has become so heavy that the palm can no longer hold it. You can try it for yourself. The heavier something is, the stronger it is drawn to the earth. I call this law ‘gravity.’ When water is heated, it changes its shape and loses its weight, it is no longer heavy and is therefore not drawn to the earth.”
“Wise Abraham, I feel that your words are true. But can’t your God change His mind and order the water to rise and order the sun to go on sleeping, so that it stays night forever?”
“This is a very good question. God can of course change His order of nature at any time if He wants to; He stands above it and is not bound by anything but His will. But I learned from Shem, the son of Noah, that God created the world in six days and gave it order. Things follow laws and have no will of their own. What is true today will be true tomorrow under the same circumstances. By examining nature, we discover more and more laws and come ever closer to the oneness of God.”